Nashville, TN — Christian communicators must not choose to speak out on some social issues and remain silent on others based on how they will be received by the culture, David Platt said Thursday at the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN.
Battles are raging on key issues, and churches are flinching across the nation, said Platt, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.
While he is encouraged by the Church’s involvement in fighting such problems as poverty and sex trafficking, Platt is “simultaneously concerned by the lack of zeal on social issues that are just as — if not in some ways more — important, like abortion and sexual immorality, and so-called same-sex marriage.”
“On these issues, so many Christians and church leaders are strangely quiet,” he said.
The Gospel does not give believers the option of choosing which social issues will receive the light of biblical truth, Platt said.
“The same Gospel that compels us to combat poverty compels us to defend marriage. The same Gospel that compels us to war against sex trafficking compels us to address sexual immorality in all of its forms,” Platt said.
“We must apply the Gospel consistently and compassionately and courageously across our culture, knowing that that will be increasingly costly but believing that Christ is worth it.”
Drawing from his latest book, Counter Culture, Platt noted four biblical foundations and four cultural implications that flow from each. The foundations, which form the essence of the Gospel, are that God creates people as a demonstration of His glory, God designs people for the display of His Gospel, God judges people by His righteous law, and God pursues people with His redeeming love.
The cultural implication from the first foundation, Platt said, is that believers “oppose abortion as an assault on God’s creation and an affront to God’s glory.”
With 3,000 babies aborted nationwide and 130,000 aborted worldwide each day, Platt called abortion a modern-day Holocaust.
“This is not a complex issue at all. You cannot believe God’s Word and sit back passively on this issue,” Platt said, adding that moral or political neutrality is not an option regarding abortion.
“There is a battle raging in our culture, and if we sit idly by while millions of children — individuals in the image of God — all around us are dismembered and destroyed, then we’re denying basic biblical truth that forms the foundation of the Gospel we claim to believe,” Platt said.
The second cultural implication Platt noted is that believers must “flee sexual immorality in our lives and defend sexual complementarity in marriage for the sake of the Gospel in the world.”
Believers must not be guilty of selective moral outrage regarding sexual sin, Platt said.
“If we roll our eyes and shake our heads at court decisions in our country yet we turn the channel to stare uncritically at adultery in a drama, watch the trivialization of sex in movies, look at seductive images on reality TV shows and the Internet, or virtual prostitution in advertisements that sell and provoke sexual interest in us,” he said, “then we’ve missed the whole point.”
Today’s cultural climate presents an ideal opportunity for Gospel witness through biblical marriage, Platt said.
“As spiritual darkness engulfs the picture of marriage in our culture, spiritual lights can shine all the brighter in the picture of a husband who lays down his life for his wife and a wife who joyously follows her husband’s loving leadership,” Platt said. “God’s design is far more breathtaking, far more satisfying than anything we will ever create on earth.”
The third cultural implication Platt identified is that believers “work for justice in the world as we speak about the Judge of the world.” Justice is important to God, so it must be important to His people, he said.
“People say we need to be careful not to lose sight of the Gospel as we’re doing social ministry, and that’s a good warning, a needed warning in light of theological liberalism that often comes on the heels of social ministry,” Platt said. “But I’m convinced that most of us as Christians in our culture, most of our churches we’re part of, lost sight of the Gospel a long time ago in our lack of social ministry.”
The fourth cultural implication that flows from a biblical foundation, Platt said, is that believers “must give our lives and use our influence to pursue peoples still unreached by God’s redeeming love.”
“I am convinced that the greatest social injustice in our day is the reality that about two billion people have still never heard of God’s redeeming love in Christ,” Platt said.
“What is it going to take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to us in the Church?” he asked.
Platt challenged Christian broadcasters “who have a unique voice that spreads across this culture and cultures around the world” to refuse to pick which social issues they will speak out on and which issues they’ll stay silent on.
“In our belief, let’s be consistent. In our proclamation, let’s be complete. In our leadership, let’s be clear,” he said.
“The Gospel of Christ compels compassionate, courageous action on a multiplicity of cultural issues. So let’s apply it consistently across our culture while spreading this Gospel intentionally across all cultures,” Platt said.
“And in the end, when our time is done, may it be said of us that we loved the Lord and we led His Church for the demonstration of His glory and the display of His Gospel amidst the most pressing social issues of our day.”
By Erin Roach
Published: March 2, 2015