Several years ago, I preached for a congregation on Sunday morning. That day I shared a message that, in many ways, has become a driving force of this ministry. I talked about walking in biblical unity.
One of the main points I shared that morning was that we as believers must be willing to follow the leadership that God has given us. I based this section on scriptural texts like 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “…respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work,” and Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them…”
These verses don’t seem even slightly ambiguous. They’re very clear and straightforward.
However, after the service, a man approached and said that he really appreciated the things I said and agreed with everything … except for the part about following leadership in the Church. I took him back through the above passages, being careful to be sure he understood what they say.
He responded, “I know it says that. I just don’t believe it.” I was stunned.
I told him that at that point, he wasn’t disagreeing with me, he was disagreeing with God. And that’s a very dangerous place to live.
I am a very strong proponent of the Church as a whole walking in unity. At the same time, we can’t play fast and loose with Scripture. We don’t have the luxury of getting to choose the parts we like and to discard the parts we don’t. That’s what Thomas Jefferson did when he cut out the parts of the gospels that he thought particularly important — pasting them into a new volume — and left the rest behind.
Unfortunately, that’s the current norm in our society. If there is something we don’t like — a passage that might hit too close to home for our comfort — it gets jettisoned. Don’t talk about any of those topics that aren’t politically correct. You might get into hot water.
With all due respect, that did not seem to be a high consideration for Jesus’ original disciples — or even Jesus Himself — did it?
Maybe as Christians, and especially as leaders, we should be more God-oriented and less concerned what people might think.