Sinful Removal of Pastors — Let me count the ways…
If you or your congregation are considering taking that “vote” to remove a pastor (or using such a vote to coerce his resignation), check to make sure that it is for legitimate reasons (persistent adherence to false doctrine; great public shame and vice [scandalous conduct]; willful and real neglect [or inability to perform] of his office). If you are an official involved in removing a pastor check also to make sure it is for legitimate reasons…
Here are some thoughts to consider if your pastor is not teaching falsely, living in scandalous conduct, or gladly neglecting his duties (or unable to do them) in relation to the Ten Commandments:
The First Commandment
Who is your god if you have no Scriptural reason to remove this pastor and yet vote to do that or assist others in doing it? Where is your trust in such a situation where you are “firing” your pastor? God says that he is not mocked in regards to the support and care for pastors (see Galatians 6), where is your fear of God?
The Second Commandment
What does a sinful vote of a Christian congregation do to God’s Name? What does it do if something has no supporting Scripture behind it but we still call it a divine action (such as a divine removal or even a human removal of a divine call)? Luther in the Large Catechism calls the propagation of false teaching the worst violation of the Second Commandment (it’s not just about cussing), how does the unscriptural removal of your pastor teach any truth?
The Third Commandment
Are you gladly hearing and learning the word of God while you are voting out the man God has sent to you to preach and teach it? Just who are you sending away, the preacher or the One who sent Him?
The Fourth Commandment
Pastor are considered fathers in the faith, does willfully removing your pastor or aiding in it honor his position as a mask of God? Does removing his livelihood and calling honor him, serve and obey him, or love and cherish him? By throwing him out the door of your church are you despising him, one of the “other authorities” that Luther names in the Large Catechism?
The Fifth Commandment
How does removing the livelihood of your pastor help and support him in every physical need? This only gets worse if your pastor has a wife and then even worse if he has children.
The Sixth Commandment
How does the church casting out the messenger that her head, Christ Jesus sent to her work into this mystery of Christ and His Church? Do you think such a “divorce” brings glory to God? Jesus says that the ones who reject those He sends will be rejected by Him.
The Seventh Commandment
How does removing your pastor rate in relation to protecting his possessions and income?
The Eighth Commandment
Given that men who are removed from calls bear a giant black mark on their professional record, just what do you think an unscriptural removal does for his reputation? Does masking your vote under district approval or other reasons exemplify the truth or a lie? How has your conversation been about your pastor?
The Ninth Commandment
How does throwing out your pastor help or be of service to him in keeping his house or property?
The Tenth Commandment
How does casting your pastor out urge him to stay and do his duty? Are you guilty of coveting another “type” of pastor? For ear-itching pastors, see the Second Commandment again.
So you have it – sinfully removing a pastor (or helping to do it) without Scriptural cause is a good way to reap the wrath of a jealous God upon the children for the sins of the fathers for the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him (if you doubt that unscriptural removal is not hating God, then reread the questions above).
Repent. Stop the vote. Stop trying to starve him out. God takes no pleasure in it, nor does He desire to punish for it – but He is not mocked. You will reap what you sow on how you treat His messengers.
Christ did not die for you to act however you please – He died to earn the forgiveness of your sins, a forgiveness given through time and space through the means of grace – which is exactly why He sent you your pastor to publicly preach, teach, and administer for your eternal good.
As a final note, any comment attempting to talk about “bad pastors” will be deleted for being off topic and an attempted deflection of the serious matter at hand.