Thursday, December 22, 2005

For Christmas We Need (2)...

Pastors With Conscience.

"And looking intently at the council, Paul said, 'Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day."(Acts 23:1)

Closely aligned with courage is a preachers willingness to preach with a conscience, not sparing his people the truth. This is second on my wish list this Christmas. We not only need men who will have the courage to stand up for biblical, reformed theology, but we also need men who will preach with a conscience that understands that truth-pursuing, justice-demanding, peace-seeking, and truth-telling are his calling. Often times this calling will lead him to convictions of conscience that perhaps many in his church will not hold. Often times this calling will challenge him to pursue truth and demand justice where he is not comfortable. Yet we need men who will be lead by the truth of scripture and consciences duly informed to tell the truth for the glory of God and good of His people. There will be times when hot, even political issues, become necessary topics of discourse in the church. The African-American Reformed preacher must not only have courage when he is popular, but he must have courage when his conscience has been informed by God's word though the populace may not be. Such issues of abortion, racism, feminism, male-chauvinism, and homosexuality may be contentious and even highly debated political issues, but the man of God must know that these are not just political issues. In fact, they are more importantly moral issues that a man of God with a conscience must be willing and prepared to deal with truthfully and justly when called upon to do so.

We need preachers with conscience who will say, unapologetically that where the Bible calls for a conservative stance, then he will be conservative. And where the Bible calls for a more progressive stance, then he will be progressive. We need preachers who will take these stances not because they are politically expedient, but because they are biblically right. Where police brutality or human torture is evident, we need preachers who will call it what it is, and stand of the conviction of the justice demands of the Word of God. Where abortion is out of control and the slaughter of babies is common fare, then too the man of God must be willing to the call the country and his congregation into account with the just and righteous demands of God's law. When we fail to pursue righteousness, justice, and the truth of God, we fail to truly reflect the God we claim to represent (Mic. 6:8; see also Is. 30:18, 61:8; Amos 5:12).

Have we lost all of the preachers with courage and conscience? Luther was a man of courage who would not go against conscience. John Knox was a man of courage and conscience. So too were Lemuel Haynes and Francis Grimke. Where are the Reformed African-American preachers who will not go against Scripture or conscience because it is neither right nor safe? I am hoping to find a few under the Christmas tree this year.

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