Recently I saw an article about how you received a cake from a bakery, on which was a homophobic slur. As I read through the article, my mind raced and was troubled. It does not seem right that someone one persecute you on these grounds. Please understand that I am not addressing you with hate as I write this, but I am one of those who believe homosexuality to be sinful. Perhaps not having certain sexual urges; that may well be a result of the Fall. Certainly acting according to misplaced sexual human impulse is sinful for us all. The fact that such a sexuality controversy has been so pervasive in this nation might serve as evidence of that.
This being stated, my goal here is not to argue against the morality homosexual action. Instead, I want to focus on the selfishness of many pastors in this nation.
It occurs to me that so many pastors within so many denominations care more about what they can do than how they can honor God. In this spirit I see pastors who argue with their congregation when a contentious subject is brought up, overly criticize other denominations and condemn unapologetically any political candidate that they do not agree with. I have seen women pastors who do nothing other than try to prove their worth, like they have something to prove about themselves. I have seen gay pastors who only care about defending their own actions and life-choices. I have seen pastors who drink even though it hinders their witness. Woe to anyone who tries to tell them any differently. If others persecute them, they always retaliate.
Here I sit thinking that if anyone is to follow Christ, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow after Christ. I was under the impression that Jesus Himself commanded we pray for our persecutors and love our enemies. I was even thinking that if there was a legitimate question about anything, the Christian was to abstain out of his love for his brother and for the sake of the Gospel. I apologize for thinking that we should guard against our rights, if indeed they are genuine rights, becoming a stumbling block to the weak. I am disturbed because these commands that I have mentioned are for every believer; not even those whom God has called to serve as pastors.
I thought that pastors, and other elders, were called live a life that is beyond reproach. Not only abstaining from what is questionable for the benefit of their brothers and sisters, but also that they might guard the sanctity and fidelity of their offices. I was under the impression that our churches’ leaders were to be committed to one partner. Perhaps it’s just me, but I also read somewhere that they ought to be temperate, not hotheaded either toward the church or society but forgiving and able to address problems rationally and reasonably. I was under the impression that pastors ought to be modest, not drawing attention to themselves or creating scandal. They ought to practice hospitality, be able to teach, act with care and thought toward the future, not be addicted to wine and not quick to argue. I thought they were to be gentle, peaceable and free from the love of money. He ought to manage his household well and have already been living in a Christ-like manner. I may have misread it, but it seems to be pretty straightforward in 1 Timothy 3.
We can have a genuine conversation about whether or not homosexuality is permissible under the authority of Scripture, but I think Scripture is very clear and straightforward on that issue because it was a prevailing issue in the Roman world and in the world of the ancient Hebrews. My question for you is this: Are you truly so self absorbed that you are unwilling to deny yourself even in the questionable areas for the sake of your congregation and for the sake of the Gospel? If so, the question then becomes: Do you have any business keeping the leadership role that you have?
Please understand that I do not write this with hatred, but rather with great care and urgency regarding the health of the Christian body on this earth. I have given up much in order to serve well in this capacity and hope to have the honor to continue serving. How much of an honor is it for us to make a small sacrifice now that will benefit our eternity? While I understand that no one is perfect, for pastors we ought to at least see a striving to deny self and to meet these basic lifestyle requirements for the office that is held.
In love and grace.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 (HCSB)
This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self- controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy — one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.
Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self- controlled, faithful in everything. Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.