“When it comes to the routine of corporate worship in your local church, do you think much about your responsibility in your Sunday services? [There] is a responsibility that every believer shares. And sadly, today, very few fulfill.” – John MacArthur
EXPLORE | Our Responsibility to our Pastor
Responsibility has kept me from even signing up in some cases. “Oh, wait, add on another thing to do? No thanks. I have enough of those.” Then there are those responsibilities we have no right side-stepping. They are necessary, they won’t go away, and they are not to be side-stepped. To even consider finding a way around it, our conscience should immediately message: What kind of man are you?
What is the responsibility Dr. MacArthur is referring to? Holding our pastor accountable. I wasn’t expecting that. How is that possible?
He describes this responsibility as being patterned after the Bereans in the book of Acts. The Apostles were preaching in Berea and the Bible says that they were more noble than others because they searched to see if what the Apostles were saying was true! So while a pastor has a certain level of accountability to his congregation, we bear the responsibility of discernment. But Dr. MacArthur isn’t saying our role is to play the critic, but rather, to think critically by being able to think biblically. That is, to be able to discern the Scriptures and guard against erroneous preaching and teaching. Do we know the Word of God well enough to tell whether or not something is accurate? You can! And we are called to. It is our responsibility.
EXECUTE | Be ‘Biblically Critical’
As mentioned, we need to avoid seeing our role as being the critic. A critique is not what is called for here. It is more of a comparison that we’re to perform. How does what is being preached line up with what the Bible says? I will say that a pastor’s passion, in addition to his handling of the Scriptures, is what I also look for. If he is excited and passionate about the proclamation of the Word, I believe that it comes from having spent the necessary time sifting through it to draw out what God would have us know and understand. Here are a few suggestions on how we could be ‘biblically critical’:
Exercising our responsibility could begin by practicing listening in a new and critical (that is, biblical) way: When is the last time you said anything to your pastor about the sermon? Most often, we’re inclined to be silent unless something really offends us. Instead, why don’t we begin listening in such a way that we can say something specific to the pastor about the sermon?
If not mentioning something specific to your pastor, how about listening in a way that would allow you to be able to teach someone what was preached? Our home-schooled boys are required to narrate back to us what is read to them. After a chapter is read, they are to articulate main themes, plot, actions taken by the subjects, etc. Would you be able to do the same in the parking lot after the service?
Is it time for a class or two? It is more easily done these days. Online classes are pretty abundant, and it may be time to move beyond your solo approach to understanding and knowing the Scriptures. Full disclosure, I work for Moody, but they have some wonderful options if you choose to pursue this.
Better discernment comes through preparation. Short of enrolling in a class, can you read the text before you hear the sermon on Sunday? Spending time praying and reading through that text will allow the Holy Spirit to begin unpacking it before you hear it preached, which is part of the process of being ‘biblically critical.’
Bottom line, our study of the Scriptures needs to be taken very seriously. We have a responsibility not only to our pastor as a member of the body of Christ, but to our families and other men. When Peter says that we are to be able to give an account of the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15), it will require us to think critically and biblically–which is our first responsibility.
[Original article: every believers responsibility]