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Are Pastors Finally Waking Up and Ready to Address Biblical Moral Issues?

Posted on June 19th, 2013 Churches and Politics | No Comments »

by Pastor Nathan Cherry, The Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

The issues of life and marriage are not merely cultural, social, or political issues. They are biblical moral issues. Unfortunately, marriage and the sanctity of life have been so politicized that many pastors have failed in their duties to preach and teach in light of the Gospel.

Unwilling to offend anyone in their church, many pastors have abandoned biblical preaching on marriage and life in favor of a more appealing message of God’s love. To be sure, the message that God loves all people is important. But refusing to engage these moral issues facing our congregations is a disservice that has led to misunderstanding and lack of biblical literacy on these topics. The shepherds charged with guarding the flock have been asleep while the wolves have crept in and led the sheep astray.

I hear the excuses all the time. The one I get most often from fellow pastors is that they don’t preach on “political” issues because they only preach the Gospel and the Bible. This is a poor attempt to sound spiritual while failing to engage biblical moral issues in the church. The idea that the sanctity of life is not found within Scripture is absurd. Remember what God said about offering children to Molech (Lev. 18:21, 1 Kings 11:7)? This provides a biblical basis for preaching and teaching against abortion and standing for life. Ravi Zacharias said it this way:

“Can we really carry a burden for the world if we don’t carry a burden for every human life?”

A truly Gospel-centric pastor will no more be silent on the evils facing our culture than he will be silent on sin and repentance. Life is not a political issue. It is a biblical moral issue.

The same can be said regarding the definition of marriage. God created and ordained marriage. He defined marriage, Jesus affirmed that definition, and until God changes His mind no one has the right to redefine marriage. If anyone should be outspoken on the issue of marriage in all its facets, it should be the church. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church and as such should be fiercely defended by the church. And yet, too many pastors have watched silently as families fall apart, and marriage is given a bad name, all while we see the relationship between man and God distorted.

Not all are standing silent though. I’m encouraged by the pastors I’ve watched move from a place of inaction to a place of bold action. For me, this signals a growing trend back to Gospel-centered sermons on critical issues our society is facing. Ultimately the result will be well-equipped disciples prepared to engage a lost society around them. We need pastors willing to dive deep into all the issues encompassing these topics. This means talking about embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. It also means talking about divorce, pre-marital counseling, cohabitation, gender roles, and fidelity. We cannot be satisfied with shallow sermons that leave pressing questions unanswered. We must be willing to fully engage these topics with an aim of producing mature followers of Christ capable of critical thought and defending the Gospel!

And why do we do this? Why do we defend life and biblical marriage and engage in these conversations? Because the Gospel is worth it. These conversations provide an opportunity to share the Gospel with a very confused and lost community. We get to tell people that our convictions are based on Scripture and that the grace of Jesus allows us to stand firm even when the culture turns. Our convictions are not rooted in ourselves as if we are somehow great, moral people. Our convictions are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus because He is worth it.

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Obama Admin. Says It ‘Strongly’ Opposes Religious Freedom In Military

Posted on June 18th, 2013 Religious Freedom | 4 Comments »

In the past few weeks, the Obama administration has shown exactly what it believes the First Amendment protects: very little. First the Justice Department subpoenaed phone records and personal emails from journalists, then the IRS told an organization that provides support to pregnant women in abusive situations that they could not “disagree” with other groups if they wanted non-profit status.

So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the Obama administration once again wants to ignore the First Amendment, this time “strongly” opposing a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect service members’ actions and speech that reflects “the conscience, moral, principles, or religious beliefs of the member.” When an Air Force officer can’t display a Bible on his desk because it might make others uncomfortable, it’s clear that free exercise of religion is under attack.

The military isn’t the only place where this administration wants to trample on the religious freedom of every day citizens. There are over 30 documented direct attacks by the Obama administration on religious liberty. As just one example, the administration has continually refused to allow businesses with conscientious objections to opt out of Obamacare, forcing businesses into court to protect their right not to pay for abortions and abortion-causing drugs.

Because opposition to religion is real, we need explicit protections of our religious freedom. This amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act is an important safeguard for service members. Since members of the military have volunteered to defend the United States and its constitution, isn’t it only right that our nation gives them the freedom the constitution promised? Like all Americans, service members should be free to live out their faith. It is concerning and disappointing that the Obama administration doesn’t agree.

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David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church : Duty To Lead

Posted on June 4th, 2013 Religious Freedom | 2 Comments »

David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, speaks about a pastor’s duty to lead his people and follow God.

Watch & Listen >> http://alln.cc/XNcYfS
Protect and promote the rights of our churches.

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Pastors, We’ve Got a Lot of Work To Do

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 Churches and Politics,Marriage | 5 Comments »

Recently, Lifeway conducted a research poll containing some startling statistics that reveal where public opinion stands in relation to same-sex “marriage” and the acceptance of homosexual behavior. The poll reported that 58 percent of those surveyed believe that same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue just like age, race, and gender. The narrative by those who want to redefine marriage that same-sex “marriage” is a “civil right” seems to have taken hold.

Some of the other research findings are:

- 63 percent agree and 27 percent disagree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

- 58 percent agree and 33 percent disagree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

-40 percent agree and 52 percent disagree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

These statistics should be a wake-up call for pastors who think that they can avoid preaching about these issues. Public opinion on the issues of same-sex “marriage” and homosexual behavior is shifting dramatically. What are you as a pastor doing to counter this shift?

The Supreme Court is poised to render decisions on two cases by the end of June that could redefine marriage. Before the Supreme Court has its say, shouldn’t America’s pastors be heard about what God says on the subject?

Make your voice heard by participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday on June 9, 2013. Make sure your congregation knows where the Church stands on marriage. The Bible has not changed.  God’s Word remains true that homosexual behavior is wrong and that marriage is as God Himself defined it in the beginning pages of Scripture – between one man and one woman only.  Public opinion cannot change Truth. But Truth must be proclaimed to be believed and adopted.  And that is where your role as a pastor comes in. You are to proclaim the Truth of God’s Word “in season and out of season.” (2 Tim. 4:2).  After all, God’s Word is profitable for, among other things, teaching and correction. (2 Tim. 3:16). But, as the Apostle Paul reminds pastors, how are others to hear God’s Truth without someone preaching to them? (Rom. 10:14-15).

The fact of the matter is that our society desperately needs to hear what the Creator of marriage and sexual behavior says about what He created. That’s what Pulpit Freedom Sunday this year is all about – marriage. Pastor, please do not let this opportunity pass you by. Go to www.pulpitfreedom.org and sign up to participate either on June 9 or on a Sunday as close to that as you can. Stand together with hundreds of your fellow pastors from across the country proclaiming God’s Truth to a society that is in great need of hearing it.

It is vital that you participate because, to be candid, there’s a lot of work to be done. And, as a pastor, you are in a position to be heard. You can make a difference in your congregation, in the community, and eventually throughout the culture.

For resources to help you construct your sermon, please visit our Marriage Resource Page on www.pulpitfreedom.org.

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IRS Apologizes, More Apologies Necessary

Posted on May 30th, 2013 Churches and Politics | No Comments »

Erik Stanley’s column looks at the apology the IRS offered for targeted conservative groups, and points out the apology isn’t sufficient because the IRS bullying continues—as it has for nearly 60 years—via the Johnson Amendment.

In fact, the IRS has been exercising that kind of power since 1954 with the Johnson Amendment, which allows it to censor a pastor’s sermon from the pulpit.

The Johnson Amendment prohibits “participating in or intervening in” a political campaign “on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office.” The IRS has interpreted this over the years to say that churches cannot “directly or indirectly” participate in a campaign. Yet there is no definition of what it means to “indirectly” participate in a campaign.

Titled “IRS apologizes, more apologies necessary” – it can be viewed here

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