Not a Republican Church?
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:1-2
A while back, our pastor said of our church, from the pulpit, This is not a Republican church. I don’t know if anyone left the church over the statement, but I do know that some were offended. I probably shouldn’t speak for him, but I understood him to say that being a Christian and being a Republican are not synonymous. As Christians, our cause is Christ. Our faith should affect our political views, but the life of following Christ will often look very different than the life of following everything that any specific political party says or does.
This actually isn’t a political post today. I’m just using the previous example of a pastor saying something from the pulpit that doesn’t align with our opinion. In this case, I wasn’t offended. I appreciated that he said it. I also recognized the potential conflict though. He took a position that he believed to be true, but with which he also knew a lot of people in his congregation would disagree.
According to today’s passage however, this is part of a pastor’s job description. In yesterday’s passage, Peter explained that God’s message to his people isn’t born out of human will and is in fact, often contrary to human will. In today’s passage, Peter went on to say that false teachers will come, even in church. They will tell us only what we want to hear and will never tell us painful truths. If we go to a church where the pastor never makes us uncomfortable in any way, then we’re not being challenged to grow in our faith and we’re likely in the wrong church.
The Christian life, frankly, is quite uncomfortable at times. It’s not all a struggle of course. We do find life, joy, and peace in following Christ, but following Jesus means recognizing that our own way must be abandoned for his. Your way is wrong. Turn around and follow me. This isn’t a comfortable or life-affirming message. It’s offensive and if our pastor isn’t challenging us to live differently, then he (or she) is likely just telling us whatever we want to hear.
Sometimes we do need encouragement, but we also need to be regularly told that we must abandon ourselves to follow Christ. If we’re never challenged or offended in church, then we’re likely in the wrong church, following the wrong pastor.