Yesterday I wrote about a new PEW Research Center poll that showed how pastors were allegedly breaking the law by discussing political issues from the pulpit in violation of the Johnson Amendment to the IRS Code which prohibits such speech. Besides being a clear violation of the First Amendment, the result of this interpretation of the tax code has become a contributing factor in the lukewarm gospel we hear—or don’t hear, as the case may be—preached in today’s churches.
Yesterday’s article dealt with the issue of presidential endorsements from the pulpit, but the Johnson Amendment bans the discussion of anything political, even if the issue touches on Biblical beliefs. One such issue is abortion.
In the poll mentioned yesterday, we learned that abortion isn’t discussed all that much by today’s pastors. According to the poll, only 29% of the respondents said their clergy spoke out about abortion during services. While most of the clergy who did speak out about the issue, there were some who spoke in favor of murdering the unborn.
Believe it or not, some clergy don’t avoid talking about abortion due to the political nature of the topic; they avoid it because they feel it is too sensitive or confrontational to discuss. In other words, they have replaced the doubled-edged sword of the gospel with the last-days attitude of live and let live—unless you are still in the womb—in the name of unbiblical tolerance or the mistaken belief that politics has no place in the church.
In his book, A Christian Manifesto, Francis A. Schaeffer warned of such a time as this and how the church should respond:
“Now I must quickly say there are going to be people who say, ‘don’t use the legal and political means, just show the Christian alternative.’ That is absolutely utopian in a fallen world, and specifically in a world such as ours at the present moment.”
When you consider that this book was written in 1981, these words are even more relevant today.
Schaeffer then concluded that it is our responsibility to engage in civil disobedience when all else fails. When talking about the Johnson Amendment, such disobedience occurs when politics is preached from the pulpit. And America’s very survival could depend on pastor’s doing just that!
As we learned yesterday, we should be using our culture to change our politics, not the other way around. And that duty falls squarely on the shoulders of the church.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.