By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
PORTLAND — Some Christians — including many pastors — believe trying to influence laws and politics is not the best use of their time and energy. Don’t try persuading Randy Wilson on that. As far as he is concerned, too many of America’s problems are directly attributable to the nation’s clergy failing for decades to speak out on critical issues.
“Where is the voice of the Church?” asked Wilson last month at Agape Bible Church in Portland during a luncheon gathering for church and ministry leaders. “Crickets. That silence has gotten us to where we are today.”
The national field director of church ministries for the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC), Wilson was joined by Pastor Denny Stahl of Calvary Chapel Grants Pass, Oregon representative for the council, at four events in Oregon March 4-8. The other gatherings were held in Grants Pass and Eugene.
As part of a nationwide FRC effort titled Watchmen on the Wall, Wilson encouraged his listeners at each event to form community-wide pastoral councils, comprising clergy who share a vision of an American culture “in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.”
The councils would build relationships with local community leaders and promote “righteousness in the gates of the city.” National goal is to have 40,000 “Watchmen pastors” by 2020, he said.
Wilson showed a brief FRC-produced video featuring Tony Perkins, the organization’s president, and which pointed out Biblical examples (Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Saints Peter, John and Paul, and Jesus Himself) of those who spoke out boldly on the issues of the day, as well as more recent examples in U.S. history, such as 1700s evangelist Charles Finney and 1980s civil rights activist and pastor Martin Luther King Jr.
The video’s theme: Were such spiritual leaders being political, or just Biblical? In Wilson’s and Stahl’s eyes, their actions were indeed Biblical.
As another example, Stahl cited The “Black-Robed Regiment” of America’s Revolutionary period. The name was given to those pastors in colonial America who, by speaking out, were very instrumental in the nation’s independence. Every Sunday they would mount their pulpits wearing their long black clerical robes. The same kind of fortitude is needed today by the nation’s pastors, including Oregon’s, said Stahl.
“I truly believe that if the Church came together, we could be game-changers in the state of Oregon,” he said.
Wilson said America was founded on Godly principles, and it is time for God’s people to stand up for Biblical values. “This land, America. Whose is it? It’s ours, but we’re giving up territory right and left.” He said pastors need to “pray, preach and partner,” coming together in unity, because too many traditional and religious freedoms are under increasing attack. “If we don’t speak out on the issues of the day, that fight is coming to the church,” Wilson said.
Through mutual, prayerful effort and encouragement, pastors can overcome fears that keep them “behind the door, in the four walls of the church,” he said.
“If any pastor gets in trouble for standing for truth on an issue, we will be there for them,” he said.
For information, go to www.watchmenpastors.org