Pastors & the Moral Issue of Our Age

Imagine that you are a pastor in the 1800s. Each day, men, women, and children with black skin are chained and whipped. Some are killed. And now, your congregation is about to confront a ballot measure regarding the legality of these practices. If you remain silent, some in your congregation will vote for slavery because they have uncritically accepted a cultural narrative. So do you preach the Biblical—and countercultural—truth that those with black skin are made in the image of God and just as valuable as those with white skin? Or do you stick to your preplanned sermon schedule that does nothing to warn about the sin of voting for the mistreatment and killing of the neighbors we are commanded to love?

You may view this as a ridiculous question. Of course, you would preach the truth before it is too late! But would you really? What if some in your church have owned and sold slaves and your message would prick their consciences in a painful way? What if those who belong to a pro-slavery political party would accuse you of advancing a political agenda? What if some might even leave your church?

…Recall that when you began reading this column, you probably said that you would bravely preach the truth if you knew that some in your church were prepared to choose slavery over freedom for their neighbors with black skin. So now, test the authenticity of that answer by answering this: Will you proclaim the truth about God’s love for the unborn and warn of the evil of abortion knowing that many churchgoers are poised to choose death over life for their neighbors in the womb?

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