The moral tone of a nation is set in its pulpits. When the pulpit becomes an agency of evil by its silence or its justification of immoral actions or inactions, the church itself becomes the object of divine disapproval.
Isaiah 1:13–20 (KJV 1900)
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: Your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, Ye shall be devoured with the sword: For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
This kind of judgment may well have begun In America.
What politician or political movement has the power to shutter all the churches in America? It is without question that the coronavirus will be the death of more than a few churches in our nation. Could it be that God has allowed this In a divine reflex against the conspiracy of silence in our assemblies?
The complex of sins known as racial oppression have long been incorporated in the institutions of American society, codified into its laws and conflated with patriotism. Throughout American history, the evangelical white churches have condoned or justified a social order that relied upon scientific discrimination [racism] to marginalize black Americans. Today, racial prejudice is promoted at the highest and lowest levels of American society and evangelicals are not its outspoken opponents but rather are identified with that prejudice politically and theologically.
These pastors pretend not to understand that when they promote or imply by silence a limited justice for black people, they simultaneously promote a limited sanctification for their congregations. As I said in an earlier blog:
“More dangerous than the racially prejudiced ….[insert your denomination]… is the pastor who enables that person. The enabler-pastor does not address racial prejudice in his catalog of sins. If he deals with it at all, he will do so rarely and never with any definitions or elucidation upon the specific attitudes, actions and societal structures that strengthen and perpetuate racial prejudice and the discrimination that results from it. As a consequence of this strategic omission, there is inadequate bible information for the conviction of the Spirit. This is why so many Christians do not even acknowledge that they commit the sin of racial prejudice. “If it is a sin, wouldn’t my pastor preach about it?””[i]
“As everyone knows who has struggled with the people that believe that there is a biblical justice which excludes and is incompatible with social justice, this distinction fades away when they are discussing abortion, usually around election time when church members are being warned about “worldview” and the need to pack the Supreme Court. Somehow these folks understand abortion, which is a great social evil, to belong to some other category wrongdoing and its correction is apportioned to the ledger of biblical justice. On the other hand, when asked point blank about the killing of unarmed black men by police, Dr. MacArthur stated that, in the church, it is in a certain sense a “non-issue.””[ii]
These ministers have also found a way to ignore the impact of their conspiracy of silence upon the lost whom they weekly evangelize. To quote another blog from the past:
“The believer in Jesus Christ should want to live a life that has a powerful and eternal impact for the gospel. The penetration of the gospel into all aspects of the believers personality will result in genuine desire for justice and equity in our relationships and within the institutions with which we interface. This consistent testimony is a source of conviction to the world, who will see that the God of the Christian is a God of righteousness. Unbelievers are spiritually blind, but they are not fools. They can tell if the believer is as invested in the inequality and systems of injustice embedded in our society as everyone else. The lost know what segregation is and the fact that it is in your church does not render that reality invisible to them. The gospel invitation given in the “integrated” church where 99.8 percent of the leadership is of one race may require an extra unction for the Spirit to quiet the reasonable questions of the unsaved listener. Unbelievers can see who Christians hire and promote in the workplace, they can see problems in these areas just as they can see any other sinful inconsistency in the life of a believer. If pastors and teachers are really concerned about the purity of the gospel witness, social justice must begin, not in some public demonstration, but in the pulpit, the classroom and the small group bible study. It should happen-but I’m not optimistic.”[iii]
These pastors, by their non-treatment of racial prejudice, have gradually rendered their flocks desensitized to evil and thus candidates for divine judgment.
Ezekiel 9:4–7 (KJV 1900)
4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. 5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: 6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. 7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.
Because of the sin of slavery, a sin which some pastors still attempt to justify, God allowed an entire generation of American men to perish in the Civil War. The unprecedented closing of American churches, some one hundred and sixty years later, is an event that God has either providentially allowed or deliberately caused. There is ample justification for either hypothesis. The Lord is entirely justified in proclaiming that if these pastors will not proclaim the whole truth, to the whole person, in their pulpits, then they will speak to empty seats.