A few weeks ago, I spent some time in Oklahoma City attending meetings at my alma mater, Heartland Baptist Bible College. One afternoon, I had to run a few errands and I jumped in my car and drove to the mall. As I started driving, my eyes were drawn to the large towers that loomed over the landscape every quarter mile or so.
To someone who’s never lived in Oklahoma, these metal pillars with a large dome on top look like oddly-shaped cell phone towers. But to those who live in the area (like I did for four years), they understand these structures are essential to life in the Midwest. What are they? They’re outdoor warning sirens, often simply called “tornado sirens.” The idea of having outdoor sirens for tornadoes may seem odd to us here in New England, but there’s a reason they call the Midwest “tornado alley.”
Some of the most powerful and frequent occurrences of tornadoes take place in Oklahoma, and tornado sirens can be the difference between life and death. Their loud wail is a warning to take heed to the potential danger brewing and to take shelter indoors. Who knows how many lives they have saved, simply by sounding the alarm of lurking peril.
As I looked at these sirens jutting into the sky, I was reminded that their job is much like the job of a pastor. A tornado siren blares warning to a public that doesn’t realize danger is swirling around them. A pastor’s pulpit should be a place where he sounds the alarm of the danger of sin and judgment. The Lord told the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, And shew my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.”
God also reminds Ezekiel of the grave importance of preaching when He says, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me ... Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand (Ezekiel 3:17,20).”
There would be those who believe that a pastor should not talk about sin, but rather should simply preach on topics that are less controversial. Unfortunately, this mindset would be like telling a tornado siren, “We don’t mind you being here, but do you have to be so loud? Couldn’t your sound be more pleasant? Don’t you know that you’re old-fashioned, a relic of a less sophisticated age?” Such thinking would be folly, and would cause a great loss of life. How much more does this apply to the preaching of eternal things?
The greatest love a pastor can show a congregation is to preach the “whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)” as the Apostle Paul did. If we avoid talking about sin, we’re derelict in our duty, just like a tornado siren that refuses to blow when a tornado is preparing to touch down. I’d encourage you to find a church that is willing to preach the Bible from cover to cover, and that will tell you what the Bible says whether it is palatable to modern sensibilities or not.
Adam Riveiro is the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church at 800 Washington Street in Easton. You can contact him at email@example.com. More information about the church and its services can be found at www.mylibertybaptist.org.