Sin of Silence

Post-Pandemic Pastors and the Sin of Silence
by Shane Idleman

Let me state up front that countless pastors and Christian leaders are currently doing amazing things. Many of them, such as Jack Graham, James Robison, Jack Hibbs, Michael Brown, and Jim Garlow, have invested into my life, and I praise God daily for them. But there is also a “disturbing” trend taking place.

As I’ve said before, over the last few decades Americans have witnessed the “destruction” of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the “removal” of God’s Word in most of the public arena, “horrific” racism, and the blatant “murdering” of millions of babies. This is an “indictment” against America, and the “pulpit” is partially responsible, our “silence” speaks volumes. The pulpit regulates the “spiritual” condition of God’s people, which affects the nation. A sex-saturated “culture” and lukewarm “church” simply reflects the “lack of conviction” in the pulpit as well as the pew.

As Jim Garlow rightly noted when we spoke: “There are approximately 364,000 churches in America: 72 percent, or 264,000 of them, are liberal, meaning that they really don’t care about the Bible. According to exhaustive surveys, somewhere between 6,000 and 15,000 actually have a bona fide biblical worldview, that is, they see life through the lens of Scripture.”

Did you catch that? Nearly 72 percent of churches don’t look to the “Bible” as their final source of “authority and direction.” No wonder America is “crumbling” from within; the foundation is “deteriorating.”

He went on to say, “Bold pastors are nearly extinct. It would be much easier ‘to play church’ and make everyone feel good. The church, as we now know it, will be functionally illegal very soon. With the recent SCOTUS decisions, the First Amendment died and churches will very soon be forced to hire those who practice homosexuality and will not be allowed to speak against the sinful practice.”

This article is not a “rebuke”, per se, but a tear stained “plea” to return to God. The “blood” of unborn children and the effects of “ungodly” legislation are not just on the hands of legislators or judges but also on the hands of “capitulating” preachers. “Society can ignore the murder of millions of babies in the womb, mock the police, desecrate society, pillage and destroy, redefine marriage, support perversion, back ungodly movements” and pastors are supposed to keep their mouths shut on these issues? I don’t think so. For more on that, I invite you to watch this short clip picked up by Fox News.

The Bible calls pastors “watchmen” who cry out and sound the alarm to “awaken” a sleeping church, not sing her lullabies. The prophet Isaiah, who doesn’t mince words about lazy watchmen, says they are blind and ignorant and that they are all dumb dogs who cannot bark (raise their voices to warn). They sleep and lie down, loving to slumber (Isaiah 56:9).

At first glance, you may think this wording is too strong, but I can assure you that it is not. Backing away from speaking the “truth in love” is a serious offense against God. A genuine pastor doesn’t call himself to the ministry; God calls him to speak the truth, even on tough topics. Silence about “sins” is rebelling against the call of God. If your sermons do not upset the world from time to time, I have to seriously question your calling.

Few Spirit-filled preachers are left, and when one rises, they are quickly labeled as right-wing, extreme, or narrow-minded. The so-called “evangelical” church is on the verge of totally “capitulating”, especially on the cusp of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions. I’m equally alarmed at the number of leaders who remained “silent” when police officers were killed and babies “aborted”. These “woke” Christians are not woke to the things of God. They often do more “harm than good” by hash tagging and promoting false narratives.

Yes, we need to unite against “racism” and call it out when warranted, but our capitulation has led to “cowardliness.” In trying to correct the “sin of racism”, the pendulum has now swung in a dangerous direction. To fix “racism”, you have to preach about “sin, repentance, and forgiveness.” A person needs to turn completely to Christ to “truly” change.

The irony is that many pastors “avoid” talking about foundational “truths” of the Bible that lead to “real” heart change. They are actually part of the problem, not the solution.

From Orange County, California, to Dallas, Texas, how sad that many churches won’t even do “voter” registration because it’s “too political.” God ordained the government; surely He doesn’t want us to stay “silent.”

What we say, or do not say,  greatly “impacts” politics. We are not being “political”; we are being “biblical.” Saying, “I’m just not political,” is really an excuse to hide cowardliness. “Bold pastors may look like they are on the wrong side of history, but they are on the right side of eternity.”

Many are even marching with “ungodly” groups and seeking “redemption” by kneeling. This is why the “social” gospel, if not properly explained, is dangerous, it removes “redemption” through Christ and places it on “good works.”

There is no harm in calling for “national” repentance; we have biblical grounds for that, as we see in the life of Daniel and Nehemiah, but is “racism” the only sin we are “guilty” of as a nation?

Why not unite “black and white” pastors in peaceful, biblical-grounded, gospel-centered, God-honoring gatherings rather than align with groups who fuel “anger, revel in sin and take pride” in the lack of forgiveness and “unity” in their mission statements? Listen to more below.

At the heart of “cowardliness” are the sins of prayerlessness and pride. They are running “rampant” in many of our churches. The “dry, dead, lethargic” condition of the church accurately reflects an “impotent” prayer life and a lack of “humility.”

Prayerlessness in the pulpit leads to apostasy and dead sermons. Prayerlessness in the pew leads to shattered lives and depression. Prayerlessness in men leads to the breakdown of the family. Prayerlessness in Washington leads to the breakdown of society.

E. M. Bounds wrote “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live.” We have plenty of demands for protests, but where are the cries for prayer meetings?

When a pastor stands firm for truth, he is “demeaned, mocked and scorned” or people simply leave that church in search of a more “loving” pastor. But this “persecution”, according to Scripture, can be a “badge of honor”, as long as our boldness is a fruit of the “Spirit” and not the fruit of an “arrogant” heart: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

Ironically, the closer I draw to Christ through prayer and worship, the “bolder” I become. But the more I’m concerned with the “opinions” of others, the less “bold” I become. Boldness cannot be worked up; it must be brought down as we surrender our “hearts and lives” to Jesus Christ. Too many pastors join the ministry not to “battle” the darkness but to sign a “truce” with the world.

A quote often attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who authored “Democracy in America” in the early 1800s, helps to identify how far we have drifted: “It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Pastors, we are not just “cheerleaders”, we are “game-changers.” We are called to “stir” and to “convict” so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches, I appreciate their ministry, but as a whole, the church has “drifted” off course. Many have lost the “compass” of truth. But there is hope: “Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you.” (Zechariah 1:3)

Pastors, that’s a life-changing promise; return to Him, and He will return to you. “Boldness” comes directly from the Holy Spirit, and it is crystal clear that many of us are not “spending a lot of time” with God. Everything that God calls us to be is “compromised” when we are too busy and have no time for Him.

The world is on fire. You may not accept that, but it is the truth. This may be God’s last warning to America. Can America be saved? I am not sure.

“When the pulpit is silent, all hell breaks loose because there is no confrontation or conviction of sin, but we are called to fight with the spiritual weapons of prayer and worship, to stand strong, and to expose the unfruitful works of darkness.”

I will do that until God calls me home. How about you? Here is a quick clip on why we can talk about “political” hot buttons.

Let it not be said of us today, “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord,” because pastors “failed” to be bold preachers of righteousness. The burden of “responsibility” rests squarely upon our shoulders.

It’s our choice, “to stand tall or fall!”

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