3. When hot-button social issues rage, the best thing is to keep Bible exposition the main thing.
I wonder if many in my generation and younger know why they get to be pastors and spiritual leaders. We have not been called to be cultural remodelers. Sure, a bit of that may happen consequent of ministry; but it is consequent. We are called to exposit the Bible. This is our charge:
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
Our pulpit is God’s pulpit. That’s fundamental to our mandate. But in hot-button seasons, there is the temptation to hijack God’s pulpit for purposes other than biblical preaching. Bible exposition is to stay centerpiece. When God commanded it to be so, he did in the midst of raging hot-button seasons.
We must be careful that the pulpit is not used for hot-button issues over simple, surrendered exposition. It’s harder to do the latter, though. There is a tendency in younger pastors to assume that Bible exposition doesn’t seem to scratch raging social itches. Perhaps even worse, there is also a tendency in younger pastors to assume that they should be scratching cultural itches.
We can trust God. Giving ourselves to exposition of the Bible will do a great work on hot-button issues. Pick a book of the Bible and preach through the whole thing, even if hot-button issues of a controversy-ness such as those in Paul and Timothy’s day arise. Let the next passage determine what you will preach Sunday far more than the next social-cultural rage.
If there is an issue that’s an issue, God addresses it in his word. Recall that just about every book of the Bible was inspired into contexts dripping in hot-button social issues. As such, biblical exposition will do a powerful work on issues that are issues. Trust the power of God’s word. The way par excellence to trust the power of God’s word is to devote the bulk of your ministry time to verse-by-verse exposition.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Aaron Burden