Preaching and Teaching - Presumptions and Dogmatism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    To what extent is it preferred policy to "dumb down" an opposing view? My experience with Independent Baptist churches is one in which the leaders often oversimplify opposing views when presenting them to the audience. While the pastor/teacher may have invested scores of hours wrestling with the subject to confirm their existing or acquire their new belief, once they present the oversimplified opposing beliefs to the audience the pastor/teacher either glibly or dogmatically dismisses those arguments with his "God forbid!" answer that is necessarily so. It is a rare for a tension of logic or theology to be treated respectfully, that would convey too much 'weakness'. Often what follows is the demonization of the opposing views.

    It seems like they do a disservice to the truth when such conclusions are treated as though they were and should have always been 'foregone conclusions'. Some subjects that this would apply to would be:

    Pre-tribulation
    When the church was actually founded
    Organ donations to anonymous people
    Landmarkism/Baptist History
    Matters of separation of fellowship
    Wine in the grape juice
    Death of Christ on Wednesday instead of Friday
    Consumption of Alcoholic beverages
    Politics

    There are many more and the list is from my own experience, I'm sure people could list more.

    What I'm getting at is at what point are we justified in being pragmatic about what we cause other people to consider? Consider the scenario I've offered above. The leadership purposefully feeds his 'flock' post-digested food and belittles them if they don't eat it, are thankful and ask for more.

    How do we determine the boundaries of informing people who are ignorant of their ignorance? Some people, it seems, are better off left in the dark. I recognize that there is some kind of appropriate balance… and maybe that balance should truly rest with the audience member himself. Yet, this would mean that he would have to possibly come to the conclusion that his leadership is incorrect. Sometimes it is better to be safe than correct, if you know what I mean.
     
  2. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
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    "Soul-freedom"....I default to this...It is a Pastor's job, or that of the "bishopric" of elders to determine a doctrinal line which is taught at a particular church....but some things are left to personal "bereanism"....I do not adhere to some of the doctrinal positions my Senior Pastor does about some issues....But I do not consider them to be issues worthy of dis-fellowship. I share them with him personally and in private, but I NEVER undermine his teaching publically. I preach (as a lay-preacher/teacher) to the church-body as a whole...and I know where the dis-agreements between him and myself lie...I honestly convey my arguments...but I also direct the congregation to seek HIS counsel on where the Church "confessionally" stands....In other words, I express some of my alternative arguments, and then direct them to our Senior Pastor for clarification and an expression of "Church policy".

    My Senior Pastor does not agree with me on all issues...but he sees fit, (because of some of my knowledge and teaching ability)...to allow me to stand behind what we consider to be "HIS" pulpit. From that "pulpit"...I feel that I am required to identify and express to the congregation where there might be alternative explanations for a passage of Scripture that I am teaching or preaching. I am aware of (and believe it to be my responsibility to be aware of) any place wherein an alternative doctrinal position might be taken. It is a gift (IMO) of a good teacher to be able to be cognizant of those places of theological disagreement, and be able to convey certain opinions, while at the same time...direct any further questions about the topic to the authority of our Senior Pastor...I always...when pressed, direct any further questions to HIM...

    This is no problem. There have been many issues in which I have (in personal conversation) persuaded him to my point of view on something that he previously did not hold...But HE is called...to be our leader and Senior Pastor...and not I...And we must learn where certain lines are not to be crossed as respecting doctrine....If anything becomes an issue of "dis-fellowship" to me... then I will, slowly, and without drama...slide slowly away. It will never be MY job to dis-fellowship the Church or to try to bring others over to my side of the argument.

    IF, and WHEN, I ever become a Senior Pastor....it will then be My job to decide which doctrines are critical for Church fellowship or not. Until then, it is the job of all whom the Pastor has entrusted for teaching and exhorting the flock to know their own limits....and how to abide by them.
     
  3. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    Yeah, I know what you mean…

    Okay, soap box time:

    I believed God was truth and the only way, my only hope, admitted it, prayed it, and while turning to God that first night I had many concerns about what was being said about Him in the world and miraculously the next day I opened the Bible not knowing anything about it and began turning to pages that began to answer the very questions that I had. He was continually flooring me with His truths, wisdom, promises and instructions for life that you could put in the bank as the way to live life. I was overwhelmed with the reality of the way God was speaking to me through those Words and I was very often tearfully overjoyed with the love He was showing me and the blessing He was bestowing upon me as I began to understand, gain knowledge, become wiser about the way to live life and in following these new found instructions. I found peace and watched my life change for the better while knowing His hand was on my shoulder and guiding me and He assured me of that often. I felt like an idiot that I had been missing out on the wisdom of that Book for the first 33 years of my life and had gone through so much suffering and anguish that could have been avoided if only I had known where to get my information from.

    One of the things of great concern and which I prayed to Him about from the beginning of my walk is that I didn’t understand many things about Him and didn’t know where to begin to find out the truth and I didn’t want to be misguided by men which were saying all sorts of different things. He began answering that question and more from the first day I opened my Bible and continued to instruct me and keep me from falling into the wrong hands. My first year as new believer was spent alone with my Bible, my nose was in it for hours everyday and I trusted it to guide me in everything. Very early on I was lead to write a list of 100 verses which I memorized and fell asleep reciting and pondering the meanings of in my mind every night and those verses which were branded into my heart included:

    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
    (Col 2:8)

    That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    (Eph 4:14)

    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
    (Rom 12:2)

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    (Mat 7:7-8)

    But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
    (Joh 14:26)

    And finally, not that the following verses were memorized by me word for word or part of my original 100 but I knew them very well and you can put them in the bank as to where and how to get your information and as a promise to preserved you from being lead wrong:

    My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
    (Pro 2:1-9)

    Steps off the box…
     
    #3 Benjamin, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2012
  4. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    Excellent OP, and responses gentlemen. Keep it up. As a professional educator, balanced approaches (learning what others think) is an important principle to me.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Brother.....why would you go to a church that operates in that fashion? Its real condescending & wrong minded & really NOT Christian.
     
  6. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    There is much wisdom here in dealing with what could be a potentially tense situation. I have also adopted the position that if I disagree with my pastor, he and I will be the only ones who know it. (I am chair of the deacons and choir director).

    Now, there are some things which are generally known where he and I don't see things the same doctrinally. But I agree with you. I would never publicly undercut him.

    Your pastor must appreciate you very much for your stance. And he certainly trusts you, or he would never let you into his pulpit.
     
  7. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Good question and point. I think it has to do with not seeing the forrest for the trees, optimism bias, and having a self identity in that was mostly formed there. I cut my teeth -so to speak- as a babe in Christ as a teenager there, spent the following 20 years there of which the last 6 were like the OP described. I could tell you more that would shed light on why I stayed but let me just say it was a blending of church, occupation, ministry, leadership, family and friends and the leaving of the church sadly affected all the others and much loss experienced... kind of like trying to separate two pieces of paper glued together. There is yet hope for reconciliation of relationships though.
     
  8. thomas15

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    I think it's SOP.

    And in my dealings with the reformed brethern on this board, reading the PB and talking to reformed who attend the dispy church I go to, I think that it is common to educate on those opposing systems by presenting works that critique the system more so than the actual works by the opposing viewpoint. In other words, instead of reading Ryrie Dispensationalism Today to get an understanding of dispensationalism, it seems to be popular to suggest Poythress Undersstanding Dispensationalism.

    Personally I do not agree with this. Instead, read them both, then decide.
     
    #8 thomas15, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
  9. 12strings

    12strings
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    Would this principle also apply when we very quickly summarize the way IFB churches present their views, and dismiss them out of hand without examining why they hold such positions? I agree with your premise, by the way, I'm just asking. :laugh:
     
  10. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Assuming I know what principle you are talking about, Yes, I think it would and I have done so and hope to do so in the future. Coming to a settled opinion should take time and the process should be undertaken with patience and humility.
     

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