Judging Our Pastors

1 Apr

Do we allow our pastors to make mistakes? If they misunderstand a passage in scripture, does this mean they are false teachers? What about sins? Can we give them permission to lapse into sin sometimes?  Or should they be above reproach? You can do a google search on well known preachers and Evangelists and type in the words ” false prophets” and a list of names will come up. The reasons often given are that some of these men misinterpreted a bible verse. Or that man teaches spiritual gifts are still relevant today or that we still need apostles. They teach the eternal security of the believer, or is a proponent of the pre-tribulation theory. When do we change churches? Do we decide the man behind the pulpit needs to step down because we don’t agree with everything he teaches? Can we, as Christians, allow our pastor to be human, to be a man with flaws, who doesn’t have all the answers? Can such a man still be called by God to lead a church?


A few years ago when my wife and I were still renting and moving from one small town to another, we were attending this one Baptist church for about a year. The pastor was a  sweet guy, warm, humble, approachable. But he also had a timid, passive personality He allowed certain members of the church to start a contemporary service  an hour an a half before the start of the traditional Sunday morning service. It was run strictly by laypeople who took turns preaching and putting on these funny little skits with biblical themes. It was a “feel good” service. No fire and brimstone preaching here. But there was also no accountability. No elders overseeing anything. The pastor rarely attended. On those occasions when he did, he always sat in the rear and never said a word. Even when someone gave a sermon and taught some unscriptural things such as a belief in a “works based” salvation. My wife and I were stunned.


Not long afterwards we invited this pastor to our home for dinner. After the meal we all sat in the living room and had a discussion about Christianity, other faiths, the bible, etc. My wife, having come out of ten years of Mormonism until she found Christ, has a heart for the lost people she left behind and loves witnessing to them. She brought up the topic of Mormonism and some of their peculiar beliefs. This pastor was sadly unaware of these things, so we changed the topic and began to talk about the Bible. We expected him to always have an answer. Instead, he admitted he didn’t know about certain things. We began to wonder if he was truly called of God to be a preacher. We even sought him out for marriage counseling and he admitted it was something he had never done before. We tried it once and he didn’t do too bad a job, but his shyness seemed to get in the way.


Do we sometimes have unrealistic expectations of those who lead our church? Should they have the answers? And if they don’t, can we be nonjudgmental and let them preach the word of God?


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