Tuesday, October 2, 2018

In a Society of the Acceleration of Accusations…. 
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

I wonder if a day goes by where someone, somewhere isn’t accused of some heinous sin and grievous offense. Recently politics have swirled with accusations (of many sorts) regarding one influential figure. Another athlete was recently accused rape. On and on they go. This article is not to suggest that people are or are not guilty of such accusations. Only God knows all the facts and every detail exhaustively and precisely. But my goal in this essay is to plead with men of God who serve as elder-shepherds in the local church to strive to be careful, protective and blameless in all their dealings. No one can guard against accusations. But men of God who serve Christ’s people must live such blameless lives that

BE PURE IN YOUR HEART
God calls men to be above reproach as shepherds. We understand that this call to blamelessness does not demand sinlessness. Of course, no man can be sinless in this life. We must, nevertheless, pursue holiness with great ardency and zeal. We must remember that holiness begins in the heart. The genesis of worship begins with a heart transfixed upon God. The weed of sin begins with a seed underground — in the heart of man. Men who serve as pastors must be pure. Be pure in your heart. Be holy in your heart. Be killing sin — even the unseen and unknown and the respectable sins of culture — with great ferociousness. Pursue purity by gazing on Christ. Be holy by marveling at God’s character. Be distinct as you order your ways to Scripture. Be pure in your heart and you can ensure purity in your conduct. If you want a pure life, then maintain a pure heart.

BE ABOVE-REPROACH IN YOUR ACTIONS
God’s call for men is to be above reproach. Elsewhere the Pastoral epistles call men to be blameless. We are to be lovers of what’s good. Men of God must not be lovers of money or angry or lazy or bullies. Pastors would do well to meditate slowly and frequently on the list of qualifications (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5, and even 2 Timothy 2) and to earnestly pray to God to cultivate holiness more in our lives. Man of God: be careful in your actions with fellow members. Be extremely cautious in your actions toward women. Guard how you interact with others. Refuse to be alone with a woman who is not your wife. In our culture and with much that’s swirling around us, we cannot be too cautious in our dealings with one another and with the world in general. Be careful, cautious, self-controlled and sober-minded.

BE PROTECTIVE IN YOUR CONVERSATIONS
Elder-shepherd, you must take great care in how you speak with others, where you speak with others, and what you say in your conversations with others. Don’t find yourself alone in a room or in a hallway speaking with a woman (whatever topic may be discussed!). Do not hint at anything that could be perceived as leading a woman on, or hunting a woman down, or harassing her.  We do well to remain biblically faithful, speaking of Scripture and calling men and women to holiness and to the pursuit of Christ. Elders must guard how they speak with others. The tone of voice, the words we use and the location of conversations should all be considered by men of God serving as shepherds in Christ’s church. Protect yourself and be thoughtful as you lead.

BE FORTHRIGHT WITH YOUR ELDER-TEAM
The most transparent place should be the elder-team. There should be openness, honesty, humility, and transparency between brothers as men share struggles, situations and conversations that have taken place. This is a clarion call for all shepherd-elders to be forthright and honest with the fellow elders so that there is no ambiguity, no surprises, no shocks, and no accusations that could carry any weight. A man’s character should be blameless, a man’s actions should be above-reproach, his conversations should be Christ-honoring and biblically faithful, and his elders should be aware of what’s going on. May pastors be open and honest about such things so as to take an extra measure to guard oneself and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and the reputation of the gospel from being marred by sin, by accusation, by evil, and by the Accuser himself.

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