In a new report from the Barna Group, nine out of 10 Christian pastors said they feel that helping Christians form biblical beliefs about specific issues is a major part of their job.
The report found that pastors face pressure to address specific, sometimes hot button, issues. However, at the same time, pastors said they struggled with just how to address those topics, such as LGBT issues and same-sex marriage.
“The stakes are high in the public square,” the researchers wrote in their report. “The issues pastors feel most pressured to speak out on are the same ones they feel limited to speak on.”
According to the study, half of Christian pastors said they felt occasionally or frequently limited in their ability to speak out about those controversial issues.
The biggest topic clergy say they felt pressure to talk about is homosexuality. Nearly half of respondents says they feel limited in how to talk about homosexuality in their church, but at the same time some 37 percent said they felt pressure to speak about it.
“They actually feel pressured to not preach on certain topics or pressured to speak on topics that they are not ready to talk about,” said Barna Group president David Kinnaman.
The study also looked at how pastors feel about religious freedom. Some 75 percent of pastors said they believe religious freedom is becoming “less valued,” while about 44 percent said they predict that other freedoms could be threatened in the next 10 years.
Many pastors in the study also reported that “extreme” or “major” threats to religious freedom included requiring religious hospitals to perform abortions, forcing religious organizations to hire despite beliefs on sexual orientation and restrictions on religious groups on college campuses.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.