How would you react when the church you’re serving as an intentional interim pastor gets wrapped around the axle over a basic “Christianity 101” doctrine of the faith?
The last thing you need is a “headache” but you’ve also got a call – to speak to the needs of the congregation that were surfaced in the assessment.
So, in the course of preaching to address other, more important issues, you briefly touch on a doctrine that is embraced by the following theologians and preachers (to name but a few):
- Clement of Alexandria
- Justin Martyr
- Augustine of Hippo
- Martin Luther
- John Calvin
- Jonathan Edwards
- John Wesley
- Donald Grey Barnhouse
- C. H. Spurgeon
- D. L. Moody
- R. C. Sproul
- Charles Stanley
- John MacArthur, Jr.
- Charles Swindoll
- Anthony Hoekema
- Douglas Moo
- John Piper
And they get upset…
People for whom this should have been a “brush up” or a reminder (2 Peter 1:12) of things they’ve heard many times before are baffled.
They’ve never head of such things before.
Then the murmuring starts. The emails fly. Phones start ringing.
They want you to give them simple answers but don’t have the patience to do their own reasoning from scripture.
The challenge of trying to answer their questions
- They don’t know how to read scripture in context
- They don’t have the patience to make careful observations in the scripture and draw reasonable conclusions
- They’ve been spoon fed but never challenged to think for themselves, and it annoys them when you push them to be good Bereans
Where would you draw the line?
- Would you ignore it, neglect the admonition in James 3:1 to make your life simpler?
- Would you give them a couple of simple, easy-to-understand books to read and offer to follow up after they’ve done their homework?
- Would you leave sleeping dogs lie but make sure to give the next settled pastor a “heads up”?
So I’m left puzzling what to do.
I don’t want this to distract from the mission – finding their next pastor. But I also don’t want to be unfaithful to the call to preach the Word in ways that contribute to helping others mature in Christ.