Yeah, But Syndrome
- Sheldon Clowdus
One of the most important sermons I've preached. Genesis 3:1-13 The big idea of today’s passage is If we do not trust in God’s word it will lead to death. Our aim is to found our lives on Jesus and His words so that we don’t make shipwreck of our faith as well as present the real Jesus to a broken world. #share 5th Avenue Baptist Church - Rome, GA
His post remined me of this tweet by Dan Phillips (@bibchr) of Pyromaniacs and Biblical Christianity:
If you are ever tempted to think the professing evangelical church is fundamentally healthy, just say publicly that the Bible is sufficient and watch what happens. That'll cure you. Seriously.As I thought about the sad truth Dan is speaking to, the phrase that continued to bounce around in my head was "Yeah, but...." I am sure you have heard it before (and if you are like me, at some point uttered it yourself).
Usually it emerges during a conversation about life and the difficulties associated with it.
Someone mentions a struggle or problem they are dealing with or wondering about.
Usually someone else mentions what the bible has to say about that struggle of problem.
And then that is (way too often) followed with "Yeah, but....".
Let me give you a few examples......
A wife is struggling in her marriage and her friend points her to Ephesians 5 and councils her to respect her husband even if he doesn't seem to deserve it. Her response? "Yeah, but....you don't understand my husband and the things he has done."
Or the flip side of that equation where the husband is encouraged to love his wife as Christ loved the church even if she doesn't seem to respond. His response? "Yeah...but some of the things she does...."
Or the pastor trying to figure out how to reach the people in his church and see them become excited about the mission God has called them to. Another pastor recommends preaching exegetically through the bible. His response? "Yeah...but they have so many issues that I need to address first."
Or the new church plant that wants to reach the community for Jesus. It is suggested that they simply and clearly proclaim the gospel in their services. Their response? "Yeah...but we have to compete with this entertainment focused culture and people with short attention spans and......"
Or take the church that has to make difficult decisions about a sticky situation like church discipline. The bible says that if a member will not repent of sin then they should be placed outside the fellowship of the body of Christ. The response when asked to follow through with biblical church discipline is, " Yeah, but I just think there must be a better way to restore this person."
What all these people think they are saying is "I know that is what the bible says about my situation but my circumstances are unique and have dictated a different course of action for me". What they are actually saying is that the bible doesn't really have the answer to my problem and I can and need to find an answer that will actually work.
We parents know the truth of this. When my kids respond to a directive I have given them with "Yeah, but..." I stop them and say "No buts about it....go do it." When we are in the position of authority we recognize "Yeah, but Syndrome" for what it is....an attempt to usurp and undermine our authority.
The truth is that when it comes to what God has revealed to us in scripture, "Yeah, but..." is just a subtle substitute for "I do not believe that the bible is the perfect, sufficient, revealed will of the sovereign God of the universe." When our response to God's word is "Yeah, but..." we are usurping God's authority over us
We may say we believe the bible.
We may say the bible is important to us and to the life of our church.
We may say we believe that the bible is the infallible Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and sufficient for faith and practice.
But talk is cheap and our actions all too often say, when it comes to the sufficiency of God' word: