Earlier this week, I published a couple of posts which were responses to a section of a sermon by a pastor friend of mine. In this sermon, my friend was making a call to discipleship, a call that those in his congregation are used to hearing from him, because discipleship is his passion. It was a terrific sermon, and it was very beneficial for me to hear—the sort of thing which troubled me in some very good ways.
But there was a section which troubled me in another way. I felt that a certain brother in Christ who is something of a hero of mine (though I try to be very careful in using such a phrase) was getting very unfair treatment from my friend–to the point where I was actually a bit irked. Also, there were present a number of young people whose theological understandings I care about very much, and I was seriously concerned about how it might affect their various journeys in the Lord. So I wrote those posts to provide what I thought was a needed response.
In retrospect, however, I have decided to remove them from TLW for the foreseeable future. My reasons for this are several. First of all, I am not pleased with my choice of certain phrases which, despite my obvious attempts to declare my love and admiration for my friend, I realize could still be hurtful or at least overly pugilistic. Second, my friend and I have dialogued a bit over email in the past couple of days, and he has graciously cleared up for me some of the picture I had of his thought processes. Not for the first time in my life, I learned that my surmising about another person’s thoughts was not entirely accurate. Third, I am remembering now the fact that, in times not all that far removed from the present, my friend has endured more than a little bit of polemic and church fight falderal. And in some cases, blogsites were the specific fields of battle for my poor brother and his coworker for the gospel (who is another dear friend of mine). I have no desire whatsoever to give either of these brothers anything like another taste of that nastiness. Finally, it just seems better wisdom (now) to handle my objection to that one element of my friend’s sermon in discreet conversations off-line, as might be necessary here and there, conversations where my face and voice can be all the more clear about how much I love and admire my brother.
As a last word here, I offer an apology to my friend here for the fact that all of this comes as an afterthought, with the two posts sitting here on TLW most of the week.
I love you, brother, and continue to find in you a great example of what it can be like to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.