Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Advice to Mainstream IFB Pastors
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42-43
The Bible talks a lot about people worrying about what others think. This is obviously a deep-seated problem in human nature. Today, it often starts when children are in school and succumb to peer pressure. This creates a life-long habit of worrying about what others think. Next, they’re worrying about what their coworkers think, and those that become pastors are bringing that fear with them to the pulpit.
If I could change just one thing about my independent Baptist brethren, I would eliminate their fear. We have an epidemic of pastors who worry too much about what people think of them. It’s not that only a few of us believe right on key doctrines. A lot of pastors believe right and preach right about a lot of things, but their problem is fear.
There are churches that are shrinking because the people in the pews do not see a difference between their pastor’s preaching and what is being preached in other churches. I know of a pastor who is a dynamic speaker and believes right on salvation, yet he is not experiencing much growth because he seemingly condones other churches that teach that you must repent of your sins to be saved.
Sure, he’ll expound on the subject from time to time to the core group, and the sharpest people in the church might notice and appreciate it, but what about the rest of the congregation that assumes Lordship Salvation Baptist down the street is fine? Salvation is the most important doctrine, sir! If you believe differently than most churches around you, then why don’t you tell your whole congregation that on a Sunday morning?
When you do preach against false doctrine, tell them they won’t hear this kind of preaching in most churches. There is a great falling away, yet most pastors lead people to believe that any IFB church will do. They don’t differentiate themselves because they don’t want to get ostracized from the fellowship, but this tactic backfires and their own congregation dwindles.
Friend, quit worrying about what people are going to think. Yes, initially you might lose Mr. Moneybags deacon or whoever, but people are drawn to confident preachers who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. You aren’t running a fun center with all the bells and whistles, so the only thing that is going to set you apart from the multitude of conservative Baptist churches around you is the boldness to preach unpopular doctrine. Even if you lost a few members and zero of your pastor friends agreed with you, your overall attendance would likely increase.
Just standing up to your own congregation isn’t enough. If you are a pastor who is invited to speak at other churches or Bible colleges, and you know they are messed up on a key doctrine (not something minor or nit-picky), then school them on it. The worst that can happen is they won’t ask you back next year, but the best that can happen is that you help turn things around in the fundamental Baptist movement!
If you spoke out more on the repentance issue, some of the pastors you are worried about offending might even get straightened out! Not only that, but those who started preaching against you would be giving you free advertising. Some of their people might search the scriptures and realize you are right.
It’s like when the Pharisees worried about being kicked out of the synagogues. Just think how many people would have gotten saved if those chief rulers would have spoken up! Why don’t you use your influence as a “chief ruler,” and start making more of an impact in your circle? Strive to be more Christ-like and stop worrying about your reputation.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:7
Here is a sermon on making yourself of no reputation