Thursday, January 22, 2015

Silent Shepherds

Pastors don't preach against abortion for the same reason people procure abortions: fear, shame, and a lack of faith.
Just a few days ago, a fairly well known pastor in a conservative, Presbyterian denomination found himself in hot water when he confessed that he didn't think the pulpit was an appropriate place to preach politics. Well, I happen to agree with him it's not an appropriate place to preach politics. Unfortunately, what we mean by that is something terribly different. I've been asked a number of times by a number of people in great frustration, people who are passionate about the issue,  "why won't my pastor preach against abortion?"
Well, I've got three reasons that I actually hear from pastors rather regularly, and three that I suspect are actually closer to the truth. From that list of what I hear most frequently.
The first thing I hear is that they think this issue is a political issue, and we're not supposed to preach political sermons. They think it necessary to avoid political issues. And some would argue that they avoid political issues because they are divisive, others because the government forbids it. Well, they are right on the first count, wrong on the second. Of course every truth divides ultimately. Every truth.
If you preach "puppies are cute" you can rest assured that the kitten crowd will get upset. Preach that "the sky is blue" and the gloomy brigade will demand to know what it is you have against grey.  Jesus Himself told us, in Matthew 10:21, that he came to divide families. We should expect no less from faithful under-shepherds. As for the government, first there is no law against preaching on abortion and second, so what if there were? The government doesn't decide what will be preached, rather the Lord of Lords does.
Second, pastors have told me that it is just too upsetting to their congregants. These pastors are thankfully aware of what too many miss, that their pews are filled with women who have murdered their own babies, and the husbands/boyfriends/fathers who have helped them. They rightly recognize the crushing burden of guilt that these people can feel. And they wrongfully refuse to address it. Preaching against the evil of abortion, like preaching against every other sin, must include preaching Christ crucified.  And rest assured, all of our sins do need to be preached against.
Third, I have heard pastors proudly insist that they only preach the Bible, and abortion is not mentioned in the Bible. Poppycock. There is nothing new under the sun. How could one preach through James' definition of true religion, that it is visiting widows and orphans in their trouble, and not preach on those widows who have no man to protect them from the worship of Molech, and without preaching on how we sacrifice our children to the bloodthirsty gods of convenience and reputation?
The three real reasons I suspect pastors won't preach on abortion are these. First, going back to that previous faux issue, I think there are many pastors who think it doesn't apply to them. That their congregation is already persuaded on the issue, that their congregation is already safe on the issue, they look at abortion as something "out there."  Something wicked the heathen do. While statistics show that in the United States, one out of every six abortions is procured by a self identified, self professed, evangelical "Christian" person. One out of every six.
What that means, friends, is that every year two-hundred-thousand evangelical women are murdering their own children. This is not a side issue in any congregation. 
The second real reason, I suspect, is that so often pastors don't know what to do. Not that they don't know how to preach a sermon, but that they don't know how to encourage the saints to respond to this great evil. It's rather anti-climactic to thunder against the wickedness of abortion and when you get to the application say, "so write a check to your local crisis pregnancy center." Pastors don't know what to do, though they of all people ought to know. What we need to do is repent and believe the Gospel. That's the solution to every problem.  Of course we should write checks to the local crisis pregnancy center, out of repentance. Of course we should vote for fully, truly, pro-life statesmen, out of repentance. Of course stand with 40 Days for Life, in repentance. Take a busload to the annual March for Life at the capital, not to demonstrate political might, but out of repentance. Go to your local mill, preach and pray repentance.
Which brings us to the third real reason pastors won't preach against abortion because of their own guilt. They may have procured an abortion somewhere along the way. They may have counseled others to procure an abortion somewhere along the way. Or they may simply feel the guilt that they haven't preached on this before. So what's the solution? Again, the solution is to repent and believe the Gospel.
Abortion is THE great evil 
of our day.                                                           
 The preaching of the Word of God is THE great power of any day. Until shepherds preach like lives and eternity are at stake, which they are, then lambs will continue to be devoured by wolves while hirelings look on. Against abortion preach repentance.
R.C. Sproul Jr. | January 21, 2015 at 6:30 am | Tags: Abortion | Categories: Podcast | URL:

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