Tuesday, March 06, 2012
An Immature Way To Look At Church
I pastor a church that at one time was a wannabe Saddleback (only exponentially smaller), dispensational, Arminian congregation. When I began to lead we benefitted much from 9 marks and advice from Mark and his crew. We have elders, we preach expositionally and we are pretty unified. My question is “how much unity is necessary among those who are teaching?” I serve with faithful and godly elders and deacons, but spending much of their life under different teaching has heavily influenced them and they continue to teach the default positions. For instance, eschatology. Something that is always controversial and something not worthy of dividing over. But there is obvious tension between my classes and preaching and other elders’ views. And we all know eschatology is far more than just future events; it’s at the core of the overlap of the ages and the way we interpret scripture in general. Anyway, this is not the only issue, but it is a good example of something important but not essential. If the senior pastor is the lead visionary and lead teacher, how do we handle other elders who are strongly in disagreement with particular views? We all laugh about our differences, try to persuade one another sometimes, and continue to love each other like crazy; I just wonder what effect this has on the congregation. Any thoughts? Is this just my own pride in wanting my view to win the day?Is church really about unity in teaching and viewpoint? Heck - there was division amongst the apostles for crying out loud! I personally think that God wants a lot of diversity of teaching and opinion in the church because it is in how we handle that disagreement that our character is both shown and corrected. It is in that disagreement that we are shaped into God's men and women.
It is immature to think that church is supposed to be a bunch of mind-numbded robots. Such a view does not seek to build real followers of Christ - it seeks to build followers of the preacher!
The job of anyone in Christian leadership is to help shape people into people that read, understand, pray, meditate and THINK for themselves.