Why are so many Christians dead silent?
Jesus warned us that we will have to give an account for the words that we speak. Specifically, he warned about “careless” or “idle” words, and he also said we will be justified or condemned by what we say. As Matthew 12:35-37 puts it:
“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
But a case can be made that we might also be judged on what we do NOT say. Consider what we find in Luke 19:39-40: “And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out’.”
At the very least, Jesus is telling us of the importance of speaking out when it is imperative that we do so. Proclaiming the gospel to one and all is one obvious area where all Christians need to be speaking, and speaking boldly. The closing command of Jesus to the disciples was to preach the gospel to all nations (Mark 16:15 – see also Matthew 24:14).
But one can also argue that there are all sorts of other things we need to be speaking out about, and to remain silent during such times might in fact be sinful. There are sins of omission as well as commission. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says in question 14: “Q. What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”
Just as we can sin by the things we say, it seems we can sin by not saying what needs to be said. Too often Christians remain silent when they should be speaking out. So many things are worth discussing, especially in the public arena. We should be speaking out about the war on marriage and family, the destruction of the unborn, the assault on truth, and the ugly cancel culture, to name but a few.
We should be speaking out about injustice and evil in high places, including in government and among our elected officials. When our leaders are doing that which is evil and harmful, believers have an obligation to call this out and to be salt and light in a needy world.
Yet most are completely silent. Why is this? There would be countless reasons. Many are simply cowards. Many do not want to rock the boat. Many just want to get along with everybody. Many are more concerned about pleasing man than they are about pleasing God. Many want to hang on to their jobs, or reputation, or privileges at all costs. Many simply refuse to make Christ Lord of their lives.
And incredibly some will claim it is somehow unloving and unchristian to speak out. They actually think we are somehow undermining our Christian witness by speaking out on the vital issues of the day. Hmm, would they have condemned Wilberforce when he spoke out against slavery, or Bonhoeffer when he spoke out against the Nazis? Good grief.
Whatever the reason, it is scandalous that so many believers are sinning by refusing to take a stand and speak truth when it is needed. Simply offering words of warning when it is necessary to do so is so very vital. Yet how many Christians are willing to do this?
Consider a quite practical example of this. What person in their right mind – whether Christian or non-Christian – would refuse to sound the alarm when they see a toddler playing in the street and a speeding truck is bearing down on the child? Any decent human being would speak out at once – they would shout and scream and do all they could to warn the child if not actually seek to save the child by direct action.
How is that any different from a host of dangers and threats that we face daily? Christians should be at the forefront of speaking out about things like religious freedom – especially as we see so many threats to it today. They should be leading the charge to speak out on the attack on human life. They should be loud and proud in the public square affirming the vital importance of the family unit.
Yet in most cases we hear crickets chirping. Shame on these voiceless Christians. But God never leaves himself voiceless. He never leaves himself without a witness. Thus the verse I began this article with. If God’s people refuse to raise their voices, then God can find others who will.
Consider the secular alternative media. In the US the main such network is Fox News. Here in Australia (and in the UK) we have Sky News. These are for the most part conservative outfits that bring a different take on things from that of the mainstream media.
For the most part the hosts on the main talk shows are secular. Fox would have more Christians on their network over all, while here the Sky News evening lineup is overwhelmingly non-Christian. Consider Bolt and Murray and Panahi and Jones (who just left Sky): all are atheists or agnostics.
Yet so often they are speaking out on the things that matter. So often they are even defending Christian values while the churches are stone cold silent. So often they are doing the job that Christians should be doing. Believers may not have major television networks at their disposal (although such things do exist in the US).
But they do have one major means of reaching millions of people: the pulpit. But how often are our church leaders using the pulpit to speak truth about the issues of the day, and how the Christian gospel has a direct bearing on them? Guess what? The Bible actually does speak a lot about political, economic, social and cultural issues.
Yet in most Western pulpits today you would not know this. You would think the Christian message is only about inner, personal spiritual considerations, and it has nothing to say about the world around us. The damning silence of our pastors and priests and ministers on so many of the things that matter is a blight on our churches.
No wonder then that other voices come to the fore. No wonder that we can have an Andrew Bolt or a Rita Panahi speaking more about the importance of the family or the need to resist the radical trans attack on it than most Christians do.
A witness for truth will always be found. If our churches refuse to speak truth on the many extremely important social and cultural issues of the day, then other voices will be raised up. If Christians refuse to speak, then the very stones will cry out.