The word “doctrine” has taken on a life of its own. Its meaning is far removed from the original word. “Doctrine” is some sort of sacred thing now. The word, as it appears in the Bible, only means “teachings”.
Pastors these days seem to think that their most important job requirement is to “safeguard the doctrine”. They give that precedence over all the other requirements like “able to teach”, or “having a good reputation with those outside”, or “not quarrelsome”, or “in charge of his own kids, having their respect”.
And, I’ve met quite a few “pastors” who believe a real stinker of a lie. They believe that they personally possess the actual teachings of Jesus. Not some watered-down version that won’t get them fired. Not some denominational version. Not some Americanized version. Not some Calvinist version. Not a version viewed through the lens of 2000 year’s worth of history and culture. Not some over-analyzed seminarian version. No, they really think that they’re doing everything exactly like Jesus would have them do it.
How arrogant is that? What does that say about all the people who do it a little differently than you?
Ironically, those same people have never had a problem letting a guy like me teach a small group, despite the fact that they disagree with my “doctrine”. But when it comes time, and I get an opportunity to step into the good-ol-boy circle of trust and get a salary as a “minister”?
Yeah, then all of a sudden they have a problem.
But sir, where was the problem when I was teaching, aka “indoctrinating”, your own precious flock?
I thought the main point of your job was to safeguard the doctrine and shepherd your flock?
Did you know not everybody learns the same way? Gasp.
In fact, most people don’t learn best—if they can at all—in a lecture format.
You know another word for “lecture”?
There are a few different types of learners. It’s not really a settled issue. Some people say there are 3 kinds, some say 4, some say 5.
Nobody, though, says there’s only one.
There are listeners, readers, hands-on learners, and combinations of all those. Some people have to talk things through; some have to write them down. No way is better than another.
The ones who can just sit and listen are rare—the rarest kind, in fact. Just ask a schoolteacher.
So, if a pastor should be “able to teach”, why do we only expect them to be “able to lecture”? What about the other ¾ of people who don’t learn that way? Shouldn’t he be able to teach them too?
Now—and here comes the “Christian caveat” bit, as John Acuff likes to call it—I don’t personally care one way or the other exactly what all these pastors do. I just wish they could be consistent individuals, and that their actions truly matched their words, or even attempted to resemble the Jesus they claim to follow, or the book they lecture from each week and—supposedly—pour over the rest of the time.
But, as I said, I don’t personally care. I think we don’t have anything even slightly resembling the life of Jesus being represented by anyone I know. I think we’ve taken a simple thing, and piled so much garbage on top of it that the only way to truly get an unbiased look at what exactly the in the crap Jesus was up to, is to ditch the whole thing and start over. So, unless pastors are doing that, I don’t personally care what they’re doing.