"It's for your own good" pastoral leadership

I don't like arguments that display a very low regard for other people; logic peppered with phrases like 'cop out' and 'water down' and 'short cut':

  • "You always have to emphasise the need to evangelise, because people will always be cowardly and cop out of evangelism."
  • "You must insist on intense, full-time theological training or potential ministers will just start taking short cuts."
  • "People must do two years of MTS and then do full-time ministry or else we will lose the sharp edge."
  • "We mustn't do social events or charity events because we will end up watering down the gospel."
  • "We can't talk about 'coprorate worship' or else we'll all become charismatics."
  • "People are as lazy as they are allowed to be."
Now there is a certain vaildity to slippery slope arguments, sure, but they can also have a certain hubris: they presume that the 'masses' are the sinners who need help and the leaders are always able to clearly see and direct things on a safe course.

Also, these sorts of arguments, when repeated often enough, communicate that the danger is really only ever in one direction, that only one emphasis needs to be warded off. We are always in danger of 'going charismatic' and never in danger of dry, cerebral faith; always in danger of 'copping out' on evangelism and never in danger of being lousy, joyless, insincere friends and citizens.