Here is a trend I am getting tired of…
Glenn Beck, the political broadcaster, is urging people to leave their church if those churches are concerned about social justice.
Today on the Radio Program Pastor’s Perspective (Calvary Chapel with Brian Broderson) a caller was encouraged to take his “tithe” and use it in his own ministry to children at the church instead of giving in the way his church was proscribing. I did not agree with what the caller was describing, and we never heard the hosts asks for any clarification, nor did they attempt to contact the church leadership, nor did they tell the caller it was inappropriate to call the show for their answer to that internal church issue. The advice the caller was given I thought was horrific. Essentially they told him to disregard his pastors, make his own decisions, basically stay at the church in a state of rebellion and do your own thing because your leaders are a bit sketchy. Never once did they give the leadership at the church any benefit of the doubt that the caller may have misrepresented the situation.
I really hate that behavior.
There is a glaring lack of understanding of the nature of the church and the nature of church leadership. The section in your theology book is called Ecclesiology. It is important. Here are some thoughts:
- Church issues should be dealt with internally. Check out Matthew 18 for a very clear order of grievance settlement.
- Some people know more than others, some people know nothing at all. Who in their right mind would go to Glenn Beck for church answers? It baffles me.
- Beware of people who when they hear of your church problems immediately tell you to leave your church or act unilaterally against your church leadership, especially when they don’t take simple steps to hear the other side. This is basic. Those who miss this are novices in things of the church of Christ and should not be trusted as authoritative sources for your life in Christ.
- Deciding where to belong in a church community is an important decision, don’t make it lightly and don’t simply make it based on size, programs, music, popularity, building, etc. You should select a church based on sound doctrine, quality leadership (a plurality of elders is a good Biblical criterion), Biblical teaching, genuine worship, and a fully developed gospel ministry that incorporates social presence with the glory of God being central, locally and globally.
- Many people make a decision about a church based on the pastor. A pastor should have some level of qualification commensurate with the position. The training that a pastor receives can be more formal (Seminary) or less formal (innumerable quality non-Seminary options), but it must be a demonstrative competence. It is more than dynamism, entrepreneurial skill, charisma, inheritance, but rather a developed character and competency in leadership, scholarship and things of the Spirit.
- Your church leadership is responsible for the care and nurture of your soul (Hebrews 13:17). Church is not a consumer good, a commodity or a preference. Church hopping is not a Biblical practice. Submission is an important characteristic with regard to church behavior. Authority is vested in the leadership of a local body. For all of these reasons you should take great care in selecting a church to belong to, and then you should belong!!! As a pastor I speak of a “call” to the church in Nuevo. You should consider your belonging to the church as a “call” as well. God placed me here; I will stay until God places/calls me elsewhere. I know authority has been abused in many contexts before, nonetheless we are not free to redefine the church of which Christ himself is the head.
More on this in later posts…