The pastor who is never in doubt, no matter whether he’s right or wrong, is part of the problem. In fact, he is a huge problem.
Such a minister will attract a certain kind of church member, the kind that likes pure certainties with no grey areas and nothing left undecided. This church member prefers someone else do his thinking for him. When asked what he believes or why he believes a particular doctrine, he replies, “See my pastor.”
What the know-for-certainty-in-all-areas pastor does, however, is to drive away anyone with a critical faculty, the kind who thinks matters through and asks uncomfortable questions. Luke found such Christians in Berea, who examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
Let’s address this tendency in some of us preachers to be the court of last resort, the final word on all things theological, for our people.
Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in! (Luke 11:52)
The scribes started out as copyists of the Word when it was hand-written on parchment or skins and costly to possess. The scribes filled a helpful role and provided a needed service. In time, however, they ended up as self-appointed experts whose word was law.
I’m tempted to say, “Beware when anyone calls you an expert on anything.” But worse than that–and this is where we’re focusing today–is when you think of yourself as an expert. That was where the scribes had landed the day Jesus castigated them.
When you start thinking of yourself as an expert on any matter that concerns ministry, a number of things happen. None of them good.