Monday, March 05, 2012

Ministry and the attitude towards learning


The vocation of being a pastor/ elder is a tough one. To take care of the flock (Acts 20:28) implies that one knows the truth, and therefore what is not the truth. The shepherd has to lead the flock to green pastures and avoid poisonous plants.

Being a shepherd of the flock of God therefore requires training. God-fearing seminaries are meant to provide that training. Whatever one thinks of the role of a pastor-scholar, it is a fact that anti-intellectualism has no place at all in Christianity. The pastor's office was not called a study for no reason.

This especially means that shepherds and ministers are to be humble and teachable, more so those who are not seminary-trained. This is not to say that those seminary-trained are always correct or that untrained people are necessarily precluded from pastoral ministry, but to say that not being trained means that one must train oneself to the level of erudition needed for the task.

It is a travesty when pastors and elders are not humble and teachable. It is an even worse tragedy when they are both unteachable and wrong. At least if they are right, they would not lead others astray. But what can one do with someone who is convinced that he is right when actually he is ignorant and wrong?

Jas. 3:1 is a serious verse that all pastors and aspiring ministers and elders should always keep in mind. Remember that we are not the lords of the church but servants in charge of Christ's flock. The flock does NOT belong to us, and we are not given the permission to have lamb chops.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (Jas. 3:1)

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