It seems to be a global challenge. Last night I was meeting with a group of men in Eastern Europe on line. We are seven weeks into a 10 week workshop to equip them to do more effective inductive Bible study.
The Question Overseas
As we finished our time together one of the men shared that his pastor is back-filling his sermons – that was not his term but mine. What that means is that the pastor has something he wants to say so he finds some passages that either directly or tangentially support his thoughts and adds them to give his thoughts some “Biblical” cred. That is bassackwards.
What the Bible Says
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that we are supposed to handle the Word of Truth accurately. In Jeremiah 23:16 – 24 Jeremiah describes back-filling in contrast to what should be done, standing in the council of the Lord. For us that means that we need to be engaged in studying the Word of God with what we share emerging from our time with Him.
The Question at Home
Earlier in the week there was a similar conversation with a group of men closer to home. Same issue. Speakers who were only adding scripture to topics about which they wanted to speak that may or may not have Bible as the driving force behind it.
The Struggle to do it Right
Between these two conversations I spoke at length with a pastor who is currently working through a book of the Bible. He is proceeding in his messages verse by verse. It is hard work. When one approaches the task of proclaiming the Word in this way, it makes it really hard to dodge difficult and controversial issues. Issues with which the church has or is in danger of compromising with the World.
What Should We Do
At the end of the conversation with the men in Eastern Europe, they asked what to do when their leader speaks with a back-filled sermon. I suggested that they talk to him. Ask him how what he shared came from his study. That has to be done in love, but it needs to be done. Further, I suggested that when he does well in proclaiming the Word that they tell him and tell him specifically why they were encouraged with what he shared.
We all should do this with our pastors.