When is “standing in the gap” going to become a noble idea again?
In a recent conversation with a dear friend, the subject of serving God came up as we discussed a Christian best-selling book. Students and young adults today are drawn to service more than ever, or so the narrative goes.
But the definition of “serving God” needs to broaden and deepen. What I keep hearing is that charity, health care, mission trips, relief work, disaster donations, tutoring special needs children, housing the displaced, and urban renewal are the basic parameters of Christian good works today.
Other ministries are given either a shrug or worse—a scoff.
This is not to dismiss these vital services, all desperately needed in a suffering world, and I applaud anyone who rolls up his or her sleeves for such daunting tasks. The priorities of our family include such service because it’s what all of us are called to do when we decide to follow Christ.
But it’s not all we are called to do. Another high calling is publicly resisting evil, even in politics, even when you are called every name in the book, your intentions and actions mischaracterized and demonized.
And this comes sometimes from fellow professing believers.
What I really long for is a broader definition of “serving the Lord,” one that nurtures and calls out believers to serve God in an especially distasteful but essential role: that of standing firm against popular depravity.
It’s the burden I felt over twenty years ago, and still do, and it’s not a fun job. Would I rather be spending more time on mission work? Absolutely. That seems like a dream compared to contending against radical homosexuals, self-righteous feminists, and deeply-disturbed transsexuals.
Many people believe those of us who speak out against the normalization of homosexuality and abortion are motivated by something other than the love of God’s goodness compared to the seduction of the gutter.
The Christian stampede away from a public defense of virtue is costing us all. We are about to bleed out, friends, and the body of Christ is desperate for more who feel called specifically—not just occasionally—to this area of service.
And it cannot be done out of self-righteousness. This is the common accusation and it’s a really powerful strategy of Satan to dissuade people from this calling. “You?? No one will listen to you with your track record!” Or, “Only proud, hard and judgmental people speak out against the poor victimized homosexuals!”
The best personification of how to do this well is Franklin Graham. Not only does he head Samaritan’s Purse, with its monumental worldwide relief accomplishments, but he has chosen to publicly express biblically-based positions against Islamic extremism, abortion, the assault on marriage, and attempts to open bathrooms to all sexes.
Graham steps out just as an engaged, inspired Christian pastor should do. Graham has called out evil in the public square, even while leading efforts to implement countless charity projects around the globe.
Here are a few reasons why “standing in the gap” is a badly- needed ministry calling:
1. It’s not negative. Just as people do something “negative” when they chose a mate—by rejecting all other possible contenders— publicly opposing evil always has the corollary of exalting something good. We oppose homosexuality as marriage both because God in Scripture made it clear that this behavior is sinful, but also because authentic marriage is such a positive benefit. The “negative” label is really from Satan, folks, and it needs to be rarely deployed.
2. It builds the soil for future generations. Every gardener knows that weeding and pruning are constant challenges, but must be done for maximum yield and fruitfulness.
We cannot, for instance, stop speaking out against abortion and contending against its legalization. The easy availability of abortion is a diabolical temptation available since Roe v. Wade for the sexually unmoored, and becomes an escape hatch of manipulative, commitment-challenged males and easily deceived or desperate mothers-to-be.
One way to remove this temptation is to make it unavailable. When I was a girl, we all knew, until 1973, that abortion was not an option, at least not easily. It made most of us think twice and three times about sexual behavior, and prevented many “unplanned” pregnancies, unwise liaisons, and heartbreak.
Closing the morning-after regret loop would be a tremendous help for confused women, unborn children and men who are heartless or weak.
3. Decrying evil protects the vulnerable, especially children. Failing to contend against evil leaves them defenseless against predators and corruption.
I have spent most of my ministry years monitoring and reporting on the homosexuality and gender rebellion agendas directed to our children. The reason is because there is a dearth of accurate, child-protective information to equip parents and communities to act.
Without the pro-family media, very few parents would know that some schools are educating children to embrace homosexual behavior as if people are born that way.
Many would remain unaware of the excesses of sex education—that children are being trained to fit condoms on plastic penises in fifth grade, to doubt their own gender identities, and to memorize the phone number of Planned Parenthood. There are countless examples of parents who have acted on information gained through Christian networks and thereby prevented disaster in the lives of their children.
4. Scripture is clear. We are to speak out, not remain silent. The apostle Paul told us in Romans 12:9: “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” In Proverbs 14:34 we are told, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” And Ezekiel 33 outlines the duty of the watchman: that person called by God to warn people about their sins. If those who are called resist God’s prompting and remain silent, the responsibility for the flagrant sinner’s judgment rests on those who say and do nothing.
Do you want to be the silent watchman? I don’t.