It’s the Christian's Duty to Speak the Truth

Pastor John:

Christians — people who bank their hopes on Jesus and spend time with Jesus and obey Jesus — should stand up in public and tell God's truth as they see it without worrying that secular listeners may not even agree with our most basic assumptions.

Isn't it amazing how Peter and John respond to the rulers [Acts 4:13–20]! The rulers tell them to get out and not to speak in the name of Jesus any more. Then in verse 19–20 they say, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."

One of the great obstacles to our speaking out in public about the truth as we see it with Jesus is that we think we have to win. Or we think we have to operate with the assumptions of secular leaders. But Peter shows us that this is emphatically not what we have to do. Our calling is not to win or to borrow the assumptions of the world. Our calling is to stand up and tell it like it is in the eyes of God.

Imagine how the rulers might have responded to Peter and John when they said, "You decide if we should listen to you or God." "Who do think you are! Telling us the choice is between what we say and what God says! How do you know we don't speak for God?"

All Peter says is, "We must speak what we have seen and heard." He is a witness. Now don't get me wrong. Some people are especially gifted and called to enter more extended debate and to try to find some common ground and labor to persuade. But the point here is simpler: all Christians should stand up and tell it like they see it. Let the chips fall where they will. Don't worry if the public doesn't even agree with your most basic assumptions. Your job is not to win. Your job is not to control this society. Your job is to say what God wants said.

The Bible says that the law of God is written on the heart of every person (Romans 1:32; 2:15). It says that everyone is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). There is reason to believe, then, that your witness to the truth — about abortion, or any other issue — will trigger something deep inside of people. It will have the ring of truth in their heart of hearts, though it may be temporarily suppressed in unrighteousness. Who knows what God may be pleased to do if his truth is spoken boldly and clearly by tens of thousands of evangelical Christians?

Excerpted from Abortion: Shall We Listen to Men or God? (1991).

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Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God, and is the lead planter of Cities Church in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.