Poll: Almost half of evangelical pastors have been ‘cancelled’ in their careers
Seth Udinski, FISM News
Cancel culture seems to invade the Church, as recent survey found that nearly half of all evangelical pastors say they have been blacklisted or otherwise ousted by other professing Christians.
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an interdenominational ministry with the goal of uniting evangelical Christians with the gospel, conducted a survey last summer exploring the effects of cancel culture within the church. .
The results revealed that 48% of evangelical leaders “have been disinvited, blacklisted, or excluded by others as a way to express disapproval of the leader or the leader’s point of view.” The poll made it clear that this definition of annulment was not intended to include the ending of a relationship due to unrepentant sin, but rather simply due to differences in doctrine or public opinion.
An example was Daniel Henderson, who is president of Strategic Renewal. He said,
I was the keynote speaker for an annual event (for about nine years) at a major Christian college. Although my ministry has remained consistent – and my opinions have not changed at all – my relationship with people outside of their doctrinal particularities has caused me to disinvite.
NAE President Walter Kim, who currently serves as a pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Virginia, said:
As a society, we need to find a way to hold individuals and organizations accountable for their actions, but not punish people for holding beliefs that may be different. We need to encourage conversations across differences.
Author’s Biblical Analysis:
What do Christians think of this report? There is a lot of truth we can glean from this, but we must be careful to discern what is true from what is not. Several truths come to the fore, and please bear with me, as they may seem contradictory at first. In the biblical worldview, however, they are both equally true and fully uplifting to the believer.
The first truth is this: doctrinal clarity and doctrinal fidelity must be maintained. I am in no way advocating for cancel culture. However, for the protection of the body of Christ, safeguards are needed for the health of the flock to prevent those who are unfit to lead from being placed in that position.
While this report infers that leaders were canceled because of their biblical faithfulness, the church may also be guilty of canceling individuals who stumble in their walk rather than reaching out in love and seeking to help. to restore the individual.
For example: if a pastor is sanctioned for a public sin, he should not be removed. However, for the health of the church, he should not be allowed to take the pulpit or speak out until he has shown true repentance and steady growth. This growth is very often not immediate. Instead, it’s a process that can take weeks, months, or even years depending on the severity of the breach.
This is where we see the glorious difference between an “ecclesiastical” version of worldly cancel culture and the biblical model for confronting sin found in Matthew 18. If cancel culture permeates the worldview of a church, then whenever a pastor sins, the council of elders just fires that pastor and hires a new one. He sins once and the cycle begins again. You can see how stupid that would be.
Conversely, when the biblical model of accountability is used, the pastor is disciplined appropriately, with the end goal being restoration. That being said, there are certain sins that disqualify a person for leadership in the church, although no one is ever disqualified from the grace and love of Christ.
This leads to the second truth: We all deserve cancellation. By the grace of God, we received restoration instead.
The insidious nature of cancel culture, and the reason why Christians must be so vigilant in keeping it out of our churches and out of our hearts, is that it desecrates the gospel of grace and presumes that we, those who “cancel”, are somehow innocent.
Christian, if you are tempted to cancel another Christian, ask yourself if you have already sinned. The answer for you, no matter how “good” you think you are, is definitely yes. This means that you, like those who have been “cancelled”, also deserve eternal perdition.
If we pushed cancel culture to its logical end, there would be no one left to cancel. We would all be denied because we are all sinners who have miserably missed the mark of God’s goodness. Romans 3 tells us,
None is right, no, not one; no one understand; no one seeks God.
Cancellation culture is based on a dual system of condemning others and simultaneously ignoring our own evilness. It would behoove us to remember that Jesus’ greatest enemies on this earth, those whom he most often publicly condemned, were the Pharisees, those who were adept at pointing out the sins of others while completely ignoring their own. May that be in any of us!
Conversely, the good news of Jesus Christ tells us that God, for the sake of his beloved Son, has treated us with grace and welcomed us as sons and daughters to his table. This grace is entirely a gift, entirely a work of God, and entirely ours when we simply repent and believe in the name of the Lord Jesus.
We, to whom so much grace has been shown, must therefore be the first to show this same grace to others.
Christian, praise God that you and I did not receive the nullification but the restoration. May we show this same grace to others, and may the only thing we be vigilant to undo in our lives is the sin that so easily entangles us.
Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more… (Romans 5:20)