Last week I suggested how church/minister problems should be handled. I suggested that there were only three things that (In my view) should bring about an immediate removal from the ministry. On of those was doctrinal heresy. In other words, what is preached from the pulpit matters! In fact, THE most important thing a preacher does is proclaim the Gospel each Lord’s Day. If he gets that wrong, nothing else matters… PERIOD. Consider and meditate upon these words from Paul in 2 Timothy 4:1-2..
I charge you… in the presence of God… and of Christ Jesus… who is to judge the living… and the dead… and by His appearing… and His kingdom: 2 PREACH THE WORD… (Emphasis and separation of phrases mine).
Does it matter what a pastor/minister believes about the Gospel? After all… isn’t there room for many diverse views and opinions? Seriously… one interpretation of a passage of Scripture may be different from another, but does that mean either is wrong… can’t they both be right? Is there ultimate TRUTH that is beyond debate… especially as related to the Gospel?
Does it matter if a pastor himself believes… or allows someone to proclaim in the pulpit he is responsible for… that there is more than one way of salvation? Is it right to allow the possibility that eventually everyone is saved and no one punished in hell? Should a congregation tolerate preaching/teaching from their pastor doctrine that is inconsistent with historic orthodox Christianity? Consider Paul’s perspective…
Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 5:7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is NOT from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Those are some pretty strong words from Paul about the importance of getting the Gospel right. If you don’t know what emasculate means, click here (PG-13 Warning). Just because a person reads the Scripture and gives an interpretation does not mean they are right in their presentation of the Gospel. Getting the Gospel right is so important, nothing can hinder or stand in the way of correctly understanding it in order to deliver it publicly (I’m thinking in the teaching and preaching context at this point). If/when a preacher strays from the True Gospel, they should be removed from their post and not allowed back into the pulpit.
For the church member listening to their preacher (Or anyone in a pulpit for that matter), consider the following Scripture…
1 Thessalonians 5:20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Acts 17:11 These Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
The Gospel is NOT open to any personal interpretation nor is it to be handled loosely. THE meaning of Scripture (The Gospel) comes from God through diligent study… prayer… and revelation from the Holy Spirit. So be careful and discerning EVERY time you hear The Word proclaimed.