Social Icons

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spiritual Blindness: From the Pulpit to the Pew

Anyone that has paid attention in the last 30 years has heard or seen the issues that have made headlines in regards to pastors and their pulpits.  It seems we can't get through a few years without a man or women in places of leadership doing something that dishonors Christ's name.  Books have even been written explaining the pastoral culture issues, the symptoms and giving solutions.  I'll refer to one below and then we'll see how this is really an "everybody problem."

Paul Tripp, in his book Dangerous Calling Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, says we have some major problems.
  • Pastors are letting their ministry define their identity
  • Pastors are letting their Biblical literacy and theological knowledge define their maturity
  • Pastors are confusing their ministry success with God's endorsement of their lifestyle

 So what are we seeing because of this?

Well, according to Tripp it's :

spiritual blindness, 
theological self-righteousness, 
dysfunctional personal relationships to the word of God, 
lack of personal gospel neediness, 
impatience with others, 
wrong perspectives on ministry, 
and no living communion with Christ.

So why are we seeing this in pastors?

According to Tripp, it's happening because:
  • Pastors are ignoring clear evidence of problems
  • Pastors are blind to issues of their own hearts
  • Pastors ministries are lacking in devotion
  • Pastors are not preaching the gospel to themselves
  • Pastors are not listening to the people closest to them
  • Pastors are living in silence with their own sinfulness

BUT... these are not just issues with pastors.  
These issues go from the pulpit to the pew!

These are issues within the whole church body no matter whether you are a pastor, deacon, or choir leader, nursery worker, greeter or just someone sitting in the pew.  It doesn't matter whether you are adult, teenager or child.  Each and everyone of us, fight with these in some way, shape, or form.

The biggest problems?

We place unrealistic expectations on the gift of salvation.  When a person asks Jesus Christ to forgive their sins and become their Lord and Savior, they do not suddenly become a different person.  How do I know?  YOU DIDN'T !  You still had all the same issues, problems and hang-ups you had before you prayed.  Your personality didn't change.  Your history didn't change.  You are still living out the choices you made previously.  The only difference is that you now have the Holy Spirit working inside of you to lead and guide you into the things of Christ.  

Those unrealistic expectations on the gift of salvation then can give you unrealistic expectations on the pastor. When he stands behind the pulpit we think he has arrived!  The pastor doesn't have the same issues we do.  He doesn't get angry with people, he doesn't get ugly, he never cusses, he doesn't look at things he shouldn't, he doesn't treat people wrong.  For real? And you wonder why over time Pastors begin to believe they have arrived too and don't NEED what their church members need.

We also make unhelpful assumptions on the abilities of the pastor.  Sometimes this is because of their age or experiences or degrees.  We assume (and so do they) that they are capable of doing so much that over time they are unnecessarily burdened with responsibilities many of which should have been delegated.  Those assumptions also include the home life and family relationships such that we isolate the pastor and his family.  We insulate them in such a way and lift them up on such a pedestal that they cannot be open and honest about the true state of affairs in their home life.  

And when someone falls, we dig their grave...and bury them...alive.

We don't tend to our wounded.  We don't use the antiseptic of God's word and the oil of the Holy Spirit and tend them back to health with unconditional love.  No.  We complain about how we were hurt, we gossip about how they fell from such great heights and we puff ourselves up because WE would never do what they did.

Spiritual Blindness.

It's all spiritual blindness.  There is only one who was ever perfect and there will only be one who ever walks this planet perfect until God takes us home.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He and only he is the head of the church and all others no matter how high or how low are the body.  We all live in a wretched and sinful world and because we all have a sin nature we all must daily work out our sanctification.  None of us have arrived. 

Each and every one of us are in danger of these same stated problems.  It's not just a pastoral ministry culture issue.  The temptation to get our identity horizontally through what we do, who we are with and what others think of us instead of vertically by virtue of the fact God is our father is an everybody problem.  So is the temptation to think that knowledge of the word of God and spiritual maturity are synonymous.  If they were then the DEVIL would be more spiritually mature in Christ than YOU because of the depth of knowledge he has about the word of God.  And lastly, when things are going well, we are all prone to the temptation to think that God's blessings on our lives are an approval of our lifestyle.  We all need to realize, God honors his word no matter your relationship to him.  Therefore, God honoring his word is not the same as a stamp of approval on your lifestyle.

We all need Jesus, we all need the same message, we all need to remember "there is NONE righteous no not one" and that is the attitude and realization that we need to keep in front of ourselves.  

Spiritual blindness will cause us to ignore our neediness 
and we are all in danger there.

0 awesome comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and taking time out of your day to read my blog. I truly appreciate it. If this touched you in any way please take the time to comment and let me know.

(Word verification allows me to let anyone comment on this blog without having a specified OpenID or Google Account)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...