Pastors, this is your moment. This is your moment to stand up and to speak up for justice. Justice is not political. It is biblical. It is the basis for Christianity.
Justice is the reason you gave your life to Christ and answered the call to ministry. Justice is your motivation, your aspiration, and the reason for your surrender to Christ and to the people of your church.
You didn’t know that, did you? You didn’t hear it preached in your home church. Your pastor never alluded to justice. And you are following in those same footsteps. But justice is what God demands and that is the call you answered.
It is time, Pastors, to look inside your soul and in light of the scriptures, to come to terms with justice.
Jesus demands it. Read Matthew 23, and put your own name in there.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the lawand the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV)
There will not be God-honored justice until you, Pastors of Christian churches, come to terms with what you are preaching and teaching and the heavy, cumbersome loads that you put upon people’s shoulders.
You love Jesus. I have no doubt of that. But you have not followed Jesus. You have followed religious leaders who have made their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long.
- You have bound wives to husbands in spite of the fact that there is no scripture in the bible where Jesus tells wives they must submit to their husbands.
- You have bound wives to husbands and given husbands authority and spiritual leadership over those wives in spite of the fact that there is no scripture in the bible where Jesus tells husbands that they have authority and spiritual leadership over their wives.
- You have denied women their place in spreading the gospel and bringing souls to Jesus, and you have denied them their full calling for service to the Lord in spite of the fact that everything Jesus did and said was to give women a voice.
- You have denied racial justice to all races and you have not stood up to racial injustice when your congregation spews forth racial hatred.
- You have denied equality to those who love someone of their own sex. You, Pastors, have passed judgment on those who have been born with a desire for the same-sex and you have called it a sin. You, Pastors, have led your people to promote the most awful hateful words against them.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ (Someday, Pastors, your descendents will wonder why you so forcefully denied women the right to be a pastor and to preach the gospel). So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:13-39 NIV).
Pastors, this is your moment. Stand up and be a Christian! Stand up for justice.