Pastor and author John Piper says too many of today's pastors are ignoring certain texts and topics within Scripture out of fear of being given a political label they reject.
Piper, the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and the founder of DesiringGod.org, urged pastors at the Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Ky., this month to be "radically committed" to preaching all of Scripture, no matter the subject.
"Some pastors are so fearful of being labeled conservative, or fundamentalist, or progressive, or woke – or whatever the circles you care about [and] would look down upon – that they're going to avoid any kind of biblical command that would put them in some camp that they don't want to be part of," Piper said.
He then provided examples.
"[They're] just not going to deal with racial discrimination, because they're going to get called 'woke,'" he said. "They're not going to deal with modesty or nudity in movies because they're going to get called 'fundamentalist.' They're not going to deal with the fact that we are citizens of heaven before we're citizens of America because they're going to get called 'unpatriotic.'"
Pastors should never be held "bondage to the opinions of others," Piper said. Instead, they should follow the model of Jesus, who did not care about anybody's opinion, Piper added.
"Don't you want to be free like that?" Piper asked.
Additionally, pastors should be "so radically committed" to "all that the Bible teaches" that "just when people think they have you pegged, and in some camp, you bring something out of your Bible treasure that just throws them totally off balance."
"You've got to displease everybody sometimes, or you're probably not getting it right," Piper said. "... Bible people will love you for that. Partisan people who are more Republican or more Democrat than Christian, they won't love you for that. [But] you don't want them to love you. You want them to be converted."
Photo courtesy: Creative Commons/Micah Chiang
Video courtesy: ©Desiring God
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.