We need courage in the pulpit, courage in the pew

By Jonathan Imbody - February 13, 2020


Barna research has reported that "Half of Christian pastors says they frequently (11%) or occasionally (39%) feel limited in their ability to speak out on moral and social issues because people will take offense. The other half of pastors say they only rarely (30%) or never (20%) feel limited in this way."
https://www.barna.com/research/pastors-speaking-out/
No, despite their expressed feelings, the first cited group of Christian pastors are not "limited in their ability to speak out on moral and social issues because people will take offense." They are limited by their own fear.
These pastors need courage.
They and we all need to imitate the courage of the early Church martyr Stephen, who spoke truth even at the cost of his own life.
Stephen did not shrink from controversy; he did not avoid conflict; he did not soften the Message to appease the hearers. Stephen confronted people with uncompromising, soul-challenging, sharply dividing Truth:
“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God ... (Acts 7:51-55)."
Stoning of Saint Stephen - Rembrandt
Following Christ requires counting the cost. We must give up all to gain all.
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25).
May God gives us courage to stand and speak His truth regardless of opposition, and God give us leaders of courage to lead.

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