Christians depend on their pastors for spiritual guidance. But if they are looking for guidance in how to think about cultural and political issues, most of them will be disappointed. That is what George Barna has found in his latest surveys.
Through the American Culture and Faith Institute, he has focused on what pastors believe and what they have been teaching. When it comes to cultural, social, and political issues there is often a significant disconnect. He found that an overwhelming majority of conservative pastors believe that the Bible addresses these issues. He has also found that only a small percentage of those same ministers preach on those issues.
Let’s look at the big “hot button issues” of abortion and same-sex marriage. A survey of 412 theologically conservative pastors found that nearly all of them (95%) believe that the Bible addresses these two issues. But only 47 percent of those same pastors said they had preached about abortion in the last 12 month. And only 50 percent of them said they had preached a message relating to the issue of same-sex marriage.
The percentages drop much further for other issues. Most conservative pastors (96%) believe the Bible addresses environmental care, but only 14 percent have preached on the subject of care and concern for the environment. Most pastors (90%) believe the Bible deals with the subject of gambling, but only 13 percent have preached on the subject in the last 12 months.
Three-fourths of pastors (78%) believe the Bible has something to say about the immigration debate. On the other hand, only 4 percent addressed the issue of immigration in a sermon within the last year. The same could be said about government spending. Three fourths (77%) believe the Scriptures provide insight into this topic, but only 4 percent shared those insights with their congregation.
Christians in these churches deserve to hear what the Bible says about every area of life. The congregation is not well served when pastors ignore important issues and topics. Pastors should not be reticent to share biblical insights with their congregation especially when we seem to be losing the culture wars.