Well I was ordained yesterday. Yikes. What a responsibility. The charge was preached by an American pastor Dennis Husted (his book is in the Bookshack). He brought the thunder. I can’t believe I am officially an elder and a pastor. The service was very moving, and felt very much like a wedding. Below is my response to the charge. People received it very well and I sensed a genuine bond formed with this flock after my promise to bury them all! (They all started laughing at that point, and some have told me they are looking forward to being buried by me.)
1 Tim 4:2
11 Dec 2005
NOT ON MY WATCH!
The Apostle and Pastor, Paul wrote to the young pastor Timothy:
1 Tim 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
The reason the pastor Timothy needed that charge was because is very normal for churches to prefer a diluted diet of God’s Word. They want a diverse menu. Make it funny, make it entertaining. Like a sitcom. Make it relevant and informative, like the news. Convince me I need your product, like an infomercial. People want their ears tickled. Truth offends them, they want fiction.
This is natural. It is normal for churches to drift into liberalism, disbelieving God’s inspired word. They sense the need to be acceptable to modern scholarship and bow the knee to the priests of so-called science.
The poison man-centered consumerism will permeate the congregation until the Word of God seems old-fashioned and out of place in the pulpit.
Surveys, statistics and success stories will drive the sermons. Solid immovable truths of the Bible are being displaced by the fashionable, politically correct, feel-good fluffy sermonettes that have as little substance to them as the plastic lecterns they are delivered from.
Like I say: It is normal for preachers to be lazy and cowardly and thereby bring a diluted gospel into the church. And it is ordinary for congregations to reward this atrocity with hearty approval.
This is the typical course for a church. Like a river flows to the sea a church will drift toward error. And all it takes is one generation of preacher to lead a faithful flock like this astray.
So today I promise you that it will not happen on my watch.
People want unity at the price of sound doctrine. And cowardly preachers deliver the rotten goods with pleasure. But not on my watch.
In fact, if this church wants to turn against the inspired word of God, it will need to run me out of here first.
If the super-trendy, seeker-friendly disease infects this flock, it’s not going to happen on my shift
If you want to highlight self-esteem and downplay God-esteem, if you want to emphasize man’s role in salvation and usurp God’s role, you’ll have to fire me.
If you want to graft the weed of evolutionary theory into Genesis, and import political correctness through a gender-neutral translation, you’ll have to wait until I’m in the grave.
If you want an ecumenical gospel that makes a way for all faiths into the wide gate, and makes a mockery of the Cross, and cheapens atonement, you’ll first have to drag me out of this church and pry my nails off the pulpit. Because Hillcrest Baptist Church will not adulterate the Gospel on my watch.
Now, I will be criticized for this. From the community at large I expect to be called old fashioned when I refuse to marry a believer to unbeliever. I will be called legalistic when I call professing believers to a lifestyle that honors their Savior. I will be called ignorant when I insist that the words of the Bible mean what they say, even when they appear to contradict so called scientific findings. I will be attacked verbally and in writing. In public and in private.
And all I can say to that is, with the Lord’s grace… Bring it on! Bring it on. Do your worst! My life is not important to me.
I endeavour to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We have some work to do. We have a community to win. People around us do not know the Lord. They are dying and going to Hell on our watch.
We need to step it up a notch. We need to take the Gospel into our community in our words of hope and our deeds of mercy.
It’s normal for churches to become complacent “Us four no more close the door.” It’s ordinary for churches to get comfortable with the size of the church, the style of music, the way things are going. Not on my watch!
Now this has to be raising the question: How long is your watch? When can we expect you to move on to greener grass?
I don’t believe in a pastorate with an expiration date.
Kim and I have no plans to move anywhere else.
I know talk is cheap. I know you’ve heard this before. I know every preacher thinks he will grow old die in his first pastorate with his son taking over from him.
But I can only share with you what is on my heart:
I want to bury all of you. I want to be the one who marries your children and baptizes theirs. I want my kids to grow up knowing only one church family. I want to buy a house and plant a tree. An oak tree.
Now I can’t promise anything. Jepthah and James both teach that I cannot make a promise about the future. So I’m not. But I can ask you to take a chance on me.
When a young police officer graduates from the academy, he is assigned to a partner. They don’t know each other at all. But from the very first day, both men are called to put their lives in each others hands. Before getting to know each other, they must trust each other.
You and I have been assigned to one another, in a partnership arranged by the sweet and wise providence of God.
From this day forward my life and the life of my family is in your hands. You need to take care of us. We have no plan B. And likewise I know that your lives and hearts are in my hands. Take a chance.
There is a community out there that needs the Lord. Let’s get to work.
2 days ago