Pastors of all kinds, and denominations receive dumb letters occasionally (well I hope it’s sporadic!). People get mad, and you would like to say back to them, “Hey, buddy…your brokenness is showing!” But pastors aren’t supposed to talk straight, rebuke an attitude, disagree with, or enter a tense confrontation with his/her members. Pastors are nice. Pastors are sweet. Pastors are approachable. Pastors are wusses…Wait a minute!
“Whoever says ‘I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar & the truth is not in him…'” Now, now, pastor, don’t you go calling someone a liar.
“Those people? They went out from us, but they were never part of us.” Now pastor, don’t you go judging people just cause they left your church.
“Who is the liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” Pastor, get off of your high horse, who do you think you are calling someone an antichrist?
“I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us.” Now pastor, you know he has a good heart. You don’t need to judge him. Plus, that would be gossip, talking about him, and it would embarrass him if you brought this up in front of everyone.
John was in his nineties (he deserves to be a little cranky at that age, don’t you think?), and I can imagine how ticked off he was at this situation and the people ripping his beloved churches apart. Is it possible for a pastor to be kind, loving, gentle, accepting, and not be a wimp? Is it possible for a pastor to argue with a church member in a healthy way?
If we really want to grow spiritually we should free up our leaders to speak the truth. Yes, in love, but please speak the truth! “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” That’s the royal kiss-up. If you haven’t had your panties in a wad lately from something your pastor said, your pastor is too nice. The very Word he/she studies and preaches has first bored into his own heart in such a way that he has been challenged, corrected, rebuked, and empowered. The Word he’s ruminating on is burning in his soul; bending his character into line. Most times, like everyone, the pastor is in process as well.
John, the pastor wasn’t afraid to speak prophetically. If the “prophet” in the pastor has been corralled, the church will be vulnerable; vulnerable to heresies, bad attitudes that course through a church like a deadly virus, and ungratefulness that is contagious.
The word for today from pastor John? Unleash the prophet in your pastor. You need it!