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Do You Know the Most Dangerous Person in Your Church?

3. He Is Divisive

This is dangerous for the church in that it invariably brings division (Titus 3:10). This type of boiling pot eventually spills over, and when he does, he hurts unity and people.

In my experience, division in the church usually is a result of somebody being unteachable. This type of thing has a long legacy. Consider how Diotrephes liked to put himself first and stir up division. How did he do this? He did not submit to the teaching of the Apostles (3 John vv. 9-10). He was unteachable.

This is obviously dangerous for his own soul, but also the church. Just like Diotrephes had influence in that congregation, so too the unteachable guy no doubt has influence in your local assembly. The influence of an unteachable guy is a vehicle for division.

4. He Is Joy-Robbing

A church that is teachable brings its leaders joy. A church or church member who is not robs them of joy. It’s that simple (Hebrews 13:7, 10). I can attest to the fact that this is very true.

5.  He Is a Time-Waster

Let me be careful how I say this. I don’t mean that labor in the ministry is a waste of time. But what I do mean is that unteachable guy is one who continues to take up pastoral leadership’s time with arguments. He just keeps resetting the same issue over and over again. He can find anything to nitpick and be critical about. So in this sense, he is a waste of time. Or, as Paul might say, the labor is in vain (Philippians 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:5).

So what do you do with the person who could contribute to creating a dangerous church? 

Pray for him.

Forbid it that pastors become callous and unmoved themselves! The desire is for growth in the gospel. Therefore, pray (Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Peter 3:18).

Minimize his influence.

Pastors should always be careful about who is appointed unto leadership. In this case, it would obviously make sense not to just put the Bible trivia champ in charge of teaching and leadership items. This is because the Bible trivia champ could also be a spiritual MMA champ on the side.

Watch him and the sheep.

If this guy is a Christian, then he must be cared for too. The pastor must do this while guarding and caring for the flock. This is the type of thing that keeps pastors up at night (see #4 above).

Lovingly aim to teach him.

Keep on keeping on (Titus 2:15).

Confront where necessary. 

When there is sin involved, Jesus is clear (Matthew 18:15-18).

Dealing with dangerous people who could lead to a dangerous church weighs heavy upon pastors and church members alike. Therefore, even the consideration of such things should cause us to pause, evaluate our own hearts, and pray for receptivity of the word of Christ (James 1:20ff; Colossians 3:15).

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Erik is a pastor at Emmaus Bible Church (EmmausBibleChurch.org), a church plant south of Omaha. Converse with Erik on Twitter at @erikraymond.