When we go to church and listen to a pastor preach, there may be a “type” of sounding board:
A sounding board (also known as a tester) is a structure placed above or behind a pulpit or other speaking platform which helps to project the sound of the speaker. The structure may be specially shaped to assist the projection, for example, being formed as a parabolic reflector. In the typical setting of a church building, the sounding board may be ornately carved or constructed. In this context it is also known as an abat-voix. (Source)
We obviously use microphones today to project the sound of the speaker/pastor. My former pastor has a small church, but uses a microphone to speak his words so they can be heard in the congregation. He also uses different platforms to speak his words: blogs, the internet, his church website, Sermon Audio, etc. His message can be heard by those in his church – maybe with maximum capacity of 200 (guessing), or can be heard on the internet by perhaps millions (if they so desire).
We live in an amazing age of technology. Last month, a “pastor” of six (yes, 6 people in his congregation), did a Google search on his name and found an old comment left by a reader on my blog (the comment was left some 5 months after the article was originally posted, so most likely very few blog readers even saw it).
This particular pastor looked me up on Twitter and engaged me publicly regarding this specific comment. He also tagged two more of his Twitter friends into the Twitter conversation perhaps in an effort to side with him and influence me to remove the comment. My point is not to draw attention to this pastor of six, but to demonstrate that with modern technology, small churches and mega churches can have the same playing field as far as audiences are concerned.
Modern-day “pastors” can have a congregation of six at home, but potentially millions through the internet.
This pastor of SIX, through the use of modern technology, has been able to schmooze with the celebrity big dog pastors on Twitter, etc, and gain an audience. Those celebrity big dogs don’t know the rest of his story. This pastor then questioned my salvation and said I was in grave sin by allowing it to remain public because it was slanderous. Hmm, where have I heard that before?
The original comment on my blog remains today. I will not remove it. My reader, Kevin Oliver, had a right to post it just as I have the right to call out what I see as destructive church teachings.
Steve Scott (blogger of From the Pew) left a comment on my old blog yesterday and included a link to an article interviewing Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church. I really respect Pastor MacArthur for saying this in his interview because the words of pastors are so important. The words of a pastor can affect someone’s life, impacting their families for years (bringing them together or even destroying them if there is false teaching).
One final thought to add is this: I believe that it is appropriate to respond publicly to that which has been taught publicly. If someone has published something in a book or on a blog or preached it in a sermon (which has then been made available online), it is now subject to public critique. I certainly believe this is true with regard to my own teachings. Anything I have preached or published (and therefore made public) is consequently subject to public criticism. And I don’t consider my critics to necessarily be unloving just because they disagree with me. In fact, I welcome their feedback, because it is part of the sharpening process. Dr. John MacArthur (Source)
If pastors are going to speak publicly, their words are up for public inspection. If there are teachings and words spoken that could potentially put someone in danger, or harm them or their family spiritually, sometimes it needs to be exposed. This is the Spiritual Sounding Board. We will do that here.
To be clear, this is “our” Spiritual Sounding Board. Another definition of sounding board refers to gathering information and bouncing ideas and opinions off one another and discovering new information in a collective group effort. We sure did that on my former blog. It was very enlightening. We learned from each other. I’m looking forward to doing more of that – – – not always because it’s fun – – – but because it’s necessary – – because of lives being torn apart by spiritual abuse and unhealthy trends in the Church.
Thanks for being part of the Spiritual Sounding Board (SSB). I’m glad you’re here!