What is THE worst failure a pastor can commit? Adultery will be the one most will suggest first. Others will suggest stealing from the church. Another might suggest having a temper or any of many possibilities. But I suggest that none of those are even come close to the most significant failure a pastor can commit.
So what is THE worst failure? Not to preach the whole counsel of God. NOTHING is worse than that. Nothing.
Nothing is more subtle, and detrimental to the church than a pastor who dulls the edge of The Two Edged Sword. When a preacher softens God’s Truth, he commits the cardinal sin above all others.
There is no excuse for moral failure and it does result in great harm to the church. But it doesn’t begin approach the damage done to the cause of Christ when a man is moral in his conduct but irresponsible in delivering God’s Truth to His people. The damage by doctrinal infidelity is not for a week… a month… or a year, it is generational! Entire generations are caused to stumble when the Bible is not accurately delivered from the pulpit.
Examples of what I’m suggesting? Here are two… The Health and Prosperity Gospel and The Emergent Church Movement.
Click here for a good evaluation of the Prosperity Gospel by Dr. John Piper and here for a Christianity Today article about The Emergent Church Movement.
Sadly… most church are not capable of discerning whether or not they are receiving the pure Word of God. The reason is because they have for years had pablum served to them rather than the meat of The Word. Churches look for someone to entertain them… men who have great administrative skills but are average preachers… men who are great at visiting but cannot preach their way out of a wet paper sack.
The remedy is simple. Churches must require those who proclaim the Word to be faithful to preach The Bible and not their opinions or the latest pop psychology. They must give their Pastor time to pray and study so he is prepared to preach God’s Word. Churches must demand that they are fed wholesome messages from God… not weak feel good pep talks with smiles and jokes. And then church members MUST pray for their pastor to hear from God as he studies.
Thank you for bringing this to light, Ron. This was a great article you wrote. As God’s word tells us to test the spirits, this article only makes me feel more determined to take all the time I need to pray about how He wants me to live, what His word is saying to me and to listen to the Holy Spirit, who guides us along. I can say from a standpoint of having attended a mega church with many many characteristics of the emergent church (although they would never say that outloud!) I often felt caught up in the emotion of the show, and longed for more of God’s word to be taught. I guess as we near the Lord’s coming again we need to stand straight and sometimes on our toes and stay informed and stay in tune with what God is telling us.
One of the figures in the emergent church is Rob Bell, who has written, “you don’t have to believe in the virgin birth to be a Christian.” I find it hard to believe that a leader would write this, even if it were a hypothetical question. That not only allows people to question the rest of the bible, I know Rob is a good man and probably has many great qualities as a preacher.
I just remember a great quote from Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, too, he said, ‘the first time you quit, it is really really hard, the second time, it’s still pretty hard, the third time you quit, you don’t even have to think about it.” This is good to remember.
I like my small church where we listen to the sermons on Sunday mornings like real bible study. It is sharper then a two edged sword. I want my thirteen year old to hear that! I want him to learn how to act in church and be respectful of the message. There is a time for worship too.