Michael Brown on Spiritual, Moral, Cultural and Political Guidelines for Preachers

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

One of our most popular videos encourages pastors to speak out more on moral and cultural issues. And a poll I recently conducted on Twitter confirmed that congregants want their leaders to be more vocal on cultural and even political issues.

But what is a proper balance? What should our priorities be as preachers of the Word and shepherds of the flock?

Most pastors would say, “My calling is to preach and teach the Scriptures, not to be a cultural commentator.”

To a certain extent, that is true. But it is also overstated. After all, doesn’t the Bible itself comment on culture? Doesn’t God’s Word intersect with society? Didn’t the prophets of old confront the evils of their day?

After speaking at a recent conference, a Black woman who works in the human resources department at a large Christian school wanted to speak with me. She and her husband support our ministry and she wanted me to sign my new book on evangelicals and Trump.

She also wanted me to know the tremendous significance of the work we were doing and how critically important it was that, as a ministry, we were addressing the pressing cultural issues of the day, including LGBTQ activism and race issues.

We receive comments like this on a daily basis, indicating that God’s people, the flock for whom Jesus died, need leaders to take public stands and give them practical guidance. Shouldn’t Christian leaders help their people navigate their way through these difficult cultural mazes as well?

To be sure, I do not believe that most pastors and Christian leaders are called to address moral, cultural and political issues as much as those of us who are called to stand on the front lines of the culture wars. (This would apply to someone like me as a talk radio host and syndicated columnist.)

But certainly, there must be some intersection between the spiritual realm and these other realms. This sliding scale of priorities should prove helpful.

As teachers of the Word and shepherds of the flock, we start with spiritual issues. We start with the nature of God and the will of God and our relationship to God. We focus on the cross and the Resurrection, on the significance of the Messiah’s death, on forgiveness of sins, on the Great Commission. This is the center of our bullseye in preaching and teaching, and this is where we begin.

As Paul famously wrote to the Corinthians, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

But Paul didn’t stop there, and through his first letter to the Corinthians, he addressed moral issues as well. In fact, we should strongly question any alleged spiritual experience that does not bring about moral transformation.

As revival scholar James Edwin Orr said, “The only proof of the new birth is the new life.” Or, in the words of Jacob, “a man may say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18).

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SOURCE: Charisma News