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STANDING FIRM IN THE WORD

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

I recently heard that a pastor in a church I am familiar with was asked to resign by his elders. He did the right thing and Samuel A Cainhumbly resigned. When the elders, in a church meeting, later explained their decision to the congregation, they used language like; “Many thought he was teaching too much about works,” and others said, “He didn’t preach many sermons they found comforting.” It was obvious that some people were uncomfortable with his teachings on God’s sovereignty. Others did not like that he taught revelation is found only in the Bible – not in the phrase, “God told me ….” 

Having heard this pastor preach many times, I can say that his sermons were always full of grace. As to the elders’ comment about works – I think they have confused this with his frequent calls to holy living and gospel progress. He always urged his congregation to become more like Christ that they might glorify Him by the way they lived.

This pastor is a very articulate and powerful preacher. Yet, the elders wanted him to change his style and work more comforting topics into his sermon schedule. Honestly, you might think he was preaching hell and brimstone every time he opened his mouth, but he did not and he did not change the message of his calling. He resigned.

Please understand that I am not saying this pastor is a perfect man and the elders are ungodly men. This situation bothers me because I have seen, too often, cultural Christians (people who identify with Christian culture but do not embrace all the teachings) put pressure on the church leadership to focus on their (cultural Christians) own perceived needs, desires, Preachinglikes and dislikes. They use various means (including their wallets) and excuses to get the church leadership to deemphasize certain teachings of Scripture and emphasize others. They want a tablespoon of Jesus and not much more. This self-centered attitude makes it very difficult for elders and pastors to perform their callings.

Such people wish to be comfortable in church, not submissive to their Creator. They are fine with the state of their own spirituality and look to God only when they are in trouble. They come to church “in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV) They desire comfort not challenges. They want their pastor to tell them they are “good boys and girls”.

There are others who believe they are the super-spiritual élite of the church. They want you to know that God speaks to them personally. In reality, their feelings are the justification for their personal calling to criticize every decision made in the church – including the content of the pastor’s sermons. They are “ravenous” in their hunt for anything that does not meet their “high” spiritual standards.

Is it possible for a pastor to make everyone happy in the church? No! The pastor’s first priority is to glorify God, love Him, and preach the Gospel. Therefore, pastor, you must stand firm on the eternal Word of God and not compromise the teaching of the Scriptures – even when your congregation dislikes you for doing so.

 

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One Response

  1. Well said. Churches should stand firm and gradually bring the congregation with them. Rather, churches submit (to the world) and they become lukewarm. We need more soldiers of faith.

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