I offended a bunch of people on the Internet this week.
With the interest of helping, I’ll discuss the major reasons for offense.
Originally, I was going to post a follow-up March 10. I still plan on it, but this is more like the pre-follow-up. I still have something for March 10. (The follow-up is now up).
Most who have contacted me are offended because I called out a pastor publicly. To them, that’s unloving, unbecoming of the Christian character. I’m amazed that so many told me so publicly. But I guess that’s not the point. After all there were those who said so privately, and even a minority of them did so lovingly.
To stay on point, I’ll ask a question: What’s more offensive, a pastor who publicly undermines the Bible or a pastor who publicly undermines a pastor who publicly undermines the Bible? I hope the ones who are correcting the latter are also correcting the former. And I hope they do it lovingly.
While we’re on the topic, what does “loving” mean? I don’t mean, “What does loving mean these days?” I mean, “What does loving mean?” These days loving means many things depending on the day.
Jesus was loving. The Pharisees were not loving. Let’s look at Jesus and the Pharisees.
The Pharisees publicly undermined the Word of God (Matt. 23:29-36), and that was not loving. Jesus publicly undermined the Pharisees, and that was loving. The Pharisees thought they would have honoured the Prophets. Jesus said they would have killed the Prophets. Why? Because the Pharisees undermined the Word of God in the days of Jesus so they surely would have undermined the Word of God in the days of the Prophets. Jesus publicly burst their bubble, and the text says nothing about a friendly coffee beforehand. Just because the text says nothing about the coffee, it might be wise to not assume it didn’t happen at some point. Just saying.
Speaking of the Prophets that Jesus praises and that the Pharisees hated, who were they? Since Jesus liked them and the Pharisees hated them they were probably decent fellows, extremely loving guys. They publicly preached against the false shepherds of Israel (Ezekiel 34:1-2). And who were the false shepherds of Israel? They were the pastors who didn’t pastor, the ones who undermined the Word of God (Jeremiah 23:21-22; Ezekiel 34:1-10).
We should be noticing a trend. Jesus-like pastors rebuke Pharisee-like pastors. Pharisee-like pastors rebuke the Word of God. And some even do it publicly.
But what if the pastor who undermines the Word of God is humble? You know, he’s warm, friendly, and he’s good at listening. We need to let God define humility, so what is humility? Humility is trembling at God’s Word (Isaiah 66:2). A pastor who mocks God’s Word is not humble (Proverbs 13:13).
Having established a few things, let’s review:
- Jesus was loving. The Pharisees were not.
- Jesus undermined the Pharisees. The Pharisees undermined the Word of God.
- Jesus liked the Prophets. The Pharisees would have killed the Prophets.
- The Prophets undermined the false-prophets. The false-prophets undermined the Word of God.
- Undermining the Word of God is not humble.
To the ones I offended, I request one thing: please listen to the voice of Jesus who said, “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matthew 11:6).
What offends you more, the way of Jesus or the way of the Pharisees?
Follow Pastor Jacob on Twitter: @jacobreaume