Faithful Shepherds and Rebellious Flocks

I just heard another story of a faithful shepherd who was expelled from his congregation unbiblically. I am not at liberty to say who it was or where the information came from, but I feel compelled to comment on this practice in general.

What should happen to congregations who do not want to use liturgical Lutheran worship services, do not want their children to learn the Catechism, and want people other than the pastor to be in charge of the worship services is that the District President and the Circuit Counselor should stand up for the pastor and threaten the congregation with expulsion from the Synod. What usually happens, though, is that the pastor, who refuses to give in to the whims of rebellious church members, is removed without proper cause and the congregation gets a slap on the wrist, if that. At the very least, they should be denied a pastor.

I know that this is the way of the cross, that the faithful shepherd and prophet is stoned and crucified while the people who do so get off scot-free. I know that this is the cruciform life of the pastor, for Christ Himself said to His disciples: “Blessed are you when they say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” But I am still absolutely outraged when I hear of these things.

No doubt the pastor to whom this happened is suffering quietly and is simply going to do what he is told. He has no choice. He is a shepherd of Christ and that is what undershepherds do. To this person and to all who have undergone such ignomy I say with all respect and admiration: “Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” May God grant strength and peace to you in the days ahead. My prayers are with you.

To all those who are preparing to be pastors, be ready for anything.

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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3 Responses to Faithful Shepherds and Rebellious Flocks

  1. Christopher Gillespie says:

    “To all those who are preparing to be pastors, be ready for anything.”

    We are blessed to hear this said over and over and over at CTS in Fort Wayne. There is a reality to the life of pastor (and Christian for that matter) that is being said upfront and clearly. I call it a blessing as such a deception would do more damage than good.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Chris

  2. Bob Waters says:

    I grieve.

  3. Lawrence says:

    This is a tough issue to discuss in a Blog.

    We must not be afraid of sanctioning a congregation in the same manner we would a pastor heading down the wrong path.

    Touchy thing though. Because it is usually not the congregation as a whole straying, but a faction within the congregation.

    So do we sanction the whole barrel, because of a few bad apples? I think the answer must be yes.

    Everyone within a congregational group must be placed in a position to commit to a direction. The district and Synod must maintain and enforce clear rules regarding viable choices/options and the clear consequences of those choices.

    The truly faithful will make the right choices. While the belligerent factions will often remain so. And if the belligerent factions maintain control of the congregation, then the district/synod must be willing to revoke their charter (or whatever terms we use now-a-days) for synodical membership.

    >>>
    This isn’t about numbers. We can’t get wrapped up in the “Numbers Envy” of other larger church groups and worry about loosing members.

    There is an obligation to help and support and shepherd in the right direction. But sometimes it can become just a big fight. And often the only thing we can do is cut people loose, and let them follow the path they have chosen.

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