I have finally gotten my hands on a copy of “Pagan Christianity” by George Barna and Frank Viola and I wanted to review it.
I recently read CS Lewis’ ‘Studies in Words‘ which was a fantastic challenge to my mind. I promised myself I would look up any words I was unfamiliar with because I am always challenged by Lewis’ precision with the English language, I was forced to look up a dozen words in the introduction alone. One particular section that challenged my was a lesson on authorial intent.
I have finally caught up again with my reading, and I love that we are getting into the story of Joshua, although there are just a few things I want to point out before we get there.
This is the final installment of the Biblical Leadership series. If you haven’t read the previous installments please start with the Biblical Church Leadership I:
The initial objection that I have heard from several people with whom I have shared these thoughts is the idea that Timothy and Titus were the pastors of their respective churches, meaning that they were the head of these congregations. I believe this interpretation is in keeping with our modern understanding of what a pastor is however I do not believe it keeps with the biblical use of the word. Timothy and Titus were Paul’s and in many cases were operating under his apostolic authority, of which I have already discussed the uniqueness. The concept of a pastor as it is used today is simply not found in scripture. The plurality of elders are commended to pastor the flock, (Acts 20) and the pastor or shepherding gift is discussed with the Ephesian elders, but the idea of a single individual being in charge of the entire congregation is one that is simply not found in scripture.
Another objection that I hear on the few occasions I have shared this concept is that “anything with two heads is a monster” and while thisis readily accepted and is applicable in many instances we must turn to the Bible for our instruction and this concept is not derived from the scripture.
After looking into this issue I can see how not being obedient to God’s instruction can cause many problems in the modern church. It could be dangerous to have a single man with ultimate authority in an organization, even in a corporate environment the CEO answers to a board and to shareholders, but in many cases Pastors are held accountable to no one.
The view of Pastors as the ultimate earthly authority for the church has done several things to the congregations as well. The clergy/laity divide has become greater that it appears to be in the scriptures, the purpose of the “five-fold ministry” given in Ephesians 4:11 was to build up the church for the work of the ministry, but with the creation of a professional ministry team most congregants only feel compelled to pay for the staff to do the work of the ministry. It may also be, due to this idea of the Pastor as ultimate authority, that we no longer verify what our Pastors are teaching, I have heard utter heresy from a pulpit and the church just nodded along, because the speaker used biblical language to give his point more authority. I have already shown that it is the responsibility of every believer to verify what they are hearing is the Gospel or to not listen, but many Christians wouldn’t know the difference. This explains why so certain popular speakers can get away with Christless messages.
With a plurality of Elders, you have a collective of Godly men to fulfill the roles given to the church, interestingly enough although I have been taught that a Pastor should have all of the “five fold gifts” it appears obvious from a simple reading of scripture that these gifts are manifest in multiple men, as “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” but the scriptures never indicates he gave one to be all of those gifts. Therefore a plurality of elders would have a number if not all of these gifts to edify and build up the congregation. Many Pastors have been buried under the weight of being alone and feeling responsible for every aspect of the ministry. I don’t believe this is what the Lord intended.
We live in a fallen world, with and among fallen people so no form of Church government that involves people will be perfect, but I believe God has given us a plan in his word and it should be obeyed. I believe the plan God gives us is one of a plurality of Elders, with varied authority and responsibility resting in different levels of the church.
 Eph 4:11 KJV
 Eph 4:11 NIV
Thank you all for sticking it out with me I look forward to hearing your comments and working out my thoughts in a greater way. If you are interested here is my entire series in one easy to read PDF: Entire Biblical Church Leadership
This is a continuing series of my reading through the Bible in 2008. I am reading according to a chronological schedule found here: Chronological Bible Schedule.
This week I noticed a few things in Deuteronomy that I found interesting and since these posts are just as much for me as they are for anyone else I am making note of them and I hope they help you as well.
The first epiphany I had related to the way we read and interpret scripture, since I no longer preach on a regular basis I am under a little less pressure to come up with new sermons on a regular basis. That being said, I did find what could be an interesting message in Numbers 32. (I am still a little behind but caught up today) The tribes of Reuben and Gad (and half of Manasseh) decided to settle east of the Jordan, which was not part of the Promised Land. I though it would make a great message along the lines of “Don’t settle for less than God’s best” and I am sure that given the opportunity I could do it justice and many people would be helped and motivated. The question is: Is this type of hermeneutic acceptable to God? Was that the LORD’s intention when he had Moses pen this passage? I don’t believe it is because there isn’t a place I can find where they were condemned for wanting to settle there, although Moses did demand they the fight along side their brethren to gain the Promised Land, which they agreed to do.
It is very easy to find some sort of personal application in the words of the Bible that the authors never intended or would have even understood. The meaning of the passage should be the point of your message, and by your message I mean what you take away from the Bible or what you preach. With all the pressure on our ministers to come up with a ‘fresh revelation’ on the Word of God I can see how we could easily fall into this trap when the fact of the matter is the Body of Christ is far from following the ‘stale revelation’
Deuteronomy 13 is where I found my next interesting passage:
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
Firstly, even if someone is able to perform miracles or prophesy correctly doesn’t mean they are not evil, and you should follow them blindly. I often hear a ministry or doctrine supported with the argument of ‘success’: “Well, they have a huge church,” or some such hogwash. This is just a new version of exactly what God is talking about here. Signs and wonders are not enough, we must know that the LORD is the true God and follow no others. Paul says something related to this in Galatians:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
The method is not to be judged alone, but the message. Paul did not care if he preached or an angel showed up to preach it if it wasn’t the Gospel of Christ. There are a great number of false gospels still floating around in the world and we need to know what the true gospel looks like in order to follow it and not be lead astray.
Picture from http://evangelismaction.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/gift-of-the-gospel-week-1/
This one is a bit longer than normal but it is always to get the other side out since all we hear is Al Gores side.
This article is a continutation of my study on Biblical church leadership, if you haven’t started from the beginning I suggest you start there: Biblical Church Leadership I
This week’s “Through the Bible” will be a little short because I have had a terrible week and am far behind. But I did read something that stood out to me more than normal and although it isn’t totally revolutionary it meant something to me.
In honor of the passing of Gary Gygax I thought it was only right to have these videos here.
I will warn you these videos are pg-13.
The beginning of this series is found here: Biblical Leadership. Please start there if you haven’t read the previous posts in this series.
This post will look into the role of the Deacons.