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Should Pastors Apologize for Mishandling COVID-19?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
July 3, 2023 1:45 pm

Should Pastors Apologize for Mishandling COVID-19?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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July 3, 2023 1:45 pm

Episode 1262 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Who does the unjust judge represent in Luke 18?

2. Did God make my brother gay?

3. What role does repentance play in salvation?

4. Should churches apologize for mishandling COVID-19?

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Should pastors apologize for mishandling COVID-19? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Rodney, who's calling in from California. Rodney, what's your question for Adriel? Good morning, brother. How are you guys? I'm doing well, Rodney. How are you doing, man?

I am so thankful. My question today comes from Luke, chapter 1, verse 3. Luke, chapter 18, verse 1 to 8, the parable of the unjust judge. I was wondering if you could shed some light on the parabolic meaning of who the unjust judge represents, and maybe who the widow represents. You know, the parabolic meaning for this parable?

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I'm glad you brought this one up. Often referred to as the parable of the persistent widow, and I actually was just reading this parable probably two days ago to my kids. We've been going through the Gospel of Luke, and so this parable is really highlighting something by way of contrast. So the unjust judge here is being contrasted with God, the true and good judge of all creation, and what's being highlighted here is Jesus saying, he's an unjust judge, an unjust judge, and there's this poor widow who's coming to him, crying out to him for justice, and as these things often go, right, the unjust judge doesn't care about her. She's a poor widow.

He doesn't, you know, he's not going to get anything from her, but because of her persistence, because he just feels annoyed by her, because she keeps coming to him again and again and again, he says, okay, I'm tired of this. I'm just going to deal with this because of this persistent widow, and Jesus' point is, look, this happened. This happens in the world.

This happens in society. We just get sort of fed up, and so we go, okay, fine, I'll respond, and Jesus says, look, if that unjust judge is willing to listen to the cries of this poor widow, not because there's anything good in him, but simply because he's annoyed, and he just wants her to stop with her persisting, if that unjust judge is willing to do that, and we see examples of this all over the place, what more will God, who is good, who is righteous, who is holy, listen to the cries of his people, and so in the parable, the persistent widow, I mean, if we're going to say she stands for anybody, she stands for the people of God, God's elect, who are crying out to him day and night, as Jesus says. Here, verse 6, hear what the unrighteous judge says, and will not God give justice? To his elect who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you he will give justice to them speedily.

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? And so what's happening here, Rodney, is you just have this contrast. I wouldn't say that, you know, we need to find a specific referent for the unjust judge. The unjust judge, you know, is this the Pharisees or someone else?

Maybe we could go there, but really, Jesus is using the unjust judge as this foil. To contrast the judgment of the unjust judge with the judgment of the just judge who listens to our prayers. And the encouragement here also is for us to pray, to continue to pray, not to lose heart, to know that God hears us and he cares about us. And if the unjust judge is willing to listen to the cries of the poor widow, how much more will the judge of the whole earth, the just judge, the true and the living God who is compassionate towards those who are broken, towards those who have been dealt an unjust hand? How much more will God listen to your cries when you pray to him having experienced injustice? And so it should be an encouragement for all of us to pray to the Lord confidently knowing that he hears us and that he will indeed answer our prayers. God bless, Rodney.

Yeah. Healing Hypnosis is a great example of that. It's like the bible, Christian life, doctrine, theology, maybe there's a passage of scripture that's always kind of stumped you.

Hey, we'd love to hear from you. Here's the number. Eight three three the core.

That's one, eight, three three, eight, four, three twenty six, seventy three. Let's go to Chris calling in from Missouri. Chris, what's your question for Adriel?

My question is I have a brother that's gay and. going to heaven and he goes to that pride parade in church and everything and last week they were all on TV and there was a priest there and said yeah God loves all these people yeah God loves us all I get that but I told him God did not make him that way so and I said if that was the case God would have never made Eve so I want to know Ariel's what you know answer on this is he going to heaven because he's gay and did God make him that way Chris thank you for that question the Bible is really clear on this I mean Paul says in first Corinthians chapter six or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God do not be deceived now why does he say this well because he knows that there's a deception out there he knows that there are going to be some people who say oh yeah you know regardless of how you live and what you do you're just going to inherit the kingdom of God you might be a drunkard you might be gay or lesbian you might be someone who's a thief but that's what Paul says look don't buy into that when people say that I don't care if they're wearing a collar and a robe or priestly vestments or whatever it is that's a lie that is a lie do not be deceived neither Paul says the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who practice homosexuality nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God and so when people tell themselves I'm going to go to heaven and I live you know just how God made me I'm going to live however I want however I feel they've embraced that lie that strong deception that's out there and it's everywhere in our culture and I love that the Apostle Paul there right he doesn't just single out one sin in particular he says look we're talking about the greedy here as well it's not just it's not just homosexuality we're talking about the greedy we're talking about swindlers we're talking about idolaters other kinds of sexual immorality and so no no an individual can't and won't live in that way embracing that lifestyle and if they do they don't have any they shouldn't have any confidence that you know they're just I'm going to die and go to heaven the issue here is a real rejection of the truth of God's Word and ultimately a rejection of the gospel what we need to say is look maybe those are the things you struggle with these these sins are deeply rooted in you but here's the good news Paul says in verse 11 to the Corinthian church he says such were some of you but you were washed you were sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God and so the good news for your brother and for all those who struggle with sin is that you can be washed you can be sanctified this is a sin to be confessed and you can receive the mercy of God because the mercy of God is for you he extends it to you but don't deceive yourself and thinking I can just do whatever I want and live however I want and then say ah well I believe in Jesus and and I just basically live however I want well well no there's a there's a real confusion there Chris for for many people and so I think highlighting one the fact that this is sinful we can't deceive ourselves but but even more so the fact that Christ by his once for all sacrifice on the cross has made a way for sinners whether they struggle with homosexuality or some other sin to be forgiven now that doesn't mean that they're not going to still struggle that they're going to still be those temptations and those feelings but what do we do with those feelings we confess them to the Lord and we receive his grace his mercy his forgiveness and we identify not with our sin with the fact that we have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and so may the Lord give you wisdom and may the Lord soften your brother's heart and open his heart to receive the grace that Christ has for all those who turn from their sins toward him that grace is more powerful than our sins hmm such a thorny issue especially when you have a family member who is struggling with same-sex attraction so thank you for that response Adriel this is core Christianity with pastor Adriel Sanchez if you have a question about the Bible the Christian life something going on maybe in your own personal life or with a relative that you're concerned about or maybe some type of persecution you're running up against at work or at school we'd love to hear from you here's the number it's 833 843-2673 let's go to Justin calling in from Kansas Justin what's your question for pastor Adriel I'm actually calling today oh sorry hi Adriel I'm calling in today actually with regards to the doctrine of repentance so it kind of goes along with the previous caller and kind of what you mentioned there at the end I'm very grateful to be a part of a church that's going out into the community and actively preaching the gospel yeah but so often I find that when I talk to people they have a what I would call a misunderstanding of the doctrine of repentance with regard to salvation you know they do have this belief that a part of their salvation is turning from their sins or attempting to not sin anymore things that they were involved in that somehow that plays a role in their salvation and my question is kind of going along with the question is if the if the Bible says that sin is a transgression of the law right in Galatians 2 16 for instance says that knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law if sin is a transgression of the law and we're telling people are leading people to believe that a part of their salvation has to do with them turning from their sin are we not teaching them or is that not giving them an understanding of kind of leading them to believe that works is a part of their salvation Justin I really appreciate this question because you're I mean we're getting into a really important topic and so when we talk about repentance as a saving grace and I think it's okay to use that that language this idea of repentance unto life what do we mean are we adding sneaking in works to the proclamation of the gospel and there are different ways to think about repentance there is of course the reality of just the ongoing repentance that we're called to as Christians and no one is saved by the perfection of their repentance no one is saved by by their works this is something that's absolutely clear in Holy Scripture and I think it's something we need to guard against and so you're wise to want to guard against it we could also think of repentance is in one sense sort of the negative aspect of faith so if repentance is defined merely as a change of mind in the New Testament that's what the Greek word means it's a change of mind but it does it does result in changed behavior or changed action but it's a turning away specifically from our sins but we don't just turn to nothing we're turning away from our sins our hypocrisy our unbelief whatever it is to Jesus and that's that's what faith is it's laying hold of Christ and his righteousness with with an empty hand saying I have nothing so it's not that we're saved by doing certain things and doing better at not sinning you know I used to really struggle with these things and I only struggle a little bit or something like that no it's that we're we recognize that those things are sins right they're they're they're wrong and I'm confessing them as sins and I'm turning away from them toward the Lord doesn't mean that there isn't still a struggle and we're not saved by our you know ongoing repentance or or by you know some people this is basically the Roman Catholic view essentially that you're as justified as you are sanctified so the more the more you repent the more justified you are well that's that's not what the Bible teaches but true repentance repentance unto life it's it's when an individual has a true sense of their own sin and they apprehend the mercy of God in Christ you know there's there's grief there's hatred of the sin as they turn from the sin to God longing for you know endeavoring after new obedience to to obey the Lord to serve the Lord but but but it's not the perfection of our repentance that saves us and it's not repentance as this ongoing work that we're doing that's saving us thinking of repentance as that turning away from our sins toward Jesus as the negative aspect of faith I think is a helpful way to consider this because you're right if we're telling people if you want to be saved here's a list of things you need to do boy you really need to deal with that that sin habit first and then God will save you well then we're getting the gospel all wrong and we're closing the door of God's kingdom in people's faces because we can't we can't save ourselves salvation is not a you know pull yourself up by the bootstraps type of a thing it's recognizing your sin as you hear the preaching of God's law and saying I can't save myself and laying hold of Jesus and his work for you in the gospel and that's that's good news that's that's great news and having been justified having been forgiven all of our sins through faith in Jesus Christ then we strive to be obedient to the Lord knowing that that obedience is not what saves us but we do it out of a heart of gratitude and thankfulness for the fact that God has saved us according to his mercy. What a great explanation of the gospel. Thank you for that, Adriel.

Something all of us need to remember and of course be so thankful for that God loves us in spite of our sin. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Want to say thank you to a very special group of people. We call them our inner core. These are folks that listen to this broadcast and they believe so strongly in what we do that they've made the commitment to support us on a monthly basis. As Bill said, thank you so much to those of you who have joined the inner core. If you're blessed by the work that we're doing here at Core Christianity, you want to partner with us, join the inner core. It's a monthly donation of $25 or more and with that donation you help us truly to continue to spread the message of Core Christianity to answer questions about the Christian faith live on the air every single day. You know having people call us it really is a wonderful thing, a blessing. I know there are many lives that have been changed and encouraged through the work that we're doing.

Thank you for your partnership. If you're not a member of the inner core, consider joining us. As a thank you, we'll send you a copy of the book Core Christianity written by Dr. Michael Horton. You can learn more about joining the inner core by going to corechristianity.com forward slash inner core.

That's corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. Tomorrow is Independence Day and if you or someone you know is currently serving in the U.S. military, we want to tell you about an excellent resource that we know you will find helpful. Yeah, the resource is called Called to War, the Christian and the Military. You can get it over at corechristianity.com especially for those who are serving in the military or have served in the military. I think this is just a great resource about thinking about faithfulness to Jesus and walking with the Lord and some of the particular challenges associated with being a Christian in the military. If you have a loved one who's in the military, this might be a good resource for them. Thank you for all of those who are serving in the armed forces and may the Lord bless you and consider getting ahold of this resource. Again, it's called Called to War, the Christian and the Military.

By the way, this is a free PDF download. You can find it at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Adriel, I know you have several active military members in your church.

You're always trying to support and encourage them in their service. If you know a Christian who is serving in the armed forces, we know you'll find this book helpful. Again, you can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

Look for Called to War, the Christian in the military. Well, let's go to an email that we received from one of our listeners. This is from Lucas and Lucas says, I was at a church that closed for several months during the COVID-19 mandates. I ended up leaving that church, but in hindsight, I think the pastors weren't faithful to their calling. Do you think that churches mishandled the state mandates and should pastors who closed their churches apologize for doing something wrong? Wow. I mean, this is such a complex question and there isn't an easy answer.

I know that there are some people who are going to tell you there is a really easy answer, but the fact of the matter is, there isn't an easy answer. I will say, yeah, there were churches and pastors that mishandled this whole thing. There were different ways of mishandling this whole thing. On the one side, I think one way of mishandling it is just to say who cares about what everyone else is saying.

We're just going to do what we want to do, sort of shaking our fist at everyone else and not being mindful about the concerns, the real medical concerns, the real concerns within the congregation. That's not a way to shepherd people in your church. That's one way, I think, of having mishandled this. I think, yeah, if that really happened, if somebody went off the deep end in that way, then there's an issue. The other side of that is, I did hear about churches and pastors that really just sort of didn't do anything and were just sort of shut in and not actually engaged in ministry and shut the church down for, I heard of some, even 12 months down the road, just not really engaged at all in any kind of ministry, almost a sort of excuse for not doing the work that God had called them to do. That too, I think, is heinous.

I think that's horrible. We need to understand, right, and I can say this as a pastor aware of his own shortcomings. Pastors are not omni-competent.

They can't even say words that well. Pastors are not omni-competent. We don't know everything. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic when everything was coming out, you're just trying to field all of this information to understand what's happening. I think that there needs to be and needed to be an immense amount of grace and understanding, recognizing that your pastor is not an epidemiologist, your pastor is just not what we're built for.

We want to exegete the biblical text and proclaim God's word faithfully to people. That's what we're called to. And yet, again, throughout the process, I know that there were many people who felt like, okay, this church or this pastor is just sort of setting everything aside, doesn't care about any of these health and safety mandates. And then on the other side, people were just saying, boy, we just can't meet it all and we just have to stay away from each other.

It's heartbreaking, really. I know that there are a lot of churches and pastors who are still, you know, there's this post-COVID hangover where people are just tired and exhausted. There was, I think, out of this whole thing, a lot of suspicion that was created even within the church towards pastors because it was like, okay, if you do this, then here's how I'm going to think about you.

If you don't do this, then here's how I'm going to think about you. Let's be gracious, where there have been, where there really was, drop the ball here very clearly. You weren't even trying to find ways to gather together that were safe and good and helpful for the people of God to administer the Lord's Supper, so on and so forth.

I think that's an issue. I know for our church, Lucas, we were working really hard and around the clock to keep people safe, but also to find ways to continue to proclaim the gospel, to administer the means of grace. There was a point early on in the pandemic where, at least in Southern California, where we're at in San Diego, churches were closing down, but you could have these drive-in services. We rented a huge parking lot in San Diego, and I preached on top of a Jeep for several weeks, proclaiming the gospel. Folks, they drove. It was like you're at the drive-in. I had an FM transmitter, and I was preaching the gospel, and we were doing the Lord's Supper in a parking lot, frankly.

Circumstantially, it was rough. It was not our normal worship service. We didn't have the pews and the piano and all of those things, but you know what? We were proclaiming the gospel, and people were being served and ministered to, and it was a lot of work. It was hard, but I know that our people really appreciated it, and they appreciated the fact that we weren't just saying, well, who cares about what everybody is saying?

We're just going to meet, and that's what's going to happen. I think that there's a lack of wisdom there, too. Here's what I would say. Probably, I think in hindsight, every single pastor can look at that period and say, Lord, have mercy.

Some probably need to say that more than others. I need a lot more mercy, Lord, but all of us should say, Lord, have mercy. Help us, God, to have wisdom and to fulfill our calling, what you've called us to, and not just to sort of fall over or fall into a ditch one way or another.

Again, I think that there were multiple ditches to fall into here. So, an encouragement for you is, again, realize that your pastor is not omnicompetent, that your pastor doesn't know everything, and your pastor certainly doesn't know the future, and be gracious and sensitive and forgiving and have these conversations. If this is an area of, boy, I'm really questioning my pastor now, let's say sit down with him and have a conversation and hopefully there can be some peace and restoration in that relationship. Thanks and God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-03 18:15:00 / 2023-07-03 18:25:31 / 11

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