Elizabeth (watching_ships) wrote in canadians4jesus,

In a recent devotional by Elisabeth Elliot, she listed 8 questions to ask before a church should decide to boot out a pastor.

(taken from godly_gals and GodlyGals boards)

"Before we take such a position of sovereignty, assuming we know the root of the trouble and are warranted in enforcing our "solution," might we not ask ourselves a few questions? (I do not refer here, of course, to cases which unequivocally call for dismissal, such as immorality or heresy.)

1. Who called this pastor? Was it the bishop? The church? Was the decision prayed over? Do we believe in the Holy Spirit's guidance?
2. Do we understand the shepherd of the flock to be one who bears responsibility and authority? "Encourage and rebuke with all authority" was the apostle Paul's word to a young shepherd (Titus 2:15, NIV). To Timothy he said, "Command and teach" (1 Timothy 4:11, NIV). "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority...so that their work will be a joy, not a burden" (Hebrews 13:17, NIV). Have we respected that divine assignment?
3. If the sheep send the shepherd out of the fold, will not the sheep themselves be devastated, as well as the shepherd? Spiritual devastation is often the result of taking things into our own hands. No humility is wrought in us, no more robust faith is born.
4. Have we learned the meekness which understands the power of patience, of quiet waiting on God, and the futility of employing massive methods to get our own way? What about the reverence that trusts God's hidden, seemingly slow, working out of His own mysterious purposes? Impatience hardens.
5. Have we challenged evil with the wrong weapons? "By the meekness and gantleness of Christ, I appeal to you.... Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:1,3-4, NIV).
6. Are we willing to accept suffering? How much do we know of costly action, sacrificial love? Have we been willing to lay down our lives for this man, travail in prayer, accept the cross in the depths of our own hearts? The demands of faith cut across human logic and politics, and often oppose all ordinary methods and even common sense.
7. Have we pondered Jesus' warning not to expect His church to be without spot or wrinkle? The net brings in good fish and bad. The tares grow along with the wheat. He is at work perfecting His own bride--we'll never manage it ourselves.
8. Are we willing to let the cross cut painfully--humbly to relinquish our grasp of what we believe to be the true nature of the conflict, let go of our certainties of what "ought to be," and of our particular "rights"? Can we, in the spirit of Christ, mortify our whims, accept setbacks, accustom ourselves to misunderstanding, quit asking "What about my needs?" Let God take care of those--He promised He would, all of them."
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