Sympathy for the devil? Nah, just for Jim Standridge

I saw this video a couple of months ago on YouTube, in which a Baptist pastor from Oklahoma opens up an industrial-sized can of… well, judge for yourself. Christianity Today has now picked up the story. When I watch this video, I mostly feel sympathy for Standridge. I know I’m not supposed to. I’m supposed to think he’s a jerk or a bully or far worse (I’m afraid to read the comments section of the YouTube post). But I don’t. I imagine he’s just having a bad day. Been there, done that. Who hasn’t?

For one thing, are we criticizing Standridge for having these thoughts in the first place or only for being so gauche as to speak them out loud in a sermon? If it’s the latter, well, that’s hardly a major sin.

C’mon, fellow pastors: Haven’t you had church members who you believe—perhaps in your most human moments—”aren’t worth fifteen cents”? Granted, you don’t post their names on Facebook or anything, but don’t you feel that way sometimes? Let’s get real.

Besides, it’s hard to argue with his logic when he calls attention to the poor guy caught sleeping during his sermon: “You say, ‘Well, he may never come back.’ Well, he ain’t here now!

Also, to his credit, Standridge at least knows his flock well enough to call these people by name. He clearly seems to care deeply about them, even as he criticizes them. And in our politically correct age, when we talk so much about cultural sensitivity and context, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows his audience, and he’s speaking to them in a language they understand. I’m not a Baptist from Skiatook, Oklahoma. Are you? I doubt he worried about how his message would play in New York or L.A.

CT asked some prominent pastors and theologians if it’s appropriate for pastors to call out church members by name like this during the sermon time. Everyone said Standridge was wrong—except good ol’ United Methodist bishop Will Willimon.

Prophets such as Amos or Nathan called people to account personally. It’s almost refreshing, in this age of feel-good theology, to see a preacher really get worked up over behavior and get morally indignant in the service of the truth delivered to him to speak.

9 thoughts on “Sympathy for the devil? Nah, just for Jim Standridge”

  1. I of course am in favor of a pastor keeping up with his congregation, incluiding their “sins,” but I don’t think it is appropriate for him to “call them out” during a worship service. A worship service is to praise God and educate the flock with the truths of scripture (in my estimation). “Calling out” should be in private, I think. I do recall that Paul called out Peter in public, but that was not in a worship service and was somewhat of a special circumstance (I think). That is my view, at least.

    1. I don’t mind him calling them out among the congregation. If the congregation can call out and judge among one another for hypocrisy of our Lord, then why can’t his disiples. If he is doing it out of love, which I agree that he did, then I’m for it. Truly, what real “travesty” did he do by calling out ones who sleep in church and are of a “no show” to God and his teachings until he feels like it…

      I don’t know, to each there own, and to mine, Id attend his church in a heartbeat. We need more God fearing Pastors to wake the people of this Sodom and Gomorrah world.

  2. By you tacitly agreeing with the shameful actions of this “pastor”, you also need to look deeply at your writings and repent. You are clouded in judgement and need to pray for clearer insight.

    1. Tim, tell me specifically what you disagree with in my post. I didn’t so much agree with his tactics as give him the benefit of the doubt. Don’t we all have a bad day?

  3. I agree with Pastor Stanridge and only wish that I knew there was such a pastor while living in Sand Springs, OK. I would have attended or even moved there to attend his church. I think we need more God fearing pastors like this, instead of the pillow passing out comfort food feelers.

    Do people truly think they will be judge in anyway less than Pastor Standridge was in waking them up, LITERALLY!

    This world doesn’t need some sort of bandaid religion, we need GOD FEARING teaching!

    I’ve been looking to see where he is now and or if still a pastor. But the vile of people twisting the actions of this pastor into their own mannerisms of today is all I could find on him outside of his mother passing four years ago.

    May God bless him and family, and may He guide him to our Lords true flock.

  4. So, would it be okay for members of his church body to call him out on his shortcomings in a public worship service, in Christian love, of course(sarcasm)? Don’t tell me he hasn’t done anything in his tenure that didn’t deserved to be called out. If you think that would be inappropriate, then I think you’re a hypocrite.
    Would you be okay with a member of your congregation doing the same? Also, is this public shaming biblical? Is sleeping in the service a sin? Do you think that will, in any way, help win others to Christ?
    I’m sorry, but I think you’re just flat out, unequivocally wrong. Did Jesus publicly scold the prostitute at the well? Did he try to publicly embarrass her? He showed her compassion, yes? He didn’t say her sin was okay, but there was certainly no public shaming. That pastor may have thought he was saying things in love, but if that’s Christian love(it’s not) I want NO part of it.

    1. Without rereading what I wrote years ago, I hope I didn’t say that I wholeheartedly endorse this behavior, only that I sympathize. Surely any pastor would. But who knows if I would write the same thing today. Don’t judge me too harshly 🤷‍♂️

      1. How very ironic that you would tell me not to judge you too harshly, while sympathizing with a pastor who judged some members of his congregation much too harshly.
        Give it some thought, and tell me what you would write today. It’s disingenuous to imply that you MIGHT have different feelings without making any type of clarifying statement.

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