When Evangelical Silence Is Louder than a Virtue Signal

Josh Buice

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra

On Friday, June 24th 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States of America issued a ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Justices ruled 6-3 to overturn the legal right to abortion on a national level and turned it back over to the individual states. Not only was this a bombshell decision handed down by the Court, but it was one that has now rocked the nation resulting in protest, violence, and shock.

One of the reasons for such shock was that at least thirteen states enacted trigger laws that automatically made abortion illegal or provided heavy restrictions (or partial bans) in their state in the event that Roe v. Wade was reversed. While the liberals were angered by the decision, conservatives celebrated. Not only is this visible across the political spectrum, but it’s likewise visible across evangelicalism.

When George Floyd was murdered in the streets of Minneapolis, it sparked anger and protest. In the wake of Floyd’s death, the streets filled with crowds of people under the banner of Black Lives Matter. Black squares appeared in everyone’s Instagram feed in memory of George Floyd. It was an intense moment in America’s history.

During such controversy, evangelical leaders took to their blogs and their social media platforms to write articles and engage in virtue signals under the #BlackLivesMatter. After the murder of 63 million little babies since 1973, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has now overturned Roe v. Wade and turned the decision of abortion over to each individual state.

After such a shocking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—the overwhelming majority of high profile evangelical leaders are silent on the issue. Sadly, those evangelical leaders who expressed public support of #BlackLivesMatter are unwilling to show public support for #BabiesLivesMatter.

After such a shocking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—the overwhelming majority of high profile evangelical leaders are silent on the issue.

Why should we be concerned about this?

The Danger of State Sponsored Shaming

We all know what state sponsored persecution looks like and it’s a very ugly thing. History is replete with examples such as Bloody Mary and Hitler. Yet, political leaders and the President of the United States are now publicly shaming Christians for leading the charge in the effort to abolish abortion.

Evangelical leaders must be willing to point out the danger of the President of the United States weaponizing this moment against Christians who openly support life and refuse to remain silent about the fact that abortion is murder. In his speech following the ruling, President Biden referred to those who oppose abortion as extremists. The keyword in his speech was extreme. Here are some excerpts from President Joe Biden’s speech:

He began by stating:

Today is a — it’s not hyperbole to suggest a very solemn moment.  Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized.

He went on to say:

This landmark case protected a woman’s right to choose, her right to make intensely personal decisions with her doctor, free from the inter- — from interference of politics.

He then further stated:

Now, with Roe gone, let’s be very clear: The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.

President Biden then claims the decision of the Supreme Court was pressured by “extreme ideology.” He said:

Make no mistake: This decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law.  It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view.

He went on to say:

The Court’s decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences.  State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effect today, jeopardizing the health of millions of women, some without exceptions.

So extreme that women could be punished for protecting their health.

So extreme that women and girls who are forced to bear their rapist’s child — of the child of consequence.

He continues…

So extreme that doctors will be criminalized for fulfilling their duty to care.

He goes on to claim that the Supreme Court has taken an “extreme path” in this decision. He goes further to say:

With this decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court shows how extreme it is, how far removed they are from the majority of this country.  

Undoubtedly, this is the height of public shaming. This is coming from the most powerful podium in the land and the most powerful leader in the world—the President of the United States. After committing to be a president who represents all of the United States, he vilified a large percentage of Christians by using the “extremist” language. While he refers to the majority of the Supreme Court on this decision and any conservative in America as “extreme” in their views regarding abortion, this entire campaign to stand in the gap for the preborn is led by Christians.

The word extremism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “advocacy of extreme measures or views: radicalism.” The language employed by President Biden is not only irresponsible, it’s dangerous. It suggests that the church of Jesus is in the same position as radical extremists in other world religions like Islam.

It’s the church of Jesus Christ who is placed in the crosshairs by President Biden’s reckless speech, and evangelical leaders need to talk to him in the way that John the Baptist spoke to Herod—with no velvet mouthed language. Yet, instead of boldness and faithful watchmen—evangelical leaders are woefully silent. As Martin Luther addressed preachers in his day, he said the following:

Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture … The call is: watch, study attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well … The devil … the world … and our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent … This evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring. 1Meuser, Fred W., Luther the Preacher, pp. 40-41.

Evangelical leaders need to see this moment as one that could spark outrage against the church in a way that we have not seen in recent history. Rather than remaining silent, it’s time to step up and speak up.

Making Disciples Involves Speaking About Abortion

When Jesus gave his Great Commission to his followers, he didn’t limit the teaching to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, to be a disciple means that one is to be a learner. A disciple learns how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and applies the gospel to all of life—including complicated matters of our broken culture. That would include the subject of abortion.

A disciple learns how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and applies the gospel to all of life—including complicated matters of our broken culture. That would include the subject of abortion.

The job of a pastor is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11). Such equipping would necessitate applying the Bible to the brokenness of abortion and how the church of Jesus Christ can learn to rejoice and prepare for war in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dobbs case.

If we are called to rejoice when others rejoice (Rom. 12:15), it should be the pastors and evangelical leaders who lead by example in this area. So then, why are pastors, theologians, and leaders in evangelical circles silent when they should be rejoicing?

Over the last few years with the explosion of the social justice controversy and the political election season, evangelical leaders have shamed Christians and lectured the church on one-issue voting during the presidential election campaign. It became a hotly contested debate in the last election when Donald Trump was running for reelection against Joe Biden. Evangelical leaders wrote articles and suggested that Christians should not go to the polls with a single commitment to vote for the best candidate on the issue of abortion because they suggested that nothing could be done to overturn Roe v. Wade and there were other important matters worthy of consideration.

Leaders lead and this is the moment for faithful leadership—not silence.

When it was convenient for these leaders to talk about abortion, they were willing to speak up. Now that abortion is the issue everyone is talking about with the overturn of Roe v. Wade—there is silence. Man pleasers make poor preachers. The church needs to hear from faithful pastors and Christian leaders who see the issues of the day and likewise understand their responsibility to speak with clarity and boldness.

Leaders lead and this is the moment for faithful leadership—not silence. The world is asking all sorts of questions like, “What is a woman?” The culture has yet to properly answer, “What is a baby?” Now is the time for faithful leaders to speak up. It’s the church who takes charge in addressing these matters. President Biden rallied his base in his speech and closed with these words, “This is not over.” Dear Christian leader, it’s time for you to speak up and remind the church that this is not over.

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1 Meuser, Fred W., Luther the Preacher, pp. 40-41.
Author Photo by Gayatri Malhotra

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.