Here is Dan Phillip's take regarding tolerance as seen in what is said about the church of Thyatira in Revelation (2:18-29).
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Unfortunately, this is not satire. Check this out to see the blasphemy occuring within the 'Christian' church. Here is a slight description:
These figurines are available for purchase thanks to the marketing efforts of a company called "We Are Fishermen". This clever company has made it possible for you to pick and choose the Jesus that best fits your personal tastes and hobbies. The idea here is to make a Jesus in your own image. (Isn't that the very definition of an idol?)
[HT:: Christian Research Net]
Friday, April 27, 2007
Over at my brother-in-Christ Vincent's blog, he has been writing a series of posts on the office of the eldership [here, here and here]. In general, I agree with what he has to say, and I definitely agree with his π-1 (2.14159...) office view. Without duplicating any of the points which he has made as much as possible (though some overlap is inevitable), I would like to weigh in a little on this issue.
In this post, I would like to do a short exposition on 1 Tim. 5:17, the main (in fact only real) proof text for the distinction between ruling elders and teaching elders, which is something seen within most Reformed churches. In general, ruling elders rule the church while teaching elders teach, and their duties do not usually overlap or overlap to a certain degree. My contention is that such a distinction is qualitatively unbiblical and is only there functionally; i.e. some elders tend to rule more while others tend to teach more, but in roles and responsibilities, they are the same.
Without further to do, here is 1 Tim. 5:17:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Now, for a exegetical take on this verse, check out Pastor Keller's article here, which my friend Vincent directed me to. I will only be looking at the verse mostly in English for this post.
The verse in question can be seperated into two parts. The first part of the verse seems to show there are some elders are rule well, and leave open the possibility of there being elders who don't. However, the fact of the matter is that all elders are to rule the church. It can be seen in Acts 20 that Paul exhorts ALL the elders in the church in Ephesus to rule well (Acts 20:28-31), and Paul in the pastoral epistles require that all elders to manage and care for the church (1 Tim. 3:4-5 — analogy being drawn between managing the home and the church). Therefore, this statement is not saying that there are elders who do not rule, but rather, as Pastor Keller says of this phrase:
Third person imperatives often are translated in English with the words, "Let him/them..." The ... Bible reader may easily become confused, thinking that this phrase indicates the idea of mere permission. For example, "Let them go" would usually be understood to mean that permission has been granted. The ... reader may not immediately understand the idea of command, which is the usual force of the imperative, in the translation, "Let them." ... A commander in the military would say, "I command them to go.
Therefore, we have established that all elders are to rule in the church. The elders of the church are thus to be considered worthy of double honor; to be highly esteemed due to the work and responsibilities they bear before God.
The second part of the verse seems to show that there is a distinction between two group of elders: those who rule only, and those who rule and teach, by using the word "especially" to link the two statements. However, is this distinction really present?
First of all, it must be seen that elders are to be able to teach (1 Tim. 2:2). Thus, it can be said that all elders have at least the potential to be 'teaching elders'. In Titus, the emphasis of (any of the) elders being able to teach and refute error is more clearly seen (Titue 1:9). In context with verses 10-16, it can be seen that Paul very clearly does not treat this quality as something which is just a hypothetical possibility; that elders are to rule and able to teach but whether they actually teach or not does not exactly matter. All elders are instructed to silence these heretics and false teachers through teaching and rebuke (Titus 1: 11).
Now, of course, it can be objected that perhaps the situation whereby all elders are both 'ruling and teaching elders' is only in situations as dire as that of Titus, whereby there are many heretics and false teachers about. However, if that were so, this only goes to show that all elders are 'ruling elders' and that all 'ruling elders' must have the potential to be 'ruling and teaching elders' when the situation requires it, a position which is definitely less than the 2.5 office position traditionally taken by some Reformed, especially Presbyterian churches. Maybe this could be called the 2.25 office position. Anyway, let us go back to 1 Tim. 5:17.
Let us look at a few other verses in Scripture to note how the word 'especially' is used:
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. — 1 Tim. 4:10
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party — Titus 1:10
and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. — 2 Peter 2:10
For the first verse, 1 Tim. 4:10, we can see that the word 'especially' does not give rise to the possibility of there being people who are saved but who do not believe (unless you are a Universalist). We can also see that the word 'especially' used in this manner limits the set of 'all people' to 'those who believe'. In Titus 1:10, the word 'especially' functions in like manner in that the circumcision party specfically shows who the 'insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers' are who are mentioned in the verse. This can be proved in Titus 1:14 where these men are promoting Jewish myths. In 2 Peter 2:10, the word 'especially' function in like manner here, as ALL these ungodly men are previously described in similar manner in 2 Peter 2:1-2.
Now, I am not saying that the word 'especially' is always used in this fashion in the Bible, but that the word can be used in such manner; as a form of specficially narrowing the name or character of the group which is being addressed previously, but not the people involved. However, the fact that the word can be used in such a manner give impetus to the possible rendering of 1 Tim. 5:17 as such:
It is commmanded that all the elders, who are to rule well, be esteemed highly and worthily of double honor, and more so when they fulfil their responsibility diligently in preaching and teaching.
This is especially so given the use of the word 'especially' (3 times) in the epistle of 1 Tim, where in 1 Tim. 5:8, the word could be possibly interpreted that way also (The families at that time tend to live together; few nuclear families), and we have already seen the way the word is used the other two times.
Anyway, to finish off this study, let us look up the Greek a bit to see what we can discover. The Greek word translated 'especially' here in 1 Tim. 5:17 is μαλιστα (malista). If occurs some 12 times in the GNT (Greek New Testament), of which the usage which have been suggested could be applied to all of them. This usage is in fact made even more plausible since other Greek words which have been translated 'especially' could be used instead. For example, the word 'especially' is also used in 1 Cor. 14:1, but the Greek word here is μαλλον (mallon) instead, which is used some 78 times in the GNT and has a much closer meaning and usage to how we use the word 'especially' in normal, daily English.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the Scriptures in general do not differentiate a lot between the 'classes' of 'ruling elders' and 'teaching elders', with elders being commanded by God to BOTH rule and teach. 1 Tim. 5:17 have been shown not to support the idea of seperate classes of elders, and in fact reinforced the notion of elders both having the roles and resonsibilites of ruling and teaching in the church. Therefore, I subscribe to the π-1 position as the position that conforms most to the text of Scripture.
P.S.: Look at the previous posts on Sola Scriptura, Creeds, Confessions and Traditions before commenting. Please argue from Scripture and not from the creeds or whatever documents you can bring up [or worse still: Pragmatism].
P.P.S.: I am NOT picking a fight over this issue. If you hold contrary opinions, you are most welcome to discuss them here, but I do not regard this a serious issue to draw blood over. Therefore, I am willing to acquiesce to contrary opinons as long as you don't insist I must hold on to the same view as you.
 Brian R. Keller, Exegetical Brief: 1 Timothy 5:17—Did All πρεσβυτεροι Proclaim God's Word? (http://wlsessays.net/authors/K/KellerProclaim/KellerProclaim.pdf)
Through the ages of time, it is the practice of almost all Evangelical churches to teach and catechize their children in the faith, as one generation passes the Faith down to the other. Due to the importance of doctrine, and the fact that the creeds and confessions clearly demarcate the Faith and doctrinal distinctives of the particualr church/ denomination, they were and still are emphasized as being of importance for the health of the church. Over time, such creeds and confessions, and even the lithurgy, become traditions in the church, as evidence of how church ought to be 'done'. Furthremore, due to their effectiveness, heresy by and large was kept away from the church, and thus the original intent of the creeds and confessions slowly was forgotten, or at least only remembered in an abstract sense. When controversy finally hits the church, or when contact with other Christians or non-Christians challenges the 'status quo', the tendency to fall back on the creeds and confessions or other traditions is very high. It is to this phenomenon that we now turn to.
First of all, I would like to mention that there is nothing wrong in turning to the creeds and confessions. However, we must realize that they were written to express the truths which at least the framers believe are found within the pages of Scripture. Therefore, when settling doctrinal controversy, turning to the creeds and confessions should be an aid and not an authority. The creeds and confessions quote Scripture to substantiate their points, and we should use Scripture also to substantiate our points. Of course, whether any particular point in any creed or confession can be substantiated by the verses quoted is besides the point here. For the time being, it is conceded that the creeds and confessions are in fact absolutely 100% biblical. Even then, does that mean that they are our final authority, that we just quote them as per Scripture? This is the very present danger that conservatives need to seriously take note of.
If Sola Scriptura is correct, which I have shown it is, and we know that this principle was recovered in the great 16th century Protestant Reformation and enshrined in the various creeds and confessions that we hold so dear, shouldn't we be consistent and uphold that even in our churches? Even if any particular creed or confession is 100% biblically and absolutely true, should we not treat it as having secondary authority, inasmuch as conforms to the Word of God, which have primary authority? What then must we make of the phenomenon that elevates creeds and confessions, holy as they are biblical, to a status approaching the Word of God, other than 'idolatria de confessio' — the idolatry of creeds? Granted, they have been very useful, and will continue to be useful in its proposed function, but that does not give anyone a right to place them on par with Scripture in any meaningful fashion. While defending the faith or even discussing doctrine, Scripture should therefore be used as our primary authority, NOT the creeds or confessions or any 'book of church order' etc (they can be used as secondary authority though). Any doctrinal instruction that therefore goes only to the creeds and confession, instead of using that as secondary sources, thus goes against the very grain of Sola Scriptura and is in fact a violation of the Reformed creeds which they teach from.
Now, it is to be said that many Protestant and Reformed churches do not in fact elevates their creeds and confessions even on par with Scripture, but practically some of them at least seem to do so. Since Scripture should be our final authority, and not the creeds and confessions, clinging on to the creeds and confessions while ignoring biblical evidence to the contary would definitely be one practical example of the idolatry of creeds. We must always keep in mind the fact that the creeds and confessions were written by Man. Though they are filled with the Spirit, that doesn't mean that whatever they wrote are definitely 100% correct or that they have all the answers to all the possible questions of the faith. The Lutheran, Reformed and Presbyterians, together with the Angelican and Methodists affirm the practice of Infant Baptism, while the Baptists deny it, and all of these groups have their own statements of faith proping up their beliefs which they all believe is correct according to Scripture. Definitely, both groups cannot be correct; one group must be wrong and the other correct. Within the groups affirming Infant Baptism, there is a difference between the Anglican understanding as compared to the Reformed and Presbyterian understanding, and the same logic applies. Thus, it can be seen that creeds and confessions may not be totally correct, and to suppose they do is practically elevating them above what they were written for. All creeds and confessions must therefore always be held and examined in the light of Scripture to see whether what they say conforms to the Word of God. The Reformation motto Reformata et semper reformanda — 'Reformed and always reforming', should always be our call as children of the Reformation. Somehow, the conservative churches tend towards Reformata, non reformanda — 'Reformed, not reforming', where we just look back at the glorious days of the Reformation and thus live in the past.
This of course holds true also for the practice and lithurgy of the church. We should not just say that we are doing this because things have always been done a particular way, which is dead traditionalism. Rather, we should first know why things are done in a particular way; whether they are biblical or just a temporal or cultural application of a biblical principle. If biblical, they should NOT be changed. If they are just temporal or cultural applications of a biblical principal, we should see whether the times warrant a change in how we apply this principal. Of course, if the practice/ lithurgy is extra-biblical, we are free to alter it within Scriptural boundaries or remove it altogether (especially if they impinge on the regulative principle of worship).
With this, it is my hope that we conservatives recover for ourselves the essence of Sola Scriptura and apply them consistently. May we not follow the Roman church into elevation of our traditions (councils, creeds, confession, lithurgy etc.) on par or even above Scripture, whether in word or in deed. May we be willing to examine our own traditions, and not elevate the creeds and confessions of the church to such a high standing that they practically obscure the Scriptures.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
In conservative churches, especially Reformed churches, Creeds and Confessions play an important role in the life of the church. This has been the case since the days of the early church through the various church councils and synods, and the Confession of faith and Apologies of the faith written by people such as Justin Martyr. This continued on into the Middle Ages and onto the the Reformation whereby the Christian churches define and defend the Faith and various other denominational distinctives through the use of various Creeds and Confessions, which helped in keeping heretics out, and in uniting the body of believers in the common biblical truths they adhere to.
Creeds and Confessions have been historically seen as important, due to their nature of demarcating the boundaries of the faith which are used to seperate believers from unbelievers, and Christians of one doctrinal persuasion from those of another. For the former case, creeds and confessions become necessary since heretics often twist the words of Scripture to mean what it does not mean. As obedience to her Lord, the leaders of the Church need to protect the flock from the teachings of these wolves (Acts 20:29-31; 1 Tim. 6:3-4; Tit. 1:11, 13) and thus the creeds and confession were needed. An example of such a case where just 'citing the Bible' was insufficient is Arianism, where the eternal sonship of deity of Christ was denied by Arius and his followers. This teaching is implicitly derived from Scripture where for example it talked about Jesus being the Alpha and Omega, but the exact words nor phrases teaching it could not be found in the Bible, and the heretics exploit that in an attempt to destroy the Faith. Only the council of Nicea and the adoption of its creed (slightly different from the famous Nicene Creed), followed by years of struggle before it was fully implemented, remove that toxin from most of the visible Church.
With regards to the latter case, creeds and confessions are used to put forward the doctrinal distinctives of a group of Christians (i.e. believers only baptism versus infant baptism) which the group thinks is the most biblical. This is due to the fact that some issues in Scripture are not as clear cut as the essentials of the Christian faith are, and thus a certain degree of differences of opinions would emerge. Definitely, both groups strive to be biblical, and their convictions would thus be put forward in their particular creed or confession that they wrote up and/or believe in, as both sides strive to be biblical in their doctrines and convictions.
During the Reformation, the Protestant churches broke away from the apostate Roman Catholic church, in a move that causes much conflict in Europe. As the Roman church embraced heresy in the form of transubstantiation and salvation by faith and works, not forgetting the infamous indulgences and purgatory, God raised up His prophets and preachers who thundered forth the Word of God and broke the power of the Roman church over His people. The conflict was fought mainly on the doctrinal area since both claimed to be faithful to Christ, and it is in this climate that many of the famous Protestant creeds and confessions were written. Creeds and confessions like the Ausberg Confession, the Heiderberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the 39 Articles of the Church of England and the Second Helvitic Confession were written. The Westminster Confession, Shorter and Larger Catechism, the Canons of the Synod of Dordt, the second London Baptist Confession of faith soon followed. All of these were written to combat heresy and to lay out the doctrines of which the godly framers in prayer believe to be the Truth found within the pages of Scripture.
Of course, sadly, this godly heritage has been neglected by most Evangelicals today, to their detriment, in the spirit of anti-intellectualism which has caused a disaster within the churches, as churches are forced to either allow heretics in which destroy them, or to re-invent the wheel which creates a lot of heartaches in those who have to endure the destructiveness of heresies within the church before they are finally purged. The importance of creeds and confessions thus cannot be denigrated.
That said, I would now like to go on to the main topic, which move towards the other extreme and to which we shall look at now.
[to be continued]
I have decided to start with this topic, since it is the easiest to do.
With regards to the discussion in this post, I see that there is something which needs to be taken care of within the conservative circles in Evangelical Christianity. Whereas I had strived to present a Scriptural defense of Sola Scriptura in a series of posts which are then compiled into an article ealier, such a series was mainly written for most 'evanjellyfishes' who for whatever reason either reject the principle of Sola Scriptura or those do not know anything much about it, and thus are ill-prepared to fight the spiritual battle against our foes. Also, it is useful as apologetic material against the rank liberals (of which I have employed then against a Theosophist), and also to be used on the 'all-too-humble' people in the postmodern emerging church movement, which I however have not have the time to do so yet.
Since joining a conservative church last year, I have been concerned over certain issues. Contary to what others may think, I despise conflict. I do not purposefully go around criticizing others and playing the role of the Inquisitor. However, when push comes to shove, I will not shirk from taking up the pen of faith to defend the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For me, this issue on Sola Scriptura, Creeds, Confessions and Tradition is forced. I was trying to avoid conflict at 'home' if I can. However, this may well stir up a storm, as I do know some of the people who read my blog, but I'll be praying that it won't hapen. May we be willing to examine our beliefs in light of Scripture, and not be hasty in passing judgment on our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
With that, let us start this short series.
[to be continued]
Here is an interesting post, and here are my 5 questions for those in the Emerging Church movement:
1) Do you believe that words can be used to potray a definite fixed objective meaning, and that there is only one correct meaning of a particular phrase in a particular context in the Bible, and that this does not change over time?
2) If a concept, doctrine or practice is not approved of within the Bible, can it even be considered as being remotely Christian if held or done in the name of Christ and using Christian terminology?
3) Do the ends justify the means in obeying any of God's commands and decrees?
4) Which is better in the eyes of God: Being open to all points of views because we are only human and thus do not know anything, or being confident and bold in our proclaimation of only one interpretation of God's absolute and unchanging truth?
5) What is the doctrine of seperation, and if you agree with it, how should it be applied? If you don't agree with it, why not?
I have just finished two of my papers, leaving one. Anyway, being out of action for so long, I have noticed that I have lots of stuff to post about. Here are some of the things which are scheduled:
1) The Gospel and its presentation
2) Soteriology (with regards to Piper's view)
3) Something on Sola Scriptura (again!), and the main reason why can be seen here.
4) which brings us to the topic of .... Eldership: Ruling elders and Teaching elders.....
5) The doctrine of seperation
6) And if I have finished all this: Sola Scriptura and the Emerging church
Not to mention I have finished reading The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen, and I would like to post some quotes and comments on it, plus another book entitled The Openness of God by Pinnnock et al.. Yes, the authors are heretics, and they are promoting heresy, and I would like to expose their fallacious and heretical teachings in a review of their book.
Altogether, lots of things to do....
Monday, April 23, 2007
Interesting article here which exposes the anti-Christian agenda behind the Environmental movement. Note that I am not saying that we should not conserve nor that we should pollute the environment; we should conserve and not pollute the environment. However, we should not sink to the type of hysterical fear-mongering these Christ-haters descend to, as if God is not in control of the earth.
[HT: Christian Research Net]
Friday, April 20, 2007
Check out this article by my dear brother Pastor Ken Silva regarding the state of Rick Warren. Granted, we need to excercise extreme caution when talking about another's salvation, but Rick Warren has committed so many sins against the Church, against fellow Christians, against the Word of God, and against ultimately God Himself so blatently and without remorse for so long that it is evident that his heart is hardened against God, and thus it is right to question his salvation.
Since we are on this topic, I would like to post the summary report of my review of Rick Warren's sermon during his 'PDC tour' in Singapore 2006. Here it is:
From this review of Pastor Warren’s message, many troubling signs can be seen. Warren’s promotion of the Neo-Apostolic heresy and his subtle hint of an embracing of Word-faith heresy are particularly disturbing. His revivalist tendencies reminiscent of the Pelagian arch-heretic Charles Grandison Finney, together with his neo-liberal socialist tendencies in promoting a new ‘evangelical’ social gospel exposes him as a false teacher. When one includes all the church splits he has indirectly caused by his Purpose Driven Church/Life and 40 Days of Purpose campaign, which implicates Warren of committing the Diotrephesian error (3 Jn. 9-10), there is very much cause for concern. One can only hope that the Church of Jesus Christ would open her eyes to the deception of this heretic and turn back to Christ alone.
With regards to Warren’s sincerity, it can clearly be seen that Warren seems to be passionate about serving God. At least in this sermon, Warren comes across partly as a humble servant of the Lord with God just blessing him with affluence and influence. He also did mention that he did not seek wealth, nor fame or influence, but God just gave them to him. Assuming he is what he has portrayed himself to be from this sermon, it is no wonder that many people who call themselves Evangelicals are fooled. As Christians who are called to be discerning, however, we are called by Christ to discern the fruits (Mt. 7:15-20) and not look on the surface at apparent piety. If discernment is properly and biblically exercised, even if Warren is sincere and means what he says, Warren, through his false teachings and beliefs and improper associations, could be seen to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Oh, he is sincere, but he is sincerely devoted NOT to Christ, but to a god of his own making; to a god whom he creates from reading the Bible through the lenses of his unbiblical worldview. He is serving that god, and NOT the true God of the Bible.
However, we do know from the words that he says elsewhere in secular interviews and speeches etc that Warren is not being true in his portrayal of himself in this sermon. On the one hand, he says that he says that he is not seeking fame and influence, yet if then, why should he be yearning to be the pastors of pastors, through setting up his pastors.com website and the Purpose-driven network? Why is he championing the HIV/AIDS cause but not championing the cause of the unborn? Worse still, why is he not championing the best way to solve the HIV/ AIDS crisis, which is for sexual abstinence before marriage, marital fidelity, an end to homosexuality and all forms of deviant sexuality, no drug abuse and thus no sharing of needles? Why would he be toeing the liberal line on fighting the HIV/AIDS crisis, unless of cause that truly standing up for Christ in this manner would make him unpopular with the elites in society? So from all this, we can see that Rick Warren is indeed seeking fame contrary to what he says in his message. At the very least, he is ashamed of the Gospel, and Scripture does tell us what the punishment of God is upon those who do such things (Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26). Since he is supposed to be a pastor, such action of his is sufficient cause for him to be removed from the pulpit altogether.
In conclusion, we can see the various errors embraced by and being promoted by Rick Warren. Therefore, Rick Warren is to be marked as a heretic and avoided (Rom. 16:17) because of his embrace and promotion of various heresies, and treated as such if and until he repents of his heresies and sin of schism.
Oh, and just to add one more point for the sake of fellow Christians, if you really care about Rick Warren, encouraging him in his apostasy is the more hateful thing you are doing to him, since he will continue to be convinced he is right. The most loving thing anyone can do for Rick Warren now would be to rebuke him for his errors and hand him over to Satan (1 Cor. 5:5), in the hope that God would break him and turn him back to Christ in repentance for his many heresies, like what God has done in the immoral man who repented (2 Cor. 2:5-8) after being given over to Satan previously. Since such is the case, and since many undiscerning Christians are supporting and even defending Rick Warren, Warren supporters are actually guilty of hating Rick Warren and allowing, and even facilitating him to slide into perdition.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Seems like Liberty University's president Jerry Falwell just identified Calvinism as heresy. Well... I have nothing much to say to such a deluded person, except to warn him that if he carries on blaspheming God's truth, he will have to answer to God for the serious offences he has done. And he should really stop believing in Substitutionary Atonement, unless he wants to be a universalist.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
This was a nice hymn that ministered to me recently.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
And in Chinese (Courtesy of CyberHymnal.org here):
有福的确据, 耶稣属我, 何等的荣耀 向我显明,
被救主赎回, 为伸后嗣(sì), 借宝血洗罪, 圣灵重生.
这是我信息, 或讲或唱, 赞美我救主, 心里欢畅
常讲主慈爱, 并颂主恩, 赞美我救主, 昼夜不分.
完全顺服主, 我灵欢喜, 天堂的荣耀, 显于我心
仿佛有天使 由天降临, 报明主慈爱, 并住怜悯.
完全献与主, 万事安宁, 荣耀的圣灵, 充满我心
时刻仰望主, 儆醒等候, 不住地祈祷, 到主再临
I would have love to post the Japanese one, but my standard is not there yet; I can't understand the translated song.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brother, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (Jas. 3:1)
Check out this excellent post on Jas. 3:1 from Dan Phillips of the Pyromaniacs, on the gravity of teaching God's Word. Here are some of the choice sections:
... James very somberly warns [anyone], "You think you want to be a teacher? Oh boy, you'd better sit back down and give that one a second thought. You take that mantle on yourself, brother, and you are begging for stricter judgment."
So words are the stock-in-trade of the pastor. When he is at his best, he uses them to communicate God's truth. God holds him accountable for what he says. When he says, "I am a pastor," in that same breath he is saying, "and I invite stricter judgment on myself for what I say."
So a pastor who speaks to a church should expect to answer to that church for what he says. If he goes on the radio, he should expect to answer to that audience for what he says. If he blogs, if he writes in the local newspaper, if he speaks at rallies — and, certainly, if he writes books, he should expect to answer for what he says. He should expect to be held to the standard of God's Word. No responsible pastor blinks in surprise when someone asks for clarification. He expects it. He invited it the day he presented himself before God and the Church as a pastor. To be a pastor means to be a teacher of the Word of God, and it means to be judged in his pursuit of that activity.
[In the case of a pastor questioning another:]
Rather than throw brickbats (or frozen meat-chubs) at the reasonable questioner, thank him for taking Acts 20:28 seriously. And rather than shielding (or beating your breast for) the questionee, encourage him to respond honestly and straightforwardly, and thank him for taking James 3:1 seriously.
And if I may add, this doesn't apply to pastors ONLY. All of us who, in some way or another, witness for Christ or teach others, will have to answer to God and to others for our own words. After all, the verses Mt. 12:36-37 aren't in the Scriptures for no reason. They read
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Forget about the annonymity of the Internet, all of us who blog will be held accountable to God for every word we type. For every person we counsel in the name of Christ, every Christian we disciple, God will hold us accountable for what we say (and don't say). Especially if you are in a teaching position, and God doesn't care whether it is ecclesiastical or not; a parachurch worker is just as accountable to God as a pastor in a church for what he teaches (or doesn't teaches).
So anyone still wants to be a teacher?
Friday, April 13, 2007
OK, some Canadians at least have apologized to the world for promoting sodomite "marriages" here. When will the stupid 'civilized peoples' of the world realize that violation of God's principles will destroy their lives, families and societies?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Oh my, look at this. Seems like Rick Warren requires a spin doctor these days to keep his purpose driven empire alive. Whatever happens to his former apologist Richard Abanes, writer of the book Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him? Is Mark Kelly going to publish a book entilted "Why Rick Warren's tactics are not marketing" or something like that? Oh well, guess at least Rick Warren hasn't stoop to the level of suing people to silence the truth...
Oh, check this out to see why Rick Warren is indeed involved in the marketing business...