Marriage Matters: Why Are Pastors Not Addressing Top Issues from the Pulpit?

Biblical marriage certainly took a hit this year, as on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in every state in the nation. Now, six months later, pastors and churches are still struggling with how to deal with this sensitive and sometimes-controversial issue within their congregations.

To close out a historic year in many arenas, the American Pastors Network and the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, are encouraging pastors across the country to take on the tough topics like marriage and not shy away from the controversy they may cause.

“Marriage and homosexuality are two of the most important issues in the church today,” said APN and PPN President Sam Rohrer, “and there is perhaps no area of ministry more crucial. In particular, pastors must not avoid preaching biblical truth about marriage—about how God designed this holy union between one many and one woman. Anything outside of that scope falls short of God’s law and His plan, even if the law of the land says otherwise.

“One of the goals of the American Pastors Network is to continually encourage pastors to be effective ‘salt and light’ in this dark world and preach the ‘whole counsel of God,’” Rohrer continued. “There is no greater calling for these ‘Ministers of God’ and no greater responsibility to God’s people. Especially in these sometimes-discouraging times, the church must be a light, and pastors must be committed to bringing these issues to the pulpit—and to their congregations.” 

Rohrer says he sees six reasons pastors may shy away from addressing these hot-button issues:

  1. Fear of controversy or pushback from those in the pews if biblical principles are applied to the issues of the day.
  2. Negative theological training regarding talking about impacting the culture or discussion of anything regarding civil government or politics.
  3. Unjustified fear of losing their 501(c)(3) status.
  4. Being unaware of the historical role of pastors in the history of America.
  5. Believing that the primary purpose for preaching is limited to “preaching the Gospel” rather than training and “making disciples.”
  6. Having more of a fear of man rather than a fear of God.

Added Gary Dull, APN board member and executive director and vice president of PPN, “There is perhaps no issue that touches more churchgoers than that of marriage. Despite what the law now says, our pastors must continue to speak the truth about God’s design for all relationships. To hide this truth from our congregations is not helping them to live biblically, but rather, shortchanges them of what God intended for all of our lives.”

Research has shown that pastors are purposefully skirting some controversial topics when preparing their messages for the pulpit, but Rohrer and Dull say the task must be tackled, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

Last summer, George Barna, founder of the Barna Group, shared research that found that while about 90 percent of theologically conservative pastors believe the Bible speaks to societal issues, fewer than 10 percent of these pastors are teaching people what the Bible says on these topics.

The research, conducted through the American Culture and Faith Institute, asked pastors across the country about their beliefs regarding the relevancy of scripture to societal, moral and political issues, and the content of their sermons in light of their beliefs. Barna stated that many pastors are afraid to get involved in political issues because of the controversy it might create. And, he added, “Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money, from attending programs.”

To find out what the Bible has to say on these tough issues, tune into our daily broadcast called “Stand in the Gap Today”.  You can download archived programs, or listen live here:

3 replies
  1. bbbbbobsamue
    bbbbbobsamue says:

    I am pastor bob samuel president and founder of chapel of grace mission here in Africa I think if pastors can recognice the true importance of christianity and the effectiveness on lives we won’t be afraid to talk on topics relating to politics and security but we need to stand out and defend the gospel of christ

  2. Dewey W. Mason
    Dewey W. Mason says:

    To speak in non offensive lack of truth in the reason’s mode, to bow low as not to errupt a demon who otherwise would not leave you alone is God’s right to remove your voice in his house, as we see America fall away from his needs.

  3. Mike Trentham
    Mike Trentham says:

    Bottom line…..What does the BIBLE say about these matter? Marriage is between a Man and a Woman, period. As to the other matter, homosexuality, well the BIBLE is VERY clear on that as well. It is wrong. We preach the BIBLE from the pulpit and will continue to do so as long as we have breath in our lungs. More and more preachers and Pastors need to do the same. Stand up for the Word Of GOD.


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