“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Example



Let's look at 1st Timothy 4:12 again ... set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity..

We, as pastors are called to be examples; this requires that we are diligent in controlling our words and actions!

Many pastors (and I am not exempt from this), intentionally or unintentionally, create a congregation that is bound together, not by their love of Christ and the brethren, but by their common hatred. The attitudes and preferences of the pastor are often appropriated by their congregation - especially by those who are newer believers. And, being fallen men, we pastors often perpetuate our own biases amongst those that we are called to care for.

We are called to proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, practice church discipline in a Biblical manner, and be pastors over God's flock that He has entrusted to us. We are NOT called to force people to vote for the correct political party, protest the world's events in a manner unworthy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, hate the brethren, or the myriad other things that the modern Western church has become mired in.

Should we teach our people what the Bible has to say about the things of this world? Absolutely -- we are called to teach God's Word; but we are not called to inflame the passions of our people in order to get them to rally around 'our' cause; unless, of course, it is Christ's cause!

I have seen many well-meaning and naive people carrying signs full of invectives against people who disagree with them. Sadly they will often quote Scripture -- Scripture that they themselves do not adhere to! And so many times, at the head of the pack is the pastor -- rallying his troops, shouting in a megaphone, and spewing hatred everywhere.This man creates a following; not of Jesus Christ, but of his own hatred and fear!

Are there things we can, and even should protest? Sure, there are, and we have a right to do so -- we should desire to change our society to be more reflective of Christ. But there is a way to do that, and it is not through hatred and violence.

O, that we were governed by the Biblical convictions that we want to force others live by! We should be praying that when the lost witness our example and hear the gospel clearly proclaimed, that they will be drawn to Jesus Christ, not that our side will 'win'.

Let us be firm in the truths of Jesus' deity, the inerrancy of the Bible, the truth claims of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone to the glory of God alone, but let us not do drive-by ad hominem attacks on others within the faith who believe differently on the spiritual gifts, baptism, eschatology, or any of the other usual suspects. This type of leadership teaches our people to be suspicious of others who are in the faith. We should clearly articulate what we believe to be true, but it should never be done in a way that demeans other Christians.

Also, let us be clear about the situation with the world. They are lost; we are called to be in the world, but not of it, holding up Jesus Christ and His gospel in such a manner that some will be drawn to Jesus. There will always be those who are repelled by the gospel, but let us not repel everyone by hateful invective.

I realize that some of my posts do not follow this advice, and I must admit that I have work to do in this area. I do not want to create hateful people within my congregation. While I do not apologize for pointing out inconsistencies within the Body of Christ, nor do I mind exposing false teaching, I must be careful not to participate in character assassination, or ad hominem attacks that are poorly thought-out.

Let us, as Pastors, ensure that our words and deeds are reflective of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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