A pastor I know recently told me that he was criticized for being "too political." He has heard such an indictment throughout his ministry, he said. Today he leads a major ministry in the U.S. battling daily for the rights of pastors to speak so that believers can speak. His prophetic word upsets the establishment. His voice is prophetic. His heart is pastoral. Can the two coexist?
I have heard similar charges in my ministry through the years. I accept the critique. However, if the matter is important, I am compelled to address it in preaching or writing, and I believe that is just being pastoral to God's people. I cannot compartmentalize the Lordship of Christ to only one area of life. He is Lord of all.
Is it right that pastors should remain silent about important matters in society that are being debated in the public square because someone is trying to establish in our culture that there is no place in politics for religious beliefs or moral convictions that have been born out of a faith commitment? Because people squirm when sin is exposed in politics or culture, does it mean we should refrain from preaching? No. It may mean just the opposite.
Is a pastor solely limited to sharing the gospel to his flock on Sunday mornings? Or was the late Dr. John Stott right that one of our identities as gospel preachers, in a faithful biblical portrait of a pastor, is a "herald"? The pastor is not a prophet, yet he most certainly does carry a prophetic voice and speaks with biblical authority to other Beast-like powers when there are souls at risk or the honor of Christ and His Church is under siege…
Dangers exist on all sides for the pastor. But, who said the job would be easy? Yet to silence the pastor in any realm is to cause the church to retreat into a secluded ghetto where we can no longer be salt and light in the world. And that cannot be. We comfort the afflicted and on occasion may afflict the comfortable, as it is sometimes put. The ground of our ministry is love from a pure conscience. Let us not abandon our post as long as God gives us the strength to stand. Let us be silent no more.