Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Pastor's Letter - Part 5

The previous 4 parts are my previous 4 posts. My musings are in bold type.

I hope and pray that knowing where I stand on these issues will allow you to interpret my comments in the future in a way that you find harmonious with Scripture. (Sorry, I don't base my interpretation of Scripture based on knowing the person who is speaking. We all fall short, and no one knows it all. And it is sad that you would even expect this. At one time, you commended us for our searching of the Bible, as did the Berean Christians. Apparently, however, if we do not do so and then quickly and blindly come to the conclusion that you are right, then it is a problem.) I pray that you will now be able to be encouraged, deified, challenged and changed as a result of God working through my efforts in preaching. (Actually, because of how you handled this, even less so.) I am hoping you will be able to embrace me and my preaching just as you have embraced the other aspects of our ministry here at UCC. (Of course that is what you are hoping will happen, because then you won't have to deal with any problems in your perfect church, full of perfect people who all agree with you apparently.) If so, that will be a wonderful answer to prayer!

But if after this you still do not have confidence in me or my preaching, then-sadly-we are probably not the church for you. (So, there is no room for disagreement with the pastor in "your" church. No questioning, no discussion, just fall in or fall out.)There will be no hard feelings on my part should you decide to move on, (In fact, I will be dancing the whole day!) and I pray God blesses you wherever you make your church home. (Because otherwise you might come back!) Of course, this would not be the outcome I have been praying for, (Because there are 4 of you, and that will hurt our attendance averages) but it would probably be a better outcome than you being in a church with preaching you cannot support. (Better for me that is, because this stuff hurts my feelings and makes me uncomfortable.) My sermons reflect not only my positions, but those of our leadership and the church as a whole. (When I say the church as a whole, that excludes you, of course.) It would be difficult, at best, for you to be happy and to grow here if you are on a different page regarding matters as important as those reflected in your paper. (Actually, quite the opposite. Your preaching has caused me to search my Bible more than at any other time in my life. It is kind of like being in school and preparing for a debate. You have to be on your toes and do your research, or you will fail. I have done my research, and feel that I am more than ever prepared to give an answer for what I believe to be true. I just am sorry that it has fallen on deaf ears. Well, not really deaf, more so unwilling to listen. I believe that there is a difference!) It would be more likely that your frustrations would only grow. (First, I don't base my "happiness" on external things. My joy is in the Lord, and being unhappy is not the problem for me that it is for you. To quote John Piper, "God is most glorified when I am most satisfied in him." So my joy is not based on my circumstances. God's blessings surround me in times of plenty and times of little, in times of despair and times of rejoicing. I see that as a major difference in our approaches to Him.)

Whatever you decide, I will regard you as friends and as my brother and sister in Christ. (If this is how you treat your family, I feel sorry for them.)

There you have it. The entire text plus added commentary. It makes me sad to go through this, but it also helps affirm our choice and see the value of the past 18 or so months. Praise God.

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