Thursday, May 13, 2010

confronting like paul

I've been writing a lot lately about the need to confront sin. It seems to me that too many today are hiding behind the wheat and the tares parable and Jesus' admonition to not judge. At the same time, I should add that we can err in the opposite direction and this post from Michael Patton serves as a timely reminder to that end. For those of us that think we can/should confront just like Paul, wrong.

First, Paul was an apostle who carried the authority of an apostle. Being such, he had both divine authority and the divine ability to speak to a situation with infallible guidance. This is something that most of us we cannot claim. Can we?

Second, Paul primarily only spoke in such a way to those who were under his authority. He was their leader and had the right and obligation as their leader to engage them in a candid way. He was their pastor. Pastor’s can and sometimes should speak in such a manner to their flock.

Third, like Christ, Paul did not always engage people in such a way. In fact, he encouraged his people to be gracious, humble, and respectful in all their dealing with those with whom there is disagreement. In 1 Thess 2:7 he describes his own ministry as one of gentleness, comparing it to a mother caring for her children.

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