Billy Graham: It is a sin to continually criticise your pastor
It is a sin to continually criticise your pastor, according to Billy Graham.
He was responding to a question sent via the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website, now run by his son, Franklin Graham.
"Why do some people seem to enjoy criticizing their pastor?," the question read. "I'm in a civic organization with a couple of friends from another church, and it seems like all they talk about is their pastor's shortcomings. Should I say something to them about this?"
"No pastor is perfect, of course," Graham responded. "But if God has called someone to be a pastor and has sent them to serve a particular church, then they should be helped and encouraged in every way possible."
Graham then goes on to quote 1 Samuel 26.9 and writes, "who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?"
"Does this mean pastors should always be above criticism, even if they neglect their responsibilities or otherwise are at fault?," wrote Graham.
"No, it doesn't, but most churches have ways of dealing with such matters through their ruling board or denominational structure. Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth that "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Corinthians 14:40).
However Graham then went on to say that there were those who repeatedly criticise their pastors and that is sinful.
"Sadly, I have known of church members who seem to enjoy criticizing their pastor, and sometimes they keep doing it pastor after pastor. I've never known why; perhaps they do it to just to get attention.
"But whatever their reason, it is wrong, and it is a sin in the eyes of God. Not only does it cause dissension in the church, but it means their hearts and minds are closed to the teaching of God's word."
Graham concludes by encouraging his reader to pray for opportunities to speak to their colleagues about the issue.
"Pray for an opportunity to speak with your friends about their attitude, urging them not only to avoid criticizing their pastor but also to do all they can to support and help this individual. Especially encourage them to pray for their pastor. Pray too for your own church and its pastoral staff, that they truly may "Be shepherds of God's flock ... eager to serve" (1 Peter 5:2)."
Graham was taken to hospital after his 95th birthday and has been weak since then. There are fears that he is entering his last few months but his son Franklin said his mind is still clear.