Not long ago I had a conversation with some young men feeling called to vocational ministry and as we talked of what it means to be a faithful pastor, we mentioned a man we each had interacted with and I found myself saying, “he means well.”
But meaning well might be the problem.
Jim Hamilton has a new post on 9Marks about those “well-meaning” men that are treating Christianity as nothing more than a new form of therapy.
“The pastors who pose the greatest threat to the church today will confess belief in the right things. They will confess the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, that Jesus saves, and that he is the only way of salvation…”
“They are a threat because, in spite of their confession, their words and actions treat Christianity as nothing more than the best form of therapy. They treat it as self-help. They treat it as the path to better marriages, better parent-child relationships, better attitudes and performance at work, and on and on.”
Hamilton goes on to clearly state what Christianity is about primarily.
Christianity is about telling this true story in the words of the Bible so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, people come to see God, the world, and themselves correctly.
Christianity is about the triune God and the two natures of Christ.
Christianity is about the Holy Spirit supernaturally causing people to be born again so that they love this story and find in it their hope and joy.
Christianity is about trusting the Word of God with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding—or on our own ideas about what works or what is relevant.
Christianity is about longing for the return of Christ, who, when he comes, will set up his kingdom, which means that this is not our home.
I found this very helpful in thinking through how we lead churches. And Hamilton gives great advice for churches looking for a pastor.
None of the books in my study are pop-physiology and I have no plan to go that route. I pray that more men in the pastorate would eventually agree.