Most pastors believe that the Bible addresses the current issues of the day, but few speak about them from behind the pulpit, according to a recent study from a prominent research organization.
George Barna was a guest on the American Family Radio program “Today’s Issues” on Thursday, where he explained a research project that he has been working on for the past two years. In his study, Barna’s organization asked pastors across the country about their beliefs regarding the relevancy of Scripture to societal, moral and political issues, and the content of their sermons in light of their beliefs.
“‘What we’re finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues,” he explained. “Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”
Barna’s group also polled pastors about what factors they use to gauge whether or not a church is successful.
“There are five factors that the vast majority of pastors turn to,” he outlined. “Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage.”
“What I’m suggesting is [those pastors] won’t probably get involved in politics because it’s very controversial. Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money, from attending programs,” Barna said.
Pastor Chuck Baldwin, a radio broadcaster and former presidential candidate, commented on the study in an article published on Friday entitled Odds Are that Your Pastor is Keeping the Truth from You Instead of Preaching It. He opined that Barna’s research shows that most pastors deliberately choose not to speak on the issues of the day despite knowing that the Bible speaks to them.
“That 90% of America’s pastors are not addressing any of the salient issues affecting Christian people’s political or societal lives should surprise no one,” he wrote. “It has been decades since even a sizable minority of pastors have bothered to educate and inform their congregations as to the Biblical principles relating to America’s political, cultural and societal lives.”
“Please understand this: America’s malaise is directly due to the deliberate disobedience of America’s pastors—and the willingness of the Christians in the pews to tolerate the disobedience of their pastor. Nothing more! Nothing less!” Baldwin continued. “When Paul wrote his own epitaph, it read, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ (II Timothy 4:7) He didn’t say, ‘I had a large congregation, we had big offerings, we had a lot of programs, I had a large staff, and we had large facilities.’”
“It is time for Christians to acknowledge that these ministers are not pastors; they are CEOs. They are not Bible teachers; they are performers. They are not shepherds; they are hirelings,” he said. “It is also time for Christians to be honest with themselves: do they want a pastor who desires to be faithful to the Scriptures, or do they want a pastor who is simply trying to be ‘successful?’”