Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Most Dangerous Guy at Church?

Pastor Erik Raymond has an excellent article entitled "Who is the most dangerous guy at your church?" He starts out the article by posing the question:
“Who is the most dangerous guy at your church?”

Here I am not so much aiming at an individual as I am looking at a type of person.
He then goes on to explain a little further:
Sure, we all can spot the unbeliever who doesn’t fluently speak the language of Zion, we can identify the person from doctrinally anemic backgrounds because they keep cutting themselves with the sharp knives in the theology drawer, and of course any Calvinist can sniff out an Arminian within 20 seconds.
And finally he gives his thoughts:
But I submit that these types of people are not the most dangerous people that attend your church. At least, they are not in my experience.

Instead, the most dangerous person at your church is the apparently smart guy who is unteachable. (Emphasis added)
His article goes on to describe why this person is potentially dangerous. It's because they eclipse the Gospel, are critical, divisive, rob leadership of joy and waste valuable resources. There is the potential to misdiagnose someone that has a legitimate problem with a particular teaching - I am sure there are those that wanted to brand me as such when it came to the pedo-baptism/believer baptism arguments in seminary - but I would guess that if we are not that "smart guy/girl who is unteachable" it becomes easy is not as hard to avoid a false characterization.

The one thing that strikes me is that the longer we are in ministry the easier it becomes to fall into the trap of being that person who is too smart and unteachable. Is there anything more destructive for a church than a know-it-all pastor? I don't mean that we need to have a theology that is as firm as jello but rather having the attitude that we always know best and are always right. Christ may be infallible but I am not. It's a problem of pride and of an unhealthy self-reliance. I know that I have the potential to struggle with both of these things and it means constant hard work on staying humble.

The article is well worth the read as  Pastor Raymond has some very good (and intuitive) suggestions on how to deal with these types of people.

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