Dueling Pastors

Two pastors, one passage, two very different lessons…

It seems two Midway Presbyterian Church affiliated pastors have provided two very different lessons from the book of Acts. Senior Pastor David Hall and former Associate Pastor Mic Knox.

Questions about David Hall’s humility and the division it has caused at the church are documented elsewhere. Nonetheless, he has recycled familiar topics in a series preached early last month on the need to avoid pride, the necessity of submission to elders, and the importance of avoiding the “mental poisoning” of those in “rebellion.” For many with knowledge of the current state of Midway Presbyterian Church, this evokes thoughts of those on his own Session charged for offenses unprovable from Scripture, and subjected to secret trials against their will by their own Session with David Hall presiding as the bias moderator.

Over and over and over again, the pulpit at Midway has become little more than a sounding board for finding excuses to remind the congregation that the elders are to be trusted and all problems in the church are to be solved by their decision making – whether that is related to the Scripture selected for the morning sermon or not. The presupposition governing these messages is that the elders are always right and are compared to apostolic wisdom.

The unrelenting theme of the power and authority of the Session, as well as the need to remind the congregation of the venerated status of the pastoral leadership has been identified as a sign of a spiritual abuser. Maybe David Hall is afraid or maybe he is out of touch, but his sermon series reached new levels of hypocrisy on January 30, 2022 on his Acts 15 message titled “God’s Order for the Church in All Ages” where the very tired and out of touch theme of the wisdom of the elders at the church once again was front and center and awkwardly forced onto a passage having little to do with what he said did. The self aggrandizing topic aside, perhaps what is most unique about this message is what happened the next day. Pastor Mic Knox brought a lesson on the same Acts 15 passage and asked the salient question “Is Your Pastor Preaching Eisegesis or Exegesis?”

Pastor Knox opened his livestream stating “Today our question comes in from a viewer just like you, and actually came in from multiple people who watch this show, and it came in yesterday afternoon, and last night, and this morning, from a bunch of different people who have called in and wanted to know, ‘is my pastor actually preaching the Bible or is he preaching pet projects? Is he doing something that he shouldn’t be doing, is it really there in the text? I mean I don’t know if that’s really what that says, but I haven’t been to seminary, I don’t understand how to interpret the text…’ so the question is this, is your pastor or my pastor preaching Eisegesis or Exegesis?”

One could surmise that the viewers of former Midway Associate Pastor Mic Knox are members of Midway Presbyterian Church who are concerned with what is happening in their pulpit. Could it be that the thin veneer of David Hall’s sermons where the application is his solutions to the problems in the church and power politics is exposing his inability to preach loyally to the text?

Pastor Knox explored hermeneutics and explained that Eisegesis “basically means when someone preaches, if your pastor is preaching, he is preaching ideas into the text. He is trying to control, to manipulate, because he has an agenda, a political agenda, a power agenda he is trying to push your way.” He described this reading into the text as motivated by a pastor thinking he must “mold the minds” of the people to think the thoughts he wants them to think. He went to ask “is your pastor’s form of hermeneutics Eisegesis where he is saying: oh I’ve come to a passage and here’s what’s going on around me. I need to make this text say exactly what I want it to say. I need to push my topic, my agenda, because I got something going on that’s really important and I need them to think. I need to control the text.”

Reflectively, Pastor Knox asked “how did it go yesterday? what was your pastor preaching? Was he really preaching the text or was he preaching principles that are gonna be beneficial for him? That’s Eisegeis.” He contrasted this to Exegesis where the pastor draws out from the text, and teaches from it, and seeks to find what God is saying from the text to His people.

In the middle of his lesson, Pastor Knox shifted gears and said “That leads me to an example. Now this is a fun example. Some people won’t like it. Some people will be irritated by this, but ya know what? I’ve never been a fan of pleasing people, so let’s just go ahead and do it. Turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 15…”

Readers are encouraged to tune into Pastor Mic Knox’s message embedded below to find out what he had to say… You decide: is Acts 15 all about “Sessions” and “Presbyterianism” and elder “authority” like is heard from Midway’s pulpit, or is it about the Gospel?