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Doctrine in dialogue format



The Parsonage


They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Have you ever wondered what the life of a minister is like? Well, wonder no longer, because it's time for The Parsonage where you will experience a day in the life of Reverend Leopold and his wife Ermintrude Bach, patriarch of the perish.

In today's episode we find Pastor Leo and his friend Pastor Ottoman Hassock discussing doctrine. Listen:

"Otto, have you ever felt as if your career as a pastor of a church is quenching your Spiritual growth? That is, don't you ever wonder if having to preach to those who are new in the church and to the unbelievers is keeping you from looking into the meat of the Word?"

"Not at all Leo. In fact I believe my job as a preacher challenges me to study the Bible more than if I didn't have to prepare a sermon twice a week. Why? Are you feeling inhibited Spiritually?"

"Yes I do Otto. I try to preach to the highest level of the congregation as possible, but I know I have to spend a great deal of valuable time toning down the message so those with no knowledge of the Bible and of Christianity can gain something from the message as well. I feel like I'm teaching in a one room school where I have kindergarten and college students all in one class. Someone has to lose out on what I have to offer, and it's those with the least knowledge and interest that has to be given the most time."

"That's because you complicate things too much Leo. Haven't you ever heard of the simplicity of the Gospels? All you need to do is teach the basics, to bring them to their knees. It's up to the Holy Spirit to take them beyond the baptismal tank. Relax and enjoy the ride. The Lord doesn't want His shepherds to stress themselves. Don't you know that?"

"That's not the way I feel Otto. You're content to sit out the game on the bleachers, while I feel driven to be on the track running the race. But about my question. You say you don't feel held back at all. I'll ask you a question and we'll see if it doesn't bring out a tether to the hitching post of basic Christianity. Let's say you were to be given absolute proof that, as a for instance, the Trinity doctrine was based on a false premise. What would you do? Would you begin to preach your new understanding? Or would you continue preaching what you had been because it's expected of you?"

"It'll never happen Leo, you know that. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the basic tenets of the Bible and among the most clearly defined. There's no way you or anyone else could possibly convince me that the Trinity doesn't exist."

"I'm not trying to argue with you or cause you to change your mind on anything Otto. I'm just using the Trinity as a platform upon which to put my question. I could be any of the established doctrines. What I want to know is if you were to discover that something you believe strongly in, and that your denomination espouses is wrong, would you continue preaching doctrine you don't believe in, or would you preach what you believe to be the truth?"

"First, Leo, I want to say that I think you're walking on dangerous ground even considering much a thing as doubting the Trinity. Second, I can't see how such a conflict could ever occur because I already know that what I believe and what I teach is the truth. I don't believe in looking into the possibility of error when I'm already standing on truth. They teach cashiers to recognize a real dollar bill by letting them examine the real thing, not by having them study a hundred different phonies. You need to keep this in mind Leo. Stay with the truth and you won't give yourself and your congregation a headache."

"I see. Well, taking your reasoning into the secular world, let's say there's a teacher who is absolutely positive that evolution is true and creation is a myth, there is no reason whatever for that teacher to look into the possibility that he or she is wrong. The teacher should move blindly forwards and continue to lead her students astray. Do I have your train of logic on a proper track?"

"You're a hard man to talk to Leo. You have a way of diving off the high board in the shallow end of the pool, and expecting others to come with you. What you're talking about is not compatible with the topic you brought up. Teaching evolution is wrong from the get-go. I'm not teaching evolution, so your example doesn't apply to the question you're asking."

"All right Otto. I'll direct my question toward something that's happening more and more lately. I'm sure you've seen where the traditionally conservative churches are becoming liberal in their doctrine. Let's say the denomination you belong to were to go that direction and become more liberal than even you could accept. And you know that some countries have made it against the law, punishable by imprisonment to preach against what has now been deemed politically correct even in many of the churches. If such a law was to be passed in this state, which is very likely the way things are going, would you cease to preach against sin? Or would you stand your ground and face prison?"

"Leo, you're way behind the times. I don't know where you've been hiding, but preaching against sin is something that's rarely done any more. Preaching against sin went out with Bobby sox and the wearing of a tie behind the pulpit. It's been years since I've preached, or heard preached a real sermon on sin. Our job as a preacher isn't to try and make people uncomfortable, it's to bring them to the cross. After the cross, like I said, it's up to the Holy Spirit to convict and change the convert, not ours. If you're still trying to grind your congregation's nose in fire and brimstone, which I suspect you are, then you need to take a look around you and see that we're living in a new age. Jesus said His yoke is light, but you try to weight it down with rules and laws that Jesus gave His life to lift off of us. Bring them to the alter and leave it there. That's your job."

1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)

1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Heb 6:)

10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)




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