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One thing is crystal clear in America: If we truly want change, we must re-spark biblical boldness and flame the fires of biblical action. If we won't fight, then spiritually speaking, we will fade away.
I recently attended a large gathering of pastors in San Diego organized by Turning Point USA Faith. During one of the opening sessions, it was said that the pastors in attendance could change the nation.
To some, that may seem impossible, but it's definitely within reach if pastors return to their true calling: To preach the unadulterated Word of God and awaken a spiritually dead culture, not coddle her back to sleep.
As many in our culture are brazenly "coming out," shouldn't pastors come out and address the issues that are destroying America from the inside out?
I Only Preach the Gospel
Sadly, many leaders are uncertain about speaking on topics deemed political. "I only preach the gospel," they say. They fail to realize that the gospel affects all areas—from the unborn to the borders, and from LGBTQ+ issues, socialism, sex trafficking, wokeness, and wicked legislation—the gospel changes the heart, which in return, changes the nation.
Additionally, when pastors lack boldness about hot-button topics, it affects all areas of preaching. As a result, the "gospel" they preach is often a watered-down, non-offending, powerless message. If we lack the boldness to tell people the difficult truths of salvation, from repentance to judgment, we will also lack boldness when it comes to the outworking of the gospel in our society, as mentioned above.
Silence Hurts the Innocent
If we don't stand for those who have no voice, then who will? If we don't encourage God's Word in all areas of life, who will? Silence is not a virtue when the innocent are hurting and suffering. Being quiet in the midst of chaos is not a badge of honor; it's acknowledgment of defeat.
"I only preach the gospel," is often an excuse to remain disengaged. Granted, not everyone will have the same passion for hot-button topics, and many pastors are great encouragers, but we all must sound the alarm in these dire times. Sadly, many sermons sound more like elevator music instead of a battle cry.
If we are to spark another spiritual awakening (which is our only hope), pastors must once again feel the fire of the Spirit burning within. The pulpits can thunder again if we call the nation to repentance. (For added encouragement, listen to the sermon, A Battle Cry for America.)
Get Unction or Get Out
When speaking to a group of pastors, Leonard Ravenhill once said: "Get unction or get out of the pulpit." If you think that statement is too harsh, I would encourage you to read your Bible all the way through. Preaching God's Word is one of the highest callings ever given to mankind. And God's anointing is the key ingredient.
God loved His people so much that he would send prophetic voices to warn them. Blatant sin demands a strong rebuke. In Isaiah 56, the prophet rebukes blind watchmen who do not warn the people. They needed the Spirit's unction then, and we need it today as well.
If this article upsets you, God may be trying to get your attention with conviction.
Don't Confuse Patience with Approval
As I discussed on one of the pastor panels at TPUSA Faith: We need boldness and brokenness; we need the hammer of God and the humility of the Spirit. Many bold preachers are angry but still arrogant; wound up but not worshippers.
Yes, we need more thunder in the pulpits, but we also need more brokenness in our hearts. We must weep before we whip (Ravenhill). We must begin here. More "likes," "followers," and "shares" don't mean that God approves of your hard and arrogant heart. Popularity doesn't always equate to spiritual power.
On the flip side, it doesn't mean that God approves of "woke" liberal views either. Popularity simply means that you struck a chord with listeners, but only God can see the deep recesses of your heart. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you're on, don't confuse God's patience with His approval.
Ask the Hard Questions
Are you spending significant time humble and broken in the prayer closet? Are you repenting as much as you're calling others to repentance?
Are you overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit or with arrogance and anger? Are you willing to say what God tells you to say even if it offends others? In your zeal to not offend, have you stopped to consider that you may have offended God?
Don't be Shamed into Silence
When it comes to truly changing this nation, it must first begin in our hearts. Spiritual awakenings often begin with thunder in the pulpit. We must follow Isaiah's lead and raise our voice like a trumpet (58:1)—calling people to awaken and arise! (60:1).
We must confront issues that are destroying families, harming children, and setting us up for tremendous failure. Don't be shamed into silence! Remember that the "light of the world" must shine in all areas of life, not just flicker within the four walls of the church.
We can change our nation, but it first must begin with the fire, anointing, and unction of the Spirit in our pulpits. We need the thunder of the Spirit before the rain of revival can fall again.
After sharing with the pastors of Turning Point Faith and teaming with similar-minded pastors around the country, such a revival seems increasingly inevitable. I'm optimistic. Are you?
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brian A. Jackson
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.