Study: Fifty Percent of US Christian Pastors Too Cowed to Address Controversial Issues
As Western Civilization falls to liberal-driven degeneracy, Christian pastors remain largely silent – crippled by fear over societal repercussions for speaking God’s word.
The Barna Group conducted a survey showing that 50 percent of American Christian pastors are frightened to speak to their congregations about difficult issues such as homosexuality and abortion.
This is despite the fact that there is a growing chorus of parishioners who want these key issues to be addressed.
New from @BarnaGroup: Half of U.S. pastors are concerned they might offend someone when preaching on hot-button issues, but they also feel pressure to preach on those topics. https://t.co/dgs6R7AxUh pic.twitter.com/OFy2gnh6NL
— Tré Goins-Phillips (@tregp) April 8, 2019
“The pressure for leaders, and especially faith leaders, to satisfy everyone on all sides and to avoid offense is very real today, especially in the digital era,” Barna editor-in-chief Roxanne Stone said. “The public nature of social media only increases the stakes.”
The pressure has caused many church leaders to substitute the Gospel with social justice propaganda as they try to conform with popular tastes rather than confront sin throughout society.
Hannah Ervin | M.Div. Student
“I’m a queer person of faith currently discerning ordination in the United Methodist Church…my heart is currently breaking for a church that I know and love.
Queering faith means trusting in God when systems fail.” pic.twitter.com/uJGFJcYsy1
— Union Seminary (@UnionSeminary) March 12, 2019
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I guess I’m a Rev. now. ???? #queerclergy #calledout #transclergy #umc Photo cred: @britter017
Other findings in the survey include 64 percent of pastors indicating that they feel limited by their parishioners over what social and moral topics they should cover while 69 percent of pastors feel pressured to speak on those same issues. As a result, many pastors are confused on how to move forward.
“I think a lot of guys probably have thought, ‘I don’t wanna hurt my approval rating.’ It’s the same reason presidents don’t do everything they said they were gonna do,” said Michael Howard, who serves as the senior pastor of Seaford Baptist Church in Virginia, to Faith Wire.
Howard recommends that preachers go back to the basics and stick to Bible-centric teachings rather than attempting to conform to popular culture.
“God has designed us to desire perimeters, whether we know it or not,” Howard said. “I think if you stand up in the pulpit and you are honest and transparent and you say, ‘This is as far as the Bible says we can go in belief and behavior,’ people are actually hungry for that and drawn to it.”
In the era of the mega church, Howard’s practical advice often falls by the wayside. Millionaire televangelist celebrities like Joel Osteen prefer to ignore sin completely because people “already feel guilty enough” while focusing on convenient platitudes designed to make Christians empty their pocketbooks.
“I do think there is a certain thought, especially in the church world, that you’re supposed to be poor and broke and defeated to show that you’re humble. And see, I don’t buy into that,” Osteen said, despite the fact that the “certain thought… in the church world” he refers to comes directly from Biblical scripture.
Howard disagrees with Osteen’s revision of Christianity, saying that it is the preacher’s duty to “preach the full counsel of the Word, in season and out of season. This is the job that a pastor has.”
Pastors will need to find the intestinal fortitude needed to overcome the many societal pressures to preach the word of Christ and redeem a Western world that is rapidly secularizing.