In a recent 2-year study by George Barna, it was found that while nearly 90% of all American pastors believe that the Bible provides specific answers to the myriad issues challenging us today, only 10% say they will address those issues from the pulpit.
According to the study, the reason so many refuse to openly address these issues from the pulpit is to avoid "controversy", thus ensuring a "successful church".
In the study, the vast majority of pastors said they determined "success" in five ways: attendance; donations; number of programs; number of staff; and, yes, square footage!
Inspiring and reassuring, huh?
My recent experience with my own Catholic parish in Rochester, NY seems to validate Barna's findings. Last week, I formally requested that the parish promote a strictly non-partisan "Voter Registration Sunday" in September. While exiting services, a manned table in the vestibule would be set up to assist interested parishioners to register to vote. Only a brief announcement from the pulpit and a small bulletin insert would inform parishioners of this service. However, in a follow-up meeting with the pastor the initiative was categorically rejected. Why? Such an event on parish grounds would be in violation of diocesan policy! So much for civic responsibility, principle, courage of one's religious convictions and fearless adherence to Christian values and Biblical teachings. So much too for patriotism.
Shortly before this, I approached a very large Baptist church in the same area with the same request and the pastor immediately agreed.
Thus, while there are exceptions to the rule, there clearly appear to be more "CEO-type pastors" out there than committed God-fearing religious ones. Judging from the study's conclusions and my own experience, far too many church leaders seem to value their lofty position in the community, their creature comforts and "square footage" more than their religious calling to shepherd their flocks. Obviously, elitism comes in many forms, or so it appears.
Is it any wonder it's been such a tortuously uphill fight for patriots and Christians to restore constitutional order and those bedrock traditional American values that once made America so exceptional? If, for whatever reason, our churches betray their calling and, in turn, their flocks, on whom CAN we count? Note: our Founders warned that if we lose our Christian moorings and our traditional values, if we forsake our civic responsibilities, we will irretrievably lose our Republic.
Finally, in response to this study, a Reverend Chuck Baldwin is quoted as saying that "it is time for Christians to acknowledge that these ministers are not pastors: they are CEOs. They are not Bible teachers: they are performers. They are not shepherds: they are hirelings. It is also time for Christians to be honest with themselves: do they want a pastor who desires to be faithful to the Scriptures, or do they want a pastor who is simply trying to be "successful".
Yet again, the cause for the corruption of our leaders, both pastoral and secular alike, is staring boldly back at us from the mirror before us. By our silence and compliance, we alone are the reason for our country's disintegration.
"...activities intended to encourage people to participate in the election process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a nonpartisan manner." Internal Revenue Service
"God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God...God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics." Charles Finney, "Lectures on Revival of Religion" (1835)
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke