by The Rev. George F. Borghardt III
I got an email from somebody today, I wanted to respond, but the email bounced...
The question concerned whether or not a pastor was a faithful pastor. When considering whether a pastor is faithful or not, don't go by his name. Don't go by what other people say about him.
"He's one of our guys... He's a liberal... He's conservative.. He's faithful..." We then we judge and dismiss based upon the man, rather than his confession. Good name, good guy, therefore our guy. Bad name, their guy, therefore bad guy. Being from the district office doesn't make a guy good or bad. It doesn't make him trustworthy or not trustworthy. That's the way of power (Rome) and the way the world does things... Jesus never did, nor should we.
Jesus knew what was in men - nothing good. Not in the good ones, not in the bad ones. Not in Nichodemus, not in woman caught the act.
So, listen to the guy's preaching. Does he deliver Christ and Him crucified? Does He know the Gospel? I'm not talking about being super liturgical or from a certain teacher. You'll learn about him from his preaching. How's his doctrine? Does it mesh with his practice? Do they go together?
Then, if you get the chance, is he actual willing to suffer for the Truth? Our clergy are basically either cowards are wanna-be martyrs. We bend to the person who screams the most at us. Or we cover our own failures by blaming others. So, we snap and are proud and then say that we suffered on behalf of Jesus. Both of these type of clergy love the glory of men rather than glory of God. it's what we sinners do and we've all done it.
A faithful pastor, will confess Jesus crucified for your sins and be willing to suffer for that confession. His hands may shake. His voice may crack. His language may be rough. His tongue may be course. But, he confesses, he does not deny His Lord - even if it does him in. And if he doesn't confess Jesus clearly, it horrifies him and he will confess his sin and then confess Jesus.
A faithful pastor is concerned with shut-ins, widows, hospital calls, and young people. He tries to actually study. How will he know what to teach? He calls or visits vistors. He might try to send some back to their pastors rather than just adding them to his parish. And no one recieves glory from what he does or doesn't do - but Jesus alone.
All pastors have their pets - from abortion to youth to whatever they seem to be most concerned about. These are fine as long as they don't get in the way of the preaching and teaching of Christ crucified. The pet may be good and godly, but when it takes over, then we are right back to the doing something for someone other than Christ.
In the end, we aren't saved by being good pastors or laity, but by Christ alone. If we are saved by how faithful we are, we'd be utterly lost. We'd never live up. Christ alone is our righteousness and hope. His Cross for us. His death in our place. His resurrection is our justification.
And when you go looking for a preacher to put that Gospel into your ears: Trust not in names or princes. Same with names. Go with what they confess and do.
Pastor Borghardt is Assistant/Youth Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, TX. He also serves as Conferences Executive for Higher Things. You can listen to Pr. Borghardt every week on Higher Things Radio.
Created: November 17th, 2008