Let’s admit it. We pastors can be cowards. We can slip into institutional maintenance, rather than keep pressing the gospel forward. We can pacify members, rather than radicalize them. We can live for a monthly paycheck, rather than an eternal reward. We can forget that all Christians are called to controversy....
If controversy is the price we must pay for Jesus to become the talk of the town, so be it. We pastors should be too wise to be fanatical. Fanatics have no plan. They push forward with one wild roll of the dice after another. But however cautious we might be, the gospel will arouse opposition. Given human nature — a reliable given — the gospel laying hold of a city will cause turbulence. But why do we care so much? We have a cause to serve larger than personal comfort, and personal discomfort can serve the cause.
When we come to the end, what will there be about us that looks like Acts 20:18-24?
By the way, if you don't quite remember the Acts 20 passage, it's Paul's final word to the Ephesian elders before he heads off to Jerusalem certain of the fact that trouble, for Christ's sake, lies ahead. This is what Paul said:
"You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
You can find the entire blog hightlighting a recent book on Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, (someone very familiar with controversy) at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2012/02/28/called-to-controversy/ .