The sermon links below are some examples of hard/difficult passages that are sometimes misunderstood and misinterpreted and others that are just hard sayings and hard to accept. These are sermons that Dr. Caldwell has faithfully exposited from the pulpit over the last 20 years.
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How to Preach The Bible's Most Debated Passages
The overarching message of the Bible is about God and His salvation of sinners. While the basics of that message are clear, many other things in the Scriptures are not. There are things written that are hard to grasp, hard to accept, and even things that get distorted (2 Peter 3:16). Many of these things have caused confusion in the church. They’ve brought separation and division, resulting even in different denominations due to doctrinal beliefs, etc. Some have even caused confusion and disharmony among church members in their local body of Christ. This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot speaks with Dr. Caldwell about these hard teachings. Dr. Caldwell is preaching through the book of Matthew and recently finished teaching a series titled - Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage as he arrived at Matthew 19. Dr. Caldwell and the elders of Founders Baptist Church take a different position on the passages related to divorce and remarriage than the majority of pastors and leaders in the evangelical world. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell to speak with us about the preaching and congregational dynamic of preaching through the difficult passages and hard sayings of Scripture. He asks Dr. Caldwell to share what he understands the responsibilities of those in the church are when they hear these confusing, challenging, and sometimes hard-to-accept passages preached.
Dr. Caldwell stresses the importance of the elders and the responsibilities they have in the church first. The importance of their character and what’s true of them matters greatly. The church needs to be convinced the only motive they have in teaching the Word of God is to be true to the Word of God and that they are not trying to sell their own opinions or their own view of things. They want to demonstrate over their ministry time that their hearts and minds are submitted to the authority of God’s Holy Word. When this is done over the long course of ministry, the congregation gains confidence that they’ve been careful with what they’ve studied and shared from the pulpit and teaching positions in the body. This enables the congregation to respond better, properly even, seeing that the elders have been careful in ways that reveal reverence for God, respect for His Word, and a trembling at His thoughts as they practice what they preach and teach. Something else elders can do that will be helpful for the congregation is to model being charitable to others when dealing with things that are not first-tier issues. Modeling honesty, fairness, generosity, and charitableness, and not misrepresenting our opponents (those who disagree with you) teaches a congregation a kind of reasonableness concerning these sorts of issues. Another way the elders at Founders Baptist Church have found it helpful to deal with some of their distinctives and differences relating to these things is through church orientation/church membership classes. By doing this, members aren’t completely shocked when the preaching and teaching on these hard-to-understand, difficult, challenging, and sometimes hard-to-accept passages are taught to them. He sees all these things as somewhat foundational to what you should see in the life of the congregation.
What should then be seen in the life of the congregation, and what are the responsibilities of congregants? Dr. Caldwell explains that we should see submission to the leadership and teaching of the elders, submission to truth taught from the pulpit. So even if someone is sitting in the congregation that doesn’t agree, and it’s not over a matter of orthodoxy, their attitude is still one of love and joyful submission. They aren’t free to undermine the pulpit in the life of the church. For example, while he believes that the vast majority of Founders members agree with his position on divorce and remarriage, he knows some don’t, and that is fine. But what those who don't agree can’t do is sow division and discord in the church. Their attitude should not be combative and should not seek to battle with other members over it. Nor should someone just throw it off by saying I just don’t believe that. That kind of flippant attitude is cause for concern. It implies that this person does not understand the weightiness of these issues or their responsibility as one who is to submit to those who watch for their soul. Congregants have to behave in a way that accords with truth so that even though they disagree on the issue, their attitude is such that they are grateful that you love the Lord, have a high view of His Word, and would not teach things haphazardly. There can be admiration and thankfulness even for teaching you don’t completely agree with because you know where it's coming from. When someone finds themselves wrestling with this truth that’s been faithfully taught from the Scriptures, and they have some objections or questions that are unanswered, they can go to the pastor and elders and ask to talk about it, approaching them and subject matter with an attitude that is willing to be instructed.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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