Fighting Fundamentalist

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Qualities of the Pastor Delineated

These should be plain enough to understand:

"A bishop then must be blameless..." NOT SINLESS, all the pastors said, "Amen!"

"...husband of one wife..." there may be some debate on what is meant by "one wife", it is not my purpose here to debate this.

"...vigilant..." the Greek word for this means, "vigilant". Webster's says, "Watchful; circumspect; attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety."

"...sober..." means clear minded. A pastor needs to be a clear thinker.

"...of good behavior...", or orderly [in conduct].

"...given to hospitality..." Dear pastors (who may be reading this post) are you inviting?

"...apt to teach..." this may include the spiritual gift of teaching, but the quality is in the word "apt". In other words instructive.

"...not given to wine..." Thayer's says,"given to wine, drunken", is the meaning.

" striker..." Pastors should not be quarrelsome.

"...not greedy of filthy lucre..." I am no longer surprised when well dressed "pastors" beg for a seed of faith offering (meaning one's life savings) from the pulpit, or from a TV or radio audience, with the "promise" of prosperity quoting, " is better to give than to receive...". I don't know anyone who has ever received a check from any of these religious shysters who live like kings.

"...patient..." You want me to leave the pastors alone and move on to the office of deacon right now... don't you?

"...not a brawler..." Webster's says this is "A noisy fellow; a wrangler." Not contentious would be a better rendering, meaning not given to angry debate; not quarrelsome. In other words, pastors, don't be an argument waiting to happen.

"... not covetous..." Not avaricious, in other words not greedy of gain; nor immoderately desirous of accumulating property, (esp. that which belongs to others).

"...One that ruleth well his own house having his children in subjection with all gravity..." The charge here is that a man must be able to establish and maintain order in his home. The man must be the head of his home and must have the respect and honor of his children which will be apparent by their behavior. Why is this important? The following verse explains...

"...For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God...." Here is where the Bible puts the shoe leather to the pavement. Paul encapsulates all he has said up to this point and makes it very practical indeed. If you are a pastor (or if you desire to be a pastor) you have the responsibility, duty, and mandate to be one in your home as your first and primary priority. Paul's statement plainly says you are to rule your house and implies that this how to properly care for the church of God! The word care (Gk.epimeleomai) is a verb or action word it means to care for (physically or otherwise):-take care of. This word seems to be unique to Paul and his companion Luke. It is the word employed in Luke 10:34-35 the context of which is the good citizen. It is a pastoral word. This is all the more true when speaking of the oversight of the church of God.

"...Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil..." You may be talented, gifted, hold a prestigious position in your field of expertise, but if you are a new believer, or if you are immature in your faith... you are not yet ready for this office! If, however, you desire this "good work" pursue it! How? First become a pastor in your character, then home, then the church.

"...Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil...." The pastorate is not for those who can't do anything else very well. It is for those who by virtue of doing well have a good reputation outside of the church.

I once asked a former Sunday School teacher how he could treat people so harshly in his position as vice president of a small company and yet act so charitable at church. His reply: "This is work, not church! There is a difference." Yes, there is... your reputation is important outside of the church as well. God cares how we treat unbelievers, not just the variety that visit the church service. God cares about how we work. He cares about how we conduct business. Listen, brothers and sisters, God's reputation is on the line too! He's living in your life to draw others to Himself, not just so He can be glorified by means of your personal satisfaction in Him. This may fly in the face of some popular theological idea, but this is the Word of God! Not many of us are as satisfied with God's purpose for trials as we are saatisfied with a juicy steak; that's OK. He is still just no mater what He serves us, and how we respond to everything matters. This is especially true of pastors.

The Parallel Passage

Titus 1: 6-9
"If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (v6.)

Paul here throws children into the mix. He says that it is important for pastors to have faithful (our word pis-tos' remember? objectively trustworthy; subjectively trustful) children on the positive side. On the negative side they are to be of such character that they would not be accused of being profligate or being abandoned in moral principle and in vice. Children of pastors should be "good kids" not insubordinate, or disobedient. Why is this? What do you think? Is this because children are reflective of parents? Could it be because a pastor has enough to deal with in his church, so he doesn't need added burden of the constant care of bratty kids? Is it proof that he rules his house well?

"...For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God..." (v.7a)

We have seen in 1Timothy that blameless does not mean sinless. Paul mentions it twice here in Titus. In conjuntion with his wife and in conjunction with stewardship. "There are two things Satan will use to bring down a pastor..." an old timer used to tell me, "...women and money." Brother pastor (reading this post) fly from these unsatisfying luers. Brothers and sisters (reading this post) pray for your pastors, that Satan would not cause them to fall. This is not funny bussiness left for sitcoms... this is Christ's reputation! Again, and quietly, I urge the saints to pray for their leaders.

"...For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre..." (v.7)

Does any one see a conection here? I know for me, I get the most ticked-off when I don't get my way... that is, when I think I deserve to get my own way yet don't. I also know some guys and gals (not that you, dear reader, fall here) that, when they don't get thier own way, they get angry, then cling to the bottle, or pick a fight. The pastor is not to behave like a hocky player, nor a brawling drunk! He is, however, to be...

"...a lover of hospitality [fond of guests] a lover of good men [fond of good, that is, a promoter of virtue: - love of good men.], sober [curbing one’s desires and impulses, moderate as to opinion or passion], just [rightious], holy, temperate [strong yet self controled]. (v.8)

The pastor is to be "...Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught..." (v.9a) Why?

"...that he may be able by sound doctrine [healthy, uncorrupt, true, teaching that flows from a faithfull hermenutic of Scripture] both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (v.9)

Why would God want "any man" to do this? Drop down to Titus 1:13, "...that they may be sound in the faith..."

The prophet Jude wrote, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (v.3)

Think about it...

This is the ministy.

Stay salty,
Brother John


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