Scenario Paper | Gospel Of Matthew | The Gospel

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Scenario Paper

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. RUSS BARKSDALE OF THE LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS PLED 625 LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY PAUL J LIMATO 111 NORFOLK, VA MAY 2013

Scenario 1: Music and ascetics have often been a source of contention and conflict in the life of the church. This certainly isn’t a new problem or will be a problem that is resolved to the place where it no longer rears its ugly head. However, the answer to this is the gospel and the importance of expanding the mission for the glory of God. Ultimately, in dealing with this conflict, I would want to get to the root issue with the gospel, which is pride. I also would want to address the issue of gossip and the group not addressing the issue with the leadership of the church but rather trying to gain people to their side. Lastly, I would seek to mediate and seek to enable both sides of the argument (those enjoying change and those not happy about change) to see the purpose for the change is for the furthering of the gospel and Christ’s mission and not simply because the church is trying to be cool or change for the sake of change. Concerning pride, the author Poirer clearly points to this being the root that is at the base of many conflicts. He uses Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as an example that I believe is very useful to this particular scenario. He says concerning the Corithians, “Pride has escalated their differences into distinct denominational divisions. Each faction thinks of their distinct differences as self-generated and as a ground for their own righteousness. Paul humbles them by a message of grace: “What do you have that you did not receive?” That is, everything you have that makes you unique from your brother or sister is a God-given difference that is not an item of which to boast but something to be used for building the church.”1 This is what is at the heart of this disagreement. Both
1

Poirer, Alfred Poirier. The Peace Making Pastor: A Biblical guide to resolving church Conflict. Grand

Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 2006. p 196-197

forms of music should have been used for the explicit purpose of furthering the gospel. Preferences and styles must be laid down for the furthering of the gospel, which in this case the new music is bringing in new families, which is expanding the mission. The second issue that I would address is the gossip and trying to gain people to the argument against the changes. This would need to be addressed and if it did not cease and reconciliation could not be reach, then church discipline would need to be employed for the purpose of unity within the church. Lastly, in this scenario, I would want both sides to see that the purpose for any of these changes or future changes isn’t about preferences but are for the purpose of fulfilling the mission and spreading the gospel. If they can’t get behind that, then I would ask them to leave and find a church where they can get behind furthering the gospel and the spreading of the mission of God. Scenario 2: This scenario, to me, is crazy. There is so much that is wrong with it that I would be unable to deal with every issue in it. There is ultimately sin, hurt, pain, wrong thinking, and strangeness at the root of this. Personally, if I where the pastor I would leave and plant a church: cut your losses and move on. Ultimately, for the good of the church, it would probably be best to seek reconciliation by exposing the error in the thinking of the deacons of this church and for the good of the gospel and the mission that seems to be expanding to seek to change this. Ultimately, Even if this didn’t happen, the pastor and his wife need to come to the place of understanding that even this being pushed out isn’t because of them but is for their good and for the glory of God. Based upon the principles found and scripture which are highlighted by the author

Poirer, I would say it would be important for the pastor to engage the deacons in a dialog around Matthew 18 to seek reconciliation and change. Poirer says, “Matthew 18 is equally instructive with respect to this topic. Preceding verses 15–20, three passages cast light on the manner in which Jesus’s disciples ought to care for God’s people and carry out discipline. First, in verses 1–4 Jesus addresses our attitude, calling for humility. Second, in verses 5–9 Jesus tells us how we are to relate to one another about the seriousness of sin. Finally, in verses 10–14 Jesus shares a parable of the good shepherd going after the lost sheep, showing us the heart of a true shepherd. Verses 15–20 bring a marked familial perspective to bear on the exercise of discipline and particularly emphasize how church leaders are to discipline as fathers discipline their family.”2 This I believe is really helpful. Humility is needed on both sides and understanding of how they are to relate with each other is needed. This passage is helpful as well because Jesus shares about being good shepherd. Shepherds don’t trade in for different sheep, nor do the sheep ask for a different shepherd. Lastly, some discipline is needed but from a family perspective. In the end, If the leadership don’t change, the pastor has no choice but to “shake the dust off his feet”, help his wife in her grief and disillusionment, and move forward for the sake of the gospel. Scenario 3: Unfortunately, This scenario happens more than what it should. How I would handle this would be to ask the pastor who is overseeing the teacher and the family of the offended family to sit down with each of them, hear the situation out, and then to sit them both down together to reach reconciliation. There is three sides to this scenario: The Teacher’s Perspective, The Parent’s Perspective, and the truth. Ultimately also, this is an
2

Ibid. p. 243-244

opportunity to talk to the 14 year old boy and find out where he is at and if he actually did say inappropriate things and disciple him. This is also an opportunity to evaluate the policies of the Sunday school class and whether or not a 14 year old boy should be serving in this way. All of this I believe would fall under the oversight of the youth pastor mentioned and unless needed, I would not get involved other than coaching and helping the youth pastor with how to handle the situation in a gospel centered peacemaking way. Mediation between the two parties is what is needed. The author Poirer addresses this clearly when he says, “Mediation is when parties in conflict call upon a third party to assist them in reaching a mutually agreed upon settlement of their dispute. The key word here is assist.”3This is what is needed, understanding and resolution between these two parties. Discipleship is needed as well for the 14 year old boy and the 6 year old boy. The Youth Pastor should be involved in the getting to the bottom of where these sexual words came from and involved the process of correcting this from a biblical perspective.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Poirer, Alfred Poirier. The Peace Making Pastor: A Biblical guide to resolving church
3

Ibid. p. 209

Conflict. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 2006.

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