From the book by Dr. Stephen Crosby, Silent Killers of Faith - Overcoming Legalism and Performance Based Religion.
"Nothing stirs religious passions to hatred and murder like preaching a message of freedom to people who think they are already free. Performing religionists do not appreciate being told that God is not impressed with Adamic spritual gymnastics (my note: "aka 'spiritual disciplines' - as important as they can be!") done in the name of Jesus. God will not stand and applaud the somersaults of the Adamic nature trying to please Him. Exposing the deluded confidence of the privileged always gets you stoned. People do not use granite anymore - wagging tongues and feet hustling through the back exit door are the stones of choice..."
"It takes no courage or faith to join something that already seems a success. It takes great faith and stamina to stick with something to make it a success."
"A friend of mine once gave me some advice that, at first blush, seemed a little extreme, but I think actually captured a fundamental reality: "If you are not accused of promoting a casual lifestyle, you are probably not preaching apostolic grace." Folks who emphasize the "high standard" are frequently the most difficult to awaken to the depths of Biblical grace. They are the most likely to accuse those who emphasize grace as having a "low standard". "
Truer words are rarely written. I have always said that you have to look at the depth and body of a pastor's preaching over the course of years, not mere months, to get the full balance of the man. Time has more than proven that no one in Harvest Church is in any danger of being led by a pastor who has quote-unquote "low standards". Nor are they in any danger of being led by a pastor who puts confidence in the flesh of Gentile legalism. This is cause for real rejoicing, in my opinion. My husband, though far less than perfect, has the heart of a spiritual father, and of a shepherd who will not ever leave his post.
Granted, sometimes saints don't have the luxury of getting to know a man over the course of years, but this loss just magnifies the inherent value of continuity in relationships! To get to know a pastor's life and body of teaching over the course of years is the worthy goal - building relationship. To not have that is a deficit, indeed. When we don't have those years with which to discern the leader, this is when we defer to the Biblical concept of authority. When we trust God, when our spiritual leaders exhibit good character, we can trust that all these processes are working themselves out for our good. We can stick and stay for the sake of relationships....that is, when we actually understand the grace of God!
More underlined bits from Dr. Crosby's book next week...