Ep. 137 Being Pastoral Can Be Better Than Being Theological

Shows Main Idea – There are times when it’s wise to withhold the truth from individuals because what they need more is redemptive care. This thought is not unbiblical, as Jesus withheld the truth from those that He loved.

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Show Notes

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I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. – John 16:12

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. – John 2:24

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. – Proverbs 18:2

Yes, Jesus said hard things to people, but He calculated His words when He could not avoid the hard stuff. I’m not saying you should not share hard thoughts, but I am saying that how and why you tell the problematic truth needs God-centered consideration.

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. – Mark 8:31-32

Real-Life Illustrations

  • Ready! Fire! Aim! – Quick to speak and slow to listen.
  • Withholding the truth about sex from your children.
  • Withholding your innermost struggles from specific people.
  • Sharing your Christian liberty with those who do not have your liberty.
  • Being theologically correct before it’s time to share this depth of truth.
  • Mapping your experience over what you’re hearing, and then “jumping an individual” because you’re reacting to your experience rather than understanding what was actually said.
  • Jumping on someone for using medication.
  • Pinging a person for not using the right language, OCD, ADD, etc.

Close Examination

  1. Is It Lying?
    1. When you ask the “lying question,” you must address your heart.
    2. Are you trying to be deceptive or are you trying to care for a soul?
  2. What Is Your Motive?
    1. You withhold truth because of timing or a person’s ability to “handle the truth”
    2. You withhold truth because you love the person with whom you’re talking
  3. What Is Your Goal?
    1. To win an argument?
    2. Or care for a soul?
  4. Stewarding the Truth
    1. Stewarding truth is a wisdom issue
    2. Knowing when to speak and when to keep quiet is a Spirit-illuminated gift
  5. Find Your Starting Point Before You Begin
    1. Seek to understand the person you’re talking to so you know the right starting point
    2. The heart of the gospel is going to where they are and starting there

The Danger of Imitation

Paul was a unique historical figure who wrote with a strong hand, but his heart of compassion was evident to all.

For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” – 2 Corinthians 10:10

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. – 2 Peter 3:15-16

Luther was a unique historical figure, who from what we know, he could be harsh, brash, and even crude person.

A Counseling Warning

  • Jay Adams is a unique historical figure whose public presence is different from his private demeanor.
  • It has been easy for some to confuse a person’s public demeanor with his private conversational style.
  • Listening to an apologist is one thing, but imitating him (or her) in a conversational, soul-care setting can be harmful.
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