On Christmas Eve I usually have strange thoughts. They are strange because they are a bit different from what I was used to growing up. Ever since the invasion of grace at the hands of King Jesus my desires have slowly shifted over 18 years. My desires for right and better things increase and old and ugly desires for poor and soul killing things still exist and these two desires conflict with each other quite often in the inner recesses of me.
Christmas is one day this happens a lot. But, what you may expect I’m going to say is not what I’m going to say. Here is my “wondering”. Christmas is a complex yet simple day. It’s like the Gospel. It’s complex and simple at the same time. As C.S. Lewis so aptly said in Chronicles of Narnia, “Aslan’s tent is larger on the inside”. The Gospel is simple and yet when explored extremely complex and appealing. That is why the Gospel never gets boring. If you are bored by the Gospel, you’ve never heard the Gospel and begun applying it in discipleship. Which leads me to my “wondering”. See, I try to teach people so they can understand by so that they can know. In other words I teach up and not down to the lowest common denominator because I want God’s people to know God and the simple yet extremely complex nature of following the Lord Jesus. It’s not easy to wrap one’s hands, heart and mind around sound doctrine, but if I don’t ever teach up people will never reach up and grow.
Some people critique this method and claim that hard things to know should be reserved for the classroom and not the “pew”. Here is my response: Does a football coach ever start the season with the attitude that winning is hard so we’ll reserve that for the real good teams and we’ll be content to just show up and get our rear ends handed to us each week and hope we have some fun along the way? NO! Of course not. So, why do we do this as teaching pastors?
I have had no less than 10 folks from other churches ask me to “teach” them as some separate “discipleship” thing while they continue to attend their current church. Why? The reasons are varied and I don’t want to get into all of them here, but why? I’ll mention one, and I would like your comments.
1. Pastors are teaching down and not up. They are giving scraps to hungry people and the are starving.
Why do pastors do this? Why do the pastors not see that we are going backward and not forward? Why do the shrinking demographics not communicate that their praxis is bad? Do they not know church history? Do they not read the book they are to be teaching from (bible)? Do they read the bible? Are they teaching from its full content?
Well said Mitch, and I agree. In an attempt to entertain goats, pastors have starved the sheep. I’ve found the same to be true in my own experience. I think people truly desire the meat of the Word, but all they are getting from pulpits is watered-down milk. One of my professors used to say half-jokingly (but also half-serious) “It amazes me every Sunday when I preach… People really want to know what the Bible says!” I wish more pastors would recognize that strong, doctrinal sermons that are filled with unction, passion, and grace, will not hurt their congregations but strengthen them. Thanks for your faithfulness to teach, it doesn’t go unnoticed, in heaven or on earth.
Hmm.Bible is applicable to all, otherwise why would it not say “Pastors priest, rabbis, etc., exempt?. I assume they don’t know or want to know, don’t care and are probably not maturing in their faith.If indeed faith exist in them.