What is one issue you wish the church would address differently?
I wish the church would address mental illness differently. By conflating neurochemical issues with spiritual ones, the church harms people. Those with bipolar disorder desperately need a mood stabilizer but have been told they’ll get better if only they will pray more, have more faith, and read their Bible more often. That is spiritual abuse at worst and spiritual malpractice at best. Of course, everyone is well served by praying more and being in the Word. But we wouldn’t tell a cancer patient to do those things alone in order to be cured. We should likewise stop doing so to people with serious mental illness. It’s dangerous and harmful. These precious suffering individuals need the love and wisdom of Christ manifested to them. The time has come. We can and must do better.
—Kelly M. Rosati, CEO of KMR Consulting and former V.P., Advocacy for Children for Focus on the Family
Genesis 1 tells us we are created in the very likeness and image of God. The social construct of race, however, was engineered to communicate a very different agenda: that human value is determined by where a person falls on the racial hierarchy. Certain races in our nation have been deemed better than others, allowing evils such as slavery and white supremacy to thrive. The racial narrative that some humans are more worthy than others is wrong, but it is more than that: It is a mockery of God.
Despite constantly being reminded of our history of racial brokenness, Christians nonetheless hear their churches classify racial issues as “social” issues that take a backseat to the core work of proclaiming the gospel. I wish the church would call out the sin of racial injustice with clear conviction, pointing us to the Christ, whose purpose was to create one new humanity.
—Daniel Hill, Founding and Senior Pastor of River City Community Church and author of White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White
The opioid crisis in America is a troubling pro-life issue nobody’s talking about. If we care about unborn babies and seeing lives saved, we must also care for children affected by drugs. Likewise, increasing numbers of kids have entered foster care because they’ve suffered abuse at the hands of their parents, many of whom are dealing with addiction. So if we’re going to say we’re pro-adoption and pro-foster care but are not dealing with some of the underlying issues, we’re missing an opportunity. Drug addiction affects our communities. Everyone can tell you a story about families that have been ripped apart because of it, so if we want to uphold human dignity, we can’t neglect this issue. It affects our broken world in more ways than we realize.
—Phillip Bethancourt, Executive V.P. of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Assistant Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
I don’t like being critical of the church, because there are many congregations out there that are hitting on all cylinders. However, I think all believers need to do a better job of engaging with Scripture. William Lane, the man who discipled me, talked about the disciplined use of the imagination. What he meant was that we should do our homework and understand the cultures, history, geography, and languages used in the Bible. But we need to use that knowledge in a way that empowers people to engage with Scripture on their own. We try to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s ourselves rather than trust the power of God’s Word to do the work. Jesus is a very compelling person, and if we do our best to present who He really is, people are going to respond.
—Michael Card, award-winning singer-songwriter and author of John: The Gospel of Wisdom
Illustration by Dan Forster