The local hardline Church of Christ done a show called “God Calling Your Pastor”, and their thesis seemed to be that we shouldn’t just take a pastor’s word at face value. As their example, they referenced a local Baptist pastor, the pastor of Fairview Baptist in Gretna (a nearby community), who spoke about Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10 at his church. That pastor apparently talked about how Cornelius needed Peter to come and confirm the vision that Cornelius had, and how that is a picture of the way of things today, that if you have a vision, you need the pastor to come and confirm it. The hardline Church of Christ disagreed with this, and called into question the “calling” of pastors in the first place.
Now, I agree with the point that the hardline Church of Christ seemed to be making. I think that one of the biggest problems in the Church today is that we have pastors saying “God told me this” and “God told me that”, but pulling what God “told them” out of thin air. This is why we so often get ministers living in the lap of luxury – because they use their power to take advantage of others.
I agree with the hardline Church of Christ assessment of many of these pastors, and I think Jesus’ warning regarding false prophets in Matthew 7 is directly applicable to many of these men (and women): “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
But, I have an admonition for the hardline Church of Christ, too:
Be careful, that you aren’t doing like the lady in the picture below!
You see, I’ve known dozens of pastors in my day, in dozens of different denominations, and most all of the ones I’ve known have been men who didn’t presume to speak for God, but they pretty much across the board let God speak for Himself through His Word. Their interpretations of some things might be different, but their desire to be pleasing to God, and to stay true to what He says was sound.
The only real criticism I have is that the hardline Church of Christ seem to be acting in a rather disingenuous way with the folks at Fairview Baptist. First, they had their patented sneaky camera along, and apparently the good folks at Fairview treated him too kindly to get any good footage for the ardline Church of Christ. Second, in the snippet that the hardline Church of Christ played of them addressing the congregation there, they sounded almost ecumenical. They certainly didn’t sound the same as they did in the studio when they said about that same congregation, “we don’t think they are worshiping God.”
And the hardline Church of Christ wonders why they have to go all the way to Los Angeles to find a pastor willing to debate them? Truth is, people in Martinsville long ago learned to avoid the tactics of the hardline Church of Christ.
And you know, I think that it was interesting that at the beginning of the hardline Church of Christ program, they referenced 1 Peter 3:15 as his reason for going after folks the way he does. To remind you, that verse says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
It seems like many in the hardline Church of Christ, when they go after these guys, are not being obedient to this Scripture. They’ve taken it upon themselves to force men to give an answer. As if their Bible says, “and [be] ready always to get an answer from every man…”
Does your Bible say that?