In a society which is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity, preachers and believers in general are discovering that it can be costly to speak out; and accordingly safer to remain silent.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation". (Mark 16:15)

FearSome time ago a church member reported that his church had removed some sermons from the church’s website. The reason being that the church did not want to attract unwanted attention from the authorities regarding what the Bible preacher had said about unbiblical sexual activity.

Such action is in effect gagging oneself, and amounts to a failure to preach the Truth and the whole Truth into all the world as Christ called all disciples to do.

Another form of self-censorship occurs when preachers remain in a denomination which has overtly and explicitly departed from the Word of God. How can such a person preach against the apostasy of those who pay their wages and sit as an authority over them?
A financial bind

We are now living in an age whereby governments are implementing regulations and laws which run completely contrary to what the Bible teaches. However though these things should be proclaimed from the pulpits and into the public square, there is a deafening silence. Why? Partly because most churches and Christian organisations are registered charities and the regulations forbid pronounicing on anything deemed as being 'political'.

So why might churches and Christian organisations not wish give up their charitable status? Because that would deprive them of the income from the reclaimed tax under the gift aid scheme. Additionally charities can and do apply for financial assistance from public funds and grant-making bodies. Imagine if some of these funds are required to finance a new building or other significant investment. Or if the pastor's salary depends on it.

A lawyer's web site gives the following advice to those considering setting up a charity:
It is however, important to bear in mind if you are wishing to set up a charity that the benefits of charitable status are only available in exchange for the not inconsiderable restrictions imposed on how a charity may operate.

Other fears

Added to the above are the following which could silence a preacher/church.

Fear of:
  • church premises suffering damage or buildings being defaced by graffiti
  • being accused of being ‘fundamentalist/bigoted/unloving
  • attacks on church individuals and or family/home/private property
  • adverse reaction from 'politically-correct' church authorities who have adopted the world's standards

It is not always obvious when the above dynamics effectively silence the voice of the believing church. However last May (2015) the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly set its mind on accepting same-sex marriage within the ranks of its clergy.

At least one presbytery has, retrospectively, dissented from this ‘trajectory’ but following the Assembly not a single local church or preacher in a that presbytery gave public voice to their view.
Additionally when that presbytery – following an internal vote to do so - attempted to distance itself from the denominations decision, the former was held to be in contempt of the Church’s General Assembly and ordered to rescind the notice of dissent and strike the record from the Presbytery minutes. The Presbytery obediently complied.
Shawn Holes clippingStreet preacher arrested

Elsewhere, some years ago an American street evangelist was preaching the Gospel in Glasgow with grace and sensitivity when he was approached by two people and asked what he thought about homosexuality. The preacher replied that he loved all people, but he also said that all sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage was wrong. He was then reported to the police, apprehended, locked up in a dirty police cell and charged with Breach of the Peace, Sectarianism and Homophobia. The team's video recording of the event was taken from the preacher and never returned. (Article on Shawn Holes can be found here. The recorded interviews with the evangelist and his team are very revealing.)

The  three charges levelled against Holes were
1. Breach of the Peace
2. Homophobia
3. Sectarianism

In effect merely reading out three verses from the Bible could render any believer vulnerable to the above charges. Respectively:
  1. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)
  2. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. (1 Cor. 6.9).
  3. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". (John 14:6)
Fear is the enemy's device
Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified
Fear is a powerful device in Satan's toolkit, and the enemy of God is using it to silence the voice of the church.
In King Saul's day a Philistine giant threatened the nation of Israel:
"This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." (1 Sam. 17:10) And the response of the King and his subjects?
"On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified" (1 Sam. 17:11).

Later, after the split between the northern and southern tribes, King Ahab's evil wife Jezebel who had killed the other prophets threatened Elijah with the same fate. We read:
"Elijah was afraid and ran for his life"
(1 Kings. 19:3).
Paul "moved freely in Jerusaelm, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord"
In New Testament times the fear of men was similarly evident (Matt 21:26) but the apostle Paul wrote to the young Timothy:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim 1:7).
A godly fear

Following his Damascus Road conversion Paul "moved freely in Jerusaelm, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord". His preaching produced a church in the region of which we read: "was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord." This was a godly fear and is the only legimated fear allowed to Christians and commended to the unbelieving world.
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
(2 Tim 4:1-4)


The Editor, 26/04/2016

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(Guest) 19/05/2016 15:21
Your comment is still up here.
You feel compelled to remove it from facebook but wish to place it on a christian website and it remains up there.
Mini 27/05/2016 12:00
JL, Paul said "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside"

So we are not to judge those outside the Body of Christ even if you consider them immoral or following a false religion.

We have plenty of immoral church leaders without worrying about those who don't even claim to be Christians.
Mini 27/05/2016 12:14
Regarding the main article above, I think that more than ever before, we need to be "wise as serpents but innocent as doves".

You have one kind of Christian reaction, which is to retreat in fear, compromise, and so on.

You have another kind of Christian reaction, which is to be defiant in the flesh, and just for the hell of it go out on the street and preach against Muslims, against gays etc (both of these being fashionable at the moment) and then regard yourself as a Martyr in the cause of Christ when you are arrested, abused, suppressed, or whatever.

Both types of reaction are wrong. We need to ask God to give us wisdom and discernment. We need to walk "in fear and trembling" before God, and only then step out boldly and preach the Gospel. I'm not saying I have achieved this myself, but I'm just saying...

I do not consider the cases above as examples of Christians who have not been wise, but I know there are cases of Christians being glaringly carnal and who really get what they deserve.

It is taking us a while to get used to not living in a Christian Society (if there is such a thing) and we are still acting as though we had some kind of influence in the world.
Editor 03/08/2016 19:26
Will the True Church Be Forced Underground? [excerpts]

Will the real Christian churches please stand up? Or, rather, should they rather go underground?

In order to stay true to their belief and to God, one conservative Christian commentator is convinced that the “real” Christian church in America is going to be forced to do as the early Christians did—go underground.

[J.D. Longstreet’s commentary argues that] many of the mainline Christian churches have slipped away from the foundation of Scripture to adopt secular tenants and leftist, politically correct philosophies [and] have become only a shadow of the true followers of Christ.

Strong words, but words that Longstreet—who left his own denomination a few years ago because he said it was forsaking the tenets of the Bible and the gospel—is standing on.

“Unfortunately, many of our mainline denominations have become nothing more than social clubs with many franchises nationwide,” Longstreet writes. “Their pastors ‘preach’ feel good ‘sermonettes’ about the environment, and things like ‘social justice.’ In my opinion, that is not the mission of a church that purports to follow Christ. In fact, Christ Himself, spelled out the mission of the church in what we refer to as the Great Commission.”

As Longstreet sees it, pastors in America are fearful of preaching scriptures and of pointing out man’s failings. They are concerned that they will be accused of slander or sued for libel. Longstreet admits that’s a real threat in America—and that’s why he is suggesting churches that hold true to the gospel will be forced underground.

(Leclaire, Will True Christian Churches Be Forced Underground in America?, Charisma Online, 12/8/2011).

Ed note: See also -

Mini 04/08/2016 17:47
In the UK, and looking back over the last say, 60 years, I would say the majority of Christians have made their church their no. 1 loyalty. (I think that is what happened in Ireland: so many of the Irish had this passionate loyalty to the Catholic Church, and when all the scandals started coming out, their faith in God was shattered).

It is time to place Jesus in first place. We each need a second honeymoon in order to get to know Him all over again.
(Guest) 08/08/2016 21:25
"Second honeymoon"? Was there a first?
(Guest) 19/02/2017 20:20
Over to you Dale!
Ed. muzzle the spammers, not the body of Christ.

Note from Ed. To 'muzzle the spammers' those who wish to post will need to register with the site.
(Guest) 20/02/2017 12:47
That is all very well and good, but, what if people don't want "to register with the site"?

Certainly your spammers are a wretched nuisance, but to make comments "members only" will stop genuine inquirers such as Rachel and others trying to find answers, yes, or no? They may not want to identify themselves for whatever reason.

On another thread your ongoing attack against the established church (much of which is justified!) and its "member roll" smacks of just a little hypocrisy if you restrict your site to members only!

Be a member of nothing! If your name is written in heaven, THAT is all that matters!

(Guest) 21/02/2017 12:07
Yes Dale, I would like to "share", but unless I sign up to the church "membership roll" that you are critical of, I cannot comment!!!
Editor 21/02/2017 15:30
Guest, You asked "What if people don't want to register..."

Fortunately, there are plenty of other places on the internet.
I don't understand the problem you seem to have with registering. Registered members can use psuedonyms. If you wish to discuss further then please feel free to e-mail me.
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Survival Kit > Muzzled by Fear