Last week was rather eventful at the blog. I wrote a post openly criticizing David Platt for preaching that God hates sinners, and took some heat for it. Admittedly, I didn’t pull any punches, and several people read that as being judgmental. While I don’t think I was being judgmental, my criticism was strong. So why did I do it?
Some people commented that I should have gone directly to him with this issue, with Matthew 18 serving as a biblical model for this. There are plenty of reasons why I didn’t do that, the most obvious being that this is not about sin, and I am not a part of his local faith community. However, because of his celebrity and the prevalence of social media, he is a part of my local faith community. His teaching, and the teaching of many of the most famous pastors, reaches into almost every evangelical church in the country. In fact, many Christians trust preachers like Platt or Driscoll more than the pastor in their own church!
For these reasons, I thought it was appropriate to offer my thoughts on this particular message, which had come up in a previous conversation within our community. I expressed these thoughts privately before blogging them, but since this is the second famous preacher I’ve heard say this stuff, I thought it worthwhile to speak out publicly against it.
One of the problems of pastoral celebrity is that these preachers often have influence within a congregation that is infinitely disproportionate to their participation, being that their participation is zero. Of course, any healthy congregation will be open to influences from the broader Church, but when one of those influencers goes awry in some way, it is the responsibility of the local pastor to offer a correction for the sake of that particular congregation. That was what I attempted to do in my posts last week.