A study from the Barna Group revealed that half of US pastors “feel worried about speaking out on certain issues because they’re worried about offending people,” particularly people in their own churches. Predictably, LGBT issues and gay “marriage” concern them most, with abortion and sexual immorality as runners-up.
Interestingly, pastors seem to recognize that they should be influencing their congregations on these issues:
- “More than nine in 10 Pastors . . . believe they have influence with their congregants when it comes to how they think about current issues in society.”
- “9 out of 10 Christian pastors said helping Christians have biblical beliefs about specific issues is a major part of their role as clergy.”
The editor-in-chief of Barna, Roxanne Stone, commented on the report, “The pressure for leaders and especially faith leaders to satisfy everyone on all sides, and to avoid offense, is very real today, especially in the digital era.” Now, I understand there’s a lot of pressure put on pastors by their congregations, but all Christians should be more concerned about how our Creator God looks on what we say based on his clear Word. We should fear God, not man. Christian leaders need to boldly teach people the truth of God’s Word and why we as Christians believe what we do. And if we really believe God’s Word, surely we can speak with authority, as the God-man Jesus did:
“the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28–29)
The survey says the pastors feel “limited” to speak when it comes to issues of gay “marriage” (22%) and homosexuality and transgender (44%). Why? Well, because so many pastors don’t believe God’s Word in Genesis! And since they don’t believe God’s Word from the beginning, they really don’t have a solid foundation to authoritatively teach marriage is one man and one woman. Starting with Genesis, we can say marriage is for one man and one woman because God created marriage when he created the first male and female, Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27; 2:24)—which deals with the gender issue.
We can speak authoritatively when we start with God’s Word as our foundation.