A couple of years ago, I wrote something that angered a pastor. He wrote me privately and voiced his concern. He said since I was no longer a pastor, I should back off writing things that might encourage people in his church to consider a perspective that differed from his and could cause him problems in his congregation. I found it interesting that the pastor would come to such a conclusion since his denomination is led by people who also no longer pastor a local church. I assume he follows their suggestions and their leadership.
What was expressed to me by the pastor is a weakness in our understanding of the church and its function. Paul noted in Ephesians chapter 4 that we need all five of the equipping gifts to train and mature the church. The inference of Paul’s instruction was that a church influenced only by a single gift cannot fully accomplish the process of equipping the saints. A pastor-led group, an evangelist-led group, a teacher-led, or any single gift-led group will only see the Kingdom through the narrow lens of that gift. As a result, a leader could unknowingly end up insulating their flock from outside influence – influence intended to expand the horizon of their understanding of God and His Kingdom. That stance weakens leaders and creates followers who do not see a fuller representation of the church.
We have entered the most unusual time in the history of this generation. A controlled narrative in any form will not produce the kind of believer who can process information as an independent thinker under the guidance of God’s Spirit. Just yesterday our government instituted the “Disinformation Governance Board” labeled by some in colloquial terms as an equivalent to “The Ministry of Truth” taken from Orwell’s book 1984 which describes a controlled dystopian future.
Leaders in the church will soon face a greater challenge than we experienced during the height of the pandemic and its restrictions. That was a trial run for something much larger and more challenging than masks or social distancing. At some point, all forms of information will become suspect, primarily any form of filtered information fed to us through a single worldview. This will become a turning point for the church no matter what our political or social persuasion might be. If we choose to follow the Spirit, he will be faithful to lead us into all truth. That choice will reform the church and bring us back to a dependence on the voice of God, not the filtered and biased opinions of man.