This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on Feb. 8, 2021. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Keith Wiebe: The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that California churches must be permitted to hold in-person services. Now that’s in spite of the mandate by the California governor to the contrary. Many of you listening to this broadcast today are pastors all across the country. Stand in the Gap Today is heard on over 450 stations, and to our knowledge there is not a single state in the union that cannot access this broadcast.
More of you listening are those who have pastors, you’re members of churches and what we will talk about today is also very important to you. We’re going to focus today on two churches and two pastors who are located in very different parts of our country. There are many ways in which the activities and even the manner of worship of these two churches would be different, but we’re also going to find that there are other ways in which the ministry of these churches is the same and indeed must be the same.
Thank you for tuning in today. I’m Keith Wiebe, and I’m joined with the hosting privileges today by Sam Rohrer, who is the Founder and President of the American Pastors Network. We have two very special guests. Paul Blair is the Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, Flyover Country, if you please, while Joe Green is the Pastor of St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I want to welcome both of you gentlemen, to our program. Thank you so much for taking time to be with us.
And just to frame the theme of our broadcast today, The Culture and the Church. While the two of you are located in different parts of the country, different demographics, somewhat different church culture, your churches are unique as is every church. And while there are certainly also ways in which you operate under the same scriptural mandate to preach the whole counsel of God, I’m going to ask both of you in this first segment to begin by describing your church congregation for us. What’s your church like? What’s your culture like? Joe, lets go with you first and then we’ll go with Paul.
Joe Green: Thank you, Keith, and it’s a pleasure being here on the program with you. My church as you stated is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is the capital of Pennsylvania. We are in the city. We have, I would say, we moved from being a traditional Baptist Church to… We stand on biblical principles, clear and simple. We have about 80% African American, 70 to 80%, and then we also have white Hispanic members as well. We have somewhat of a diverse church but not very diverse but we are what you would consider an urban church.
Keith Wiebe: Hey Paul, what about yours?
Paul Blair: Well, we are a suburb of Oklahoma City, and we’re probably the exact opposite of what Joe has. We’re predominantly a white church although we do have Hispanic and African American in our congregation as well. Oklahoma obviously boasts itself as being very conservative but in practice there’s not a lot of evidence of Christianity overwhelming the culture here. But Oklahoma’s is predominantly Republican, predominantly a conservative state and our church is certainly, well, I like to aspire that our church is just Acts 17:11-type Christians. I want them to be followers of Christ in every facet of their lives.
Keith Wiebe: That’s interesting to hear. Your church, Paul, probably more traditional, Baptist, traditional white traditional, would that be accurate?
Paul Blair: Yeah, well, somewhat I think I’ve pastored for 20 years here, Keith. And as I’ve gotten into to ministry, James says that pastors and teachers are going to be held to a even stricter standard of accountability. And I want to make sure that everything I teach is scripturally accurate. So yeah, I’m an ordained as a Baptist and I love being a Baptist but if I fight or find that there’s a conflict in traditional Baptist doctrine and what the Bible seems to be saying clearly, I would rather be a committed Christ follower than a good Baptist. But yeah, we’re probably fairly traditional but trust me, we’re a little bit unusual at times as well.
Keith Wiebe: Well, I’ve actually been to your church. You are a little bit unusual refreshingly. Joe, we have a little bit of time yet in this first segment. With your church being 70, 80% African American, would that indicate something of the style of worship that we might expect with your folks?
Joe Green: As I said, when I grew up in the church in the Baptist church we were very much strict Baptist but we’ve gravitated away from that. We stick to some of the Baptist traditions but as I said we try to stick more to the authority of scripture in our style of worship and everything. It has a lot of influence from traditional African American style worship, but we also bring in some other cultural experiences as well because the kingdom is going to look like every tribe and every tongue coming together and so it’s important for us, it’s always been important to me and my ministry to not just focus on my culture but how do we create a culture that reflects more like the kingdom of God which is a multicultural and multi-worship experiences? And so we have Hispanic experience and we also have white influences as well that help to us shape in our style of worship.
Sam Rohrer: And Joe, I’ve got a question here for you, I guess a follow-up on that. The question is this, you’re describing Christians, the Bible, Bible principles. Back at the beginning of the church when Christ had gone, people weren’t identified by denominations they were called Christians and they went out and they turned the world upside down. Are you finding even within your community, Joe, for instance right now that even if you begin to use the word I am a Christian, I am a Christ follower, that that by itself is increasingly becoming quite distinctive?
Joe Green: I think so. I think one of the things that Martin Luther King Jr. said, he talked about how segregated Sunday mornings were in America. And even though I think we’ve gravitated far from that we’ve gotten a lot further to being more multicultural, multiethnic. I still see that there are some pretty clear lines especially over this last year with the things that have happened with Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd incident, that there has been more polarization I should say in the body of Christ between maybe the black church and some of the other churches.
And it’s unfortunate, but as you said, and the Bible doesn’t even talk about race, there’s no such thing as race, race is a social construct. The Bible talks about nations. Those nations were primarily identified not only by the region that they were from but also the culture of that region because God didn’t judge nations because of where they were from or the color of their skin but whether or not they followed the tenets of the Bible or not, His word. And it’s been unfortunate but our churches have become a little bit more polarized in regards to the issue of race in America.
Keith Wiebe: Joe and Paul, I think that is from two directions. Some of it comes from our end I’m sure, but so much of it is because some of that dialogue is framed by the left, by those that do not believe like we do that are trying I think actually to create greater division while we with our Christian message are really advocating for unity. Every church is unique. When we’re going to come back in a minute to segment two, every church is also very essential, the pillar and ground of the truth. Thank you for listening, please stay with us.
Keith Wiebe George Barna in his research that he has done is so valuable to us. He is on our program on a regular basis. His research indicated that 92% of people in the pew want to hear from the pulpit what God’s word says about what’s happening in the culture. But tragically and in very sharp contrast, his research indicates also that only 9% of pastors are willing to do that. Now, that leaves our people with spiritually nutritional needs that are not met in many instances.
It’s our privilege to have Joe Green, Pastor of St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Paul Blair, Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, suburb of Oklahoma City as our guests today. They’re both pastors, and our previous segment indicated that their churches are unique. And I know from conversations with each of them that they have also unique in some of the ways they have even approached the pandemic in which we are in. And I want to ask you both this question, given that study by George Barna, why is the pulpit so important in the culture? Paul, we’ll start with you. Why is it so essential that pastors understand what they need to do in the pulpit?
Paul Blair: Well, the biggest problem I believe, Keith, is that pastors have gone to seminary and been taught to compartmentalize their lives into their secular lives which is where the vast majority of their 168-hour week falls. And then they’ve got their spiritual life which is basically Sunday morning and Wednesday night. And they have been convinced that they are not supposed to talk in church about anything that belongs in that secular box. So, how we practice business, our business ethics, intimacy, human sexuality, politics, things of that nature we are taught, well, that’s off limits.
Well, that’s nonsense when you think about it. And quite frankly as we talked before I believe that this is a form of Gnosticism that we’ve adopted in the American church. From the Hebraic roots and Hebraic worldview whatever we do we’re to do to the glory of God. And as you referenced a moment ago it was God that created everything. God created the culture and we as pastors are supposed to be speaking truth as we are discipling our flocks to engage and transform the culture.
And the bottom line is, there’s no such thing as black truth and white truth and male truth and female truth and lesbian truth and the heterosexual truth, there’s just the truth. And we must engage the lies with the truth, and the whole idea is to get people to surrender to the Lord Jesus and to conform to the truth as truth.
Keith Wiebe: Well, Joe, what about you? Why is the pulpit so important in our culture?
Joe Green: I couldn’t agree with Paul more, Keith. The Bible itself in my estimation is a book of culture, it’s the culture of the kingdom of God. As we teach the biblical culture in the biblical worldview, it talks about what a family looks like and how we should raise our families. It talks about how we should treat each other and how we should carry ourselves and so the pastors must preach a biblical worldview which helps to develop a culture that reflects the kingdom of God.
And what I like to say and remind my parishioners and anyone who would listen to me is the only place that God’s influence should be presented is the places that He created. So if you believe He only created the church then He should only influence those things inside the church but we know that the Bible says God created the heavens and the earth therefore His influence should transcend and spill out over the walls of the church and touch every part of our culture.
And the other part of that is I tell my parishioners as well is the only part of your life that should be centered around your biblical worldview is the part that God saves. So if you believe that He only saved you for two hours a week, then only give Him that part but if you believe that He saved your entire soul, body and spirit, then that’s the part that you should dedicate to trying to carry out a biblical worldview. It has to be preached from the pulpit.
Sam Rohrer: And Joe and Paul, both of you, right to the heart I know of what our listeners are thinking. We talked before the program how during this time of the COVID issue there are many churches that remain shut down right now. And people though, God is moving people and many are searching out where there is faithful preaching from the word. And if you are listening to me right now you may be one of them, and I say that you follow and go where you’re fed. You need to do that but not everybody does that.
Paul, let me go back to you because you raised a question in George Barna surveys and other we’ve talked about a lot, and that is this. You said that many who have gone to seminary, I’m talking about church leaders, pastors particular, were not instructed properly in regard to how God has set up for instance the society and therefore they don’t speak into things that are outside the walls of the church. What does God say and how has your understanding of scripture directed you in preaching the word to your people on matters of culture which are outside the walls of the church? What do you do and how do you do it and why do you do it because of what scripture says, picking up on what Joe just said, and what you referred to about not proper instruction even in seminaries? Build that up, please.
Paul Blair: Well, I’ve been charged with shepherding this flock, that means to lead, feed and care for them. And the things that we are engaged with now… The thing that’s amazing, Sam, is Solomon says there’s nothing new under the sun. And the reality is we may have air conditioning and indoor plumbing and everything that we have in the 20… Well, in the year 2021, but we still have the same old sinful heart of man and the same old sin issues. And God has dealt with all of it and there’s nothing that takes us today that God hasn’t dealt with in scripture.
Now, much of our problem as far as having a biblical worldview is that we have adopted a Marxist philosophy where we look to the civil government to solve everything and all power belongs to the civil government. Well, that is not a biblical view. When you look at biblical government, God actually established four realms of government and it begins with self-government. It’s up to us to be able to discern and choose to do what is right and wrong. Then you’ve got family government and much was delegated to the family, including overseeing the education of our children, to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, which in our day we have abandoned. We’ve turned them over to the state for 40 hours a week and then take them to church for one hour a week and wonder why they’re going off course.
The third area is church government and there are certain areas of responsibility including the ministry of charity and accountability. And then finally the fourth and quite frankly, the smallest realm of government is supposed to be the civil government. And the specific responsibility there whether it be Romans 13, Paul’s letter to Timothy, Peter’s letter to the dispersed, Genesis 9, Psalm 82, you name it, in every situation the purpose of civil government is to punish those that are doing evil and to protecting those that do the right thing so that we may live peaceably in all godliness.
One of the big problems we have is we don’t teach any of that anymore. We don’t preach against sin because that’s politically incorrect. The church has become largely ineffective, the family has been under attack since the ’60s and all that’s left is this large civil government and we look to the president or Congress to fix everything. Well, we’re approaching all of life once we walk outside of the doors of the church from a secular humanist worldview, and unless pastors start teaching or discipling their people to think biblically, for all 168 hours a week we’re going to continue to have the problem that Keith referenced a while ago when he quoted George Barna.
Sam Rohrer: Joe, we go to you here right now and just pick up on that. This from your perspective, what you just explained scripture speaks to all issues of life therefore we must preach to all issues of life, it goes back and connects with what Paul just said. In your setting, Harrisburg, inner city church, why do you preach the way you do, what Paul just said, and why do you think only 9% of pastors will do that when the bulk of them will not speak about things that would be for instance outside the walls of the church?
Joe Green: I agree with Paul, he made some great points. And part of what happened under the umbrella of Marxism is you have the social gospel movement. And so the social gospel movement, which really focuses a lot on, in my estimation, on secondary issues. It talks about the needs of the people, it talks about people’s feelings, it kind of teaches victim hood in my estimation. And so because of a lot of our pastors have bought into the social gospel movement and it becomes more experiential as opposed to biblically-grounded. They have bought into the liberal Democratic idea of focusing on welfare, focusing on various topics instead of the message of the gospel.
And so pastors feel somewhat obligated to go along with what is being taught and what is being preached in the inner cities, they don’t want to go against the grain. In my estimation, I believe that the message of the gospel which we’re supposed to preach to make disciples of all nations, to teach a biblical doctrine to all people encompasses all those other aspects. But because people are focusing on secondary issues because of the influence of the social gospel movement instead of the kingdom principles of preaching the word of God, discipling people, teaching them biblical standards, and also because the whole movement with LBJ which we talked about before and we’ll probably talk about it during this call. War on poverty and how that changed the focus in many inner city churches because of poverty and lack of resources, have become more dependent on the government through this ideology of the social gospel movement. And so because of that they can’t speak against those particular programs that helped to bring resources to their families and their community.
Keith Wiebe: Paul and Joe, that is so well expressed on the part of both of you. You look at the tremendous need. Paul, I appreciated your emphasis that God didn’t just save us for two hours a week to be in church, He saved us to live our lives. And we know the part of the emphasis of those who oppose us is they want to give us freedom of worship applying only to what happens within the four walls of our church, when what we are advocating and declaring is a lifestyle that has to affect every thing that we do.
Well, we’re going to continue this. We’re going to take a brief break. We will be back in just a moment, stay with us.
Keith Wiebe This is Stand in the Gap Today. Stand in the Gap Today is part of the extensive media ministry of the American Pastors Network. And on this broadcast we are deeply indebted to Tim Schneider. Tim is the Executive Producer of the program, he’s the one that makes sure you can hear us. And I will ask Tim just to take a minute and share with you some of the extensive opportunities and resources that are available through Stand in the Gap Today. Tim?
Tim Schneider: Keith, thanks for letting me come on and be a part of this little segment here. We’ve started to it call an infomercial but it’s better than an infomercial because we actually give you information that works unlike a lot of times those infomercials don’t always have products that you really want to have, even though they try to lure you in with their shtick.
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Keith Wiebe: Thank you so much, Tim. I really appreciate that. And I would ask you to please pray for this ministry. We experience quite frankly the attacks of Satan in some of the things in which we’re involved and we very much need the prayer support of God’s people. And I will also encourage you as you are able and as God leads, to participate financially in the support of this ministry, we depend very greatly on the financial support of God’s people as well.
It is our view, those of us that participate in this broadcast that a pastor has a great responsibility in his pulpit to apply the truths of God’s word to the culture in which we live. Our people do not expect that. In fact, if they do not hear from their pastor across the pulpit they have no other place from which they can get accurate information, not just about what’s happening in the culture, they can find that information, but how the principles of the word of God applied to it and how these things ought to be viewed through a biblical worldview.
It’s our privilege to have Paul Blair and Joe Green as guests on our program today. They both pastor churches, Paul in the Oklahoma City area, and Joe in the capital City of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And I want to ask you to talk to us about how you use your pulpit for this ministry. How is the pulpit used by a pastor to best accomplish what is needed in faithfully communicating to our people the whole counsel of God? Joe, we’ll start with you and then I’m going to go to Paul.
Joe Green: Well, one of the things that I try to remind people of and I think that many in the churches because I heard Paul say about the compartmentalizational part of what has taken over Christianity. But the Bible in itself is a book of a class of governmental systems, the kingdom of God versus the kingdom of this world. And politics is simply the science of how governments govern over people. And our mandate is given to us by our king, our political leader which is Jesus who’s described as the King of Kings and it’s to influence the kingdom of this world through the lens of biblical counsel.
And every prophet in the Bible, he went to two groups of people. He went to the political leaders of his day and then he went to God’s people as well and so we have to do the same thing. And it’s important for us as being the salt and the light of the earth that we understand that the influence that we carry from the pulpit is to equip, to train, to warn and to enlighten our people about what is happening around us because the Bible is not a book of the dead, it’s the book of the living, it’s the book of those who are alive in Christ and who have been mandated to go out and advance the cause of Christ and the kingdom of God. And so everything that we encounter should be looked at through the biblical lens and we have to reinforce that because if the pastors don’t do it, the people don’t understand it, they don’t know it, and the culture as a whole just ignores the church.
Keith Wiebe: That is well said, Joe. Paul, same question. How is the pulpit best used to accomplish our mission?
Paul Blair: Well, I’d say right now it’s not being best used. And I think the problem stems from we’ve got a lot of men that are doing jobs rather than recognizing that they don’t have a job, they have a calling. I was called into ministry a little over 20 years ago. I loved pastors but I personally never wanted to be one, but it was very clear that God was leading in this direction. And we all want to be popular, we don’t want to be controversial, none of us do. However, we weren’t called to be popular, we were called to be faithful to God and proclaim the truth into a lost world.
So as pastors our responsibility is to disciple our congregations, to teach them to observe all things, whatever the Lord has commanded us. So first we want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to see people come to faith in Christ, we want to see them get saved. But then there’s this process of sanctification, how now we are to live on this world. And the reality is our lives should look completely different from a lost family’s life. I mean, our behavior should be different, our families should look different, our economic practices. The Bible says that we’re not to be slaves in bed and it says we’re to work hard, budget, be thrifty, be generous. But our economic lives are just as train-wrecked as the lost world because we don’t teach biblical truth to our people.
And our business ethics, and we should be the best employees that anybody could possibly hire. They should be lining up at the door to hire all the people that attend our church. We should be the most ethical businessmen in the world. And as we’ve talked about, as Joe mentioned a moment ago the area of civil government, well, God established it in the first place. He’s got an awful lot to say about His will or intent for the civil governing authority. But most churches have compartmentalized, most churches don’t want to be controversial. Most churches just want to see their people keep coming back. They’re concerned about numbers, they don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.
None of that is biblical. Jesus is the most controversial man that ever walked the planet. And the church… You follow Paul throughout the escapades in Acts. He went from one down to the other, he usually wound up in jail or in the middle of a riot and chased out of town. The idea that we aren’t supposed to engage the darkness of this world with a light of truth, the idea that that’s not going to be controversial, it is ludicrous on its face.
Sam Rohrer: Paul, let me follow up real quickly with you and then if there’s time to Joe for a quick response. We know from what Keith said to be in George Barna surveys, 92% of the people in the pew want to hear biblical instruction on the issues that they face when they go out of the church, only 9% will do it. Paul, at the end of the day you as a pastor, when you cover these issues of controversy, what is that driving thing that you have to overcome and what is it that actually compels you to step into those areas of controversy about things that the Bible speaks about?
Paul Blair: Reality is, Sam, our people are hungry for this. With everything that’s going on in this last year, I mean, people are scratching their head, they’re looking to their pastors for what’s going on in the world. How are we supposed to respond to all this? There’s an incredible demand out there that most pastors don’t realize, and I think one of the reasons they don’t realize that is because they don’t know anything about it, they’ve not been taught and trained in these areas.
But I would say this and I’m not intending to sidestep the question but I think it’s something that’s important that needs to be said, one of the reasons pastors don’t address these controversial issues is for fear that they’re going to lose attendance and lose tithes, so that’s why they don’t want to tread over into what they consider controversial issues. If the people in the pews would leave the churches that refuse to lead out and refuse to speak the truth, if these pastors would start losing members because they aren’t engaging in controversial issues, then perhaps that would be the motivation that helps them find their backbone and stand strong and engage as Jeremiah did, and as Enoch did, and as John the Baptist did, without compromise proclaiming the truth into the culture.
Keith Wiebe: Joe, we’re going to come to you in just a minute when we come back from a brief break here in a moment. Just to let you know you who don’t want to leave us, I’ve asked both of these pastors in our fourth segment to give us an example of a recent cultural application that they have found it necessary to make across their pulpit. And quite frankly, they’re going to have to choose and decide which one because there actually have been a lot of them. The church is unique, the church is essential, every church is culturally responsible, and on the next segment that we’re going to demonstrate that every church also must be culturally practical. You’re listening to Stand in the Gap Today. Please don’t go away, we’ll be right back.
Keith Wiebe: Thank you so much for joining us today for Stand in the Gap. We are talking about the culture and the church or more specifically the culture and the pastor. Every pastor is essential, every pastor is unique, every pastor I think we have demonstrated is culturally responsible for his pulpit and every pastor his culture must be practical. Now, obviously we expect him to be biblical. He is to preach the whole counsel of God, not the whole council of politics, not the whole council of the culture, although the whole counsel of God will certainly apply to that.
As I said before, I’ve asked each of our guests, Joe Green, St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Paul Blair, Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. I’ve asked each of them to give us an example of a recent cultural application that they’ve had to make. It’s also been my privilege to have Sam Rohrer, sharing in the hosting privileges of this broadcast today and I want him when these two men are finished, Sam, to pick it up and put a capstone on it, lead us in prayer as we approach the end of our time together. Joe, let’s begin with you. What’s a recent cultural application that you’ve had to make from your pulpit?
Joe Green: Well, one in particular I can think of is a little while ago one of our congregants came to me and she was really distraught and she asked me what she should do and what she should say. Her grandson was in middle school and at her grandson’s school they were having a cross-dressing day and they said they were doing it because they wanted for each gender to see how the other gender lives or feels. And so her daughter was actually going to take her grandson to the store to buy women’s clothing. And she said, “I don’t agree with that, what should I do?”
So I first gave her the scripture in Deuteronomy 22:5 it says, “A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man neither shall a man put on a woman’s garments for all that do so in abomination.” But then I also gave a little bit of explanation because I don’t want to just throw scripture at her. And I said, “We have to understand that although the culture is shifting with the transgender movement and LGBTQ becoming very popular movements we have to look at what does God say about these issues.
“And the Bible is very clear that God made male and female, and so within that is the image of God, those two coming together in biblical idea of marriage but more importantly that the suggestion that I’m a male but I really identify as a female and therefore I want to live my life that way, actually is sending a message that I no longer believe in the authority of God, that God made a mistake. And it can help to lower self-esteem because if I believe that I’m a mistake and that I was created wrong, then what does that say about me as well?” And so, because I was able to line it up for her, she was able to talk to her daughter and her daughter didn’t go and take her son to go and wear women’s clothing. But that’s how we have to use scripture and the authority of scripture in a biblical worldview in order to address things that are directly affecting us in the culture.
Keith Wiebe: Joe, that is an incredible, incredible illustration. And what a hideous assignment to be given in a school classroom? Paul, same question to you.
Paul Blair: Well, we try to have a balanced diet. On Wednesday nights I’m teaching through the Book of Jeremiah just verse by verse expository, teaching on Sunday mornings. My co-pastor is teaching a series during the Bible hour on right now he’s doing angels and fallen angels. Yesterday I happened to preach a message dealing with what we are seeing in our culture. I preached on this subject, does God have an ideal form of government? And I went back and pointed to what God first established in Israel which was not a monarchy, it was basically 12 states.
And they were to choose out from among the people capable men that feared God, loved truth, and hated covetousness. They had all consented to be governed by their constitution, the Torah, the law of Israel, and then they were to govern in a Republican form, tens, fifties, hundreds of thousands, and they were to meet and judge in righteousness according to the law. And then I compared that to what we were supposed to be at the outset. And I think one contrast that you will find remarkable in our listening audience, is how we have changed. This general government was supposed to be very limited as to what they did, states were supposed to be states.
And honestly, that’s the only way we’re going to function now is if we’ll get back to that, where conservative states can lean toward being more conservative and liberal states can be more liberal if they choose to, but we work together as a voluntary union for our common defense and for our general welfare. But in the first 36 years under the Constitution we had five different presidents. Two of them served two terms, John Adams only served one term. But over 36 years we had those presidents issue 15 total executive orders, 15 executive orders over 36 years because they knew that the president wasn’t the king and he wasn’t going to sit at his desk and rule the people.
Well, we saw 40 executive orders issued by the current president in the first week that he was in service. This is an illustration of how we point to what God designed and why we have worked well when we have tried to follow God’s clear instruction and how much better His ways always worked in us. We also emphasized how until King Jesus actually rules and reigns in righteousness when He’s on this earth, man can’t be trusted and the concentration of power, whether that be in Moscow or quite frankly in Washington, D.C., never works out well.
So it’s very important that we basically remember what the design was and quite frankly that we weren’t given or we didn’t create an all-powerful Washington D.C. And they have assumed some authority they don’t have. And they’ve already defined abortion as legal, they’ve redefined marriage. Well, they’re going to come after the church and come after our other liberties real quickly unless we can learn to say no. Anyway, that was culturally relevant messages just yesterday.
Keith Wiebe: It sure was.
Sam Rohrer: And that’s excellent, Joe. Both you and Paul have talked about scripture, we talk about scripture. This program is about standing in the gap for truth. Joe, quickly, your view as a pastor, when you relate biblical truth to people, how do you explain the truth then in a way that your people can go out and believe that actually it’s not only a truth for them but it’s truth now to be expected in the culture as well. In other words, they can’t go out and design it for themselves, that’s one of the big problems. How do you present that concept of unchanging truth to your people?
Joe Green: One of the quotes I like to use is Oswald Chambers said that all Christians have the Spirit of Christ but not all Christians have the mind of Christ. And so over the last few weeks I actually started a series talking about the mind of Christ that as born again believers, born again by the Spirit of God we have a new nature and a new character which lines up with God. Therefore, we are to submit to the authority of scriptures which represents the mind of God and in doing so not only does it bring a blessing and wholeness to ourselves but as we go out and preach biblical counsel to the world, then we understand that the word of God is beneficial for every sector of society.
And one example I use, specific example I use was, out of the 10 commandments I asked them, “Which one of those 10 would make our society better off if we could do without? Would it be better if we said it was okay to steal or to kill?” And so therefore I try to illustrate to them that the word of God although it was given to us, it applies to every realm of culture because every part of God’s creation benefits from following after God’s principles.
Keith Wiebe: Thank you so much, Joe. That’s extremely well said, both you and Paul. Folks, you have heard today two pastors, very committed to the authority of scripture, very committed to the thorough and practical exposition of that scripture across their pulpits. They are in different areas, they describe this differently. I would suggest this might be a program you want to go back and listen to again. There’s a lot of good information here. Sam said it well, standing in the gap today is actually standing in the gap for truth. Truth that is absolute, truth that applies to every one of us, truth that carries blessings when it’s obeyed and consequences when it is disobeyed.