As The Pulpit Goes, So Goes The Nation
By Chuck Baldwin
July 10, 2001
Despite a robust economy, most people agree that
America is in trouble. All indicators point to the fact that our country
is facing moral and spiritual bankruptcy. While myriad institutions
greatly contribute to the current calamitous condition, none are more to
blame than America's pulpits. Many recent studies reveal that the present
generation of preachers is sick and getting sicker.
This was not the case in early America. Most of the
schools now identified as "Ivy League" were established for the purpose of
preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, that includes Harvard.
In Colonial America, pastors were among the most
respected members of society, as well as the most trusted. Not only did
people expect to learn the Bible from these honorable sages, but also they
trusted their pastors to keep them informed as to political and social
issues. On virtually every issue impacting social and political life,
pastors led the way. It's not that way today.
The Washington Times recently reported that church
members are less willing to "encourage their children to follow the call
[to preach] or uphold the pastor's work." Neither is the pulpit followed
in the culture generally. Opposition to the pastor's work comes from both
within and without of the church. All of this isn't lost to those
struggling in the ministry, either.
Shiloh Place Ministries quotes sources such as Focus on
the Family, Ministries Today, Charisma Magazine, and others as saying:
*1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to
moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their church.
*America is experiencing a net loss of 3,000 churches
*50% of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
*70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
*80% of pastors and 84% of pastors' wives are
discouraged with the ministry.
*70% of pastors do not have a close friend, or
*50% are so discouraged that they would leave the
ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
*80% of pastors' children must seek professional help
for depression by the time they become adults.
*85% said their greatest problem is they are sick and
tired of dealing with problem people, such as deacons, elders, board
members, and associate ministers.
*80% of pastors' wives feel left out and
unappreciated by the church members.
*80% of pastors' wives wish their husband would
choose another profession.
*A majority of pastors' wives say that the most
destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the
day they entered the ministry.
If this is the condition of America's churches, should
it be any wonder that our nation in general is in crisis? After all, the
nation is but a reflection of its churches. DeTocqueville noted that the
source of America's greatness was its churches, not its businesses,
schools or political institutions. He was right. As the pulpit goes, so
goes the nation.
The truth is, however, we have the kind of pulpits that
the people in the pews want and expect. They don't want preachers; they
want promoters. Bible exhortation has been replaced with entertainment
evangelism. Revival has been replaced with recreation. Sin has been
redefined to the point that it is unrecognizable. Our values are shaped by
Hollywood, not by Heaven. And any pastor who decides to give sin a first
name will find himself in the unemployment office post haste.
If the Apostle Paul himself were making application to
the average church today, he would be immediately dismissed from
consideration. Today's ministers resemble snake oil salesmen more than
Spirit-filled prophets. And that's just what people want. Bible stories
such as Daniel in the lion's den and the beheading of John the Baptist are
as irrelevant to this current generation of church goers as a virginity
belt is to a street walker, and equally desirable.
The answer to America's downhill spiral rests with
America's churches. And it's not a money problem, either. (If money were
the answer, we would already be living in Paradise.) It's a heart problem.
Instead of taking money from taxpayers, churches should be giving to
taxpayers something money can't buy: some old fashioned moral and
A Christian Patriot
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