The primary task of pastors is to preach Jesus. It’s a simple calling. But once we understand that preaching Jesus means preaching on everything that he commands us to obey (Matt. 28:20), preaching Jesus will bring us headlong into confronting the culture’s many counterfeit gospels.
The Apostle Paul, in giving his protogé Titus instructions for choosing Elders for the young church on the debauched island of Crete, writes, “He (the Elder or Overseer) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine AND also rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). Paul believed the preachers of the Cretan Church (and all preachers who follow the New Testament example) should preach both affirmations and denials. Sadly, our sinful hearts need more than the open statement of the truth; we also need the open exposure of theological and moral error.
That brings us to something called the Equality Act. The moral errors contained within the Equality Act contradict sound doctrine and need a solid and firm biblical rebuke. It contains within its pages a counter-gospel that defines liberation at odds with God’s created order. The Equality Act, which passed the house Friday, is legislation that “would reopen the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to redefine ‘sex’ to include ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ as a federally protected classes.” If this bill were to become law the effect would be to “curtail religious freedom protections, hinder the work of healthcare professionals and faith-based hospitals, undermine civil rights protections for women and girls, and ultimately steamroll the consciences of millions of Americans.”
Preachers who follow Jesus’s pattern for ministry will want to lift their voices in opposition to such legislation—not because we are called to get “political” in the sense of everyday punditry, but because the Equality Act denies the biblical truth that people were created in two, distinct God-given genders and created for one another in their sexual complementarity. It denies the sinfulness of so much sexual perversion and calls what the Bible says is lawless, lawful.
The Equality Act encourages our courts and our entire culture to approve of sins for which the wrath of God is coming upon the world. By calling evil good, it blinds us to our need for the cross to redeem us from our sexual sin (not to mention the sin of lying about some of the most obvious truths in the world). By steamrolling Christian consciences, this act is likely to stifle the peaceful and quiet lives that God desires for Christians to live as they give their loving witness to the gospel (1 Tim. 2:2).
As every gender-confused man will now have access to locker rooms full of young women, it enables the likelihood of abuse. It creates inequalities by forcing biological females to compete against biological males in athletic competition. It creates a high probability that teachers and doctors will be fired and gradually increases the likelihood that preachers will have their speech monitored. It is absolutely certain that if the Equality Act passes, our God will be offended by this great evil.
We should preach Jesus to this generation that is so morally confused that they do not know their right hand from their left (they also do not know the difference between a boy and a girl). But, in addition to preaching Jesus, we should preach against every lie that would distort his truth. Such is a glorious challenge the preacher is tasked with. We should do this with great hope. Evangelical preachers, missionaries, and citizens have a long track record of blessing the nations with their testimony for the truth.
The early Church saw abortion outlawed. William Carey saw the practice of widow burning ended. William Wilberforce saw the slave trade mightily opposed. American Christians, and especially its preachers, should speak out against this deceptive injustice so that more people might be pressed to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ryan Fullerton is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. This article is from the Henry Institute at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.