Chuck Baldwin, pastor, radio broadcaster and columnist, “Why Pastors Won’t Take A Stand”
The vast majority of pastors today are success oriented. Beginning with Bible College or Seminary and continuing throughout their ministerial life, the emphasis is success. Success means church growth, larger congregations, bigger buildings, bigger offerings, burgeoning statistics, greater notoriety, denominational praise, invitations to speak at conferences, applause from fellow ministers, not to mention the financial perks and benefits that come with a successful church.
Pastors regularly attend church growth conferences to learn from the “big” churches on how its done. They purchase books, magazines, newsletters, etc that are geared toward building a successful church. They are constantly being schooled in the latest and greatest “how to” strategies of church growth and success – sophisticated programs, music, sound, lighting, atmosphere, classes, seminars, organizations, etc.
Dare I say that even the way pastors and churches cater their “outreach” and “ministry” has mostly to do with “good business.” Members are babied and pacified and stroked and petted and fawned-over because it is “good business.”
Today’s Christians are so spoiled and petted that any dereliction or lack of attention by a pastor, church, or staff usually results in “moving their letter” down the street to a place that will more readily cater to their temperamental demands.
Have you noticed how most pastors spiritualized away the great examples of Bible heroism and defiance against tyranny and despotism? Ask them about Daniel and the lion’s den or the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, or Queen Ester, or Sampson, or other acts of defiance lauded in the Bible and they will say – “that was another time,” or, “This shows God’s great deliverance and protection.” But the overriding principle that drove the great heroes of faith to challenge and defy evil government is never acknowledged, much less addressed.
Furthermore, most pastors and teachers absolutely refuse to tell the truth of Hebrews 11:33-34: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions. . .out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens.” This Biblical passage lauds the courage of past believers who took up the sword against tyrants and despots. In the same breath that Paul extolled the sacrifice of believers who were willing to die for their faith, he also extolled the bravery of believers who were willing to fight for their faith. But you NEVER hear that from the vast majority of pastors today.
If you hear any mention of America’s Founding Fathers from today’s pastors, it is that the founders were wrong, that they violated Romans 13, that God did not lead them to declare independence and revolt against the British Crown. Such is the ignorance and cowardice of today’s ministers.
And while we are on the subject, the misinterpretation of Romans 13 is one of the chief reasons why most pastors and churches are so utterly indifferent or nonplussed about resisting evil government. Nowhere in the Bible, and that includes Romans 13, does God expect or demand believers to submit to evil, wicked authority.
To the average pastor, nothing is as anathema as controversy. And nothing is more controversial than politics. Pastors are taught to avoid politics like the plague. Of course, they won’t tell you that the controversial nature of politics is the reason they avoid it; they will tell you that “God has not called me to get involved in politics,” or, “I’m trying to build a church,” or, “That’s not our mission,” or any number of other pious-sounding clichés. But the reality is they are trying to be successful, and they believe controversy hinders success. That’s also why you seldom, if ever, hear “hard” sermons from the modern pulpit–even though that is exactly the kind of sermons that Jesus Himself preached.
To the success-driven, religious CEO, people must always feel good; they must be permanently ensconced in their comfort zone; and they must never be rebuked or informed of misconduct or irresponsibility.
And as far as freedom goes, the shallowness of the average pulpit refuses to acknowledge the responsibility of the church to do anything to preserve it. All they talk about is praying for your political leaders and being good little subjects of the state.
Pastors are afraid if they offend people offerings will go down and they might not be able to pay for all of those fancy buildings and exorbitant staff–not to mention their own personal financial perks might be endangered. And, yes, I must also add that the 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt status most churches operate under poses a serious intimidation against the pastor and church, which keeps them from taking a stand or speaking out on issues that might be construed as political.
But here is the bottom line: as long as Christians in the pews continue to attend and financially support these stand-for-nothing churches, the churches will continue to languish in their indifference. After all, by the attendance and offerings of all of these people in the pews, pastors are being continually convinced that everything they have been taught is working: their churches are successful.
The ONLY WAY Christians can start making a difference in their country is to GET OUT of these clueless, cowardly churches and find a pastor who is not afraid to be politically incorrect, who is not afraid to preach and teach the Biblical principles of liberty, and who is not afraid to preach and teach the principles of righteous defiance against any act of tyranny.
You don’t need a successful pastor; you need a truthful pastor. If you are not willing to support a church and pastor that is willing to take a stand, willing to teach God’s word, willing to be politically incorrect, then you must accept the imminent slavery to which you are being led.
“Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men. . .Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:6-13