It’s so easy to become dependent on the pastor for your spiritual well-being and development. The whole system seems, at times, rigged that way. The seating in most churches is set to one focal point, that being the pulpit, and usually that area is elevated. Many pastors make it a point to dress in a manner that distinguishes them from the congregation, and titles help reinforce that there is only one expert or master teacher in the room. We refer to clergy as “The Man” or “The Woman of God,” and socially this all has the effect of teaching us, if only in a non-verbal way, that there is one, or at best a few, who knows better than we do and somehow are closer to God than we are. More troubling still, some assert that when the pastor or preacher speaks, (like Moses), it’s not merely them speaking or teaching about God, but for God. This leaves many Christians close-minded, hanging on to every word of their pastor or spiritual teacher.
Do you think pastors are speaking for God directly or are they teaching about God?
What happens then if that teacher disseminates falsehoods or error as it pertains to the word of God? In 2 Timothy 2, we find such a case, and Paul points out the danger of this. “Words are not mere words” but they have the ability to cause many to go astray. Paul encourages Timothy, a young pastor, to do diligences and work hard at ensuring that he needs not be ashamed, having rightly handled the word of God.
Does the charge to study only apply to pastors?
If statistics answer the question for us, then it would seem so. While a nice number of people claim to read the bible often, far too few go any further by being involved in biblical study, according to information found here.
Since we have been warned that there will be an increase of false teachers in the last days, shouldn’t we, each and every one of us, want to protect ourselves by studying the word of God?
In 1 Peter 3:15, the saints are encouraged to always be able to give a reason for the hope that lies within them. And again in 2 Peter 3, Peter warns the saints that there are those who will twist the words of Paul and other scripture and seek to make a mockery of the word of God. I think there is great benefit for us in the final words and warning of Peter in this chapter;
I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Be on your guard!
That should be the stance of every Christian — on guard against error.
Grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
That is every Christian’s responsibility.
Do you agree?
Finally, (and I love this), in Acts 17:11 we find this statement about the people of Berea that should be an eternal principle for us.
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
In these days we cannot take for granted that what comes across the pulpit — any pulpit — is the truth. Be On Guard! Grow in the knowledge and grace of God and verify everything by the word of God.
I’ll end with this:
The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly
1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.