Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reason #7 - Professional Pastors' Sermons Are Thought of As Special Messages from God

Anyone who is part of the church has the joyful responsibility of teaching others.

In Colossians 3:16 Paul writes, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (emphasis mine)

Within the modern church the people have largely handed this teaching responsibility over to pastors. One reason for this is that salaried pastors' sermons are thought of as holding special significance. In particular, many Christians believe that pastors receive some sort of special message from God that they then relay from the pulpit.

Just listen to Christians speak. You will hear things like the following, "Please pray for Pastor ________ as he brings a message to us today from the Lord." Praying for teachers is wonderful, but believing that they have special revelation from God is dangerous. This places the pastors on a higher spiritual plane than others. It is nonsense.

What pastors say in their sermons is important. However, what anybody in the church says in teaching is important. I'm not only referring to a structured setting such as a Sunday School class. I'm also talking about what occurs over a cup of coffee at Starbucks or over dinner at someone's home. As the priests to God that we are, what we all say matters.

Let me be clear: pastors do not have special messages from God. However, because many Christians believe they do, professional pastors ought to all resign today. Only in this vacuum will the church realize that it needs everyone to teach and that all our teaching has significance.

(This post is part seven of my series 25 Reasons Professional Pastors Should Resign.)

1 comment:

Frank said...

Thanks for an excellent post.

I remember a revealing incident back in the 80s in a spirit filled fellowship.
The man who started the fellowship had an international teaching ministry, which meant that the members of the fellowship got great teaching.

Theoretically, the fellowship was a "body ministry" fellowship where everyone was free to minister, either in the weekly main meetings or in the house groups. Unfortunately there was still a hierarchy of elders, and that produced a real sense of pride amongst certain of the elders, plus idolatry amongst the lesser members.

On this occasion I accidentally crossed one of the elder's wives in a house group which I led. She misinterpreted the meaning of some scripture, and I made the mistake of trying to correct the mistake, as gently as I could.

By her indignant reaction, I knew I hadn't hear the last of it. As a precaution, a day or so later, I casually spoke to the fellowship's bible teacher about the particular scripture, and he replied with the exact interpretation I had used.

The whole situation was very interesting because the Holy Spirit had previously given me clear warning of what was to come, enabling me to keep in a real depth of peace. I knew that I had to keep a listening heart as I walked through it because God wanted to demonstrate the roots of both pride and idolatry in the fellowship.

Sure enough a few days later I was collared by the elder himself after a meeting. He complained that I had really offended his wife and was completely out of order. I apologised but explained that her explanation had simply misled the group regarding the character of God.

He immediately rebuked me that I was completely and totally wrong and that his wife was right. There followed some further argument where he accused me of pride, lack of submission to leadership, and of being unwilling to be corrected.

I then felt a deep prompting from the Spirit to ask him why it is that he must always be right and I must always be wrong, knowing the answer before he responded.

"That's because I am an elder and you are not, that makes me closer to God than you!"

I was not in the least bit shocked because of what God had already shown me, although I never revealed it to him, nor did I reveal that I had cross checked my interpretation.

I was just walking a tightrope in the system and watching things unfold. There were many things that God revealed in advance as He took me through deep learning about the system.

The whole hierarchical system, put there by the members, will always create pride amongst the leaders, who in turn get idolised by the members.
God gets kicked off his throne.