Assumptions on Participation: Trust

If everyone participates in the gatherings of the church then how do we avoid people teaching heresy? That seems to be a common question posed to me about every member participation. It is a good question, and it makes sense. The problem is that I believe it is based on some faulty assumptions. I will discuss these over the next few days.

Another faulty assumption is that the pastor will always (or at least usually) get it right. In many (or at least some) modern evangelical circles the pastor would say that you should check him to make sure what he is saying is right, that you should read your Bible and make sure he accurately taught it, but is this really the message that the practices of the church teach? Why don’t we want just anyone sharing and teaching when the church is gathered? Because we don’t trust that they know what they are talking about. Why do we let the pastor teach week after week? Because we trust that for the most part he does know what he is talking about. I have heard a possible compromise that maybe if the pastor or elders pre-screen those who wish to share then those people could address the rest of the body. Should we also bring the pastor’s sermons before a body of elders before it is preached? If not then I think my point is made that there is a trust in the pastor being right as opposed to the rest of the body.


About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

4 responses to “Assumptions on Participation: Trust

  • norma hill

    And sadly, if we don’t trust he knows what he is talking about, there simply isn’t (almost always) any way to express our questions. And if we do question, we are most likely to be considered divisive, unspiritual, heretical… So I think we are also AFRAID to be seen as not trusting the pastor and elders. Even elders are often afraid…

    We are also afraid of possibility exposing our (supposed) lack of knowledge … we have been convinced that WE just don’t have whatever it takes …

    Oh, and we’ve also been convinced that what it takes is seminary training (no matter what scripture might say …). Ohhhh… that means we trust the pastor’s (seminary’s, denomination’s, whatever) word over the clear word of God in scripture….

  • Dan Allen


    I agree with what you are saying here. I actually will talk more about fielding questions and having discussions in the environment of the gathered body in another upcoming post. I think this (lack of interaction) is a major drawback to the typical gathering. Thanks for the thoughts!


  • Bob

    In an organic gathering, brothers and sisters get to know one another, so you have a built in check and balance. It’s a lot easier to question something being said and perhaps challenge our assumptions in the light of scripture.

  • Dan Allen


    I definitely agree that an organic setting is more conducive to keeping each other accountable for our teachings. I will hit on that in another installment in this series. I pray that we will always “challenge our assumptions in the light of scripture.” Thanks for the comment!


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