A text message came in from a pastor friend. I’ve known him for decades. He is the kind of man for whom the adjective “saintly” was invented. He pastored a thriving church for many years. Then someone on staff stabbed him in the back and rallied others to get him thrown out. The objections to his ministry had no substance. “The issues” were not the real issues. As Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, said to me once, “Some try to pull down a prominent man, not because they themselves wish to take his place, but because doing so gives them a feeling of power.”
My friend had met with someone from his former church, wishing to reconcile. But the person blew him off. All that the meeting accomplished was to re-open an old wound.
So here is what I want to say to my friend:
You’re not crazy. This has been happening to God’s men since Cain and Abel. It is one way you identify with Jesus himself.
Nathan Busenitz begins a new series asking an important question:
Has the church, historically, been right to conclude that the gift of tongues in the New Testament consists of the supernatural ability to speak in foreign languages previously unknown to the speaker? Or is the modern charismatic movement right to conclude that the gift of tongues encompasses something other than cognitive foreign languages?
Westminster Books has a whole bunch of great titles on sale for up to 70% off, including:
- The New Shape of World Christianity by Mark Noll ($7.50)
- The Authenticity Hoax by Andrew Potter ($7.80)
- Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper ($6.90)
- Christ Alone by Michael Wittmer ($3.60)
- Word Versus Deed by Duane Litfin ($4.80)
- Innocent Blood by John Ensor ($3.00)
The most obvious lesson of Frozen—the one made explicit in the movie—teaches viewers that love is not about how you feel. It’s about putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. This theme by itself profoundly inverts the old Disney culture; it’s a big win for the Pixar invaders. But Frozen not only makes this point, it also traces some wide-ranging consequences. It shows us why people are investing too much importance in romantic love relative to other kinds of love, like sisterhood. The responsible grown-ups who tell you not to burn down everything else in your life for the sake of “true love” are not your enemies; they’re your friends. They’re the people who really love you.
In the past month, I learned that two more Christian leaders whom I know have either tarnished or destroyed their ministries. Neither was a friend, in the full sense, yet I’ve been friendly with both men and respected their talents and the fruit of their labors.
Once again, I wonder: How could a man who studied and knew Scripture and taught it faithfully to others, brazenly violate its most basic principle of love and self-control? Even as I ask the question, I know I’m liable to self-destructive sin too. Everyone needs Paul’s admonition: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Self-aware leaders know that we can violate principles we thought we knew.