On the Plains of Moab Blog
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September 28, 2012, 11:22 AM

A Confession


This entry is a reprint from our October Newsletter:

This is soul searching time.  You know preachers have a reputation for pontificating on the problems of the world from the pulpit.  It is all too easy to gripe about what's wrong with the world.  It is too easy to find examples of how people have failed to be faithful to God.  This is especially true with the household of God.  The people who claim to have a relationship with God.  The Church has historically been a wayward bunch.  However, as I reflect on where we are now as a Church here in the United States -- particularly our situation in the Presbyterian Church (USA), it strikes me that the Church's own ministers might be the real leaders of the pack.

The calling of a minister is to proclaim the Gospel of God's salvation in Jesus Christ.  We are supposed to be heralds of the Truth, no matter how unpopular that might be.  We are supposed to be the ones who teach people God's ways.  The ones who live it out before the congregation.  The one's who can lovingly correct.  The ones who can winsomely explain why the hot trend or current prevailing opinion in the larger society is simply out of line with the will of God as it is revealed in Scripture.

However, looking at the landscape of our current Church -- big picture -- I see that our culture is having a fairly one-sided conversation with the Church.  The culture is preaching it's own brand of the gospel, and the Church is for the most part, falling over itself trying to be relevant and "with it."

For the most part, our pulpits are silent in response to the chest-thumping, "gotcha" games being played out in the public square.  Why?  Don't want to touch hot potatoes.  Don't want to stir it up.  Don't want to disrupt the peace.  Don't want to get into the internal politics of the Church.

What is the result of our silence?

Well, confusion.

That might be putting it mildly.

Perhaps I should say impotence?

Yes, that is closer to the truth!

In 1987, J.I. Packer's great treatment on life in the modern-day Church, Hot Tub Religion, said it vividly in the preface to that book that preachers were supposed to be the plumbers of the Church.  When there is a leak in the pipes, the plumber fixes it.  Ergo, when the Church springs a leak in its theology or understanding of God's Word, the preacher, like the plumber, fixes the leak so that truth might once again flow freely and strongly, unimpeded by the various, divergent paths formed by the gaping holes.

And so, I repent of my silence.  May God give us the strength to speak and live the Truth in grace and love.

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