Jump directly to the Content

The Gift of Opposition

Not everyone enjoys conflict. But everyone can benefit from it.
The Gift of Opposition

I was thinking the other day about a class I took in seminary called "How to handle opposition, criticism, resistance, and passive-aggression." Come to think of it, I think I missed that course. The class I took was on source criticism, not criticism per se. Not that understanding source criticism hasn't been useful. I have new attenders coming up to me all the time to ask why J, D, P, and E couldn't all just get along.

Still, I think the other class would have been more useful.

Opposition is an inevitable reality of pastoral life. Not just spiritual opposition ("we wrestle not against flesh and blood"). Not just the intellectual opposition of Richard Dawkins/Daniel Dennet/Samuel Harris/Christopher Hitchens readers. I'm talking about friendly fire. The deacon board who votes to wish you a speedy recovery 13-12. The e-mail writer who wonders about your orthodoxy, theological literacy, or citation of unsafe authors. The helpful critic who wonders why you don't ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Putting Failure on Ice
Putting Failure on Ice
What ministry in Antarctica taught me about not quitting.
From the Magazine
The Harvest Is Plentiful, But the Workers Are Divided
The Harvest Is Plentiful, But the Workers Are Divided
Biblical scholars and theologians have different ways of tending their own fields. What can they learn from each other?
Editor's Pick
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
We have a unique opportunity to reset, pivot from old patterns, and look afresh at the future.
close