Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

Pastors afraid to teach whole Bible

 

August 2, 2017



An obviously true meme appeared on Facebook that said the approval rating for the U.S. Congress is less than 20 percent.

On the other hand, in any given election, members of Congress are re-elected about 90 percent of the time.

Americans hate Congress, but love their own congressperson. This is a proximity bias: All those jokers in Washington are evil, but not ours. Ours are doing a bang-up job. They’re ours, after all.

Another illustration of proximity bias can be found regarding a recent Barna survey. Proportionately, out of the many pastors responding, nine out of 10 agreed that the Bible has the answers for the biggest questions facing society.

Of these nine, however, eight confessed they didn’t preach those answers to their people. In addition, the reason they refused was simple fear. They feared that addressing hot topics would cause their congregation’s attendance and giving to decline.

To sum up, then, 90 percent of pastors don’t preach biblical answers (10 percent out of ignorance or unbelief, and 80 percent out of fear.) The other 10 percent preach the Word and let God worry about how the chips fall.

I have discussed this survey on social media and noticed a fascinating trend. Christians despise the thought of cowardice in the pulpit. We all hate that idea. On the other hand, almost every believer is confident that his/her pastor is one of the courageous 10 percent.

My pastor’s fearless. He must be. He’s mine, after all.

This doesn’t add up, does it? Ninety percent of pastors admit to not even trying to bring the Bible’s answers to bear on society’s problems. It’s simply not possible that all church-going people are listening to a member of the other 10 percent. We all want to think we are, but we can’t be.

People love their pastors and want to believe the best about them. That’s a good thing. But, the sorry math is unavoidable: nine to one odds.

How would you know? Well, here’s a list to consider: Have you ever heard a preacher apply the Scripture to these topics?

1. Capitalism versus socialism.

2. Limits on civil government, and the citizen’s duty to resist in certain circumstances.

3. How inflation is a hidden tax on poor people.

4. Biblical guidelines for the education of children, and whether our schools meet those.

5. The believing business owner’s rights/duties regarding gay marriage.

6. Minimum qualifications for civil leaders.

7. Immigration policy, and loving strangers and aliens.

8. Militarization of police.

9. How the modern “pro-life” movement has contributed to the continuation of abortion.

10. Is taxation theft?

I’m not suggesting pastors must preach constantly on stuff like this. But what if Christians never hear it?

If we don’t show people how scriptural principles touch on the real world and its problems, we wind up communicating the idea that Christianity is all about whether or not my invisible soul will go to a happy place when I die.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about saving souls. It is also about more than that. We’re supposed to pray, not only that people get saved, but also that God’s will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. How can that happen when we don’t know what God’s will looks like?

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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