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Confronting a Pastor in Love

Updated: May 24, 2023

two people sitting at a table with one head in hands indicating confronting a pastor in love

The Biblical Case for Confronting Pastors

The biblical case for confronting a church Pastor begins with loving God’s Word. As a current Pastor, it is amazing to see how many believe confronting “us” will get them in trouble with the Lord. This is far from true, and Jesus taught something much different in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 18. Speaking directly to His disciples, Jesus outlined a pattern for effectively handling tension. What is interesting, and relative to this article, is that He excluded no one from being “loved” (confronted).

This often does not happen for the following reasons:

1. Christians think more of Pastors than themselves. Of all things, this breaks my heart the most. When it comes to discipline, scripture tells us God is “not a respecter of persons”. This extends beyond discipline as well. When we review Matthew chapter 18, it becomes apparent no one is excluded from discipline. Yet believers think Pastors are above them, and God’s Word, as evidenced through a refusal to confront.

2. Belief that church leaders are ‘altos Christos”. This is a Roman Catholic doctrine which assigns a priest the title of “another christ”. This allows priests to forgive sin. Of course, this is demonic and un-biblical. How can one (1) sinner forgive another? Catholic priests were never given the apostolic authority of Jesus’s first Apostles. Neither has it been given to their “pope”. Nevertheless, many Christians believe by confronting a protestant Pastor, they are displeasing God. In more traditional churches, the older generation didn’t see the difference between confronting a Pastor and the “Lord”.

3. Lack of biblical study. The previous two (2) categories boil down to the lack of being properly discipled. The Bible warns us that if we do not study His Word, we will be brought to a place of shame. Yet, and not confronting those which need it, we bring both ourselves (and them) to such a place.

In summary, there is a strong biblical case for confronting Pastors and no biblical evidence the Saints who follow them should not. Personally, I do not trust people who don’t speak truth to my face. However, you, God’s people, have become too reliant on others with respect to scripture. This is the catalyst for where we are today (laziness).

When You Should not Confront Shepherds

The only time a Shepherd should not be confronted is if they refuse to hear. Jesus told His early disciples that if someone would not receive them, “kick the dust off their sandals” and move on. Here is inside baseball from “Pastor World” and I am not revealing this to hurt you.

Having been provided access to the deepest recesses of Pastoral culture, 90% believe you, God’s Sheep, are total idiots! I know this, as a Pastor, because I have heard them mock you. Let me guess – your Pastor is in the 10% and not the 90%? Yeah, okay. Nevertheless, they mock anyone they cannot control and stands up to them (me included).

Here are instances (but not limited to) when it is fruitless to confront Shepherds:

1. When you have already done so, and they refuse to listen. When using “listen”, I am saying that your approach was taken seriously and prayerfully by your leader. There are people God has set aside to confront wayward leaders when more gracious approaches, like yours, are refused. These people are known as “Prophets”. God will send a firecracker to get someone’s attention but when that softer sound is ignored, He will send a nuclear bomb (aka a Prophet).

2. When it is obvious they are in open rebellion against God. This may be a time when the whole congregation needs to become involved. If you have concerns, it is almost certain someone saw the same thing. Most Pastors don’t feel they have to listen to anyone and that includes the Holy Spirit.

3. After Deacons or other leaders have been informed. Although it is biblical to have church Deacons, many new agers have rejected this leadership model. They replaced God ordained leadership with “care committees” and other un-biblical nonsense. Unfortunately, Deacon boards have purchased themselves some of this avoidance. Nevertheless, Deacons are often able to get a Pastor’s attention much more quickly than others.

In summary, there are times when you should not confront a church leader. If they are in open rebellion against God, they will not listen to you. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, it may be time to get the entire congregation in the loop but do so orderly (through Deacons). There is no wrong way to do the right thing. That same biblical standard you demand is the same you should obey as well.

Should Church Members Confront Their Pastor

Yes, church members should confront their Pastor with the Holy Bible. In defense of church leaders, those who God truly sends often have a difficult time receiving the concerns of others. Something I focused on the first several years of Pastoring was teaching how to engage in biblical conflict resolution.

Most often, God’s people have an issue with their leader because they have an issue with God Himself! This is not to say some preachers, me included, is always above reproach.

Here are times to keep your concerns between you and the Lord Jesus:

1. When you are unsure of validity. Just speaking for me, I prefer a person go to the Lord for clarity prior. You will find that time spent in earnest prayer often clarifies both whether you should approach, as well as if it’s something personal with you.

2. When the expectations are unreasonable. In defense of real Pastors, if not phonies, the expectations heaped on us are sometimes totally unreasonable. For example, recently one (1) of our church members passed away. We had made communion visits for a few years prior. We could never get into the house and received no door answers. It is totally unreasonable to expect someone to keep arriving if no one responds. Yet, the family expected me to, as they put it, “keep knocking even if there’s no answer”. We know that Jesus taught: “I will come in if you open the door” but church people, not so much I guess.

3. When the issue is not yours personally. Church folks (if not real Believers) are experts at manipulating the more “compliant” among them into carrying out their personal agendas. This is how “church gangs” are formed to cause chaos in the House of God. Satan’s worker, usually a ministry leader, whispers in dark corners to recruit those weaker in faith. This is exactly what happened when Korah stood against Moses!

In summary, congregations should share their concerns but only if it is from the Holy Spirit. Further, be very careful allowing others to use your kindness to drive satanic agendas.

Header Image Courtesy of Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay

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