Saturday, January 26, 2008

Instruction For A Young Preacher #17

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

It is sad but true that we hear negative things about preachers. If we are not careful, this will become juicy gossip, and many people can be hurt by the idle words that preachers say about one another.

Sometimes we may hear something about a preacher or a church, and we can partly believe it in regard to some previous report or some things that have been seen in the preacher or church. Paul did this in 1 Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. But Paul did not write letters to all the churches and pastors around the world to announce the problems at Corinth. He wrote a letter to them personally and expressed his concern that what he had heard may be true. His purpose in writing to them personally was that there be no divisions among them, as he expresses in 1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Certainly we are concerned when tales are told about preachers and churches, but Paul's rule to Timothy here is that we are not to receive these accusations quickly or easily. They are to be investigated before accepting their validity. Instead of quickly turning away from an elder about which you hear a negative report, call him up and tell him that you have heard the report and that you are concerned about it. You may find that the report is nothing like what you have heard. This has happened in my ministry several times.

If you have doubts after speaking to the preacher who has been accused, then wait for two or three witnesses to confirm the report. We are not to go out looking for witnesses, but wait until witnesses are heard from different places. We must hear the accusation many times before we receiving it. Mt 18:16 says, . . . in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Let's be sure that we keep this saying true in our ministries. Young preacher, don't be quick to judge; because one day you will be an "elder" in the true sense of the word, and you will be at the brunt of many accusations, no doubt. If you do not want others to think wrong of you, then don't thing wrong of others. This will retain trust in the ministry and hinder needless hurt and harm to the ministry and in God's kingdom.

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