Should Pastors Rebuke Parishioners from the Pulpit?

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Paul J. Scharf's picture

Was a master at dealing with people and personalities. That is why his players loved him to death.

Would that many would learn from his example!

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Ron Bean's picture

This guy's actions are the reason the pulpit is sometimes called the Coward's Castle.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

G. N. Barkman's picture

Hmmm.  So the liberals say Yes, and the conservatives say No.

G. N. Barkman

Mark_Smith's picture

I watched the full video when this story hit a few months ago. When you do so it is obvious to me at least that this pastor cares for the people in the congregation. He knows the names of the people...do you?

Alright, was this the best way to reach some of the situations? Well...perhaps. One of the people he called out was a woman who was engaged to a man that was perhaps a serious problem for her. She was blinded by love (I'm inferring from his comments), and he was sitting there that day faking that he cared about God and church. So he called the guy out. IF I WAS GOING INTO THAT BIG OF A DITCH, I would want desperate help from someone who loved me. I'm sure he had been counseling them, but that day he felt he needed to ramp it up. 

He also calls out the video director for slacking off during the service. I have seen this before at churches I have attended. You go to use the bathroom and some staff are laughing it up out in the hall...It is public knowledge that staff are acting inappropriately. Then he calls out the staff member's mom reminding her that he is the guy's boss and he needs to correct him without her interference. Tough love...but maybe it was needed.

Those are the main ones that I remember, but as I recall there was at least one other that I couldn't justify. 

EDIT: I remember now there was one where he tells a wife to back her husband more on his decisions...that is a little close to home, but it can be that it is public info that she belittles the man, for example.

 

Jim's picture

How he should have done it:

  • Woman who was engaged to a man ...

    • Over the course of the year, there are ample opportunities to teach on Biblical principles of courtship and dating (Ephesians, et cetera). Most engagements last long enough that a couple would be exposed to this content more than once!
    • His wife could have had a one on one lunch with the bride to be to privately discuss concerns
    • And if he was to be the wedding officiant, he could address privately in pre-marital counseling
  • the video director for slacking off during the service ...

    • If an employee, he could have easily addressed either in a staff meeting or one on one
    • If not an employee, he could have (depending on how the church is either organized or disorganized!) had a deacon address the issue privately with the man. Or he could have met with the man prior to or after a service or one on one over coffee or lunch

Rather he looked like a fool to 6,000,000 youtube viewers.

Jim's picture

My guess is that most pastors of churches w under 500 in attendance know the names of most attendees. In churches of 200 or less this is much easier. 

My own pastor, (our church runs 600ish) appears to know everyones' name. I would guess that when it comes to kids that he may not know all. 

Mark_Smith's picture

not 6,000,000

Todd Bowditch's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I watched the full video when this story hit a few months ago. When you do so it is obvious to me at least that this pastor cares for the people in the congregation. He knows the names of the people...do you?

Alright, was this the best way to reach some of the situations? Well...perhaps. One of the people he called out was a woman who was engaged to a man that was perhaps a serious problem for her. She was blinded by love (I'm inferring from his comments), and he was sitting there that day faking that he cared about God and church. So he called the guy out. IF I WAS GOING INTO THAT BIG OF A DITCH, I would want desperate help from someone who loved me. I'm sure he had been counseling them, but that day he felt he needed to ramp it up. 

He also calls out the video director for slacking off during the service. I have seen this before at churches I have attended. You go to use the bathroom and some staff are laughing it up out in the hall...It is public knowledge that staff are acting inappropriately. Then he calls out the staff member's mom reminding her that he is the guy's boss and he needs to correct him without her interference. Tough love...but maybe it was needed.

Those are the main ones that I remember, but as I recall there was at least one other that I couldn't justify. 

EDIT: I remember now there was one where he tells a wife to back her husband more on his decisions...that is a little close to home, but it can be that it is public info that she belittles the man, for example.

 

Mark, his motives MIGHT have been good, but this was certainly not the right method of addressing these issues. At best, he was doing personal counseling from the pulpit when he should have been preaching God's Word. At worst, he is a gossiping megalomaniac who is terrorizing God's flock. The middle ground of those two options is still quite unappealing.

Saying "I love you" or forcing someone to hug you does not engender love or affection if it is preceded by poison. I've seen the follow-up interviews that this guy has given....he claims that this is regularly how he "preaches" to his church. He claims that he is doing exactly what he should be doing and he is completely unrepentant or understanding of how his "sermon" could be taken. If thousands of people misinterpret your actions (however well-motivated they might be), it would be wise to reconsider your ways.

If that is customary "preaching", then he is unfit to preach and he is unfit to shepherd.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Jay's picture

When you do so it is obvious to me at least that this pastor cares for the people in the congregation. He knows the names of the people...do you?

Haven't seen the video yet - don't really want to, either - but I have to ask...is he really concerned about the flock or is he just mad that people aren't paying attention to him?  The tenor of the post I read seems like it's really more about him being angry that people are sleeping in his message than it is about 'correcting the flock'.

Furthermore - we're supposed to restore erring brothers in a spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1).  This sounds more like someone bringing the hammer than being meek and under control.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

If you are going to judge the guy, watch the entire sermon that is the vimeo link, not just the youtube video. It is charismatic and he gives a prophecy to the boy he later yells at for sleeping. All I'm saying is don't fall for the youtube video alone. I'm not saying he did everything how I would do it. All I'm saying is to not fall for the world's edit either.

christian cerna's picture

1 Timothy 5:20
20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

Ron Bean's picture

"Elders" are to be rebuked publicly. I Timothy 5:19-20

Does anyone suppose this pastor(?) had gone to these people he loves so much in private and then with others before brining the matter to the church?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Todd Bowditch's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

"Elders" are to be rebuked publicly. I Timothy 5:19-20

Does anyone suppose this pastor(?) had gone to these people he loves so much in private and then with others before brining the matter to the church?

 

It doesn't seem as if he talked to him privately first...

 

"The man sitting with his fiancee who had been called “not worth 15 cents” – Ryan Underwood — had missed a few weeks of church and endured the criticism of his absence “out of respect for my family,” Tulsa World reported.

Standridge after rebuking Underwood said he “loved these kids,” hugged the man and shook his hand.

Underwood said he “felt pretty out of place after that” and noted he had not attended the church again since that service.

“The Bible says if you have a problem with your brother, go to him in private first,” Underwood said, according to Tulsa World."

 

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/04/baptist-preacher-responds-to-...

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

If you are going to judge the guy, watch the entire sermon that is the vimeo link, not just the youtube video. It is charismatic and he gives a prophecy to the boy he later yells at for sleeping. All I'm saying is don't fall for the youtube video alone. I'm not saying he did everything how I would do it. All I'm saying is to not fall for the world's edit either.

Mark, the "pastor" is quite pleased with the reaction to the video. He endorses the content of the shorter "viral" clip. He thinks it's funny (www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Skiatook_pstor_responds_to_rant_that_wen... ) . I don't have to listen to an hour of his verbal excrement to know that I disagree with his 5 minute diatribe against his congregation. If he stands by that 5 minutes (and says that he sees nothing wrong with it) then he has informed us of the context quite adequately.

He also personally told one of the recipients of his wrath that the public rebuke was an "anointing from the Lord" (http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Skiatook_pstor_responds_to_rant_t... ). This is a deranged man...perhaps on the verge of senility...that is claiming that his vitriol is a direct message from God. I find that to border on blasphemy.

 

 

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/04/baptist-preacher-responds-to-... - primary source for the links.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

I have had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of a "pastoral rant."

As a senior in high school, I had chosen (at the encouragement of my parents), to attend a community college for 2 years before heading off to Bible college. The speaker at our Cola War that year was a "staff evangelist" from a particular Christian university that was heavily endorsed by my church. During the week, the "evangelist" made a point of visiting me in my house to recruit me for the university. I explained the situation (and my parent's involvement). Then, in my living room...with my mom in the next room...he explained how Psalm 1 was a command from God that I attend a Bible college; I should follow that command at all costs, even with the disapproval of my parents...interesting advice. I fear that I was then characterized as a rebel because I asked about the difference between direct commands and applications of biblical principles.

That Sunday evening, he "preached" one final message to the entire church. He then presented a somewhat generic message on mindsets that prevent us from obeying God completely. He then chose "random" men from the congregation to stand up and represent the various mindsets. He pointed at various men to have them come up. He then called me up (by name) to represent the mindset of stupidity/rebellion. He then began to rail against the mindset, slapping me on the chest while doing so. By pure random chance, one of the examples of this mindset was refusing to attend Christian university....

I don't remember his sermon that well...but I remember the shock and hurt that I felt that a "man of God" would seek to publicly humiliate me. Needless to say, I stayed at community college and transferred to a Bible college that was quite far away from that particular Christian university.

 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Mark_Smith's picture

Let me say my intent was not to defend what this pastor did. My intent was to encourage people to not trust what "the world" reports about what a preacher did. Thus, I encouraged people to watch the entire sermon.

 

Years ago the Attorney General of the state in which I lived was a Christian man who was under fire for his stands on issues. He came one Sunday and gave a message at the church I was attending. The fallout in the news and local papers, and even national media, over that message was intense. The spin, including video, made it sound like our pastor had endorsed this guy, thus violating the 501c3 restrictions, that we had given this public official money for a public speech (which is not allowed), etc...They made the AG and the church look horrible. It simply was not the case at all. Thus, my intent to give the situation a fair view before deciding.

Todd Bowditch's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Let me say my intent was not to defend what this pastor did. My intent was to encourage people to not trust what "the world" reports about what a preacher did. Thus, I encouraged people to watch the entire sermon.

 

Years ago the Attorney General of the state in which I lived was a Christian man who was under fire for his stands on issues. He came one Sunday and gave a message at the church I was attending. The fallout in the news and local papers, and even national media, over that message was intense. The spin, including video, made it sound like our pastor had endorsed this guy, thus violating the 501c3 restrictions, that we had given this public official money for a public speech (which is not allowed), etc...They made the AG and the church look horrible. It simply was not the case at all. Thus, my intent to give the situation a fair view before deciding.

Understood, but you might want to hitch that wagon to a different mule.

I think it might be fair to say that we shouldn't distrust something merely because its been reported in the media. Sometimes they get things right...

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Dave Gilbert's picture

I don't understand the debate...what does the Bible say about handling people, rebuking, exhorting etc.? How people handle people isn't the issue, but how we are commanded to by the Lord.

 

Plus, this thing called a "pulpit"....*looks for any reference in God's word*

Jeffrey Dean's picture

This pastor is guilty of spiritual abuse.  It is indefensible behavior.  Still, this would make a great survey question.

 

 

Steve Newman's picture

Where I have heard individual or group rebuke from the pulpit, it has almost always been misguided. I recall visiting some future relatives on a date with my wife to be, and the pastor was preaching a message against Central Seminary, from which I had recently graduated. It was a KJVO church. 

As a Bible college student, we would have to make it back at a certain time, and we would sometimes leave services early on Sunday night to get there. An evangelist flipped out when we left in the middle of a service once. 

I'm sure lots of folks have recollections like these. 

Just try not to have your own to add to the collection!

Paul J's picture

I think it would have been funny if the camera would have swung to the floor as the camera operator walked out.  We couldn't pull off a weekend without the many volunteers who give of their time, talent and gifts to support ministry.  I can not come up with any reason this would ever be ok and rather a perfect example of "man centered" ministry. 

Jay's picture

I watched the five minute clip on YouTube last night while watering some flowers.

This is a perfect example of ego-centered, lording it over the flock mentality that runs completely contrary to 'pastoring', and it was easily more than twice as bad as I expected it could have been.  There is so much that I could say that I could write for pages, but Mark 10 and I Peter 5 really say it all:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd [not rule] the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

The fact that this person - who has completely disgraced Christ by his shameful and foolish actions - is pleased with the controversy and how this played out is even worse.  He is glorying in what should be a shame to him.  

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joel Shaffer's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Let me say this, speaking for myself, I'd rather a pastor walk up to me and hit me verbally right between the ears telling me to straighten up than to let me fall right off of a cliff...I personally have seen man after man let others walk right into the minefields of life, and no one said anything.

 

Mark,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you creating a false dilemma, as if the only options of correcting someone within a congregation is rude, arrogant behavior or nothing at all.     Shouldn't II Timothy 2:24-26 be a third option?  24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  

 

Mark_Smith's picture

I deleted that comment

josh p's picture

My experience is that Pastors who do this may not be handling the situation properly in personal interaction. In fact I believe this is something that most Christians (myself included) tend to be weak on. As fundamentalists we rally for the gospel and are quick to defend biblical separation but we may be hesitant to rebuke a believer privately so it doesn't get to "disobedient brother" status.