Archive for the ‘For pastors’ Category

My virtual travels (after a short season of physical travel in Eastern Europe) cause me to come across this site, with this article. I found much to be gained from staying there a spell. What he says in the linked article goes double or so for single men.

Great posting from Ransomed Heart ministries. One of the reasons you can’t get the single man into the organized fellowship is because of the shallow grounding that is, at times, even encouraged; rather than corrected, in the community of believers.

Pastoral tip #7: The welcome

Posted: June 21, 2011 in For pastors

Pastor: Who gets more respect and welcome from you – the single Christian man, or the married unbeliever who visits your church?

For the purposes of this Credo, I am using the notion of “Tithe” as a 10% levee on all your economic increase, mandatorily payable to your local fellowship.

God may want your tithe as badly as some churches do. But He has not; I repeat, has not, mandated your performing economic ritual of this type as the price of admission to being adopted as His son, or of enjoying fellowship with Him.

Your church may think this; they are wrong; they might just as well fib to you that the geologic age of the earth is around 10,000 years old or so; or that Christ did not create real wine from water; or some other such elaboration upon foolishness.

In some other post I will take the time to explain the “why” of this.

A short elaboration of this simple idea follows:

– It is not required of you for your salvation.

– No man has the standing to demand this of you.

– It is not required of you for your continued walk with God, unless He has pressed you to do this; in which case you will by an act of disobedience hinder His purposes.

– He may press you to do this for a season; or for your life, for that matter.

– It is not a part of orthodox historical christianity; claims from the pulpit notwithstanding.

– Prepare for heavy rolls and rough seas if you dig your heels in on this. You are acting as salt and light. You may even be sent away.

– All of this is some other discussion than a discussion about how you should and must support your fellowship and betimes be of aid to other believers, other fellowships, and/or people in need outside the fold.

Look for a coming post on economic thought, which is also a separate matter.

I call to your attention this on-line posting by Josh Harris, Senior Pastoral authority at the Sovereign Grace Ministry’s flagship church. Of particular note to me is the acknowledgement of harm done to fellow believers in the area of their approaches to dating.

I have greater issues with some of the methodologies and thinking in the SGM movement than just this, but this is a huge thing.

In my lifetime I have both witnessed and experienced pastoral abuse of the type vaguely referred to insofar as dating and courtship is concerned. I imagine that ministries like sgmrefuge.com and sgmsurvivors.com helped in their own way to bring the Holy Spirit’s light — and the light of open discussion — to these things. Time will tell if real change is coming to SGM.

Why comment on these matters again? Because of the way some single Christian men have been treated in some fellowships for things like taking a woman out to eat, or otherwise socializing with her in purity. These things being both sinful and offensive to the man as well as his Father.

The Outcast

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Commentary, For pastors

I took a walk on a public path near to where I live; it is a delight to horsemen, ladies with strollers, rollerbladers, and all sorts of diverse people. People ride their bikes, stroll, or have picnics there. There are wild berries to be found (if you know where to look), water fountains, and flowers that are both cultivated and wild. Scout troops maintain the cultivated flower beds. If the breeze is right the smell is intoxicating.

…. I found a man seeking solace there, battered by circumstance; one would not overstate the case to say that, metaphorically, his guts were hanging out. His wife had left and had an affair with a man who was “more spiritual” than he was; and moreover it was one that she had planned and executed in advance, even telling some members of her bitch session — excuse me, fellowship circle — about her plans. Said man found himself an outcast in his own fellowship when this became public; for he was thought “diseased” in some way; he had been accused of all sorts of mis-deeds in a public fashion. His wife thought to bolster her case for infidelity by spreading tales. It so happened he had met other believers on his walk. One of them was quick with a “God Bless” and a happy smile and hurried along; he didn’t really want to pry. It was none of his business, and his own wife was in the bitch session. Excuse me; prayer meeting. Another man — I tell you, this is a popular public walkway in the summertime — came along, this one a pastor. It so happens that this pastor had taken in the adulterous wife and put her on his music ministry, since he needed someone who could play the piano. He stopped to commiserate with the man, and told him to make sure he kept himself connected to people, and explained that he thought it better for the adulterous wife to be in church, at least, rather than out in the world, doing worldly things. Or something like that. Anyway I came upon him after all these strange visitations; and he was still trying to make heads or tails of his situation. The normal Christian universe had become inverted; for things were happening that defined explanation. He even had a Christian marriage counselor from his fellowship — she had a cutesy Holy Spirit dove on her business card — decline to address his wife’s infidelity in a joint counseling session. It would have been “unethical” since the wife did not wish to talk about this; it would have been wrong from the standpoint of her professional credential and the canons of the counselor’s profession to press a matter against a client’s desires.

However, he had met this fellow a few weeks prior – we’ll call him Bob (since that was his name) who had had suchlike things happen to him as well, and also had found disfavor in his local fellowship. It’s so obviously the man’s fault, right? Anyway Bob had committed to pray for him and made himself available. Really available for the all the struggles of a newly divorced man. It was interesting that Bob’s help was all under the radar, since the Pastor at Bob’s church had read a bestselling book in which was revealed (!) that all marriage failures are the fault of the man. But Bob stood by his fellow believer. No fees, no condemnation; rebuke when it was called for, and prayer for and fealty towards his injured brother in the Lord. He made a point of checking up on him from time to time; even feeding him a sandwich once…..

….And then I woke up; I had been zonked out. It had been all a dream.. The exertions of my exercise, the warmth of the day, the smell of the flowers.. it all caught up with me. Of course, it had to be a dream. Such things don’t happen in real life.. do they?

Pastoral tip #8

Posted: September 3, 2010 in For pastors

If you act like it is a sin for single Christian men to go on a date with a woman, you are going beyond what is written, pure and simple. You have no biblical leave to say things like this, or to act as if this is so. How freaking hard is it to grasp that you sin against one of His sons if you do something like reprove a man for going on a date, if it is not in congruence with some unbiblical understanding that you have? You have more problems than a lack of single men in your fellowship.