The Rise Of Courageous Pastors

By: Curtis Ophoven 0 Comments   4/26/2013

America is in an age like never before, reeling from the devastating consequences of its declining moral standards, and some are suggesting that the church should stand down in regards to its moral stand and let the culture decide the morality of our nation.

They use Christian buzz words to make their ideas sound good. 

They say that when the church stands down, it is being humble; as Christ would want us to. 

They say the church should not provoke people to anger and because people are angry with the church's long time positions, the church should not preach about sin or morality anymore.

The problem is that when the church stands down they are not being humble, they are being cowardly.  And when the church stands down, no one else will restrain the evil that will overwhelm the nation. 

The Lord did not say stand down.  He said, “Stand firm, let nothing move you” – 2 Cor. 15:58

When he said, “turn the other cheek” - he didn’t say, back up.  He said stand your ground, defend the truth and refuse to join them that reject it.

Church Persecution

The early church was under tremendous persecution, and several places in scripture talk about persecution in relation to the return of Christ.

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:13

Last month Paul Marshall published a new book titled, “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians”,

This book documents the recent trend in an increase in Christian persecution around the world.

Under tremendous persecution, the early church was also very courageous and bold.  If the global culture is returning to the time of the early church, than perhaps another sign of the soon return of Christ will be the rise of courageous pastors.

Bold Preachers

There is a story in the book of Acts about Peter and John preaching the gospel.  The high priests were upset because they were healing everyone, which was turning people away from the high priests. So they put Peter and John in prison (Acts 6:16-18). 

But the angel of the Lord came at night and opened the prison doors and brought them out. (Acts 5:19) So they went back in the morning and continued to teach in the temple. The high priests were very angry.

They captured them again and brought them to the high priests, who asked them why they continued to preach in Jesus' name, when they were specifically told not to.  (Acts 5:28) 

Their response was courageous.  (Acts 5:29-30)

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Here is a short video of this story.

Pastors Briefing

Last month I attended the FRC Watchmen on the Wall conference in MN. Joel Oster from Alliance Defending Freedom told us about the Johnson Amendment which was passed in 1954. This law is what prevents pastors from directly endorsing political candidates or fundraising for candidates within their churches, or they may lose their 503(c) status with the IRS.   

The only trouble is that the Johnson Amendment is unconstitutional, because it directly violates the Establishment Clause that states,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

To overturn this law, the Alliance Defending Freedom needs a case to challenge it, but the IRS has never prosecuted any church for violating this law - probably because they know it will be challenged.  But it has been used (primarily by the media) to threaten pastors to keep them silence and in fear. 

In 2008, the Alliance Defending Freedom started the “Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The first year they had 33 pastors join them to preach directly on candidates' moral positions.

In 2012, they had 1629 pastors join them.  This year, thousands of pastors will join in to preach on marriage on June 9th – just before the Supreme Court will decision on two important cases about marriage.

The question is who else will join the courageous pastor movement?  Who will see this age for what it is, an opportunity to stand up for the Lord and put your name in the history books as a defender of the Lord?

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