Pastors can have one of the toughest jobs. They have to plan their own schedules and they always live in the tensions of doing what is best and what everyone else wants. The hardest part is that some pastors work for other pastors. This can make things extremely difficult since they can disagree with certain parts of their head pastor’s theology or philosophy.
A recent situation comes to mind. One pastor that I know works at a church where the head pastor taught a sermon that promoted voting yes for the NC marriage amendment and condemned voting no. This left no room for personal conviction on the matter. It also left no room for discussion. And left zero tolerance (or better said zero grace) for anyone who had a different opinion.
This example shows that pastors, who are leaders are not truly being allowed to lead. They must buy into the opinion of the powers that be, even if it violates conscience in interpreting the Scriptures.
In general, the churches of America are very confident in their specific doctrines, but sometimes to a fault. Let us remember that the Church has debated its interaction with culture for centuries. There have been multiple views that range from complete separation from society to being very much in tune with the world.
But more importantly, we should learn to practice a sense of diverse opinion. Some people look to the same Scriptures and listen to the same Spirit, but come to different conclusions. Maybe we should start looking at that fact and come to a more Bible based approach.
Was it not Paul who said, “Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. (1 Cor. 9:19)” This is not the language of control and absolute certainty leading to doctrinal statements. This is the language of someone who submits himself to others. Even in Ephesians 5:21, Paul says, “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” What comes before that verse is a list of ways to treat fellow believers.
In order for our churches and pastors and even congregations to survive these battles of culture, we need love and submission. Not control and absolutism. Doctrine is something we already have Scripture, Creeds, and even certain denomination guidelines. What is missing is the notion that others can disagree and still be brothers.
What is stopping you from loving someone else in a disagreement? Do you find that you are being more open or dogmatic? Do you think you could let go of control? Why or why not?