New polling has revealed half of American pastors are concerned they might offend someone when they speak out on hot-button social and moral issues. According to research from the Barna Group, the same issues pastors feel most pressured to preach about are also the ones they feel most uncomfortable addressing.
It should come as no surprise that the issues at top of their concern are homosexuality and abortion.
The pressure for pastors to satisfy everyone on all sides and to avoid offense is very real today, especially in the digital era. The nature of social media only increases the stakes. At the same time, 9 out of 10 Christian pastors say teaching biblical beliefs about specific issues is a major part of their role as clergy.
64 percent of the pastors polled said they feel limited by their own church members in their capacity to speak out on moral topics. By contrast, 69 percent feel pressured to address those same issues from the pulpit.
Homosexuality is the issue pastors feel most pressured by their church members to talk about and the most limited. 44 percent of Christian pastors feel limited in their ability to talk about homosexuality by people within their own churches. At the same time, 37 percent say they feel pressured by their congregations to speak on the matter. More than 9 in 10 U.S. clergy (92 percent) assert that churches must remain free to teach a traditional definition of marriage, and 79 percent of American adults agree. In 2015, the same percentage (79 percent) of Americans agree that churches should not be legally compelled to perform same-sex marriage.
In our hypersensitive culture today, the following issues are the moral topics that congregations are concerned about: the LGBTQ agenda (homosexuality, transgender men and women, etc.), same-sex marriage, abortion, sexual morality, politics (parties and politicians), marriage, sex before marriage (promiscuity and cohabitation), immigration, religious freedom (church and state), and poverty. But when the pastors were asked if they were teaching their people about what the Bible says about these issues, only 10 percent of the pastors said they were. Ninety-percent of America’s pastors say they know that the Bible speaks to all these issues, but they are deliberately determined not to teach these biblical principles.
Barna also stated that pastors are afraid to get involved in political issues listed above because of the controversy it might create. Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money and controversy keeps people from attending programs.
So, it seems that the reality is that pastors care more about being successful than they do about presenting the truth. In most cases, they believe if they tell the truth to their congregations, their churches will probably not be as successful.
Ignorance is not what keeps are pastors silent; it is deliberate disobedience. America’s malaise towards the reality of evil in our world is directly due to the deliberate disobedience of America’s pastors who are willfully not preaching the whole counsel of God. There is no greater calling for pastors and no greater responsibility to God’s people than to elevate the truth in churches across our nation, especially in these discouraging and sometimes frightening times. The church must be a light and pastors must be committed to bringing these issues to the pulpit and to their congregations.
The whole purpose of the Christian message is to confront the sinner’s sin so you can call the sinner to repentance and forgiveness. The sinner doesn’t like that. Such a perspective is considered offensive by today’s standards.
There was a great article under Patrick Pulpits in the April 10, 2019 Enterprise, entitled “Youth Drifting From The Faith.” The article was written by Clyde Dupin. The youth he talks about in the article is the same youth who has questions concerning the same issues pastors are afraid to preach about. The youth are the future of your church and this country. Pastors need to provide them with the biblical tools they need to address these issues.
My question for pastors in Patrick and Henry counties; As a pastor do you seek to please God or is it more important to please man? Simply put, who are you going to serve —Satan or Jesus Christ?