Be a Berean

Pastors say a lot of things. I say a lot of things. That is the nature of the vocation I suppose. However, what happens when what a pastor says doesn’t quite match the Scriptures? Or, can we even recognize error or falsehood from the pulpit?

I find that many people when they attend a church service, sit passively in the pew and are inattentive to what is being said from the pulpit. It is a constant complaint from pastors that their congregants can’t remember what was said in the sermon minutes after exiting the church. If people aren’t listening actively to the truth, then we can assume that they remain undiscerning if the truth is actually being spoken.

Another issue is people tend to take what a pastor says at face value without any further study. After all, pastors go to school and are trained in gospel ministry therefore they should know what they are talking about and be experts in Biblical theology. Furthermore, there is an inherent trust placed in the pastorate. The Bible calls faithful men to shepherd the flock and naturally we should be able to trust them.

I remember a conversation I had with a dear friend recently. Unlike most, they actually pay attention to what is said from the pulpit and they quoted to me what the pastor had said during a sermon and how much they agreed with him. The statement, however, was erroneous and when it was pointed out, my dear friend replied, “This is what the pastor said and I agree with him.”

As I said earlier, pastors say many things, but what a pastor says from the pulpit isn’t authoritative unless it is backed by God’s Word. In other words, everything that a pastor says must agree with the Scriptures. If it doesn’t, then it is just empty words, at best, which bear no weight on life or eternity or at worst, heresies that will damage the soul.

Sincere as my friend may be in trusting their pastor, the ultimate standard of truth in the Bible and that is the only authority that we should place our complete trust in. Men are fallible and often say the wrong things but when the Word of God speaks, it is without error because it is God-breathed and the only sufficient rule for faith and practice (2 Tim. 3:16).

The reason why I am writing this is to encourage all of you to be good Bereans and study the Scriptures for yourselves so that you will know the truth and not be led astray. In Acts 17:10-15, we read that the Apostle Paul and Silas are sent to the region called Berea. Stepping into the local synagogue to preach about the resurrected Messiah, they find Jews who eagerly accept the message. However, these Jews were commended as being nobler than the surrounding areas because of this one fact: They examined the Apostle’s words in light of Scripture. Remember, the Apostles were the leaders of the church. They were with Christ, heard his teachings with their own ears, and were witnesses of his resurrection. The Apostles carried an incredible amount of authority as their teachings were the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). Yet, for these Bereans, regardless of the reputation of the Apostles, they insisted (rightly so), that even church leaders must fall under the scrutiny of God’s Word.

Again, we can learn a lot from the Bereans and follow their example of knowing the text of Scripture and examining every word spoken.

My prayer for you is that you go to church this coming Sunday, open up your Bible and actively listen to what is being said. Be a good Berean, read the Scriptures, and don’t just take our word for it from the pulpit.


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