Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
Of course, Sinclair was a socialist, but he absolutely nailed it with this quote – because it applies so relevantly today to some Christian leaders in the church.
Last week, we spent four days at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a powerful conference and an amazing time to connect with and hear from Christian leaders across various communication platforms (radio, internet, television, movies, music, books, etc.). If you’re in Christian media of any kind, you should absolutely be there next year.
From Jim Caviezel and Stephen Baldwin to Vice President Mike Pence and Rick Warren, the list of attendees this year was significant. We had the privilege of emceeing the event, so we spent most of our time in the green room and on stage, primarily making fun of people, but we did get serious at times.
Our highlight came when Vice President Pence said he read our first book and loved it. He then told us if we needed anything to be sure to let him know.
We could think of a few things we could use, but we didn’t have the guts to ask.
But seriously, there is one thing we all could use that the vice president can’t give – yet the Holy Spirit can.
That’s more courageous Christian leaders in the culture – those willing to speak the truth in love and not be afraid to deal with the issues of the day from a loving, biblical perspective.
While at NRB, we ran into a few leaders who were not on stage but came to promote their ministries. These guys had a combined reach of millions of believers in America and around the world, so we were glad to bump into them. But they might not have been so glad to see us.
We figured since God gave us divine appointments like this we might as well get right to the point. So we asked how they were addressing abortion, gay marriage, transgender activism and other key issues that are capturing the hearts and minds of the next generation.
All three – independent of each other – basically told us it would cost too much if they spoke up. They gave a list of reasons why, but the bottom line was that speaking the truth on these issues would cost them some of their influence, image and, possibly, income – and that couldn’t happen.
We reminded them about Matthew 5:14-15, saying: “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”
We talked about Jesus’ warning to His disciples “that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. … And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’” (Mark 8:31-33).
To avoid suffering and rejection for Christ because you want to save your image, influence or income is to set your mind on man’s interest – not God’s.
Christian leaders today must be reminded that their platforms have been given to proclaim the truth of God, not pander to the whims of culture. Interestingly, and even more so providentially, the theme for NRB this year was Proclaim18.
This is what we need among Christian leaders, no matter the cost.
We must never forget Christ’s words: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-37).
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.