Disagreements between leaders

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by jcrowe, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. jcrowe

    jcrowe
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    My question is this.

    How should doctrinal disagreements be handled in a church? To clearify, if a few deacons disagree with the pastor & other deacons on a doctrinal issue (not a moral issue) how should it be handled?
     
  2. Pastor J

    Pastor J
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    Matt. 16 states that the offended brother needs to go to the person alone. If he will not hear, then go again with 2 or 3 witnesses.

    If the pastor and deacons are in opposition to the churches doctrinal statement, then it would be appropriate to sit down with them one on one and try to bring reconciliation. If you are in opposition to the churches doctrinal statement, ti would be appropriate to step down and leave the church quietly.

    If it is not spelled out in the church doctrinal statment, then we go back to sitting down with the pastor one on one. If you can show him clearly in Scripture that he is wrong and cannot show you clearly that you are and will not repent, then bring witnesses. The pastor and deacons are not above church discipline. However, it is extremely important that this is done properly and with a good spirit, otherwise division is sure to happen.
     
  3. HappyG

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    What is the doctrinal issue we are talking about?

    In order for me to say how I would handle it...I'd have to know that.
     
  4. jcrowe

    jcrowe
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    Arminian/Calvanism was the area in which said leaders disagreed.
     
  5. Bro Tony

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    From what I have seen this is an area, even on this board, where die hards on both sides refuse to bend. This is not a primary doctrinal issue, it is secondary. They should agree to disagree and get on with the main business at hand. Unfortunately, this issue does not lend to that happening, it may be better for the pastor to find a church that is agreement with his position, instead of trying to remake that church in his image.

    Bro Tony
     
  6. qwerty

    qwerty
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    All you need to do is go to this area on the Baptist Board, and read for a short time.

    Calvinism/Arminianism Debate
    Forum for Calvinism/Arminianism Debate

    You will find that such disagreements are easily resolved. The Calvinism/Arminianism Debate is one where the people involved are usually very cordial, and loving. You might even call them buddies. I find it interesting that there would even be a small disagreement in a church over these matters. I find that few who debate this issue have strong convictions about it.
     
  7. Johnv

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    Most of the times, the arguements are not over doctrinal issues at all, but interpretational issues.
     
  8. jcrowe

    jcrowe
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    Does that change the way it should be handled?
     
  9. Johnv

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    I think doctrinal issues are very serious. Interpretational issues typically range the gammit, and should be handled in an individual basis. The church itself needs to be united in regards to doctrine and distinctive. Interpretational and policy issues don't necessarily require everyone to come to agreement, but they need to be respectful of each other, and whether or not the church itself has a specific position on an interpretation. For example, a believer's baptism and Mary being a virgin are doctrinal and distinctive, and there can be no swerving from these. OTOH, whether a woman can lead a coed bible study is not doctrinal. In this case, folks are not required to agree, but they must respect whatever the decision of the church is, even though they are not required to adhere to that belief.
     
  10. rufus

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    I like your reasoning, especially from the Bible.

    Rowes Chapel Baptist Church
     
  11. delly

    delly
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    We have recently had some difficulty in our church. We are currently without a pastor because our pastor of 30 years retired (health problems) then our interim pastor also became very ill and will not be back. We have had visiting pastors for a few months now and will continue until we can find another interim pastor or a permanant one.
    We also have a children's minister and a youth minister. The problem is that our children's pastor has been teaching predestination. Now, we are a Southern Baptist church that does not believe in predestination. When it was found out that this young man was teaching this, a group of deacons and the interim pastor (before he became ill) went to this young man and talked to him, stating that he could not teach predestination in our church. He was asked to re-examine his thinking as the church does not believe this way, therefore, he cannot teach this in the church. It was decided by the interim pastor that they would give him 3 months; the pastor thinking that he would come around in that amount of time. They also decided that this would not be brought before the church at that time because they felt like it could be worked out between them and the children's minister without causing any strife in the church.
    The 3 months will be up at the end of July, but this has already caused a great rift; mostly along age lines. At the first of July the children's minister and the youth minister resigned. The children't minister has decided to go to seminary and the youth pastor (who by the way is much more outspoken and headstrong) is just resigning because the other one is. He claims to believe in predestination also. Needless to say, the younger people are mad at the deacons and the older people. They state that it is just a matter of theology and therefore is of no real consequence to the church and that the deacons are being heavy handed and secretive. They claim that it should have been brought out in the open from the beginning and the church should have voted on it. Since there was actually nothing to vote on at that time, I can't see their argument. The deacons were doing what the interim pastor asked them to do and, at that time, it wasn't a matter to be brought before the church body.
    When the children's and youth ministers resigned and it was found out that the deacons and interim pastor had spoken to them about this, the younger people were furious. During the monthly business meeting one of the younger deacons (my deacon) resigned in protest. The deacons were accused of being heavy handed and lording it over people. The young people want to be able to sit in on deacon's meetings and the church should be able to see all minutes of the deacon's meetings.
    It was all a bunch of nonsense and frivolity. The head of the deacons stated that this would not happen as they discuss all sorts of personal problems that are brought to their attention that the church body has no business knowing about. (I know I wouldn't want everyone to know about things I have talked to my deacon about).
    Some of the young people wanted the young ministers to be allowed to state their case and they were given the opportunity to speak. The children's minister was very loving; stating that he wasn't mad at anyone and wished everyone well. He did not go into detail about his beliefs and would not condemn any of the deacons nor the interim pastor. To me, he showed us that he is a real man and a Christian. This young man is in his 30s, is married and has a family.
    The youth minister was very arrogant, belligerent and argumentative. The head of the deacons finally told him to just sit down. He proved that he is still very childish and has a lot of learning and growing to do. He is 22 years old.

    Our church is struggling right now because we don't have a Pastor. Our search committee is struggling to find the man the Lord wants us to have, but they haven't had many resumes. We are also looking for a Music minister. Now we must search for a Youth minister and a Children's minister. At the end of July, we will not have anybody in a position of leadership employeed by the church.
    Our deacons are doing everything possible to handle this whole situation. We have had some great ministers every Sunday. We even had one a couple weeks ago, who has been called to another church in town, state that he would have come to our church if he had known we were looking for a pastor. We would have gladly accepted him, had we known he was wanting to make a move. He has not had a church for a few years as he has been working in Memphis with a regional office of the SBC.
    Please pray for our church and that we will find someone to lead us very soon. The retirement of our long time pastor has left some to think they have no one to censor them and they are trying to change everything. We even has a family to leave the church because the man wanted all the deacons to resign and new deacons voted in, so that men who have been married and divorced may be considered for the deaconship.

    Pray for us that we will be steadfast in our commitment to the Lord and his will.

    I know this is very long, but I just had to get it out.
     
  12. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    delly,

    You and your church are in my prayers. This is a difficult situation that will take some healing. the Lord will send you a pastor who will preach the Word and love the people if you all will wait on Him nd remain sensitive to his will. I believe, according to what you stated, that your church leadership handled this touchy situation probably as well as possible. One thing I have learned in the area of staff and conflict with church teachings is that you must get a statement that they will adhere to the authority of the church, if they will not they need to be asked to leave. Extra time only brings extra hurt in these situations. That is just my experience.

    God bless you as you wait on the Lord,

    Bro Tony
     
  13. Su Wei

    Su Wei
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    As concerning such an important doctrine as this, i think i would look to these verses.

    Titus 3:9-10 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

    Those with a different position from the pastor should best find another church! Pastor's got to study the Word, come to a conclusion and stand firm!!! (He is the under shepherd who will have to give an account one day...)
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    What does your doctrinal statement say? That should settle the matter. If the deacons are out of line with it, then they need to change or find another church. If the pastor is out of line with it, then he needs to change or find another church.

    This matter can be easily resolved from that standpoint.

    But I wonder why you include deacons in the "leaders" of the church? Perhaps that is the first problem. They, by NT definition, are servants, not leaders.
     
  15. delly

    delly
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    I don't believe I included the deacons as leaders in the church. I stated that, as of July 31, we have have no one in leadership employed by the church. We all know that deacons are servants of the church, but when there is no Pastor and no Interim Pastor, the deacons are put in a position of leadership.

    We do know what the doctrinal statements say. It states that we believe Christ died for everyone, extends his grace to all and that whosoever will may believe on him and receive salvation.

    This matter has been resolved from that standpoint, with the resignation of the person who chose to teach differently than what we believe.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    Doctrinal issues pose a thorny problem, since we must have UNITY of the faith, but that does not presume UNANIMITY.

    I would think that most believers have a list of 20-30 major doctrinal beliefs to which they will hold fast no matter what. They will find a church fellowship that likewise holds these core doctrinal values.

    For instance: I would never attend a church that was Arminian, that was NOT pre-trib, that had a woman pastor, that had dress codes, etc etc. I would visit and discern if I would fit into body and ask questions and evaluate.

    Often the problem comes when people grow beyond the pastor (who finds a comfort zone in a church and does not want change). Or when a new pastor comes who does NOT hold these core values.

    This is NOT a Matthew 18 situation. It calls for rational discussion and for the church as a body to decide its doctrinal bent. As they do the "practical" (music, education, etc).

    If you can't agree, leave the church and find a place that IS in keeping with your core doctrinal beliefs.
     
  17. HappyG

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    Delly,

    It's a bummer that your pastor of 30 years didn't take a young man under his wing about 3 years ago and prepare him and the church for when he would be gone. I would think the things that are going on would are just breaking his heart. 30 years of work and this is how the "children" act?!
     
  18. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Delly,

    I was responding to the OP, not to you specifically. The OP seemed to include deacons in the leadership by virtue of the thread title.
     
  19. HappyG

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    Jcrowe...knowing what the issue is now, my hunch about a church who's leadership is arguing over the Calvinism/Arminian debate is that the church has lost site of its mission and vision and there are some deeper issues that need to be flushed out. Calvinism vs. Armenianism is not the real issue because when this argument is settled, another "issue" will crop up.

    There are larger issues of purpose, vision and overall leadership and willingness to follow leadership at stake.

    There needs to be a good "all hands" meeting and the church should decide whether or not they are going to "infight" or get on with reaching the community. Close the doors if they would rather focus inward because it will eventually happen anyways.
     
  20. go2church

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    This sounds like a good chance for the church to establish what it believes about this area, establish what it is they will advocate and then expect those in teaching positions to adhere or don't teach.
     

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