Pastors for almost 2,000 years have preached against sin in general. Preaching against a specific sin can get a pastor in a lot of trouble if any of the church’s leaders commit this sin regularly. Pastors who preach against specific sins preach against those that are not common in their congregations.
This is why pastors do not preach against practices that are widely accepted in the culture or region in which the church is located…
Any church that teaches that wives should not work outside the home after they become mothers is preaching half a gospel if they do not also preach the moral necessity of not becoming wards of the state in retirement. If the church refuses, it is preaching this:
‘God is honored by families that keep mothers at home. However, God is in no way dishonored by families that become economically dependent on the state. Compulsory state welfare is a good thing, biblically speaking, because it relieves the church of its Bible-mandated obligation to support indigent members (I Timothy 5). The state picks up the tab, so we don’t have to. Praise God! Hallelujah! This is is especially true of retired church members.
So, wives, don’t work outside the home. So, husbands, don’t worry about going on Social Security. God is honored when His people become wards of the state.’
Pastors never spell it out in this way. That might get them fired.
My two cents
How true it is that pastors are afraid to preach the sins of their own congregations; I’d always hoped that pastors had more courage than that—after all, they’re leaders in the church, not followers—but I suppose the final arbiter isn’t God’s word, it’s the emotions of the congregants.
It reminds me of a YouTube video where a guy was graduating from university, and as part of his graduation speech, he spoke of the evils of contraception. Lots of people in the crowd started booing, since their sin was being exposed. I’m tempted to think that everyone has a comfort zone and they don’t like being told that they’re wrong. While some people are humble enough to accept it, many are not.
Perhaps that’s why the old-time fire-and-brimstone preachers appeal to me. At least they have a spine. I’ve heard one or two podcasts from SermonAudio in this spirit, but they only seem to come from independent fundamentalist churches. Preachers of this ilk seem to be a dying breed, but I was hoping we could find a way to reverse that. Otherwise, a church ultimately becomes a session where the pastor tells you what you want to hear.
North, G. (2010). The Churches’ Dual Standard on Working Wives and the Welfare State. Available: http://www.garynorth.com/public/7165.cfm. Last accessed 12th Aug 2012.