Can a Pastor be overly sensitive?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlbcompany, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. rlbcompany

    rlbcompany
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    Let me describe the situation. Small congregation, about 20 people. The pastor is conducting a Bible study on Revelation. He has said he wants discussion and questions. He gives his interpretation of a section. I don't even remember what it was because this was given to me as feedback weeks later. Evidently, I said that there was another way to look at that section of scripture. Later the Pastor said I should never disagree with him in that setting. I was not beligerent, not disrespectful, just offering another opinion for discussion. He said that he was God's man and it is dangerous to question him. The time I was aware of upsetting him came later. When I asked how you know when in Revelation things are symbolic and things are literal. He said it appeared like I was questioning him again. I don't know what is okay to ask and what is not. I feel no liberty in digging deep into the subject. Tell me, what is your opinion on his reaction to my questions and what you think I should do.
     
  2. Helen

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    Pastors who are so unsure of their own faith that they cannot discuss something like Revelation (which is, after all, just a wee bit different than the virgin birth or the crucifixion and resurrection!) without becoming so entirely defensive will probably always be limited to a congregation of about twenty or, if he has a lot of personal charisma, might be on his way to starting his own cult.
     
  3. TexasSky

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    This quote is so alarming I think I would take it to my decon committee: "He said that he was God's man and it is dangerous to question him."

    No man has a right to claim everything he says is sanctioned by the Almighty.
     
  4. JamieinNH

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    I agree with Helen and TexasSky,

    It would appear by this story that the Pastor isn't fully aware of the Bible, and his faith. To him, it looks like you're questions HIM and not just some text in the Bible when you bring forth questions.

    Everyone should have questions when they are reading the Bible, if not, then they're not reading the same one I do, because I always have questions. [​IMG]


    I would definiately bring it up to the deacons, and realize that if they "agree" with him, then it's time to find another church.

    You are to Grow in Christ, not be knocked down. You need a church and community that will help support that growth.

    I will pray for you and the Pastor in this situation.

    Jamie
     
  5. J. Jump

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    Everyone is to be held accountable. In love I would ask all the questions that need answered.

    As far as the public forum is concerned I don't know that is the appropriate place to question your pastor. I would say that if you disagree with something or just want to point something out then I would do that in private, becuase it could (stress could) lead to everyone having less confidence in his ability to shepherd and teach.
     
  6. exscentric

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    Unfortunately there are many pastors that believe they are not to be questioned, and you may well find the board agrees with him, but don't let that stop you from finding where you stand - which might be on the slippery slope out of there [​IMG]
     
  7. Artimaeus

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    How you ask a question may or may not be appropriate but the mere fact of asking a question is absolutely the right thing to do. If you stop asking questions, you stop getting answers.
     
  8. Johnv

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    Your Pastor has a bit of an insecurity issue, methinks. Bible studies are, by nature, the perfect place to discuss differing views, takes, and interpretations on biblical topics. If I want to be sermonized, I'll attend a Sunday service.

    In this case, I would probably have respectfully told the pastor I was not arguing with im or belittling him, but that bible study should be a place where open discussion is encouraged, and open discussion must allow for differing views. Differing views are not an indicator of disrespect for the study leaders or for scripture.
     
  9. MikeinGhana

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    rlbcompany

    Maybe the pastor is insecure. Maybe he was unsure of what he was teaching. (Is there anyone who really knows all of Revelation precisely?) I think, however, that the issue is not that you asked a question, but, rather made a statement that seemed like you disagreed with his perspective on the passage. Am I looking at your statement wrong?
     
  10. rlbcompany

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    To MikeinGhana...As I said in my original post, I don't even remember the occassion the pastor said I brought up a disagreement with him. I honestly have no remembrance of that. I certainly could have said that I saw that there was a possible alternate interpretation or that I had read something that looked at the passage differently. It was so inconsequential to me that I don't remember it. However, he says he remembers it but doesn't remember the topic at the time. If I did bring it up, I did without being argumentative, because that is never my intent. It is for the sake of discussion and clarification.
     
  11. Mark Osgatharp

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    One characteristic of true wisdom, according to James, is that it is "easy to be intreated."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    What is the educational background of this pastor?Sounds insecure.Could be the way you presented it.If it is a Bible study for discussion then discussion,questions and different viewpoints should be a proper topic.If he is teaching in the pray and spray method(I talk you listen)then there is no need for comment or question except in private.Lots of variables here.Have you thought about introducing him to our little board?I would be interested to know what his knowledge of Bible prophecy is(just natural curiosity).It could be that this is his first attempt at teaching prophecy and he is having a difficult time getting through it himself which makes him a little sensitive.Does he come across the same way in other matters?Is he above asking questions on anything and everything?If that is the case then you could be in the wrong place.then again he may just be having a hard time getting everybody through this including himself.
     
  13. MikeinGhana

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    rlbcompany

    I am not saying you did anything wrong. I was just trying to see a reason that he might be upset with you. I like that phrase, "easy to be entreated." I just spoke on that the other night in my James class in Bible Institute.
     
  14. Pipedude

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    I think that a pastor has ultimate authority over what gets taught in the church. A teacher should not use his position to undercut what the pastor teaches.

    Beyond that, the pastor should rejoice that somebody is actually listening to what he says and thinking about it, so long as they're polite in their public challenges.

    From what you've told us, I'd say the pastor was seriously wrong in his reaction and it indicates a serious problem in his ministerial character.
     
  15. richard n koustas

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    Wow, does this story sounds very familiar. a couple years ago we were attending a church and the pastor was teaching revelation in the adult sunday school class (a class of about 20). unlike rlbcompany, when i disagreed, i was more confrontational (all my escological views were developed long before that class). anyway, after one sunday school class, he pulled me into his office to have one of those Matt. 18 sessions. he also did not like alternate views. i think he would rather have everyone sit like bobble head dogs on a package shelf nodding up and down with everything he said.

    Don't give up on the pastor, though. we also did not agree on another topic. and we debated it at great length during one of the mens bible studies. a couple weeks later he preached on that topic...i almost wet the pew :eek: ...he came around to my side 100%
     
  16. Mark Osgatharp

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    That sounds like Roman Catholicism and cultism to me. The church has the responsibility to regulate what is taught.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  17. Pipedude

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    I stand corrected. "Ultimate" is the wrong word, since it denotes that beyond which there is none. The ultimate authority over what gets taught is God.

    I meant (but failed) to speak of the order by which a church regulates itself. It is the pastor's office to teach, and to rebuke "false" teachers. "The congregation" does not teach, but individual members do. The congregation polices those members primarily through the pastor whom they called and placed in office.

    If a member and a pastor have a conflict, it can be resolved by appeal to the congregation. But a member does not have authority from God or the congregation to establish a teaching at variance with what the congregation-called pastor teaches. If a church does grant such an authority to a member other than the pastor, they have an unusual sysem of polity and, IMHO, an unworkable and unscriptural one.
     
  18. rlbcompany

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    I know he has a degree from Criswell College. Don't know if he went to any seminary. This is, I believe, his 2nd position as pastor. This new church is a breakoff of the old one. Started about a year ago and have been about building a new sanctuary. The other church and he had differences regarding the establishment of bylaws. When he left the church, several from that church came to him about starting a new church. He accepted that and we begain visiting a few months ago.

    Thanks you to everyone who has taken part in this discussion thread. It has helped a great deal to get the perspective of others.
     
  19. dh1948

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    The question I have is, what authority does the deacon body have over the pastor? I would think that maybe one seasoned, well-respected man in the church could offer to counsel the pastor in a non-threatening way.

    I do think the pastor is wrong.
     
  20. Bro Tony

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    Can a pastor be overly sensitive? Yes

    I believe the intent of the original question needs to be considered. I have been in situations were people just want to take over the teaching session. It is true that there are several views, especially when it comes to eschotology. I believe questions are always good, but I think we must also be careful that our approach is not one that leads to the teacher and those in the class becoming one of personal debates of views. The teacher is the leader of the class, and I believe the one to direct the teaching. A continual debate between the teacher and another individual over interpretation of an issue can exclude the others learners and lead to the teaching being hijacked. After all whatever the issue, we all teach it according to our perspective.

    That being said I do believe that pastors need to be open to the fact that there are other interpretations, and not become too defensive or sensitive. On the other hand what would you want your pastor to do, if a satanist or mormon or scientologist kept offering differing opinions to his teachings? Like it or not the teacher is there to guide the teaching and will always teach from their perspective. I guarantee the OP author would do the same thing.

    Bro Tony
     

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