Maybe the Christians in Afghanistan can author a post that will be more helpful.

The excluded middle, the strawman argument, asserting causation from correlation, ad hominem, digression, diversion, anecdotal examples, and many more [1] are all typical and fallacious ways to duck legitimate criticism.

As I listened to a pastor defend himself from the puplit on Sunday, I was reminded of how easy it is to make an argument that seems so persuasive yet so disingenuous.

Some say the music is too traditional, and others say it needs to be more lively.  Some say we are too narrow, and others think we are too loose.  Some want us to be less political, and others believe we should address the issues of the day more than we do.  Some like small groups, and others do not.  Some. . . . Others . . .

You have probably heard this argument being made by those who are side-stepping criticism and/ or addressing any questions about the decisions or actions they have taken. 

Behind it is the subtle point that there are people who agree and disagree, and therefore no one is right or wrong.  The point being defensively asserted is that there are no decisions that can be made without being criticized, so all criticism must be disregarded.  The “pastoral defense” is that there will always be criticism, but the criticism is merely a difference of opinions.  Therefore there are no grounds for legitimate criticism since there will always be two sides that disagree.

The argument is called “False Dichotomy” or “Faulty Dilemma.”  The leader or pastor is facing two choices, facing a dilemma — What is a pastor do to? [2]

Therefore, any legitimate criticisms which are being made are moot. There really are no answers, and therefore, no need for any questions.  Let’s move on!

As you read more and more accounts of ministry and pastoral misuse and abuse [3], the craftiness of men in ministry, and disingenuous attempts to divert attention away from legitimate criticism about what has obviously taken place, are on full display.

Here is another recent example . . . .

For church leaders in particular, this is a discouraging season.

When I talk to pastors of any sized church, in their candid moments, despite being open in person for months or longer now,  they tell me:

      • In person attendance is still running at 40-50% of what it used to be.
      • Online attendance has dropped.
      • People they’ve known and trusted for years have left the church.
      • Volunteers don’t want to serve like they used to and many have bailed.
      • They get criticized for being too political, not political enough, pro-mask, anti-mask, saying too much about vaccines or too little, or being too left, too right, too..whatever.

And they wake up tomorrow and face the same thing all over again.

Sure, there are a few glimmers of hope: new people are coming. There are stories of life change. Not everyone left.

But when you’re facing unprecedented loss after leading for 18 months in perpetual crisis, it’s no wonder people are quitting and leaving. [4]

Obviously, there must be no position that a pastor or ministry leader can take without criticism, so there is nothing they can do.  The pastors — well, they are just stuck — you understand — don’t you.  They only have one option — to stay the course they have chosen and ignore those who question and criticize.

Apparently, there are no — good, better, best, wise, unwise, informed or uninformed, selfless or self-serving, poor, bad, or terrible — decisions or actions. It is only — “this or that” — “either-or”!

I might suggest that the season, the “discouraging season” that some pastors and ministries are facing are due to terrible decisions and actions, and too often a lack of genuine care and concern by the shepherd of the flock.

I’m not surprised — at all — by this article’s assessment on attendance!

I do disagree with the cause of any pastoral discouragement, and who are the ones who should be discouraged — not the shepherds in America, but the sheep! [5]




2. “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

3. 5 Takeaways From A Ministry Leader Who Decided To Do One Of The Hardest Things! 4


5. It is well past time to provide some candid and guileless evaluations of what has been and is happening since March of 2020.  Maybe the Christians in Afghanistan can author a post that will be more helpful!

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