Friday, January 27, 2006

All is Revealed.

Over the last few years I had been a regular preacher at my church. At some point I preached up to 1/4 of the year. The feedback I received was always positive and at no point had I ever been criticisms or corrected for doctrinal error. Two and half years ago I stopped being asked to preach.

I had always had a deal with the minister that despite my own views I would preach sermons that encouraged people and that fitted within the belief structure of the church. I had no problem with this as a sermon is not the place to challenge peoples beliefs or push my own interests.

Two weeks ago I had a visit from the minister of the church. His concern was I was no longer attending (it did take 9 months for anyone to notice). We had a long chat about theology, he is quite knowledgeable and well read. As always our chat was of value. I explained that I found little of value in the services and that my position theologically had dramatically changed.

Then he dropped a bombshell. The reason I had stopped being asked to preach. I offended those who ran the church (not him as he was absent) with a sermon. The sermon in question was on the role of women. I know, a controversial topic. The content of the sermon had been simple. I looked at 6 NT passages that talked about women in leadership positions. The central message was that the NT was not clear in this area and many churches had different views of these verses, including our own. I then encouraged the congregation to look at those verses at home and prayerfully consider what they felt the bible taught.

All of the above fits securely within the framework of this church and soundly within its written ordinances. A couple of conservatives decided it was behind the pale.

Why was this a bombshell?

After 13 years as a member, preaching 1/4 of the year for 5 years I would have expected one of the following to happen:
1) Being told my message was unacceptable
2) Receive a warning
3) Asked to explain myself
4) have my errors corrected
Instead what happened was total silence for 2 1/2 years.

I never asked why, because to be honest as I believed less it was a relief not to have to preach. Now I look at those actions taken against me and find them among the most morally bankrupt and cowardly I have ever experienced. As a human being I can not imagine treating anyone with such utter high handed contempt.

It's the sort of pig ignorant behavior that only Christians can come up with.

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