Part of the difficulty of dealing with pragmatism is that it has a close cousin who is so nice; everyone likes Her name is “practical.” How can anyone oppose “practical”? After all, if we want to be God stewards of God’s resources, we’d better be practical, not frivolous, with our spending. And so it goes….
What’s An Elder To Do?
Your people live in such a world. You’d better know it and be ready for it. If you haven’t noticed pragmatism at work yet, you may live in an isolation bubble. If not, perhaps you haven’t been sufficiently aware of what to look for. Pragmatism is all around and it is in your church.
What to do?
For one thing, keep your eyes and ears peeled. Recognize the penetration of the evil one in the “spiritual ethics” of pragmatism when you see it. Ask “why” a lot, as you visit among the flock; listen closely to the reasons people give for their behaviour choices. Try to determine if they really function with Biblical principles, or “fly by the seat of their pants.”
2. But do more. Begin now to raise the issue in every visit to a family home, in every discussion group. Make clear to God’s people in your charge that this rewrite of morality is a grievous wrong. God’s word is eternal. Its standards do not change. His glory is what we must seek; our immediate pleasure and comfort are not the standards of right and wrong. He law determines right and wrong, and life lived by His standards brings joy, comfort and contentment. To make moral choices merely by analysing the potential for pleasure or pain is to play into the devil’s hand.
3. Work especially with the young people in your church. Use examples like I used above, but tailor specific ones to the issues facing your youth. Discuss such “case studies” in youth group meetings. Point out the radically different ways to make moral choices that exist in their world. Make clear to them what God says, and call them to faithfulness.
“With a Shephard’s Heart” Reclaiming the Pastoral Office of Elder
by John R. Sittema (PP.52-54)