One of the points of the sermon regarded how the visions of the temple guard and religious leaders had been clouded by their perceptions. They had agendas, and refused to hear what Peter was saying, instead focusing on what they wanted.
I had breakfast with one of our elders Saturday. We discussed my concerns as well as theirs. His perception, as well as that of the pastor, is that I am attacking the pastor. They have made it clear that his sermon material or presentation is not a matter for debate. I assured him that I am not attacking the pastor, but merely wish to discuss some concerns that I have. Were I attacking, I would not have sought a private audience with him. But if there are some concerns, should they not be discussed? I was able to discuss some of my concerns over breakfast. The elder stated that although he could not argue with my concerns nor find any fault in my logic, that the bottom line was, I just needed to stop what I am doing and embrace what the pastor says and try and learn from it. He even went so far as to state that my concerns were affecting the spiritual lives of my wife and children. Yet it is because I am concerned for the spiritual lives of my wife and children, as well as those of the congregation as a whole that I have voiced my concerns.
One of the points of the message this past Sunday (from Acts 4) was that Peter and John had done nothing wrong in proclaiming their message. Even in going against the Jewish religious rulers, their authority at that time, they were innocent. It was the rulers who had done wrong. They, in their blindness of wanting to keep Rome happy and not lose their positions, refused to listen to Peter and John. I feel their frustration. Not only did they refuse to listen in the face of incredible evidence (not just their message, but the crippled man who had been healed was still there), they sought to silence them. But I love their response, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20)
Peter and John were ordinary men, not men of great learning. They did not possess PhDs or seminary degrees. But they had been with Jesus, and were filled with the Holy Spirit. I find it frustrating when the pastor says that he has his sermons vetted by PhDs or other ministers and I should just accept that as enough. No need to discuss matters any farther, the religious ruling body has given their approval. But I have to wonder, is this just a flock of birds of the same feather, meeting to agree with one another? I don't know. But if I am wrong, tell me, don't hide behind others. I am not afraid of an honest discussion.
All this talk in the message about not worrying about what to say, and how at those time we will be led by the Holy Spirit, does that not apply here? Or do we not want to hear what the Holy Spirit might say? For thousands of years the church has existed, yet in those years it has faced massive corruption and deception. Have we finally reached a point where that is no longer an issue? Is accountability not a good thing? Tell me, Captain, Caiaphas, Annas, why can't we talk?