Angela Speaks on Pastors, Bitterness, and Standards
I stumbled across your web page and after reading your personal notes, although I did not go ahead and look at your links, I wanted to reply.
It is a fearful responsibility to be a pastor. Those who hold that position have to give account to God for the souls that sit under their leadership. But they are human. That is why it is so important to pray for your pastor, and their family. The adversary of our souls will fire more darts at the messenger because he does not want the message delivered or would like to taint our belief of the message because of the errors of the messenger. Because when a messenger falls, many fall with him.
I wanted to write to you because I would not want the same thing to happen to you that happened to my grandmother. My grandfather was a minister. He told me it started when he was evangelizing and she wanted to settle down. He felt like he was out of the will of God by doing so, but did it anyway. He ended up leaving his family for another woman. Yes, he was wrong. But my grandmother never let God help her forgive. Her hurt grew to bitterness and her bitterness choked out any love for God until she became agnostic. It doesn't happen over night but when it does, no one falls alone. Her sister stopped going to church, too. So neither one of them raised their families in church. After my father married and my brother was born handicapped did my dad turn to God for help. It hurts me to see aunts, uncles and cousins, whole generations lost, because Grandma was not able to forgive and go on to live for God.
I have been attending UPC churches all of my life. I have sat under 6 different pastors, besides multiple teachers and evangelists. Each of them taught the same basic salvation message but their holiness standards also varied by degree. It has been my experience that the Spirit has more liberty to move in the congregation if the old time standards are taught and kept. Ruth (Schmidt) Rieder wrote a very good book "Power Before The Throne". This book can give Bible documentation how our willingness to uphold holiness standards gives us access to God's throne.
As far as the organization is concerned, I believe it was formed for ministers, to pool resources. A pastor may hold a UPC license but that does not make the people attending the congregation under his leadership a member of the UPC organization. The organization was man made. But you are born into the church. The church is not a building or a man made organization. The Bible does teach to assemble ourselves together. So I am not saying not to be a part of a congregation and have a pastor. But make sure the leadership of that congregation can backup their teachings. If your pastor teaches something that you question you should have the liberty to humbly ask him to give you scripture for it. (At least two or three references should be used to solidify the point.) If you find a fault with your pastor or his teaching I suggest a fast to ask God's direction. No matter what the organizational banner they may have over the door.
I heard a testimony on the radio about how the caller had considered herself a Christian but some of the things in her lifestyle were contrary to scripture. One day during her devotions she began to see how she was actually in idolatry by shaping in her mind the way she wanted God to be, not the way He really was. God is holy, and without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
It has been my observation that it usually comes down to some little thing. Many times it is along the line of holiness that if it is not understood or agreed with then SELF does not want to submit to. So if SELF does not submit then God does not control 100% of SELF. As the scripture says, obedience is better than sacrifice. We do not let God be GOD if we surrender less than 100% of SELF.
I suppose I could keep going but I need to get some other things done before the clock ticks too much farther.
Thank you for allowing me to reply to your web page.
Posted March 17, 2002
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August 23, 1997
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