Sermons by Dr. Richard Caldwell that speak to the health and vibrancy of a church that seeks to honor the Lord and are related to the topic of disagreements with church leadership, can be listened to or watched here:
A Healthy Church - Click Here
The Behavior of a Healthy Church - Click Here
The Heart of a Healthy Church Pt. 1 - Click Here
The Marks of a Healthy Church Pt. 1 - Click Here
Listen to the Audio Podcast
I Disagree With the Leadership of My Church
What can I do if I disagree with the leadership of my church? Should I leave if I disagree with the doctrine that is taught? How can I know when it’s time to leave my church?
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot discuss the issue of disagreements that come up in a local church. Often these issues are related to ministry practices or strategies, yet other times it’s over theology and doctrine. Dr. Caldwell says when we find ourselves disagreeing with our church leadership over theological and doctrinal matters we first want to distinguish between first-order, second-order, and third-order doctrines. Not every theological or doctrinal issue is of primary importance. First-order doctrines are foundational to our Christian faith and define it at its’ core; they are central and essential.
Dr. Caldwell gives us an example of a crucial first-order doctrine - justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Other examples would be the Trinity, and the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. If you find that your church is deviating doctrinally in first-order orthodox doctrines, don’t immediately break fellowship with them. You will want to go to the leadership with your Bible giving them the biblical evidence for your concern, attempting to persuade them of their sin and disobedience to the Scriptures. If after your attempt to persuade them in love and patience with clear biblical reasoning they insist on remaining fixed on their position, it’s time to go. You’ve got to leave, you cannot remain where unorthodoxy is practiced, this is not a healthy church.
Second-order Doctrines Sometimes Become Difficult Issues in Churches
Second-order doctrines are those that Bible-believing Christians may disagree upon that usually result in different congregations and denominations. Third-order doctrines are also those which Christians may disagree, but these should not bring about broken fellowship with other Christians, nor within our congregations. Yet as Dr. Caldwell tells us, these sometimes become difficult issues in churches where there weren’t issues before. Sometimes it’s when leadership changes direction on its thinking or beliefs, other times it may be over changes in the music or over whether hymnals are no longer used. Dr. Caldwell gives an example of divorce and remarriage that Founders Baptist holds to.
He explains that while it’s not a first-order issue, it’s still an important issue and it will come into play over and over in the life of the church. How you view this issue and how it is handled in the particular church you attend may or may not be a conscience issue for you. If you have issues like this that come up that differ from your understanding, you will want to do your research from the Bible and trusted resources, studying them carefully. If you still disagree and see serious concerns, believing that the church leaders are off base in their views go to them with your concerns.
Can You Remain There Joyfully?
Go to them, talk to them, listen to them carefully, be open to the possibility of you being corrected and changing your mind. Be slow, don’t cause conflict, attempt to work it out. But if they remain unpersuaded and your mind is not changed, you have to ask yourself can I remain here joyfully? Can I serve here together with them, be supportive and cooperate in ministry even though we don’t agree on these lower level issues? Or by staying, would you find yourself being critical and harsh, causing disunity? It may be time to leave.
Dr. Caldwell discusses a couple of resources outside the Bible that may be helpful when attempting to ascertaining the health of a church. First is a book put out by 9Marks Ministry and written by Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. The second is a teaching series by John MacArthur of Grace to You, The Anatomy of a Church or a book he has written titled, The Masters Plan for the Church. He tells us that we ought to look at these kinds of books, go to the Word of God and evaluate our church in light of these things. Don’t immediately break fellowship and leave your church over any issue, be prayerful, go the church leadership to present your concerns along with biblical evidence, be patient and wait for the Lord to lead you.
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.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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