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The Landmark Sermon

A clear word at the right time can keep the church from pulling apart

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Whatever a pastor's position on wine drinking, it's not hard to marshal proof texts. And it's for sure some people will disagree with whatever conclusion you come to. Despite the disagreement I knew we'd uncover, several years ago I faced the need to deal directly with this subject with our "Servants Council," a group of several hundred key people in our congregation.

As I wrestled with the issue in my study, I felt the internal pressure of being responsible for these leaders and their influence on our whole congregation. They needed a shepherd-like spirit instilled in them for rightly guiding all whom they taught and touched. This had to be explained in a loving way, rather than legalistically. My heart whispered, You better help them see this clearly. Most of our people are going to decide what's right and wrong based on what you say and how you act.

I also was concerned with external pressure, about the larger Christian community, that others might pass judgment on me. I could hear some ...

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