In this day and age, many people are “deconstructing” their faith. Entire podcasts (garnering huge audiences) are detailing the negative impact that abusive church leadership has had on the faith of a generation. Almost every day you can open a newspaper or scan social media and find evidence of another awful situation that has played out in a church.
We must first admit that though we have a perfect God and an amazing Savior, the church is an imperfect place, because it is made up of sinful people like you and me. Everything from grievous sins and abuses (on one end of the spectrum) to unwise decision-making (on the other) can creep into churches and impact their congregants in profound ways.
But why are the decisions of church leaders and their responses to these sinful situations so impactful on their congregants? And why should church leaders be held to such a high moral and ethical standard (if all sin and fall short of the glory of God)? This is the subject of 2 Corinthians 1:12 – 2:4. In these verses, the Apostle Paul addresses a few complaints he has received from the Corinthian Church … complaints that apparently led some in Corinth to believe that Paul was unfit to be an Apostle or a spiritual leader. Some Corinthians were complaining that Paul was flaky, non-committal, hard to understand, too worldly, and too harsh. That is quite a string of accusations against the man who God used to write half of the New Testament!
Rather than just ignoring these criticisms, or squishing the Corinthians with his apostolic authority, Paul was compelled to lovingly and pastorally address them. Why? Because if people could not trust the messenger, why would they trust his Message? So Paul addresses their concerns over 16 verses … the same 16 verses we are going to be looking at in our sermon this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church.
As we continue to talk about how God is preparing us for the mission He has called us to (in part two of our “Mission: Prep” series), we will see the importance of integrity and motivation in our connections with others. Hope to see you Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 … and bring friends!