If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
The American Pulpit is under Divine imperative to preach the whole counsel of God. The whole counsel of God encompasses teaching that agrees with Scripture and inures to the benefit of God’s people. Shrinking back from this exacting mandate brings blood-guilt on the messenger.
Paul to the elders at Ephesus:
I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:20-27)
How does a disinclination to preach any part of God’s counsel manifest itself in a pulpit? It is important to realize what Paul was saying. A reluctance to preach what the Canon of Scripture has to say on any topic is a sin of omission. Paul understood that it wasn’t his prerogative to decide what his hearers were or were not prepared to hear; what they could or could not handle. He preached the truth of God with abandon and allowed the chips to fall where they may. The apostle’s assertion that his faithfulness to the whole council of God had cleared him of blood-guilt (v. 26), was an allusion to the warning that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel upon sending him to the children of Israel:
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 2:18-21)
In 1973, I bowed the knee to Jesus Christ, inviting Him to be my Lord and savior. Soon thereafter I attended a Pentecostal church with the woman who had introduced me to Jesus. During the service, something weird and unfamiliar happened that might have torpedoed this born-again Catholic-reared young man’s newfound faith, but for God’s presence in my life. A man in the congregation interrupted the singing, speaking out loudly in a foreign language. The room fell silent and then someone else spoke out what seemed to be the interpretation. My first impulse was thinking I had stumbled into a cult and discreetly exit. In the middle of that thought, the Holy Spirit immediately impressed upon me that what I had just witnessed was of God and that I should go with it. I would later understand from reading the Bible that I had witnessed the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues accompanied by the interpretation of tongues. Apparently, there was no prohibition on public exercise of the gifts of the Spirit to prevent scaring off the uninitiated like me, yet somehow God got me through it.
Webster’s 1828 Edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language defines the “whole” as all; total; the entire thing; complete; entire. The Greek verb translated “shunned” in Acts 20:27, is the same Greek term translated “draw back” in Hebrews 10:38:
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The whole counsel of God is not obscure. It includes every word in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus affirmed that the “Law and the Prophets” were the council of God, and a reluctance to relate any part of the Canon of Scripture to the lives of God’s people, a serious offense:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)
An unwillingness to preach the whole counsel of God often goes unnoticed for a while, until it becomes apparent in a persistent failure or unwillingness to address certain topics deemed “controversial” or offensive to sensibilities in the pew. It is sometimes couched in a concern for the lost who might be “weirded out” or chased off by strong teaching on topics like abortion and homosexuality, and is often accompanied by an underlying concern for the church’s bottom line. Churches that are highly-leveraged because of a building program or that rely on a large payroll are particularly vulnerable to the temptation to keep certain topics off limits in the pulpit.
Notwithstanding the obvious “risks” that accompany presentment of biblical standards on certain topics, the apostle’s warning was unambiguous—depriving God’s people of any element of the truth leaves them vulnerable to the type of deception graphically portrayed by him in his farewell message to the Ephesian elders:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)
A good example of preaching that benefits God’s people, yet more often than not, is avoided like the plague by the Pulpit, is biblical instruction on the meaning and purpose of government, and the obligation to vote and engage elected representatives in a manner that gives legs to the type of corporate prayer that Paul instructed Timothy to institute in the local church that reaps “quiet and peaceable living in all godliness and honesty” or, in Constitutional prose, “the Blessings of Liberty.“
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
If the fruit of corporate intercession for government is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,” would not teaching God’s people how to improve their own spiritual and temporal estate support the same objective and therefore be included in the whole counsel of God? Would it not be incumbent upon pulpits to exhort their flocks to fulfill their civic duty in a manner that graces citizens of the kingdom of God and is most likely to affect their own happiness and spiritual advancement? Is it acceptable that many in the American evangelical community pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” on Sundays, and subsequently contravene their own prayer at the polls on a Tuesday by voting themselves tyrants, or the passive equivalent, by not voting at all?
Research has consistently shown that less than half of the 60 to 80 million evangelicals in America are registered to vote, and of those who are, about half will show up on November 4, 2014 to vote in the Mid-Term Election. Much is riding on this election, not the least of which is Republican control of the Senate to impede the ongoing “fundamental mutilation” of the United States of America, a transformation that is increasingly exposing the American people to life-threatening pathogens, two of the most dangerous being Political Islamic Ideology and the Ebola virus.
If not invoked by the pulpit, how will God’s people acquire the moral conviction that impels them to steward the hard-won freedoms passed down from previous generations? The Church in America has the power to promote its own and the general welfare of the society of its sojourn here on earth, by fulfilling the simplest and least burdensome of all civic duties—voting. By not voting, or voting improperly out of ignorance of the fundamentals of Liberty, believers accelerate their own inevitable reduction under despotism.
The outcome of the upcoming Mid-Term Election could well determine the fate of religious freedom in America for the foreseeable future. If Republicans fail to gain control of the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of the United States of America will not only continue, but accelerate, effectively driving a nail in Liberty’s coffin. Without a Republican majority in the Senate to impede this Imperial President’s disregard for the Constitution, he will use his last two years in office to complete his vision of government of, for, and by elites, leaving us with little hope of ever restoring Liberty.
Pastors, please shepherd the vote in your church. If I can be of assistance in any way, please send me an email at [email protected] along with your contact information and I will be more than happy to assist.
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