Have you ever been sitting in a church service, hear something from the pastor and think, “I’m not sure that’s right”? What do you do? If you are are visiting or “church shopping,” the solution seems pretty easy. However, this same problem can still arise from your regular pastor. Below are a few suggestions that I find helpful when this issue occurs
Prayer is probably the first and most obvious answer. I certainly did not have to think much in order to add it to this list. Yet, it is probably the most overlooked. We will often just say that the pastor was wrong and that we know better than they do. I suggest taking your concern to God in prayer. When we hear something incorrect come from the pulpit it is an opportunity for us to ask God for guidance. In prayer, we humble ourselves in the glory of God and bring Him the things most on our hearts. We can ask God for clarity on whatever issue arose from the sermon. It is completely possible that you have a misunderstanding, and prayer can open yourself up to the teachings of the Spirit. Maybe you are right. Maybe the pastor is right. Either way, the Holy Spirit was given to believers to teach us the truth. Jesus says in John’s gospel, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26, NASB). By not praying, we cut ourselves off from the best source that can help us understand what was being said from the pulpit.
#2 Speak with the Pastor
Your pastor has been placed in a special position by God. It is a large responsibility to be in a place where you are expected to lead the people of God. You may have a type of understanding from your personal reading, study, prayer or experience. Yet your pastor is the instrument God has chosen to use to reach His people. Your pastor will be able to help you better understand what was being said in their sermon. Don’t approach your pastor antagonistically, but rather as a student seeking to learn from their teacher. Hopefully, they have spent several weeks in prayer and study preparing for the sermon you heard. This influenced everything that they said from the pulpit. It is possible that you missed something in their argument, or they failed to include a critical piece of infromation. Which leads me to my third point.
#3 Recognize that we are all human
Thanks to the Fall, every person, including you and your pastor, is flawed and imperfect. Both of you can have have a misunderstanding of the text or the revelation of God. There could be some point of you neither of you have considered, that will bring clarity to either position. However, ultimately, it is acceptable to disagree. No person knows the totatly of God and all of His revelation to us. God gave His people the ability to reason, and there is a spiritual gift of discernment that allows His people to understand if a teaching comes from God or something else. As long as neither of you is being intentionally heretical, I see no reason why you cannot politely agree to disagree. Recognizing the humanity of each other levels the playing field. Both of you are finite creatures trying to understand the infinite Creator.
No matter the amount of reading, study, or education level, all people fail to truly grasp everything about God. If you pastor says something you disagree with from the pulpit, there is a reason for it. It could be simply fallen humanity sneaking through, or a prompting from God to get you to seek deeper. Spend time in prayer and seek the truth from the Spirit of Truth. Seek time with your pastor so you can have a conversation to resolve any issues, or find deeper understanding. But, ultimately, remember that you are flawed and so are they. God is so beyond our complete comprehension, it is difficult to teach and speak about Him. Only through communion with eachother and communion with Him do we have any hope of plumbing the depths of the Holy One.
If you have any other ideas of what to do in this situation, please write a comment and let us help eachother become better and understanding eachother.