To Faithful Pastors Sent Away

pastorTom and I sat and our children sat at a bleak midweek service this past week. A faithful pastor and his wife were leaving their church. Rather than leave with the love and goodwill of the whole congregation the pastor and his wife had served and cared for spiritually, they were leaving a war zone. The atmosphere was heavy at the last service. Due to the toxic situation, he was not even allowed to preach his last Sunday as planned. Those who loved and supported the pastor came for the sad good-bye. Tears were shed.

I sat in that service grieving for them and reflecting on the situation and so many like it I have encountered in various churches through the years. There is possibly nothing as ugly on the face of the earth as a church meltdown, split, blow-out, whatever you want to call it. I have seen good men run out of churches a number of times. In fact, one of the early formative church experiences of my life was seeing a pastor and his family vivisected by a warring congregation. I even remember the name and face of one of the chief antagonists, in this case female, who must have had a metaphorical charm bracelet containing the shrunken scalps of all the pastors she had brought down through the years.

The church died shortly thereafter. It’s not a surprise. In fact, it was already dead by the time they sent their pastor away. Any congregation that lives in chronic disobedience to the Word of God, rejects the ministers God sends who are faithful preachers of Holy Scripture, embraces an idol in the place of the living Christ, and is filled with carnality ceases to be a church anyway. Call it whatever you want, it’s not the body of Christ anymore. It’s a temple of doom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are spelled out very clearly in Holy Writ. We are not left in the dark about what that fruit looks like. We’re also told clearly what the fruit of the flesh is. These warring churches have the unmistakable reek of embalming fluid. Ichabod is written over the door. The glory of God has departed.

So to all of the servants of Christ left with a thousand cuts to their hearts from betrayal, slander, gossip and malice, to all of those who limp off into the night without the dignity and kindness of a loving good-bye from those they served, to those who are left trying to forgive incomprehensible viciousness from those claiming to belong to Jesus, just a reminder that you aren’t forgotten. God has seen everything. He is leading you elsewhere in a time of great famine and apostasy. He will lead you where there are sheep who want real spiritual food and who want the living water that Christ alone can offer. I pray for the peace of Christ to minister in a special way to all those in the office of the ministry today who love Jesus more than anything the world can offer, including job security, the praise of men, and pleasant surroundings. They understand their true calling. May God bless and help these men and their wives and families in every need.

 

10 thoughts on “To Faithful Pastors Sent Away

  1. To my dear sister and brother in Christ, even though we have never met, my heart aches for you both. Please know that I lift you both up to our heavenly Father, asking Him to bring comfort to your soul and encouragement to your hearts knowing you have many brethren whom you do not know who truly care for you and are praying for you. Our Shepherd will surely lead you through this difficult time and I’m praying that your faith would be strengthened as He draws you both ever closer to Him. The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will always be true to you and may the Lord bless you. You are loved by an almighty God and by one of his little sheep.
    In His Grace,
    Judi Adams

  2. It’s so sad to see what sin can do to good people. But it is also encouraging to see God moving those that love him on to better things!

  3. I’m not sure which situation is more difficult, the congregation that mistreats their Pastor and he leaves, or the hireling that misleads the congregation and the old timers are forced out. In either case, evil wins and it seems to happen far too often in today’s churches. It truly is harder and harder to find a church.

  4. Ingrid, Thanks for sharing the video of one of my favorite hymns. Much needed Balm to the soul and spirit what with all going on all around. Let’s all keep our eyes on Jesus so we don’t sink in the mire of discouragement because of circumstances.

  5. My opinion, admittedly based on pre-sixteenth century writings, is thus:

    Without the giving of the Catholic mass or Orthodox divine liturgy, church services are political functions. Unfortunately, even in services that I label as “correct” a huge political game awaits the naive who do anything more than concentrate on the mystical sacrifice.

    In Catholic and Orthodox services, where the sufferings of Christ meet our godly suffering in a mystical and timeless way, I would advise folks to go to the mass in all holiness and immediately leave. In these last the days the weak people ought to go in, worship God, and then get out. There might be an exception for a strong, wealthy, politically astute man or woman who has power and can help widows and downtrodden while avoiding sociopathic narcissists as you have comprehensively addressed, Ingrid. Very few have this combined power and astute interpersonal political understanding.

    For those not in positions of power or strength, and I include myself in the economically and psychologically weakened condition, I emphasize that God did not call us to be the tool of psychopaths. Be wise as serpents and all of that.

    The reality is grimmer when attending a church service without the mass/divine liturgy. The political game is the only game, whether that of the leadership or each person seeking to fill his intrinsic personality disorder. Those interested in business and politics may want to consider attending advantageous church services if one’s conscious does not prick regarding the taking God’s name in vain commandment (this commandment is not about the penalty for using curse words as you addressed a little while ago, Ingrid. Good on you.) Teaching good habits to children, obtaining positive friends, and a plethora of other cited reasons to attend the church can be obtained in other and usually better circumstances.

  6. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” – Psalm 126:5

    “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Hence, present distress must not be viewed as if it would last for ever; it is not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end. Sorrow is our sowing, rejoicing shall be our reaping. If there were no sowing in tears there would be no reaping in joy. If we were never captives we could never lead our captivity captive. Our mouth had never been filled with holy laughter if it had not been first filled with the bitterness of grief. We must sow: we may have to sow in the wet weather of sorrow; but we shall reap, and reap in the bright summer season of joy. Let us keep to the work of this present sowing time, and find strength in the promise which is here so positively given us. Here is one of the Lord’s shalls and wills; it is freely given both to workers, waiters, and weepers, and they may rest assured that it will not fail: “in due season they shall reap.” – Charles Spurgeon

    Be encouraged my dear brother and sister!!!!

  7. Hi, Ingrid. We experienced the same sad scenario in a church where we lived up North. The congregation managed to get the district overseeing body to bump the pastor out because the people didn’t have the guts to do it in person–even though the church had a congregational system of government. So the governing body ruled that the church was “Emotionally Unhealthy”. It was their way of saying that the pastor emphasized Scripture rather than man centered psychology and seeker friendly agendas.

    The main complaint: that (very sweet and Godly) pastor “spent too much time in Scripture”. The congregation wanted fun and games, and more bodies in the pews. Needless to say, we left when the pastor did. So sad! If people really did “roll in their graves”, the faithful Swedish immigrants who founded that denomination would be rolling for sure!

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