Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Danger Signs

When pastors veer off the straight-and-narrow, it is usually in one of two directions:

  1. He’s gone seeker-sensitive off the deep-end, or
  2. He’s gone emergent. 

Number 2 used to be “He’s gone liberal”, but there really isn’t any difference between emergent and liberal.

Below are the danger signs:

  1. Your pastor uses the “turn to the person next to you and say…” time-filler. You know this one. The pastor will quote a passage of scripture, like 1 Chronicles 26:18 At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar. (KJV) “Turn to the person next to you and say Parbar.” I’m not sure why these guys do this; it has no didactic value. Maybe it fills in a little time and a few of these can stretch a fifteen-minute sermon into twenty minutes. Or maybe it’s a control thing and they get a buzz by making a large group of people say something in unison. 
  2. Your pastor changes his official title to Lead Pastor. C’mon, George Harrison was the Lead Guitarist. Your pastor is the Pastor. (Maybe Senior Pastor, if there are Assistant Pastors.) This is part the rock-star mystique that some of these guys aspire to. 
  3. Your pastor refers to Genesis 1-2 as the Creation Poem. ‘Nuff said. 
  4. Your pastor refers to the Patriarchs as the Abraham Movement. It makes Abraham sound like Timothy Leary. 
  5. Your pastor refers to denominations, streams of theology, or even entirely different religions as tribes. This is an attempt at theological equivalence, like “none of us is really wrong, we just all look at it differently.” You know, we’re all essentially Indians, just from different tribes. 
  6. Your pastor dresses differently for different sermon themes
  7. The congregation cheers and applauds the pastor as he approaches the pulpit (lectern?) and he doesn't correct them. 
  8. Your pastor tacks an invitation onto the end of some meaningless message on a worldly topic (e.g. More Fulfilling Sex Life, Creation Care) that has nothing to do with conviction of sin. 
  9. Your pastor complements the praise-band by saying they rock better than Led Zeppelin. 
  10. Your pastor frequently compliments his wife (a good thing) by remarking about how hot she is (not a good thing).
Now, if your pastor spends all week in the Word, preaches the Word in season and out of season, looks after his flock, and you hear the Gospel every week, please take the advice of James White in a short excerpt (below) from a Dividing Line program a couple of years ago:


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