Is the Church Committing the Sin of Silence: With all that is going on in our culture today with abortion, the transgenderism movement and disregard for Biblical truth, it is the Church’s duty to stand up and say no. Yet, too many Christians today are committing the sin of silence, standing by and allowing evils to unfold. Bill Federer is our guest today, to tell us about it. What can we do to stand up for what is right and speak up against the wrongs that are happening in our culture?
Air Date: 06/28/2023
Guest: Bill Federer
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Rick Green 0:12
Welcome to the intersection of faith in the culture. Thanks for joining us today on the WallBuilders show. I’m Rick Green America’s constitution coach here with David Bartona and Tim Barton. Tim’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. David, of course, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. And we’re thankful that you’re joining us, check out our website today. WallBuilders.com. That’s where you can make a one time or monthly contribution. And also get some good materials for you and your family to dive in deeper, these foundational principles that made America great in the first place, David and Tim, we’re always talking about things we can do, the one thing we should not do is sit back and be silent. We cannot sit on the sidelines, the culture is at stake right now the future of our kids is at stake. And of course, God commands us to be engaged and to not be silent, which will be our topic today with Bill Federer.
David Barton 0:54
You know, this is a lesson I learned a long time ago. So I was reading through the scriptures. I noticed that God told Moses to do something. Moses didn’t do what he was told. And so God says, Okay, you’re not going to the promised land. And that was a really severe penalty. I mean, here the guy is he’s led them out of Egypt. He’s done all the things he did one in 40 years on the backside of the desert, getting ready for this great commission, God’s given him, and he doesn’t get to enjoy what he puts much time into. But what really struck me in that passage was where God said to Aaron, okay, you’re not going in either. And Aaron’s, like, wait a minute, what did I do? And God says, well, Moses said wrong stuff. And you didn’t correct him. You didn’t point out that what he did was wrong. You just kept silent. And because you kept silent, you’re not going in either. Wait a minute. You’re putting keeping silent at the same level as as the commission of sin that Moses did? Yes. And that really struck me early on that that’s just as bad as some of the really big sins we look at whether it be disobedience or anything else. Keeping silent is a bad sin. And I think there has been a lot of and we talked about it before, but polling says that right now, 77% of traditional value, people self censor for fear of being attacked, if they say something. And so silence, we’ve been intimidated in silence, just to avoid conflict or just to avoid offending someone. We can’t do that God takes silent really, really, really seriously. That is a really bad sin. And I was recently at a pastors conference speaking there, and Bill Federer was there as well. And he and I were talking to the background and this thing about silence came up and he just started rolling off scripture after scripture after scripture, about how it’s not just with Aaron and Moses, but there’s like numerous Scriptures where God makes it really clear that he hates people being silent when they need to be speaking up. I thought, wow, I didn’t even remember a lot of the scriptures or how strong God emphasized that so I thought it’d be a really good thing to have Bill just kind of go over some of the scriptures remind us how important it is, especially in a culture that needs truth and right now it’s got a lack of truth especially the church is not speaking up very often have some patches are but you know, a whole lot of them aren’t and the church overall has been pretty silent on this stuff. I thought this would be a good thing for all of us to hear how important it is that we all speak up.
Rick Green 3:09
Quick break, folks. We’ll be right back. Bill Federer, our special guest on WallBuilders.
Tim Barton 3:23
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. As the American War for Independence began, the president of Yale was the Reverend Naphtali Daggett. When New Haven the home of Yale came under attack, about 100 citizens rushed out to meet the British, the Reverend Daggett galloped by them on horseback, his clerical robes flowing behind him in the wind, and he took up a solitary position atop a hill. The 2500 British soon put the townsfolk to flight, but the Reverend Dagat continued to stand alone, firing down on the advancing troops and British officer confronted him. “What are you doing there? You old fool? If I let you go, will you ever fire again on the troops of His Majesty?” “Nothing more likely” was the preacher’s reply. America’s early pastors personally confronted danger and courageously led their communities. For more information on Pastor Daggett and other colonial patriots, go to WallBuilders.com.
Rick Green 4:21
Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders. Always good to have our good friend Bill Federer with us, Bill. Thanks for some time this morning, man. Thanks for coming on.
Bill Federer 4:28
Rick, great to be with you.
Rick Green 4:29
Hey, you always bring such great perspective to the issues of today by bringing in some history or biblical analysis. And of course, one of the big topics and we were we were talking about this back in the greenroom at the pastor summit in Nashville a few weeks ago. But this issue and this question of the church staying silent, not speaking up when there’s so much evil marching across our land and you have some really good points about not being silent and why the Bible commands us not to be silent.
Bill Federer 4:58
Right. So, the most common former government and world history is kings, you have the Reformation 1517. Then you have percentages of populations of countries becoming Protestant. And the different kings didn’t like that. So the king of Spain sent the iron Duke of Alba to Antwerp Island and call the Spanish fury. He kills 10,000 Protestants leaves them in the streets, their bodies. The Queen of France, Catherine Domenici, she has the Paris has a wedding with her daughter Margaret with the main Protestant leader Henry of Navarre. About 15% of France is Protestant Huguenots, and a couple days after the wedding, she pulls chains across the street, so the characters can’t go out and she sends her soldiers house to house. They kill 30,000 Protestants called the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. And so in the French speaking area of Switzerland, you got a guy named John Calvin, and he’s wrestling with Romans 13. But everyone would be subject to the governing authorities. But what if the governing authority literally wants to kill your wife and kids? No kidding. And so he began to write things like we are subject to the men who rule over us but subject only in the Lord, if they come in anything against him, let us not pay the least regard to it. In other words, Ephesians six says children obey your parents. But what if there is a bad parent that tells their kid to sell themselves into prostitution and kill the neighbor? Is the kid supposed to obey? No, the child obeys the parent, as long as the parents telling you to do something that lines up with God’s word. You obey the government, as long as the government is telling you to do something that lines up with God’s word. Why would God tell you to do something in his word and then tell you to submit to a government that tells you not to do what he just told you to do? So even Martin Luther King, Jr. letter from the Birmingham Jail 1963. One might well ask “How could you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws just and unjust. One has a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. Because how does one determine whether laws just or unjust? A just law is a man made law that squares with the law of God. And so here’s John Calvin coming up with this form of government where hey, we can rule ourselves without a king, and it is called a covenant form of government. And that’s what these Calvinists Puritans set up in New England. This is the 1600s a century of this. But after a century, these Calvinists Puritans become a little dry. They’re nicknamed “old lights.” And you have David Brainard expelled from Yale because he was overheard saying his professor was a spiritual as a chair. And so in comes new lights, and these are revivalists, and they go back to these German pieties. So Martin Luther had a personal revelation of Joshua lived by faith. Some German princes say this is my chance, I’m going to break from Rome came to my mind, I just decided you’re all Lutherans. The people say, “Okay, we’re Lutheran, what do we believe?” And so, a revival movement starts saying, look, it’s more than just believing in the government’s doctrine, even if it is more scriptural, you have to have a personal experience with Jesus. And when you do, your life will change. And you won’t do the worldly things you used to do, like, go to bars and brothels, and loot theater and get involved in government. Wait, what was that last thing? Yeah government so full of worldly people, if you’re really a Christian, you won’t be involved. That is the origin of the we run into people say, “Well, I’m more spiritual than you are because I’m not involved.” That came from these German Lutheran Pietists. And it turned into the German concept of the two kingdoms, the kingdom of the government, the kingdom of the church that you don’t touch. There were even German princes that donated money to the Pietists. So they would teach their people not to get involved in the prince’s business,
Rick Green 8:40
Because they love it. That’s great for them. They keep us out of the business, right?
Bill Federer 8:45
Yeah. And four centuries of that allowed Hitler to seize power, put Jews on train cars, blowing by churches, and to cry out for help. And the church’s response was, “Well, that’s the government doing that. And we’re the church. And that’s their circle. This is ours. So let’s just sing praise songs louder.” Like, can anybody see there’s something wrong with that picture? But it was these German Lutheran Pietists. They called the Moravians. And to their credit, they did spark revivals. They did influence John and Charles Wesley, who influenced George Whitefield, who did have revivals in America saying, look, it’s more than a plan. Even though this Calvinists Puritan plan is great. But there’s actually a middle of the road and the middle of the road is yes, it is a personal experience with Jesus. But yes, you want to be involved so your kids can have a personal experience with Jesus. Because if you don’t, and they push their agenda, they’re going to outlaw the Gospel. And so I asked the question, is it holier or not to be involved? And so what is for all those people that think they’re being spiritual by not being involved? What do you do with Numbers chapter 30? It’s the silence equals consent chapter. Half a dozen scenarios. One is if a daughter still living in her father’s house, in her youth, binds yourself with a vow in the day the father hears it, if he’s silent, her vows stand that’s come down to us as vows in a wedding ceremony and the pastor tells the church members “If you’re silent, you’re giving consent to these wedding vows. Speak now forever hold your peace.” So it’s called the Rule of Tacit Ad mission Black’s Law Dictionary and admission reasonably inferable from a party’s failure to act or speak. And so, if a church members silence gives consent to wedding vows and their sins in the community, and they’re silent, they’re giving consent to sin. And so Leviticus 20 says any Israelite that sacrifices a child to Molech will shalle be put to death. If the members of the community close their eye. When that man sacrifices one of his children to Molech, I Myself will set my face against him and his family cut him off from Israel. All you have to do is close your eyes while they sacrifice the good and you’re guilty. Proverbs 24 rescue those who unjustly sentenced to death, don’t stand back and let them die don’t disclaim responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it. For the Lord who knows all hearts knows you knew, and he’ll hold you accountable. And this concept is what the Apostle Paul talked about Acts 22. He says that when the blood of a martyr Stephen was shed, I also standing by consenting to his death. Paul didn’t throw a stone didn’t even say a thing. But he knew he was guilty for the death of Stephen because he was silent. And so we look at this in Numbers 20 You have Moses and Aaron called to the door of the tabernacle, the Lord says “Moses, take the rod, gather the assembly, thou and Aaron speak to the rock, water comes forth.” Well Moses gathers the assembly hits the rock with his staff once twice, water comes out. End of the chapter, the Lord says Aaron will not enter the promised land because both of you rebelled against me at the waters of Meribah. Like both Aaron didn’t do anything. He didn’t say anything. Yeah, that’s just it. Oh, wow. He was one of two people at the door of the tabernacle. He heard God tell Moses speak to the rock. When Moses lifted up the rod to hit it the first time that was Moses’ sin, probably took Aaron by surprise. When Moses lifted up the rod the second time. Aaron did not protest. He didn’t say well just wait a second I was there I heard it. And in that instant, Aaron was guilty. So Moses’ was a sin of comission; Aaron’s was a sin of omission. You know, the verse in the Bible, Leviticus 19:18. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The verse the verse right before it says “Confront your neighbor directly, so you will not be held guilty for their sin.” Another translation, “Rebuke your neighbor directly so you will not incur guilt because of them.” Another translation “It is wrong not to correct somebody who needs correcting.” And so you have this concept that if we are silent, we are giving consent to the sin and incurring their guilt upon you. You know, there’s even Leviticus 5 it says “When a person’s sins because they did not speak up, even though that they were an eyewitness and knew what happened. They failed to testify they are guilty.” And then another translation of that says “If someone takes God’s name in vain in front of you, and you are silent, it’s this it is the same as you taking God’s name in vain.” Wow, that even convicts me Proverbs that says “Whoso is a partner with a thief aims at his own soul. He heareth cursing and berateth it not.” Hearing cursing berate it not. You know, the movie, Indiana Jones, there’s the scene in you know, Harrison Ford’s on the motorcycle and then the little cart you know that wheel next to it is got his dad, Sean Connery. And, you know, Indiana Jones is like, “Hey don’t call me Jr.” You know, and, and anyway, they’re trying to decide go to Berlin, there’s a sign there. And Indiana Jones takes. He says, Jesus Christ takes God’s name in vain. And Sean Connery reaches up and slaps him and he goes sets for blasphemy. I mean, he, he hears cursing and he berates it. I mean, how many times so if somebody takes God’s name, you have to do something to show you’re not in agreement. You know, when King Jehoiakim, the wicked king is taken Jeremiah’s prophecy, cutting it up burning it in the fire. It says the princes of Israel stood around and they did not tear their garments and they did not protest it. And they were guilty. It was the same as them burning Jeremiah’s prophecy. And so why is this important? Because their tactic is to guilt trip Christians into being more Christian than Christ. They say if you’re really Christian, you will be silent while we teach your kids the trans-agenda. Yet, you know, Jesus said in the beginning, God made them male and female. So they’re telling you if you’re really Christian, you’ll let us teach something Jesus would never teach kids. In other words, if you’re really Christian, you want to act like Christ. Yet Jesus said, “If you’re silent and you allow one of these little ones obliges me to stumble better than he knows they’ll be put around your neck and be thrown in the depths of the sea.” So all these church members that think they’re being spiritual by not getting involved, by their silence or giving consent to send their inviting the judgment of God on their heads. This is serious
Rick Green 15:04
I got to stop you for one second, Bill. This is so good, man. I mean, there’s so many scriptures you just used and, and it’s no wonder now as I’m as I’m hearing you rattle these off, I’m like, Okay, this is why, you know, Bonhoeffer was a theologian, so he’s in God’s word, he’s saturated in God’s word. That’s why he was willing to say silence in the face of evil is evil itself. So he’s, it’s a biblical concept. It’s not something Bonhoeffer came up with himself. It’s a Biblical concept. Being silent in the face of sin is sin. We haven’t taught that. I don’t know, in my lifetime here.
Bill Federer 15:39
Well, and the word “Protestant” comes from what protests. These were people that protested the government. You know, Peter was with Jesus three years He’s with a group around the fire. Girl gets in his face, and says, You were with Jesus. And you can just picture Peter’s about to get pushed out of this group. He looked around, and everybody’s eye on him. And he said, “I never met the guy.” Like, that’s it, Peter. You cave that easily. The threat, the fear of being pushed out of a group is a real fear. But after the resurrection, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit. And the Sanhedrin said, we told you never to speak in His name again. And Peter said, “It’s better to obey God rather than men.” In other words, Peter now doesn’t care about what people think about him. He only cares about what God says about him. You know, I thought maybe one of the evidences of being filled with the Holy Spirit is standing up to corrupt government. You know, with Jesus, asked the apostles, “Who do men say that I am?” We go through it real quick. Of course, Peter says, “Thou art the Christ.” But let’s let’s look at it a second. You have some say that you’re John the Baptist. Some say that you’re Elijah. Some say that you’re Jeremiah. Well, who was John the Baptist? He stood up to the corrupt Herod. Who was Elijah? He stood up to the corrupt Ahab. Who was Jeremiah? He stood up to the corrupt King Zedekiah. In other words, Jesus was standing up to the prideful. He was tough as nails to the humble. He was as loving as can be. We got the humble part down pretty good, right? We love everybody. But Jesus didn’t spend all day petting lambs. I mean, His first sermon ended with them wanting to push Him off a cliff. Another sermon ends with them picking up stones to stone Him. Right. I mean, he raises Lazarus from the dead, and they go off and plot to kill Him. When Jesus comes into a location, there is a catalyst, there is a chemical reaction. Some people respond by hardening their hearts and turning away and other people respond by surrendering, right some, some fall on the stone in their broken, voluntary submission. And some of the other stone falls that when they’re crushed, but but there’s a change that happened when the Apostle Paul went into a community, people got saved, but then you had these Judaizers come and they wanted to stone Paul to death. And when we come into a community, they need to know that Jesus is there. And when there’s injustice, we stand up. And so again, this is something that we have to realize that we’ve only been preaching half of Jesus.
Rick Green 18:16
We’ve been preaching the lamb part, not the lion part and and you just I do two quick things. There’s so many things I’d loved to zero in on but one, you said maybe evidence of the Holy Spirit of standing up against a corrupt government, what a what a moment right now in our country, for us to stand up against corrupt government and leadership all over the country. And that evidence come through to be the John the Baptist, the Jeremiah’s, the Jesus’ of today. It’s absolutely necessary. And then and then the second thing that you pointed out, was listen, you know, Paul got it wrong for a while. And then he got it right. So to all those pastors out there that have been silent up until this point, and just believers in general that just because you’ve been silent up to this point, doesn’t mean you can’t have a new chapter, doesn’t mean you can’t do like Paul did, and now have a voice. So you know, this is a wake up call today, Bill, this is what you’re saying. Today, you’re giving people scripture, to a moment in time and inflection point in history where the church has been silent way too long. We have an opportunity to stand up and some are, but what a clarion call brother man, so good.
Bill Federer 19:20
Well, we’re the Bride of Christ and every romance novel builds up to a decision making moment, a forsaking of all others and choosing the one and some people are going to choose me all others they’re going to want to be liked and friended and followed. I don’t want anybody post anything bad about my Church Online. Others you’re gonna say I don’t care about the all of those are all I care about is the One. So it’s almost like God is pushing us to this dividing this moment of decision. So there’s some people that are going to do evil. There are some people that are silent in the face of evil. I mean, they’ve got so accustomed to going along with Okay, yeah, abortion. Yeah, California had to bill to abort and kill them 28 days after birth, okay. Yeah. But but it’s like God is pulling back the curtain and says, You know what? Here’s Satan clubs, on high school campuses, Satan worshipping Grammys, Satan, trans designers for Target. I believe He’s gonna say. And then on the other side, you’re gonna have people getting more excited about Jesus and it’s gonna be a choice between God or the devil. Okay, this romance novel’s winding up to a close, you make your decision, God- the devil choose. So there are some people are going to be doing evil, some people that are silent in the face of evil and others are going to say, You know what, I was silent. I tolerated something I didn’t feel good about. I stretched the rubber band and tolerated something else I didn’t feel good about. But I’m sorry, I can’t go with hysterectomies is on eight year old girls. They’re still playing with dollies. They live in half in an imagination world. I’m sorry, I can’t go with chemically castrating a little boy, because he went through a phase where he liked to play with his sister’s Barbies, you know, and it’s like, if the church can’t stand up, we’re giving consent to that. And there’s nothing more unjust than treating kids like that. And in the spirit that mutilated an inside the womb with abortion is now wanting to mutilate them outside the womb with the trans agenda.
Rick Green 21:07
It’s so true, man. It’s so true. And correcting myself there. I said, Paul, earlier you were talking about Peter. Earlier Paul was even worse than silent. He actually participated. But but but both stories right opportunity that right now, like you said, we’re at that point in the romance novel, folks gotta gotta make a decision. You know, as for me in my house, right, that’s, that’s the decision we’ve got to make at this. At this point, Bill. So good. I wish we weren’t out of time. We got to get you back, brother. Send us to the website. where can folks get American minute? How can they get your books, all of those things?
Bill Federer 21:36
Well, thanks, Rick. It’s Americanminute.com.
Rick Green 21:40
That makes it easy Americanminute.com. Folks, not only the the commentary, but also the books, get this information. You’re gonna love it and teach it to your friends and family. That’s Bill Federer. Stay with us. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Tim Barton 21:51
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource, we have a WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today. And we would say very providentially, in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 Project that says America is evil and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement, black lives matter. But the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America, well, is America worth defending? What what is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation or perfect people but the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out WallBuilders.com, The American Story.
Rick Green 23:02
We’re back on WallBuilders. Thanks for staying with us, Bill Federer, our special guest today appreciate him coming on talking about the sin of silence and why it’s important for us to not be silent. David and Tim, of course, we actually teach that in the biblical citizenship class, you specifically talk about it in truth and courage, David, it’s, it’s it’s vital. And we can we can actually point to a lot of the problems in America, we love to blame the left on things. But a lot of times it’s our own fault for being silent. It’s our own fault for as Noah Webster said, neglecting the the commands and the precepts contained in the Bible. So we can actually do something about this, we just have to change our actions.
Tim Barton 23:36
You know, it’s something as we were listening to the verses, I already had an idea of what some of the verses might be. I had some of my mind I was I was thinking about and I was just curious, as we were going, Dad, I talked to you shortly after you had met with Bill, and you said we got to get him on. I started texting bill a little bit. And so then when I was getting ready to hear Rick, you talk with him, I was thinking, okay, what are these verses it could be? And I was surprised there were more verses there than I was thinking of that as he’s laying this out, it becomes quite compelling that it is a very clear duty and obligation for people to speak up. And even the examples he gave, were the the lack of the initiative to stand up and say something whether it was a wedding, which I thought was super interesting, because I always thought that’s the weirdest part of a wedding when someone says, right, is it does anyone know any reason to speak now forever hold your peace. And I always thought that’s ridiculous, right? I would not let those people come to the wedding if they’re going to interrupt the wedding right there. But as he pointed out, it’s because at this moment, if you’re not speaking up what the Bible says, for the Father when someone’s making a vow, it just seeing all of these connections, even some of the cultural context. Again, not only is it so clear, that there’s an obligation and responsibility for us to speak up. But the Bible has so much more to say on this and then I even realized, as Bill began to point some of this.
David Barton 25:00
Yeah, and just that one chapter in Numbers, the fact that you get six separate examples in that one chapter. This really turns out to be a pretty big doctrine and is really one that the church needs to step up to right now, that the fact that being silent is the same as having done the sin yourself. If you’re silent about it, then you that and that was the deal with Moses and Aaron. Aaron was silent about it. So he’s, he’s doing what Moses did. And I think that’s a lesson really to be learned. And that’s something we have to help our kids understand as well, is that they can’t just turn their back and keep silent. When wrong stuffs going on. They’ve got to be able to confront it. And that’s not comfortable. It’s not easy. But you know what God didn’t put us here for a vacation. We’re not on this earth to enjoy ourselves. We’re on this earth to get His will done, to get His work done. And we’ll answer to Him for how well we did what we were put here for. And part of that is discipling other people and that discipleship includes learning how to stand for what’s right, speaking the truth, even when it’s not easy, because God will hold us accountable, whether we’re silent, or whether we spoke out.
Rick Green 26:05
Well, I appreciate the fact that you said whether or not it’s easy to, right? Because in this cancel culture, that’s that’s part of what you cover in in your talk on truth and courage is that Christians are self-censoring. They’re actually not speaking. And so it takes courage to do it when it’s not easy when it’s not popular. I would argue it’s actually more popular than people think. I think people out there are hungry for truth. They’re looking for someone willing to speak. So don’t be afraid to speak folks stand up and speak truth the culture needs it. And believe it or not, they’re actually hungry court. Thanks so much for listening you’ve been listening to WallBuilders.