#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
A while ago there was this tweet about #NigerianChristianBehavior which read something along the lines of: Don’t disagree with pastor, don’t you know he’s a man of God. Many of us face a great challenge in our hearts whenever a pastor or preacher says something we disagree with. I studied up on the issue and found a nice little article written by Drew Griffin, who is also a pastor, feel free to disagree with him as well.
Christianity is unique among religions in that its adherents are encouraged to test the teaching they receive and not accept it just because it comes from a preacher or person in authority. John encourages us in 1 John 4 to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
So contrary to what that tweet suggests, never let anyone tell you to keep quiet about it, always speak up whenever you disagree with something because we have been encouraged by the bible to test the teaching from the pulpit to make sure that it tallies with what our bible has to say. Now that we know it’s alright to disagree with our pastors and it’s alright to speak up, how exactly do we speak up about it? Let’s examine three things to be completely sure of before approaching your pastor about incorrect doctrine/teaching.
1. What Does the Bible Say About That Topic?
Take the teachings from your church, community or pastor and test them against what Scripture states. Can you find that they are consistent? Or do these teachings in your church disagree with what the Bible actually says? This will help you discern whether you have biblical grounds to confront your teachers. If you do end up confronting the pastor or teacher, you will want to bring more of an argument than, “Your teaching annoys me.” You would be well served to have biblical grounds to challenge their (or anyone’s) teaching.
No matter what it is, the bible has spoken on it. The bible remains the most ancient un-updated instruction manual for life that’s still relevant to the times we live in! Before you go on a rant to pastor or before you go yelling and interrupting the service over a gut feeling that this isn’t right, please check the bible. We don’t mean skim through it, we mean study it deeply, study what it has to say about the issue, go online if you have to and check what other pastors are saying about it but always make sure you have sound knowledge of what the bible has to say first because it is better to have biblical grounds for disagreeing with the teaching rather than just a gut feeling.
2. Is This My Flesh Speaking? (Aka – Am I In My Feels?)
If you’ve found out what the bible has to say is apparently in line with what you disagreed with and you’re still annoyed or feeling the need to approach your pastor, you need to ask yourself why? Why Am I In My Feelings? Why am I so emotional over this matter? At this point, you need to decide if you are approaching your pastor to attack him over what’s been laid out clearly in the bible (it’s not just about what he taught anymore since the bible agrees with it) or if you are approaching him to seek further understanding on why the bible has spoken that way about the topic. Sometimes, you may find a verse or two that agrees with what the pastor said and then find online that the verse has been interpreted in different ways by other pastors/preachers. At this point it is best to pray for a while before approaching your pastor, ask God for discernment on that scripture and read it in context along with commentaries on it to get the best interpretation. If the interpretation of the verses don’t seem to tally with what your pastor has said, then gather all your evidence and approach your pastor, not to confront him but to gain understanding in why he has chosen a different interpretation than what you think is right. This sort of situation usually applies to controversial issues like – tattoos, women covering their hair in church or women not holding certain positions in church. On the other hand, when we find that the bible verses are in support of what we initially disagreed with and we are all the more annoyed or angry, then that might be just be God trying to show us something.
Many times, we may walk away from a church not feeling right about what we heard taught. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the teaching was unbiblical or incorrect. Sometimes that feeling we feel is the Spirit of God using His Word to convict us of sin or in our own lives or errors in our thinking….It’s wise, before you jump the gun and confront others, first to pray like the Psalmist, “Search me O God and know my heart, test me and see if there be any grievous way in me.” This kind of submission requires humility. So remember, be humble and ask, “Is there anything in my life that could be contributing to the discord I feel in my faith community?” “Am I annoyed because the teaching is unbiblical or am I annoyed because the teaching is striking too close to home?”
Search your heart before picking a fight with your pastor’s teaching. Make sure it’s not your flesh leading you into confrontation, don’t let the devil use you as an instrument of discord in the church.
3. Is This A Consultation or A Confrontation?
When worst comes to worst and no scripture can be found to support the teaching and you still want to speak up about it rather than leave that church immediately, the next thing to ask yourself is, can I approach my pastor about this false teaching with a spirit of love and peace? I couldn’t sum this up any better than Drew, he writes:
Jesus-like confrontation is for the benefit of the Church, not your own reputation. So confront in the name of truth, but speak the truth in love. If you find can’t do this without getting angry, or if you’re just looking to prove you’re right, then take a step back and pray for wisdom as to how to proceed. Your victory will be hollow if you succeed in correcting your pastors’ or teachers’ doctrine, but fail to display the love and humility that doctrine teaches.
It is super important not to be a hypocrite. Study the bible to see how Jesus addressed the pharisees and those who had made a mistake. He was never angry, He simply showed them the error of their ways and when they got angry at Him, He left them to their own devices. If you disagree with teaching you heard in church and you have pointed it out to the appropriate authorities but it has still not been taken note of or corrected, instead of picking a fight, sometimes it is better to leave that place altogether. Now this doesn’t mean leave over something that is inconsequential like the quality of the jollof rice served after church on sundays or the long hours spent on bible study during wednesday nights. Before you leave, make sure you’ve prayed about it, more than once! talked to as many people as you can about it – the right people, not the gossipmongers. If your spirit is still unsettled and every approach you make turns into a confrontation, then maybe God is calling you to leave.
So there you have it, 3 things to check before addressing false teaching in church. Hope you found it helpful. Please read Drew’s full article here — I Disagree with My Pastor. Should I Say Something? As always please be encouraged to drop us comments on our social pages to let us know what you think using the hashtag → #YikesFalseTeaching
Grace & Peace!