Handling Hot Button Issues From the Pulpit With Pastor Ron Lewis

Handling Hot Button Issues From the Pulpit With Pastor Ron Lewis

Senior Pastor Ron Lewis of Every Nation Church in New York City was recently part of a three-pastor panel on Fox & Friends. The pastors addressed a Barna Group survey about pastors feeling pressure in the pulpit when discussing hot-button theological issues such as social justice and homosexuality. 

21 Minutes • 10 days ago

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Ron Lewis

Senior Pastor Ron Lewis of Every Nation Church in New York City was recently part of a three-pastor panel on Fox & Friends. The pastors addressed a Barna Group survey about pastors feeling pressure in the pulpit when discussing hot-button theological issues such as social justice and homosexuality. 

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. This is the Greenelines podcast, and I'm bringing you a special show today, a little different than normal. I've got an interview with a pastor and a leader, a church planter by all means, and just a man of God and a very dear friend of mine. This is Pastor Ron Lewis, who's on the line with me. Pastor Ron, I want to speak with you because I know you were on Fox yesterday; you did a Fox News broadcast. So, tell us how that all came about, and then we'll get into the details of the interview.

·         On Charisma News: Half of Pastors Afraid of Speaking on Controversial Issues, Offending Congregation

Ron Lewis: Actually, it was not a singular interview. I was on a panel with two other pastors. Ainsley Earnhardt with Fox and Friends wanted to do a segment on the issue of the pressures, based on a survey and some research from Barna, that most pastors are feeling pressure to not be able to present the whole truth or really having pressure with hot button theological issues, whether it's homosexuality or abortion or social justice issues that they're feeling pressure from their parishioners. They are deeply concerned about offending people within their congregation. That was the nature of this brief discussion.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, tell me your position with them. What's the point, what do you think Fox was looking for?

Ron Lewis: As it is with all media, sometimes you don't know what they're looking for. But I think that they wanted to know from the three pastors they interviewed do we agree with this research? Do we agree that this is an issue within all the churches? Do we agree that we're feeling pressure? Each of us had a little bit of a different answer, but we all agreed that this can be a problem within local congregations. However, because we're called of God to preach the gospel and to preach the counsel of God that we really need to be true to our convictions and true to the Word of God and not give in or cave into fear or the over concern about offending people.

Dr. Steve Greene: What other pastors were on the show with you?

Ron Lewis: Pastor Michael Youssef from Atlanta and Pastor Corey Brooks from Chicago.

Dr. Steve Greene: Where do you think our audience could they benefit from this? We're going to try to find the interview itself and put it up on the Charisma News Network for you. What's the benefit? What do you think will gain from this by watching the interview?

Ron Lewis on Charisma News

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Ron Lewis: I do think it's this is an issue. This is an issue of that's been happening in our new digital age and new era that we're in where everyone speaks their mind all at once. I think it’s an issue that we need to be courageous. Yet, at the same time we really need to be aware that there could be new ways to handle hot button issues instead of just feeling like Sunday mornings are the only place and time to be able to deal with these issues that can sometimes sound more political or polarizing then truth based. I think that for sure we all felt yesterday a conviction that we have to continue to rise up against this tide of whether it's fear or pressure or concern. We have to overcome the cacophony of voices that would tell us to calm down or don't handle these things. Yet at the same time, I really think we need skill and wisdom, better research, better methods; not a new message, but better methods as we tackle these issues with our within our congregations.

Dr. Steve Greene: I know you plant churches really all over the world through you and through every nation. But you specifically, how do you coach other pastors when they want to preach a sensitive issue, because you get down into the guts of the matter and give counsel to those who are listening?

Ron Lewis: For me, one of the things that we underscore with our churches is the absolute need to actually exegete the scripture completely. Whether we're teaching from a book out of the Bible, or sometimes passages … Actually, we are approaching a series after Easter that's going to cover the entire Bible, in essence, and we're going to walk through the Bible in a year. So, I think it's really important that we exegete scripture. But I'll say this, when we get to topics … let me give you just one example of a dozen, and that would be maybe the topic of hell. We talk about hell. We really need to go deeper in our theological understanding of hell. I know that there's a movement today that would want to completely ignore hell. Obviously, universalism is growing in its popularity through certain popular teachers that, in the end, the atonement of Christ reaches everyone. We're all saved, sort of automatically. So, I think that we have to dig deeper theologically, number one. Secondly, I think that we really need good theological input of those who have gone before us; going back to Scripture, the walk through church history, what did others teach? And then thirdly, what is really important is what is our tone when we teach you these things? It's like one of the ancient men said that we shouldn't preach hell without tears in our eyes. If we really believe in it, we should not be Cavalier with this. We really need to feel that this is the gravity of this teaching, in and of itself, and it really calls us to go before God and see what He sees, feel what He feels, that hell was not created for people originally. It was created for the dark angels to be cast into hell. And so, we don't want anyone to end up in hell. So, what is our tone and how can we not be the stumbling block but let the Word of God itself penetrate the heart and also let us, as ambassadors for Christ feel what God feels and see what He sees.

Dr. Steve Greene: That's good, pastor. So, as you deal with this, in a micro case, as you're working with other pastors and associates, you personally have to have a really strong approach to your prayer life to hear what God's saying about these matters. As we near and times, as we get closer and closer, we're going to be dealing with more and more of this, correct?

Ron Lewis: We are, and I think being aware of the needs of our congregation it is important to … I look at John 1 that talks about how the law was given to Moses, but grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ, and how amazing Jesus was in His ministry that he embodied both grace and truth. I think what we see a lot in ministers today is they have a tendency to go to either one or the other and not realize the reality that these are inseparable within Jesus. Grace and truth go together in Jesus. Grace makes truth understandable and acceptable. Truth provides the foundation for grace. Grace isn't just a cheap, easy, free, automatic thing. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense, that there was a price that Jesus paid, that we can be forgiven and we can walk away from sin. So, I feel like that these are things that I see so often that people either just teach a grace message and there's no truth and sin doesn't matter. There are no consequences or those that teach truth don't have the tone and the reality that grace is what we need to empower us to believe and obey the truth anyway. We can't do the Christian life without the grace of God that empowers us.

Ron Lewis: So, pastor, where do you feel the Lord is leading us this year? We have finished one quarter of the year. There is a lot going on all over the world. What are you hearing in the spirit about the direction the Lord's leading us?

Ron Lewis: I really feel that there's a harvest that's coming that, we're approaching some extraordinary days of harvesting. With Easter, Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, coming up. I get the sense as I've prayed over this globally that this could be the greatest harvest that we've ever seen and known or has ever happened in all of all of history. I believe that there's a harvest that's upon us and that we should be prepared to preach boldly the gospel of Jesus, that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that He died on the cross for our sins and when we believe in Him, we will be saved. We have a new life and abundant life. I think we should preach boldly. I also believe that we should really be prepared to disciple and follow up and train those who receive the Lord, that we can't just have a count of hands raised, but really measure this more carefully through watching those who get baptized and also get added to the local church. We really need to be faithful on both sides of preaching and also making disciples.

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Ron Lewis

Senior Pastor Ron Lewis of Every Nation Church in New York City was recently part of a three-pastor panel on Fox & Friends. The pastors addressed a Barna Group survey about pastors feeling pressure in the pulpit when discussing hot-button theological issues such as social justice and homosexuality. 

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. This is the Greenelines podcast, and I'm bringing you a special show today, a little different than normal. I've got an interview with a pastor and a leader, a church planter by all means, and just a man of God and a very dear friend of mine. This is Pastor Ron Lewis, who's on the line with me. Pastor Ron, I want to speak with you because I know you were on Fox yesterday; you did a Fox News broadcast. So, tell us how that all came about, and then we'll get into the details of the interview.

·         On Charisma News: Half of Pastors Afraid of Speaking on Controversial Issues, Offending Congregation

Ron Lewis: Actually, it was not a singular interview. I was on a panel with two other pastors. Ainsley Earnhardt with Fox and Friends wanted to do a segment on the issue of the pressures, based on a survey and some research from Barna, that most pastors are feeling pressure to not be able to present the whole truth or really having pressure with hot button theological issues, whether it's homosexuality or abortion or social justice issues that they're feeling pressure from their parishioners. They are deeply concerned about offending people within their congregation. That was the nature of this brief discussion.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, tell me your position with them. What's the point, what do you think Fox was looking for?

Ron Lewis: As it is with all media, sometimes you don't know what they're looking for. But I think that they wanted to know from the three pastors they interviewed do we agree with this research? Do we agree that this is an issue within all the churches? Do we agree that we're feeling pressure? Each of us had a little bit of a different answer, but we all agreed that this can be a problem within local congregations. However, because we're called of God to preach the gospel and to preach the counsel of God that we really need to be true to our convictions and true to the Word of God and not give in or cave into fear or the over concern about offending people.

Dr. Steve Greene: What other pastors were on the show with you?

Ron Lewis: Pastor Michael Youssef from Atlanta and Pastor Corey Brooks from Chicago.

Dr. Steve Greene: Where do you think our audience could they benefit from this? We're going to try to find the interview itself and put it up on the Charisma News Network for you. What's the benefit? What do you think will gain from this by watching the interview?

Ron Lewis on Charisma News

·         When God’s Glory Intersects with Your Story

·         How Jesus Empowers You to Lead Business Leaders

Ron Lewis: I do think it's this is an issue. This is an issue of that's been happening in our new digital age and new era that we're in where everyone speaks their mind all at once. I think it’s an issue that we need to be courageous. Yet, at the same time we really need to be aware that there could be new ways to handle hot button issues instead of just feeling like Sunday mornings are the only place and time to be able to deal with these issues that can sometimes sound more political or polarizing then truth based. I think that for sure we all felt yesterday a conviction that we have to continue to rise up against this tide of whether it's fear or pressure or concern. We have to overcome the cacophony of voices that would tell us to calm down or don't handle these things. Yet at the same time, I really think we need skill and wisdom, better research, better methods; not a new message, but better methods as we tackle these issues with our within our congregations.

Dr. Steve Greene: I know you plant churches really all over the world through you and through every nation. But you specifically, how do you coach other pastors when they want to preach a sensitive issue, because you get down into the guts of the matter and give counsel to those who are listening?

Ron Lewis: For me, one of the things that we underscore with our churches is the absolute need to actually exegete the scripture completely. Whether we're teaching from a book out of the Bible, or sometimes passages … Actually, we are approaching a series after Easter that's going to cover the entire Bible, in essence, and we're going to walk through the Bible in a year. So, I think it's really important that we exegete scripture. But I'll say this, when we get to topics … let me give you just one example of a dozen, and that would be maybe the topic of hell. We talk about hell. We really need to go deeper in our theological understanding of hell. I know that there's a movement today that would want to completely ignore hell. Obviously, universalism is growing in its popularity through certain popular teachers that, in the end, the atonement of Christ reaches everyone. We're all saved, sort of automatically. So, I think that we have to dig deeper theologically, number one. Secondly, I think that we really need good theological input of those who have gone before us; going back to Scripture, the walk through church history, what did others teach? And then thirdly, what is really important is what is our tone when we teach you these things? It's like one of the ancient men said that we shouldn't preach hell without tears in our eyes. If we really believe in it, we should not be Cavalier with this. We really need to feel that this is the gravity of this teaching, in and of itself, and it really calls us to go before God and see what He sees, feel what He feels, that hell was not created for people originally. It was created for the dark angels to be cast into hell. And so, we don't want anyone to end up in hell. So, what is our tone and how can we not be the stumbling block but let the Word of God itself penetrate the heart and also let us, as ambassadors for Christ feel what God feels and see what He sees.

Dr. Steve Greene: That's good, pastor. So, as you deal with this, in a micro case, as you're working with other pastors and associates, you personally have to have a really strong approach to your prayer life to hear what God's saying about these matters. As we near and times, as we get closer and closer, we're going to be dealing with more and more of this, correct?

Ron Lewis: We are, and I think being aware of the needs of our congregation it is important to … I look at John 1 that talks about how the law was given to Moses, but grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ, and how amazing Jesus was in His ministry that he embodied both grace and truth. I think what we see a lot in ministers today is they have a tendency to go to either one or the other and not realize the reality that these are inseparable within Jesus. Grace and truth go together in Jesus. Grace makes truth understandable and acceptable. Truth provides the foundation for grace. Grace isn't just a cheap, easy, free, automatic thing. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense, that there was a price that Jesus paid, that we can be forgiven and we can walk away from sin. So, I feel like that these are things that I see so often that people either just teach a grace message and there's no truth and sin doesn't matter. There are no consequences or those that teach truth don't have the tone and the reality that grace is what we need to empower us to believe and obey the truth anyway. We can't do the Christian life without the grace of God that empowers us.

Ron Lewis: So, pastor, where do you feel the Lord is leading us this year? We have finished one quarter of the year. There is a lot going on all over the world. What are you hearing in the spirit about the direction the Lord's leading us?

Ron Lewis: I really feel that there's a harvest that's coming that, we're approaching some extraordinary days of harvesting. With Easter, Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, coming up. I get the sense as I've prayed over this globally that this could be the greatest harvest that we've ever seen and known or has ever happened in all of all of history. I believe that there's a harvest that's upon us and that we should be prepared to preach boldly the gospel of Jesus, that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that He died on the cross for our sins and when we believe in Him, we will be saved. We have a new life and abundant life. I think we should preach boldly. I also believe that we should really be prepared to disciple and follow up and train those who receive the Lord, that we can't just have a count of hands raised, but really measure this more carefully through watching those who get baptized and also get added to the local church. We really need to be faithful on both sides of preaching and also making disciples.

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

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Handling Hot Button Issues From the Pulpit With Pastor Ron Lewis