By Jim Bryant and Mac Brunson – Excerpted from The New Guidebook for Pastors (B&H Publishing Group, 2007)
Every pastor needs to develop not only sound doctrine but also a thoroughgoing Christian worldview. The whole gospel of Jesus Christ is for the whole world and for the whole man. Because of the Social Gospel movement of the early twentieth century, many evangelicals shied away from social issues altogether. Thank God, the evangelical pendulum is swinging the other way. Hunger, poverty, homelessness, disease, and the environment are as much moral issues as abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual marriage. Political liberalism tried to co-opt those issues as their agenda, accusing conservatives of capitalistic greed and not caring.
The Bible has much to say about feeding the hungry and helping the poor. Jesus identified Himself as the Messiah, among other things, by preaching the gospel to the poor without charge (Luke 4:18). He healed people without charging them. He delivered them from demon possession without charge, and He even fed them in large numbers without taking up an offering beyond the leftovers (John 6:1–13).
One of God’s first commands to mankind was to have dominion over the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28). That has great ecological implications for Bible believers. The Great Commission that Jesus gave to the church before He ascended into heaven includes teaching as well as baptizing (Matt. 28:19–20). The modern missions movement established hospitals and schools all over the world in response to the Great Commission. A Christian worldview is a biblical view of everything in the world.
Every pastor needs to ask himself, What does the Bible say about every view in the world, including all moral issues? What does the Bible have to say about abortion? euthanasia? embryonic stem cell research? family? homosexuality? divorce? racial prejudice? hunger? poverty? homelessness? illegal aliens? ecology? the environment? sex outside of marriage? gambling? use of wealth? taxes? respect for government? Are there biblical implications about disease, death, and burial?
For too long these issues have been co-opted by liberal politicians as strictly political issues. They accuse conservatives of greed and neglect. Yet when conservative evangelicals speak out on hunger, poverty, and disease, the liberals are surprised and even question whether the conservatives are trying to take over their issues for political purposes. And when we speak out against issues they disagree with us on, they cry foul. Those are political issues, they say; therefore, the church should be silent on them. Pastor, do not let the liberal press or politicians intimidate you into silence. Apply the Bible to all of life.