Shane Idleman on Preaching the Whole Truth … Except if It Offends

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. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


I appreciate Tom Gilson’s heart in his recent article, Preach the Whole Truth? Yes. Toss a Grenade In Your Sanctuary? Not Wise, but a sentence stood out that concerns me. He stated, “Churches must speak the whole truth — but they don’t have to do it in the Sunday morning sermon. The sermon might even be the worst place to do it.” I understand what he is saying, but it may motivate silent pulpits rather than inspire them. Yes, we must be filled with love and God’s Spirit, but this combination actually sparks boldness rather than hinders it. Are we pleasing God or men … are we cowards or watchmen? Because of this, I’m re-releasing what I wrote a year ago and have added some points.

There is a very troubling trend in the evangelical church as a whole. Today, the truth is often neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. Judgment is never mentioned, repentance is never sought and sin is often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15), yet, many avoid words such as sin and repentance. The good news about Christ can only be appreciated with the bad news as the backdrop. There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned (C.H. Spurgeon). Preaching must be done with God-given authority and address hard topics to truly be effective. When we fail to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God” (cf. Jeremiah 23).

Pastors are to be pillars who support truth not champions of silence and appeasement. God has given us a wonderful gift known as America. The government isn’t bad or good; her people determine success or failure. Why would God ordain our government and then not want us to steward His gift? Many have been guilty of not getting involved by saying, “We shouldn’t say or do anything political. All we need to do is preach the gospel and avoid controversial topics.” Be careful … although the gospel is our primary focus, this shouldn’t be an excuse against action or conviction.

James A. Garfield, an ordained minister and twentieth President of the United States, said, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” We are actually voting for principles, not people—all candidates are sinners. “In what direction will they lead our country?” is the question we should be asking. Even more importantly, what country will we leave for our children?

We don’t have to abandon our ethics or compromise our principles to be involved in politics—what good is salt left in the shaker, or a light that is hidden? Contextually, when Jesus referred to being the “salt and light,” He was referring to holy living at the individual level, but the overlapping principle applies to all areas of life. “Politics” is not a bad word. In simple terms, politics refers to governing or leading a group of people. Politics won’t save America, but in order to implement change and help others, we must take action; hence the political process. Would you have remained silent in the 1800s over slavery? Of course not.

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Source: Christian Headlines