Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pastor's Discernment

I know a Pastor by the name of Pastor Ben Asis. He’s a well known Pastor in Mindanao. He’s known for being strict and being firm on his stand as a Baptist. One younger pastor even commented that the more Pastor Ben grows old, the more he becomes strict. The Old Church pastor even said that he never saw Pastor Ben smiled. His firm stance was attacked by cults (he has a radio ministry). He’s so strict that one even said that the church would be much bigger if not for his being strict. One even said that he’s stricter than the Pastor of Christian Bible Baptist Church, Dr. Ed Laurena.

He’s now in Heaven. He died last year. His firm stance causes the ire of cults in Mindanao. One time, in his radio broadcast, he attacked one cult group. He received threats from them.
At first glance, people from the Baptist circles will admire him, until I say that his firm stance made him at odds also with another Baptist churches.
I know a group of church people (if I’m not mistaken, the church itself) whom he decided to cut his fellowship. At first glance, you’ll consider it unfair. Honestly, I don’t know why Pastor Ben did that and the ground for his disciplinary action. Pastor Ben was vindicated for his strict judgment after his death. How? These church people later moved to another church with a friendlier Pastor. These church people are now headaches of that Pastor. Why? These church people (they’re even church kids. How sad because I myself am a church kid myself) caused discord quite a number of times. Their Pastor right now is kind enough and patient enough not to give them “severe” discipline as “severe” (I used quotation marks; you’ll see later why. Just read carefully these posts). One member suggested to give them a discipline they’ll never forget (firm, but compassionate. Church discipline should not be punitive, remember?). After all, Biblically speaking, Paul said to mark them which cause divisions (it’s just sad that Baptist churches nowadays focus so much on disciplining a fornicator, sometimes even drastic, and ignoring to discipline a talebearer for causing discord and divisions when usually, these types of people are the main reasons why there are members who stopped attending the church. In fornication, you destroy the church’s testimony. In causing discords and division, you are dividing the brethren themselves). Their current Pastor is so kind he didn’t do that. After all, he said that he doesn’t have any proof to execute disciplinary actions to them.
Recently, one of those church people cause another stir among the brethren: that member caused two single ladies to fight each other to the point that it rattled the church itself, especially that church’s Youth Ministry. There is also another thing that that person allegedly did, but I don’t want to mention it (and that thing is the main reason why the Pastor is having a problem). Now, the Pastor and also the youth ministry head are having a hard time. Yes, as a Baptist Christian, we should love and forgive. However, as a church, there should be order. There should be discipline. Still, I understand why there is no action yet given: there’s no proof pointing against that person. That person outsmarted the Pastor and the youth ministry leader. It doesn’t matter anymore. God will take care of that person. A true believer in Christ will not stay in his/her deeds or else, according to I John, there’s a sin unto death. Why is the consequence not so swift? It’s because God is kind and gracious. [Note: I’m no fault finder. I’m just being candid. After all, I never mentioned anyone except Pastor Ben Asis, whom I praised.]

NOW MY POINT IS REALLY THIS: YOUR PASTOR, NO MATTER HOW STRICT HE IS, IS YOUR PASTOR. YOU SHOULD RESPECT HIS DECISIONS, NO MATTER HOW STRICT, ODD, OR “BIZARRE” THEY ARE. AFTER ALL, GOD GAVE PASTORS A DISCERNING SPIRIT ON THINGS. MOST OF THE TIME, THESE DISCERNMENTS LEAD TO THEIR DECISION THAT THEY THEMSELVES CAN NOT EXPLAIN. I EXPERIENCED A SEVERE DISCIPLINE DECIDED BY THE OLD CHURCH PASTOR. HOWEVER, NEVER DID I HATE HIM. THE DISCIPLINE THAT WAS GIVEN TO ME MAY LOOK DRASTIC, BUT I TRUSTED HIS DISCERNMENT ON THE MATTER. HE MAY HAVE DISCERNED THAT IF HE WILL NOT DO THAT DRASTIC ACTION, THE CHURCH ITSELF WILL SUFFER (maybe because he discerned “those people’s” attitude and background. They caused discord to their own church, remember?).
PASTOR BEN ASIS’ DECISION MAY LOOK DRASTIC AND SO STRICT DURING THOSE TIMES, BUT MAYBE HE DISCERNED SOMETHING, AND HE HIMSELF MAY NOT HAVE EXPLAINED THAT CLEARLY. NOW, HIS DISCERNMENT IS RIGHT.
BRETHREN IN CHRIST, SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR’S DECISIONS. PLEASE DON’T VOTE YOUR PASTOR OUT. I’VE SEEN MANY TIMES THAT THOSE CHURCHES WHO VOTED THEIR PASTORS OUT OFTEN ENDED UP NOT BEING BLESSED BY GOD. AFTER ALL, IF THEY ARE WRONG (IF THEY ARE WRONG), GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF HIM. OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO SUPPORT HIS DECSIONS. THE MERE FACT THAT HE SURRENDERED HIS LIFE TO GOD AND GAVE UP HIS CAREER IS ENOUGH REASON TO RESPECT HIM AND HIS DECISIONS. INSTEAD, MAKE SUGGESTIONS. IF NOT, PRAY FOR HIM TO GIVE HIM MORE WISDOM AND STRENGTH TO LEAD AND DECIDE ON THINGS.
SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR AND HIS DECISIONS. HE’S ALL YOU’VE GOT AS YOUR RESPECTIVE CHURCH’S LEADER.
HE’S THE PASTOR THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO YOU.

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