I don’t know why, but I still feel a very soft spot in my heart for one particular pastor on staff at my former church. He was like an uncle or something in my mind. I had the utmost respect for him, he was very humble when he spoke. He came across with such compassion. I felt the challenge to act our our faith was a genuine call to do good works to please God. I really do. I do not feel he had a bad intention in his body. He did rely heavily on Rick Warren’s material for much of what he presented in the plan for the church, and knowing what I do now about how scripture was not rightly handled by Rick Warren, I am sad. I know this former pastor saw all these wonderful opportunities to plant churches all over the world. He really has the touch with people. Really does. However, he is in error in endorsing and even promoting Warren’s work. Warren definitely does use the most convenient interpretation of scripture to make his cases, and misquotes or chops scripture up to take his readers where he wants to. Don’t agree with this, and so I believe a great man who is a pastor that has a natural draw is leading people to follow Warren’s plans and could be used more effectively somewhere else…if only he saw the problem. I think a man who doesn’t like conflict (at least it seems so) would never listen to someone who has created it by being bold (namely, well, me). I also think he would never be convinced by online Discernment Ministry. He would need something I am not exactly aware of to convince him of his error. Also, he was starting to bring out some of the bigger guns before we left, and delving deep into missional. Getting sort of dreamy with his speaking. He had a medical problem on a missions trip which affected his brain, so people who think he’s said things in a strange way blame his “trippy” speaking on that. I doubt the medical issues have anything to do with it.
I do think that Paul Washer and others bring up some very good points in that we are NOT worthy at all, we are such terrible sinners. My former pastor, who I have cried over, made similar points in that he would challenge people to get off their seats and actually serve others in the name of Christ. I think we can agree as Christians in the need to always be willing to serve. Just don’t forget to share the gospel and point to Christ in your service. It’s a dramatic testimony to say to someone, “I am a selfish sinner, and therefore would not ever serve you…but Christ loved me and died for my sins….I need Him. Because He saved me I now can love and serve. Sure, I might have served before, maybe. But I now serve because I was served, love because I am loved. I do unto others because of my Savior. It’s a complete message when we serve and share that because of Christ I can serve in love.
I wonder if I will go too far in my critique of my former church? I believe it’s possible I will sin in pride (or have) and in anger. I believe I can be neutralized because of my focus on the sin of leadership. I don’t think everyone should stop watching, or even that I should stop. I just need to always keep things in perspective. If not for Christ, I would be nothing. I am nothing. I am a wretch and even in being right about something, I can easily fall into my wretched ways. Easily.
I really do love my former pastor and if I am right about what I have seen, I wish he would see it for himself. He is the one man that if he did see it, would openly speak from the pulpit and ask his congregation for forgiveness. If he did speak, many would open their eyes and repent.