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The Need to Maintain Balance as a Pastor

John Calvin's quote here is something that pastors need to heed in maintaining balance.  There are many ways to be misguided as a pastor.  If one is too focused on being gentle and non-offensive then the other way to be misguided is to be as cheesy and offensive as possible.  Both of these approaches are severely misguided.  One offers shelter for false converts. The other offer shelters for true converts to become self-righteous which may make them ignore the fact they too were once enemies of God prior to reconciliation.

It is a sad fact that some truly saved pastors tend to be cheesy and offensive believing that it is the only way to reach out today's generation to Christ.  As much as the ugliness of sin and false religion must be addressed, it is possible to do the right thing the wrong way.  When Peter wanted to show his love for Jesus by striking the ear of one of Caiaphas' servants, he was in the wrong.  While Christians are given the right to self-defense but they are not given the right to use force in doing their ministry.  Some pastors can be as offensive and cheesy as possible where they tend to use sources that tend to make unsaved people look like criminals instead of victims of their cult's false teachings.  Getting any argument from any conspiracy sites does not help as it may make unsaved people too angry to listen to you.  Focusing on conspiracy theories (and sadly, some Christians can be stuck with them) does not help spread the Gospel either but instead, it distracts people from the Scriptures.

This does not suggest doing a watered-down preaching either.  It is still possible to deliver the message that unsaved people need to hear without being cheesy and overly offensive.  If anything should offend then it is the truth that they are sinners by presenting them God's Law.  It is not about telling them they are criminals because not all unbelievers are criminals as far as the civil laws are concerned.  Jesus offered sympathy to victims of false teachings while confronting false teachers.  But it does not mean no sympathy was given to false teachers when they truly repent that they too are victims of false teachings who need salvation.  Any pastor who suggests that they should be killing Roman Catholics, homosexuals, Muslims, etc. instead of the desire of winning such people to the Lord Jesus Christ deserves to be questioned if he is a man of God.  Such a mentality is just as dangerous as any pastor who teaches that we have a license to sin or adds works to the finished work of Christ.

Being gentle yet not driving a watered down message is no easy task.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 warns that if any good work was not done out of a motive of love - then it profits nothing at all.  When it comes to warning people about sin and Hellfire, the motive must be based on love for lost sinners.  When the prophets gave their message to the nations of Israel and Judah, it was because of God's love for His people calling them to repentance.  You can always tell the truth without love but you cannot love without telling the truth.  Love for lost sinners with the desire to bring them to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ should be the real motive of any Christian ministry.  Do you love people when you tell the truth?