America’s New Religion Is Social Justice

America’s New Religion Is Social Justice

In 2019 I was invited to Washington D.C. to speak at a special event organized by Sovereign Nations in conjunction with CPAC – the conservative political action conference of American politics. While my focus is the local church and specifically the preaching of Scripture—I felt that this invitation was worthy of attention due to the rise and influence of social justice as guiding principles and even religious convictions. 

In this talk, I pointed out the victimology of intersectionality as it pertains to the new religion of social justice that’s being introduced into our culture. This new religion is embraced by the government, is popular among the people, and is fueled by victimology. You will find it in the world of athletics, corporations, the university system, politics, and religious circles. 

It was my aim to point out that America’s greatest days are when the Church of Jesus is healthy and strong in America. If America is determined to replace Christianity with social justice ideologies, it will result in deconstruction and a massive downgrade. If the Church in America bows to the woke religion, America will follow in the footsteps of the European nations from a social, political, and religious standpoint within a few years. 

When I gave this talk it was prior to the George Floyd tragedy and it predated the vandalization of statues of key figures of American history. As we watch the mob tear down such statues in the streets—we are witnessing more than a cancel culture. We are witnessing the spark of a movement that’s bent on the deconstruction of our civilization. These controversies that are being addressed by social justice ideologies and protested by the rage of the mob fueled by the Marxist organization known as Black Lives Matter

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day in America, we must realize that the ideologies of social justice threaten our independence and have an agenda to deconstruct America as we know it.

I stand behind what I said in this talk. I hope it will be an encouragement to you as we continue to expose the false religion of this woke social justice movement. 

 

Unsound Teaching Produces Unsound Churches

Unsound Teaching Produces Unsound Churches

The calling of the pastor is to lead the church through a faithful teaching ministry. His doctrine must be healthy or it will have a negative impact upon the entire church. This is why Paul instructs Titus to be certain that his teaching was sound, which is another way of saying it must be healthy.

Titus 2:1 – But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

The Contrast of the Faithful Pastor and the Unfaithful Heretics

Notice how Paul begins this verse. He writes, “But as for you.” This was a means of providing a vivid contrast to the evil enemies of the cross who were plaguing God’s people. The teaching of Titus must have a completely different aroma than the teaching of the heretics. People should be able to notice the difference without being confused.

This is critically important as we consider the preaching and teaching of faithful pastors. They must be so closely aligned with God’s Word and so consumed with the gospel that there is no mistaking their teaching with the false teaching of those who seek to lead people astray with false doctrine. Sound doctrine and false doctrine must be clearly distinguished from one another.

The Calling of the Pastor

The calling of the pastor is to the task of preaching and teaching holy Scripture. Notice that Paul didn’t call Titus to entertain the people. It should be further noted that Paul didn’t instruct Titus to engage in the work of psychology or sociology. The calling of Titus was to teach the Word of God and to appoint elders to that same task in the context of local churches across the island of Crete.

Paul says, “teach” which is the Greek term, “λαλέω” meaning to express oneself by speaking. It literally means to talk. When connected with sound doctrine, this places the contextual emphasis upon imparting knowledge in a formal sense of teaching. It was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who once said the following:

Preaching the Word is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need.

Certainly the pastor wears many hats as it pertains to the work of shepherding. The most important task and the central calling of the pastor is to the preparation for and faithful teaching of God’s Word. The pastor can do a hundred things well, but if he fails in this one area, he is an unfit pastor who fails in his calling to the office of an elder.

The Message of the Pastor

The message of the pastor must be healthy. That’s the meaning of Paul’s word to Titus when he instructs him to deliver sound doctrine. Literally he’s saying, “teach with healthy teaching.” The word used by Paul for doctrine is “διδασκαλία” which came to be used in the New Testament, especially in the pastoral epistles, to mean the sum of the body of teaching by the apostles.

For that reason, we often say, “doctrine matters.” By way of contrast, Paul had warned Titus that the Cretans were known as liars. The heretics who were peddling a false gospel were not to be trusted because they had come into the community of the Christians insisting on salvation by grace plus law. In short, these two groups that were impacting the church on the island of Crete were teaching unsound doctrines.

The unadulterated Word of God is what the local church needs. Anything else will not fulfill the people and will lead to unrest, lawless behavior, and ultimately will be so dull that it will not penetrate the hearts of people and will be incapable of saving the soul (James 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 3:16). Unsound preaching leads to unsound living. Paul understood that Titus’ responsibility was to disciple elders who would disciple local churches.

As we consider the landscape of our evangelical culture today, we must avoid the popular trappings that entangle so many local church leaders and subsequently—entire churches. It was once a very popular trend to replace preaching with psychology. Today, the popular trend seems to be centered on replacing theology with sociology. What this does is place an emphasis on anthropology rather than theology. Such an unhealthy focus leads churches to become fixated upon man rather than God. This approach to the church today will result in division rather than unity and frustration rather than doxology.

Unsound teaching will produce unsound churches. It would do us well to remember that the world around us is constantly seeking to deform the church. We must be striving for ongoing reformation as we seek to honor God through biblically informed worship and a lifestyle that is consistent with a pursuit of holiness.

 

How Jesus Responded to an Atrocity

How Jesus Responded to an Atrocity

The following is a guest post by Dr. Chris King who serves as pastor of Bayou View Baptist Church in GulfportMississippi.


The Roman Governor Pilate committed a horrible atrocity against the Jews.  While they were worshiping, he apparently had some of them killed (mingling their blood with their sacrifices).  People in the crowds following Jesus wanted Him to address this act of government oppression and injustice.  History confirms the political tensions between the Jews and the Romans, and the crowd wanted to hear how Jesus would respond to this massacre. 

Luke records this conversation in 13:1-3, where Jesus provides a two-fold response.  First, He addresses a common misunderstanding—that these people suffered because they were “worse sinners” than others living in Galilee.  The Lord asks the question, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?”  The intended answer to this rhetorical question is, “No, they did not suffer because they were worse sinners.”  Implicit in the question seems to be the idea that these people died because of some sin they had committed.  With this response, Jesus clarifies how everyone is sinful and guilty before God.

Secondly, Jesus says to the crowd, “…Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  The call for sinners to repent marked the ministry of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 4:17 records, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  Why doesn’t Jesus answer the crowds’ questions about the atrocity committed by Pilate?  Because a more serious and pressing issue needs to be addressed—the fact that all sinners need to repent.  Jesus’ mission/purpose deals with the grave spiritual needs of mankind (Luke 19:10), not temporal issues related to government oppression.  

Jesus also highlights the consequences facing those who do not repent—they will “all likewise perish.” [1]  By using the word “all,” the Lord underscores the imminent danger of everyone in the crowd (and the world).  The crowd focuses on those who had died under Pilate’s hand.  Jesus focuses on the need for all the living to repent.

What can we learn from Jesus’ responses? 

First, Christians need to recognize the pervasiveness of sin.  Jesus’ initial response highlights the universal sinfulness of mankind (as a legion of other Biblical references will confirm).  The Lord indicates the crowd shares a dire problem with those murdered by Pilate.  But they didn’t seem to recognize it.  The crowd was more concerned about the evil Pilate had committed (and what should be done about it) than their own spiritual plight.  Jesus cuts to the deepest problem—the curse of sin that afflicts all people. 

When people point out the myriad of injustices in our world, we should remind them how we’re all guilty before God because of our sin.  People often point out the sins of others without taking account of their own guilt before a holy God.  As Christians, we should direct people’s attention to the most serious concern facing the world—people are “condemned already” before God (John 3:18).  As depraved acts unfold before us, it provides us with a potent opportunity to explain the universal and ongoing sinfulness of all mankind.  People clearly recognize injustices and the effects of sin in our world.  This affords us an opportunity to point people to the Gospel.        

Second, we need to emphasize repentance as the response to the reality of sin.  Jesus calls sinners to repent, Christians should be calling sinners to repent.  The Lord has not commissioned Christians to answer every question about injustice in our world.  Later in his Gospel, Luke makes clear what His followers should be focused on doing: “…Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations…” (Luke 24:47).  Like Jesus, Christians should be more concerned with calling sinners to repent than trying to explain the continuous cycle of evil acts in the world.    

Repentance is a response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Talking to people about sin and repentance gives Christians the opportunity to clearly explain the Gospel.  We can share the good news of what God has done by sending His Son to die for our sins and be raised from the dead.  We can joyfully explain how all their sins can be forgiven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  To be forgiven of sin and guilt, we must repent and trust in Christ alone.  When people ask questions about how God could allow an atrocity, like Jesus, we should ask them if they’ve repented of their sins. 

Third, we need to clearly express the severe consequences of sin: if people don’t repent, they will perish.  This gives us another opportunity to explain the Gospel.  The Gospel offers eternal life to the perishing (John 3:16).  When crowds highlight the evils propagated by others—we should turn their attention to the fact that all who do not repent will perish.    

In his ministry, Jesus does not typically address the atrocities and injustices carried out by the Romans or other governmental authorities.  He deals with far weightier issues like the universal sinfulness and guilt of mankind, and the pressing need for repentance.  Luke 13:1-4 provides one of the many examples of His concentration on the eternal and spiritual needs of mankind.  He focuses His ministry labors on preaching God’s Word, making disciples, and fulfilling what the Scripture promises about the coming Christ.

How should Christians respond to evils and atrocities carried out in our day?  I suggest we follow the model set forth by Jesus Christ: expose the universal reality of sin, call sinners to repent, and make clear the peril facing the unrepentant.  Christians should use the tragedies of this world to point hurting people to the good news of the Gospel.  Christians have good news to offer a world full of injustices.   


  1. Paul also highlights the importance of repentance in his preaching of the Gospel (Acts 17:30; 20:21; 26:20).

 

 

Ethnic Gnosticism Leads to Presumption and Prejudice

Ethnic Gnosticism Leads to Presumption and Prejudice

One of the more controversial issues facing our nation, and in many ways our world today, is the issue of racism. It’s the hottest issue on the news—eclipsing the pandemic. Is racism, or ethnic prejudice as I would prefer to call it, really the driving issue of the day? Could it be that the American people are being played by political groups with a devious agenda centered on an insatiable appetite for….power?

A few years ago, Voddie Baucham coined the phrase, ethnic Gnosticism. The term Gnosticism is a word that comes from the Greek term gnosis which means, having secret knowledge. It came to represent a cult with a set of beliefs that twisted the doctrine of man, God, and salvation into a strange story of philosophical dualism that professed salvation through secret knowledge, or gnosis. Voddie Baucham connects the idea of ethnic superiority to Gnosticism to define the idea that black people (and other ethnicities including white people as well) have the ability to possess secret knowledge of motive, intent, and goals in specific situations such as the recent cases involving police officers and black men. Ethnic Gnosticism is completely disconnected from tangible data and presumes on situations without the necessary information about the individuals involved that would lead to a proper conclusion. 

Was Derek Chauvin a racist? It seems that everyone knows Derek Chauvin really well, because within hours of the video surfacing on YouTube—Derek Chauvin was evaluated, examined, and denounced as a racist cop who murdered George Floyd as motivated by his racist heart. The fact of the matter remains, we still don’t know if Derek Chauvin was a racist with white supremacy motives or if he was merely a white man who murdered a black man on the street without the slightest care of the man’s skin color. It may be determined through the trial that he was certainly a racist, but it could likewise be determined that he was merely a murderer who would have done the exact same thing if George Floyd’s skin was white.

At the memorial service for George Floyd, Al Sharpton read a portion of Scripture from Ephesians 6:10-13 and then made the following statement:

We are not fighting some disconnected incidence. We are fighting an institutional, systemic problem that has been allowed to permeate since we were brought to these shores. And we are fighting wickedness in high places.

It was at that very point that Al Sharpton launched off into a politically motivated rant filled with social justice language that was completely disconnected from the intent and aim of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. He called out the “white system,” the President of the United States, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and continued to lament injustices against the black population while using a biblical text completely out of context at George Floyd’s memorial service. 

What about the recent police shooting in Atlanta? Was Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks, a racist cop? Without any information about the officer involved, he is quickly accused of being a racist cop who “street executed” Rayshard Brooks. On what basis? Because of his skin color? Yet people rush to Twitter and other social media outlets to quickly demonstrate their hatred of racism while Monday morning quarterbacking an intense police situation with an intoxicated man who was resisting arrest and attacking officers.

Following the tragic event, the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, in a news interview stated that the officers should have “just let him go.”  Is that a proper depiction of justice from the leader of a major city in America? A pastor in Atlanta stated a similar thing on Twitter. Is that a biblical display of justice for a man who was D.U.I. and endangering his community? Is that the proper response to a man who attacked and endangered police officers after resisting arrest? That’s what happens when we replace biblical justice with social justice. 

The presumption of ethnic Gnosticism is fueling the fires of many problems in our nation today. People claim to know that white police officers are racist if a black person dies during any traffic stop, confrontation, or incident. Such presumption bypasses the due process of the law and leads to further injustice. We have seen this in recent days through riots and burning of businesses based on the “knowledge” that flows out of ethnic Gnosticism—claiming that the officers involved in these recent cases are indeed acting out of racist motivations. 

In the case of George Floyd or Rayshard Brooks, could the officer be racist? Yes. Could it be that he was merely guilty of bad policing from a non-racist heart? Sure. Could it be that he made the right call, albeit not the most popular decision, from a non-racist motivated heart to uphold the law and protect the community? Yes. This is why we have a process that must be properly played out as opposed to quickly and abruptly judging people by hashtag wars on social media and mob rage in the streetsI 

Can we see that our civilization is at jeopardy? We are on the precipice of making really uninformed and destructive decisions that will have a lasting and negative impact upon our nation as a whole if we continue to allow the nation to be bullied by the mobs of our day. If the mob rules the culture, he who can possess the greatest rage and threat wins the day. 

In the midst of all of this, we have evangelical leaders lecturing local churches—insisting that we must listen to stories and experiences of other people and stop talking about statistics and data. Sure, stories and experiences matter, but we can’t make decisions in life detached from and ignorant of real statistics and data. We live in a nation that has provided the greatest opportunities to all ethnicities—including black people—in recent years. We have black leaders in all spheres of our culture (political, religious, economic, educational, athletic, entertainment). Prior to the pandemic, the black population celebrated the greatest employment rates in the history of our nation. And yet, we are being lectured about a dominate white supremacy culture and white privilege that holds back the black population from advancement. We hear this from political and religious leaders.

What about that data? What about those statistics? What about ethnic Gnosticism? What about political agendas? What about the gospel?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization is using a Marxist ideology with a postmodern deconstructive goal to fuel the flames of ethnic Gnosticism in our culture. The organization exists to disrupt society. The BLM organization promotes  critical race theory and intersectionality (CRT/I) as a means of advancing identity politics which serve to divide rather than unite. An organization that claims to stand for the dignity of black lives supports the murder of hundreds of thousands of black babies every single year. The BLM organization is a perverse and divisive group that seeks to destroy black families, murder black babies, divide ethnicities, fuel ethnic prejudice and superiority, fuel a spirit of anarchy (#DefundThePolice), and point the black population to the democratic politicians for the answers to the problems of human depravity. All of this under the umbrella of change

Where does ethnic prejudice originate? We inherit it from our forefather, Adam. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they plunged the entire human race into sin. According to Romans 5:12, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” That means that we are born as sinners. The idea that we are born completely innocent and at some point we pass through the “age of accountability” where we determine the difference between right and wrong and actively engage in trespassing God’s law is simply the product of corrupt theology.

According to David, he was a sinner even from his mother’s womb (Psalm 51:5). The only two humans in the history of the human race who lived without any stain of sin and were completely innocent in the eyes of God were Adam and Eve. Not one person has been born completely innocent and without the stain of sin throughout the history of the world since the days of Adam and Eve. 

We find ethnic prejudice interwoven throughout the fabric of humanity. The Jews struggled with this problem and had to be rebuked as the New Testament Church was growing and the gospel was bringing together both Jew and Gentile into one covenant family. Jews looked down at Gentiles – often referring to them as “dogs.” Proselytes to the Jewish religion were never fully accepted within the religious circles of the Jews.

The Jews, were known as “the circumcision” which was a sign of their covenant with God.  As a separate people, they took great pride in being the chosen ones of God (see Deuteronomy 7). They looked down upon the Gentiles (non-Jews) as “the uncircumcision.”  They were devalued as the savages, rebels, and unholy people.  Often Jews would avoid passing through Samaria because they viewed them as “half-breeds” and people who had broken their covenant with God. The ethnic prejudice was so bad that Jewish women were not permitted to aid in the birth of a Gentile woman’s child because they would be seen as aiding in bringing another God hater into the world.

Where did such ethnic pride and prejudice come from? It’s a product of human depravity. As David made clear in Psalm 51:5, we are born sinners. We inherit our sin nature from Adam and the variations of sin flow out of that seed of depravity. Regardless of our melanin count, we are all capable of possessing ethnic prejudice in our hearts. To engage in prejudice attitudes and actions against another ethnic group is sinful. It disrupts society and breeds ethnic superiority which is detestable and destructive.

In order to oppose the injustice against George Floyd—many people have engaged in forms of ethnic prejudice behavior. Signs were placed in windows of businesses while cities were being destroyed by mobs during the riots that read, “Black Owned Business.” In order to be consistent, we must see this as a racist message. When black people call for white people to kiss their boots in order to repent of racism, that’s actually an example of ethnic prejudice. When the elites publish statements about “White Fragility” and “White Privilege” requiring white people to “check their privilege” at every given turn—that’s nothing less than a form of ethnic prejudice and discrimination against white people.

How do we get beyond this ethnic division in our culture? It’s only through the message of the cross of Jesus. Black lives matter to Jesus, and therefore, black lives matter to the Church of Jesus. We value all human life as image bearers of God (imago Dei). The very best way to see life through a proper lens is to look at the world through a gospel lens rather than a disruptive Marxist lens. Only in Jesus will we have true unity. That’s a picture we see in the Church of Jesus—a foretaste of heaven.

There are no shortcuts or bypasses to overcoming ethnic prejudice in the hearts of people. That’s why Paul said the following to the church in Galatia, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). This is why the Church of Jesus Christ has the greatest message of hope to an ethnically divided culture. Political rallies and open riots will not win the war—only in Jesus will this world finally and forever be cleansed of ethnic superiority and we long for that day to come (Revelation 21)!

As we survey the sea of humanity, the creative genius of God is put on display as we look at the multiplicity of ethnicities with variations of facial features and melanin count who populate the human race. One day, when Christ returns and ushers in God’s Kingdom, a people of all tongues, tribes, people, and nations will be gathered together under the banner of King Jesus who will rule and reign and who will receive the praise of his people. 

We long for that day when racism is gone. When we gather as one people in unity and harmony without the slightest stain of sin. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

Is all of this about real racism or is it about politics and power? Sure, real racism exists in our world, but we need to engage the situations with real knowledge rather than ethnic Gnosticism and ethnic prejudice. 

We must replace ethnic Gnosticism with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ must lead the way.

 

 

Is Part-Time Church the New Normal?

Is Part-Time Church the New Normal?

Through the COVID-19 pandemic we have navigated through difficult times in a short season. From the initial spread of the sickness we have watched as the nation’s leaders implemented social distancing restrictions and shutdown the entire economy. This has not only drastically impacted the economic sphere, but it has likewise greatly disrupted the functionality of the local church.

Throughout the pandemic, the Christian community has been forced to make use of technology for the purpose of interaction, teaching, preaching, and worship. While this may have caused the church to think outside of the box, it has necessitated critical thinking by leaders to ensure that the church doesn’t think outside the book—the Bible.

Over the past few months, we have learned new phrases and terms such as:

  • Social Distancing
  • Shelter-in-place order
  • Self-monitoring
  • Self-quarantine
  • Flattening the curve
  • PPE or personal protective equipment
  • Herd blocking
  • Contact-tracing

Just this past week, a Delta Airlines representative stated that they would be a “smaller Delta” moving forward. We hear people in different industries talking about the new normal of their economic circles such as restaurants and sporting events.

As it pertains to the local church, should part-time church become the new normal? In many evangelical settings, the evening church service on Sunday had been in steady decline for years. Many upstart church plants among younger populations establish their pattern for church gatherings to avoid Sunday evening services from the beginning, but now with the pandemic social distancing culture that is likely to continue through the summer, it will likely cause many churches to do away with their Sunday evening church service indefinitely.

Throughout the spread of the COVID-19 disease, data has proven to point out the need for people among the elderly demographic and those people with compromised health conditions to hold to a more strict shelter-in-place and social distancing pattern. However, as the conditions improve and shelter-in-place orders are lifted—should the comfort and safety of the home replace the gathering of the church family?

Wisdom is needed from on a membership and leadership level in order to navigate such challenges. It’s wise for leaders to be patient with the members and especially the elderly as they begin to return to a normal flow of life and ministry. However, during this process of coming out of the home and returning to normal patterns of life—the church should not be the last place on your list to return to normal.

If you can go to the grocery store weekly and have public interactions with the general public in stores that contain many different contact points, but you can’t go to church and sit in a worship environment where strict social distancing policies are in place, you should probably check your heart. If you have no desire to return to church because you’ve come to a place where you feel safe and secure in your home and believe that you can just use technology for the foreseeable future, you should check your heart.

We don’t need the President of the United States to inform us that church is essential. We already knew that, because God has made that known to us in the pages of Scripture. In Hebrews 10:25 we see clearly that we are to be gathering together and avoiding the sinful patterns of neglecting the gathering of the church. We are to stir-up one another to love and good works. All through the pages of Scripture we find the reference to fellowship and such Christian fellowship is not possible to maintain through Zoom interactions. 

A temporary season of isolation may be necessary during a pandemic, but if you’re young, healthy, and restrictions have been lifted which enable you to gather and yet you continue to isolate yourself form the church, that likely points to a spiritual problem in your heart. If the pandemic has caused you to become complacent, disconnected, and slothful in your service and worship of God—you should repent.

My goal is not to shame anyone into returning to church too soon, but I am absolutely interested in exposing the idea that part-time Christianity and part-time church membership is the new normal. That’s simply not true. The goal of the church should be to return to a normal ministry pattern and reject the new normal attitude of part-time service and worship of God which is simply not God’s will for the church. Be wise, but also skeptical of any idea that seeks to keep the church from gathering and functioning the way God intends. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote the following:

We must grasp once again, the idea of church membership as being the membership of the body of Christ and as the biggest honour which can come a man’s way in this world. [1]


  1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Knowing the Times, (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989), 30.

 

 

The Two Voices of the Pastor

The Two Voices of the Pastor

In writing to Titus about his responsibilities in Crete with the organization of the Church—Paul makes this statement in Titus 1:9, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Interestingly, in this list of qualifications for the office of elder, Paul makes it clear that the pastoral duty of the elder is to provide sound doctrine and sound correction. It was John Calvin, in commenting on this verse that said, “A pastor needs two voices, one for gathering the sheep and the other for driving away wolves and thieves.” [1]

The Voice of Edification

Just as sheep in the pasture hear and trust the voice of their shepherd, so must the people in the church recognize the voice of their pastor. They must follow his leadership and teaching so long as he is preaching and teaching the truths of Scripture. It is his calling, according to the very qualifications and responsibilities of the office, to teach sound doctrine.

What is sound doctrine? The word for doctrine is “διδασκαλία” which means, teaching. The point is that the pastor must have healthy teaching. Just because a man stands before a congregation and talks doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. The goal here is for the building up of the faith of the local church so that they will grow in their knowledge of God and become faithful contributing church members for the glory of God. This is how the pastor equips the church for the work of ministry—by teaching sound doctrine.

The Voice of Correction

The wolf hides in the shadows. Sometimes the wolf enters the church to do great damage within the body. One thing that’s sure is that the wolf never introduces himself or herself as a wolf. It’s through the faithful and diligent preaching of God’s Word that the pastor will be able to reveal who the wolf is and expose the errors of such heretics for the entire church to see. Sometimes this will involve naming names such as when Paul named Alexander the Coppersmith publicly. Sometimes it involves a more veiled description such as when he described the Cretans in Titus 1:12. In either case, the pastor’s goal is to bring about correction.

The voice of correction is also used in terms of correcting the genuine Christians who walk off into error, who are perhaps influenced by the heretical teachings of a false teacher, or engage in open sin leading to the same of Christ’s name among the people. This could involve private rebukes, public church discipline, and as necessary, the pastor can point out the errors that might be impacting the entire church as Paul does in Titus 1:10.

Notice how Paul encouraged Titus to “rebuke…sharply” those who are in error in order that “They may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13). This is extremely important as Paul reveals the responsibility of the pastor and the goal of such a sharp rebuke. The goal is restoration of their faith so that they will have a healthy faith.

Through the years, I have made it known to the church I serve that my job as a pastor is not to be a life coach or religious entertainer. My goal and responsibility as a pastor is to prepare people to meet God. Such preparation should result in a life of holiness and spiritual maturity as we all journey onward toward eternal life.

If you’re not a pastor, take time to consider the responsibility of your pastors who lead you, pray for you, care for you spiritually, and diligently study God’s Word to care for your soul. Seek to follow their leadership, be open to their rebuke, and when possible—show appreciation for your pastors.

If you are a pastor, remember that it’s easy to preach and at times to make bold statements from the pulpit. What’s often very difficult is to engage with shepherding responsibilities in private where you must sharply rebuke a brother or sister in Christ with the ultimate goal of seeing them move to a healthy place spiritually. Remember, the trap of the devil is to avoid such shepherding responsibilities out of fear of man. Approach such responsibilities with care, humility, and faithfulness to God’s Word and at the same time trusting in God for the results.


  1. John Calvin, 1, 2 Timothy and Titus, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 184.