Pulpit Freedom Sunday – 2011

The power to tax is the power to control and ultimately to destroy.  Since churches are free from government control, churches have always been immune from taxation. 

Seeking to clarify the unconstitutional interpretation of the now famous “Johnson Amendment” and its use to censor pulpits in America, 33 pastors participated with the Alliance Defense Fund in 2008 in what was called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.  Since then, the effort has grown every year with 84 pastors participating in 2009 and approximately 100 pastors participating in 2010.

This year’s effort on October 2, resulted in 539 churches officially participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday and the responses from these congregations was a hearty Hallelujah!!

One email was forwarded to me from a first time participant.  This email was an unsolicited word of encouragement sent from a member of his congregation.

Pastor,

I just wanted to send you a quick email and commend you on a great message yesterday.  I have traveled and visited many congregations around the country and while I was overseas I listened to many different speakers via podcast.  Not many preach the truth boldly, and few dare to touch on politically incorrect matters.  You did both.  Thank you.  Thank you for bringing a message that needed to be preached without sugar coating it or talking around the issues.

By the way, I thoroughly enjoy the history you work in to your messages as well.   

Keep up the good work.

Another first time participating pastor offered this detailed account of Pulpit Freedom Sunday:

   I must report that being a part of the Pulpit Freedom “Speak Up” Sunday was HUGE at our independent Christian church!  I have never gotten such a great response of compliments and “AMENS” as I did on October 2, 2011.  I had been reluctant in the past to fully commit, although I had preached on the controversial subjects of abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Godly heritage of our country and the need to elect Christian leaders.  Most of the opposition came from within, from church leadership afraid of losing tax exemption or opening the church up for lawsuits or retaliation. 

   When I finally decided to stand up, the response from the congregation was truly amazing and encouraging—with even compliments from those in opposition.  I put together a full PowerPoint presentation based on the life of Daniel, and with quotes from courageous men such as Charles Finney, John Jay, Robert Niemoller, and Edmund Burke.  Our theme for the year is “If Not You, WHO?  If Not Now, WHEN?” so it was a great opportunity to remind the congregation that it is time to stand up and get involved.  One scripture that I used was 2 Timothy 1:7:

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”

   The overall day of worship was overwhelming, and I’m so thankful for my fellow ministers who continued to encourage us all to join the effort that day.  It is evident that people are hungry for the truth, and that they are fed up with the godless way they see things deteriorating.  With this Sunday occurring during an effort called “40 Days for Life”, I was able to rally some people to join in that effort also, as we joined the prayer vigil to stand for the rights of the unborn outside the abortion clinic in our area.

   The scripture that we used with our theme was from Isaiah 6:8:

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said ‘Here am I.  Send me.’”

   It is truly time that we wake up, stand up and speak up, or we may as well give up, curl up and shut up!  I challenge all ministers to make a commitment to be a part of ADF’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday next year.  If you pray and speak the truth in love, God will bless you more than you could ask or imagine!   (Rod Rieger, Newcastle Christian Church, Newcastle, Oklahoma)

Pastor Charles Finney, the champion of the Second Great Awakening, said:  “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

Praise the Lord that pastors in America are beginning to stand up!!  If the Lord Jesus tarries, perhaps we are on the verge of another Great Awakening!!

For a list of pastors in your area that participated, go to:  www.adfmedia.org/files/PFS_2011_Participant_List.pdf?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

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