Signs of a Proper Pastor


On June 6, 1944, the Allied Invasion Force took to the beaches of Normandy. Though every man that fought that day is a hero to me that deserves the utmost respect, one sticks out in my mind; Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cole. On June 11 the 101st Airborne was ordered to take Carentan. In this attack Lt. Col. Robert’s men were trapped by enemy fire. Gun shots, mortar fire, and machinegun fire kept his entire unit pinned down. Roberts, being a leader, was personally leading his men into battle to take four bridges near Carentan (which was rare, the higher up in rank a person is, the less likely he is to see combat). With bullets flying, casualties rising, and no hope left, Robert’s picked up a rifle with the bayonet attached and gave the order to charge the enemy. He did not give this order and then sit back; he led the charge. He asked the impossible of his men but then led them into battle providing the ultimate example of how they were to act. His actions won him the Medal of Honor, the highest award any military person can be awarded. Whereas most men would have led the battle from the back, Lt. Col. Roberts chose to be among his men, showing them how to fight and what to do.

 

We need pastors like this. We need pastors that are not only willing to get up Sunday morning and tell us how to live, but pastors who are willing to get up Monday through Saturday and show us how to live. That is the purpose of this essay. Too often we look for pastors that have the right look, the right sound, or can keep the crowd awake. We may get what we want but we end up regretting what we chose. We need leaders that will lead by example that will get in the thick of things instead of telling us to from their lofty pulpit position. We need Godly men in the pulpit.

God knows best

 

The first thing a Godly pastor must recognize is the sovereignty of God. This is not merely a catch phrase or a Calvinistic belief; this is a true value within the scripture. A pastor must believe that at the end of all things, God is still in control. God is patient in His sovereignty, not acting immediately upon what He wants, but delaying His inevitable Will (Romans 9:20-22). With this in mind, it is impossible for us to believe that being a pastor or experiencing success as a pastor is brought on through our works. Instead, it is merely God working through us, and when we actively deny this (whether through thought or action) we begin to claim the success of God as our own. Therefore, whenever a pastor takes action on something, he must be sure it is of the Holy Spirit. This means that a pastor must be on his knees constantly seeking the Will of God. We cannot act on a whim or rely upon our own impulses; instead, we must implore God to reveal His Will. Do our actions reflect glory to God or towards ourselves? While God can gain glory (ultimately) in man’s pride, man is still left without an excuse as to why he acted in pride. This is why man must constantly seek God out.

 

To seek God man must inherently humble himself; this act of humbling guarantees that man will not act in pride but instead will act in the Will of God. Likewise, when we realize that God is sovereign over all things, we begin to realize we are accountable to Him for everything we do. Often pastors get on a pedestal in which they believe nothing can reach them. Unfortunately, the proverbial pedestal only makes the fall from such a heightened spot worse. God knows He will receive glory no matter what, and people will come to Him despite the ruined witness of His leaders. He therefore has no problem with letting His beloved progress to a certain point in sin before letting them be caught.

 

When we look to Israel, God did not prevent Israel from sinning; He let them prosper and make deals with other nations while slowly turning their backs on Him. He instead waited for them to get to a point where it would hurt the most to remove everything from them. Just like Adam and Eve realizing their nakedness in the garden, God will strip us to nothing so that He is the only one we can rely upon.

 

Yet, unlike the Jim Bakkers, Jimmy Swaggers, or other corrupted preachers of this world, not all sin we are accountable to occurs in the public view. We must remember that even though the public may see us, and we can deceive the public, strike out at them when they accuse us of hidden sin, and attempt to justify it in anyway, God still sees what is occurring. God, being omnipresent, sees us even when we sin; we simply cannot hide from Him no matter what we try (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalms 139:7-10). This means that when we are committing sin, even if out of view of anyone, God sees it.

 

This also needs to be addressed on an intrapersonal level. Though we may not physically commit an act of adultery, theft, or another sin, the mere thought or contemplation on it constitutes a sin. “… eventually the Christian life and true spirituality are not to be seen as outward at all, but inward…The commandment not to covet is an entirely inward thing…The end of the whole thing is that we arrive at an inward situation and not merely an outward one. Actually, we break the last commandment, not to covet, before we break any of the others. Any time that we break one of the other commandments of God, it means that we have already broken this commandment in coveting. It also means that any time we break one of the others, we break this last commandment as well. So no matter which of the other Ten Commandments you break, you break two: the commandment itself, and the commandment not to covet. This is the hub of the wheel[1].”

 

What Schaeffer is pointing out is that sin begins inward and only manifests itself in outward actions later. Before we perform the action of sin, we have already sinned in the mind. This is solidified in the teachings of Jesus. He teaches that it is the inner process of the Commandments that matter, not just the outward processes (Matthew 5:21-30). Murder was not just the act of taking a life; it was the inward aspect of hating a man. No one saw the hatred manifested, but God knew it existed. Adultery was not just having sexual intercourse with a woman other than your wife; it was lusting after a woman, though no one saw this action occur. The point of all this being that pastors must be pure, even in thought process. Though they may think they can escape the ridicule of the masses and hide their sin, the fact is, God will hold them accountable.

 

God is sovereign and because of this, nothing we do is hidden from Him. He holds ultimate control and will eventually tear us down if we sin against Him. In fact, the inaction of God tearing us down when we sin should frighten us, for He disciplines only those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:7-11).

A pastor must likewise recognize the sovereignty of God over the lives of his staff and members. I had the unfortunate occasion to see a pastor’s belief on this subject. He demanded that his secretary be willing to work twenty-four seven, she was to sacrifice her time in order to serve him. He also told his flock that if they were not willing to sacrifice a majority of their time to church work, then they were not fulfilling their roles as Christians. A friend of mine who was a member at the church was told that because he opted to study for finals instead of help set up for a “worship event” at the church, he was acting out against God’s Will. While a church secretary should be willing to perform his or her job and a church member willing to serve the church in a limited capacity, a pastor should not demand a one hundred percent loyalty to him and his mission. These people are called by God (John 15:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 12:28) to serve His purpose, not the purpose of the pastor. This is what it is to be part of a body of believers. The first command that God gives to humanity is to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). It is not, “give one hundred percent to your pastor,” nor is it “give one hundred percent to your local congregation.” The command is very specific because, next to the primary calling of God (salvation), it is the most important command we can fulfill. In light of this, a pastor must drop the totalitarian rule of his congregation and let them each fulfill their own callings.

 

The “Cultural Mandate” is the call for men and women to have offspring (multiply) and develop culture (be fruitful). This mandate means that we are to develop culture within this world such as the music, arts, education, etc. However, just as a logical step, this must begin in the home. A father and mother hold direct influence over their children (who later go on to continue adding to the culture in a positive way), thus it makes sense that culture begins in the home. When a mother or father is removed from the equation, it makes it much more difficult for positive culture to be created in the children. When a pastor demands that a secretary serve him constantly or that his congregants give up time at their job or with their family to serve the church, the pastor is violating the cultural mandate. He should not only recognize that family comes before the church, he too should live this in practice. Essentially, this means that the pastor’s authority over a church is not authoritarian or totalitarian.

 

“How may I help you?” – Pastor

 

When we look to Jesus, we see that He is the Shepherd of the church; He holds ultimate authority (going back to the sovereignty of God) over what occurs. Paul makes the statement that the overseer (pastor) is to be a good shepherd (Acts 20:28). He does this to show that pastors are to be like Christ; they are to love, correct, protect, and most importantly, serve. When Paul lists his qualifications for a pastor, one of these is “hospitable” (1 Timothy 3:2). During Paul’s time, to be hospitable to a guest meant to serve a guest. You would feed him, give him a drink, and take care of any ailments he might have from his journey. It was more than a hearty handshake; it included serving the person’s needs. A pastor must live up to this standard within the church, helping people’s needs. This goes further than standing at the back of the church after the service and shaking hands – it means listening to people and dedicating yourself to helping them.

If a pastor views himself as the magistrate of the body, he cannot serve. It develops an arrogant attitude in which the congregants and staff are only there to serve his purpose. The fact of the matter is he is there to serve them. Though a pastor is to use a corrective rod – such as with members who continue in sin or in defending his congregation from false doctrines – he is also to serve. Many pastors love to have people come over and mow their laws, clean their house, and do things around the pastor’s house that needs to be done. These are honorable things, and I encourage everyone to help serve their pastor. However, the pastor should be delegating people to feed the poor, care for the widows, help the live-ins, and at times partake in these actions with his deacon body[2].

 

In light of this, it is essential for a pastor to note that he is no better than anyone else is within his congregation. Though a pastor does hold more authority and is the shepherd of the church, ontologically he is equal to everyone else. The position he holds is no more spiritual than that of a janitor. He is no more spiritual than a construction worker is. In the words of Martin Luther, “The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone…Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the feastings and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lack faith.”

 

What a preacher does is vitally important to promoting the kingdom of God on this earth, but so is what every other believer does. A secretary to a pastor must do her best in her family and in her job. This does not mean catering to the pastor, it means doing her work for the Lord. The pastor should not elevate himself above those with a “lower calling” because there is no such thing. “Calling is the premise of Christian existence itself. Calling means that everyone, everywhere, and in everything fulfills his or her (secondary) callings in response to God’s (primary) calling. For Luther, the peasant and the merchant – for us, the business person, the teacher, the factory worker, and the television anchor – can do God’s work (or fail to do it) just as much as the minister and the missionary[3].”

 

Gnosticism?

 

The biggest irony is the pastor who believes he is better than his congregation, due to his calling, is actually engaging in a heresy. Yet, it does not just cease with beliefs. Such as, if a pastor believes he has an equal calling as his secretary or janitor but acts as if his position is superior or more important, then he is living in heresy. How is this belief and/or action heresy? It links to what Os Guinness was talking about, but the issue is much bigger. It goes back to the Gnostics of old, who held a misplaced view of dualism.

 

Before going on, it would be good to define a few terms:

 

Metaphysics/Metaphysical – this is the study of reality. Often times it refers to the study of “first things.” It was originally coined by students of Aristotle that wrote down his lectures. “Meta” in Greek means “after.” Aristotle would speak about first things – what caused the universe to come into being, what or who was the first cause, etc – after he had discussed physics. Thus, it was labeled “metaphysics.

 

Ontology/Ontological – this is a brand of metaphysics. It refers to the make up of different things within existence. In other words, if I left two reasons why I’m similar to a rock and two reasons why I’m different than a rock, I have just embarked in the study of ontology. It studies the make up of things.

 

Dualism – This is simply the belief that things can be split into two categories. A person with a ‘dualistic’ personality would be someone with two different personalities.

 

Metaphysical dualism – when the two terms are combined, it means there are two different realities. If metaphysics studies reality and the universe, “metaphysical dualism” is going to say there are two different realities. Generally this is separated into the “created reality” and the “uncreated reality.”

 

There is nothing wrong with dualism, but there is a problem when we interject Gnostic or Platonic thought into it. For one, Christians are called to be metaphysical dualists. This correct way is proper metaphysical Dualism, in the belief that God is separate from His creation, and all of His creation is ontologically and metaphysically equal. In other words, God is above His creation, the Dualistic line is horizontal running between God and creation.

 

GOD

_____________________

Creation[4]

As Wittmer says, “Christians are metaphysical dualist, for we believe that there are primarily only two kinds of reality in the world: God, who is in a class by Himself, and everything else[5].”

 

This is the proper Biblical worldview to hold concerning God. God, being the Creator of reality, exist in His own realm of reality and thus outside of reality. Anything He creates exists on the same realm of reality because it is all created matter (physical) and non-matter (spiritual). This means that a pastor is called to perform a certain duty within this reality, whether spiritual or physical, and someone else is called to perform another duty. Where the emphasis of that duty is – on the spiritual or physical – should not matter when it comes to importance. Often we think of pastors of dealing more in the spiritual realm and subsequently having a higher calling, and thus promote the spiritual over the physical. This leads to misplaced metaphysical dualism. As Wittmer (site previously cited) diagrams:

 

Physical, Material World

Spiritual, Immaterial world

Temporary

Eternal

Earthy

Heavenly

Lower Nature

Higher Nature

Flesh: hinders piety

Spirit: helps piety

Evil

Completely good

Thus, misplaced dualism creates a chasm between the spiritual and the physical, elevating the spiritual above the physical in all matters. An example of this is Christian clothing, which some believe actually make a shirt and person more spiritual or Christian for simply adorning a spiritual icon.

 

Now we see why too often people elevate the pastor to a position he should not be in, sometimes even the pastor is guilty of doing this. When a pastor believes or acts like his calling is higher or more spiritually important than that of his staff or congregation he begins to adopt this quasi-Gnostic/Platonic view. Though pastors are held to a higher standard and are more accountable, this does not make them more important or their calling of higher ontological importance. Just as a man is to be the head in a marital relationship (Ephesians 5:23), the pastor is to be the head of the church. Yet this headship does not promote order in creation or order in calling. The authority is differentiated but they are still equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28).

 

A pastor does not have a higher calling; instead, he merely has one that holds a different level of authority. This authority, as shown above, is not reliant upon his ability to control, but instead his ability to serve. We must lose this misplaced dualistic view and instead adopt Biblical dualism. We are equal before Christ with different roles in the body and therefore hold no right to act in a superior manner. The pastor has to get rid of the “little people” mentality, realize we are all equal before God, and subsequently treat His congregants and staff as equals. “If you want to know what a Christian leader is really like, don’t ask his peers or board members or adoring fans. Ask how he treats his support staff.”[6]

 

God does hold His shepherds accountable, but it is not for how many members they had, how high they elevated their calling, or how much more spiritual they were than their church; it is how the pastor treated those in a subordinate position to him. Jerram Barrs once told a group of seminarians, “When I come to visit your church someday, I will not ask people about what a great preacher or leader you are. Rather I will talk to the secretaries, the office staff, the janitors, and cleaners and ask them what it is like to work with you. That will tell me far more about the kind of ministry taking place in the church, and whether you are the kind of leader Christ desires for His Church.”[7] He is very correct in stating this, for a pastor who views himself as a servant with an equal calling instead of one who operates under a misplaced dualistic view will inherently help those in a subordinate position, and not make them servants. A pastor should be more interested in helping those on his staff develop as a person and spiritually than simply viewing them as a way to accomplish a mission. That is what they are held accountable for after all.

 

Crunching the Numbers

 

The next thing to be addressed is that a pastor, deacon body, or church members should not be impressed by big numbers. One of the growing movements in the church today is to increase the church in numbers. We view a successful church by first looking to the amount of members it has. Prestonwood Baptist Church and Saddleback Baptist Church are considered successful and blessed ministries because of the large numbers they have drawn in. The problem is that this is primarily a pragmatic and naturalistic view of the world.

 

These two philosophies directly contradict the Biblical worldview. Pragmatism really is the forerunner to post-modernism in that if something can be proven to work, then it is considered truthful and acceptable. This has been applied to the business world in the terms of numbers; if something brings in many customers, makes money, or gets the company name out there, then it is justifiable. This has lead to some very unethical business practices because the “means justify the ends.” The most notable would be Wal-Mart that, in its attempt to lower prices, increase its income, and gain a bigger means to mass-produce, has resulted to slave labor of Christians and sweatshops in China[8]. These practices are fully justifiable under the pragmatic philosophy; after all, it works.

 

Unfortunately, the church has developed a similar philosophy. We are willing to cut corners, use flash shows, water down our message, hype up our message, and do whatever we can in the effort to increase our numbers. It is no longer the Spirit guiding the church; it is the marketability of the church. This method works on the idea of “survival of the fittest,” which stems from naturalism. “We may reject naturalism as a philosophy, but if our work is driven by the rationalized methods we have learned from the world, then we are naturalists in practice, no matter what we claim to believe. ‘The central problem of our age is not the liberalism or modernism,’ Schaeffer writes – or even hot-button social issues like evolution, abortion, radical feminism, or homosexual rights. The primary threat to the church is the ‘tendency to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than the Spirit.’ Many church leaders crave a ‘big name,’ he continues: they ‘stand on the backs of others’ in order to achieve power, influence, and reputation – instead of exhibiting the humility of the Master who washed His disciples’ feet. They ‘ape the world’ in its publicity and marketing techniques, manipulation people’s emotions to induce them to give more money. No wonder outsides see little in the church that cannot be explained by ordinary sociological forces and principles of business management. And no wonder they find our message unconvincing.”[9]

 

When we begin to seek numbers as a validation for the blessing of successfulness of a ministry, we become no better than the ethical world we fight. We can denounce liberal philosophy, but if we practice it then it no longer matters. When we fall into the numbers game, we actually end up legitimizing false doctrines. We can look to Joel Osteen who teaches a severely watered down Gospel that nullifies the emphasis on our fallen nature[10]. The proper Gospel message acknowledges God as sovereign, that we are fallen from the state in which He created us, and we must rely on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in order to achieve redemption. This is a staple in Christianity. Yet Osteen chooses not to focus on the fallen nature, believing “you can live a good life no matter what’s happened to you.” However, when we look to numbers, he is successful and “blessed” in spite of his doctrine. If we look to the success in numbers as a sign of being blessed or spiritually successful, then Islam is the most successful and blessed religion in the world because it is adding more members per day than any other religion[11].

 

We must realize that God is not impressed with the numbers but instead with the quality of those involved, whether is be one or one million. Looking to the Bible, we see that He depleted Gideon’s army from thirty thousand to a mere three hundred (Judges 7:1). What is more amazing is that He did this when the enemy was as numerous as the sands on the shore and his camels were without number (Judges 7:12 ). Though this is Hebrew hyperbole, it shows the immensity of the situation. Gideon was to attack an army that was most likely too big for even thirty thousand men.

 

Gideon was facing an overwhelming force, but God still called for him to deplete his forces. It was not uncommon for Middle Eastern armies to reach anywhere from one hundred thousand to one million (King Xerxes of Persia actually invaded Greece with anywhere from two hundred thousand to a two million man army). Gideon was facing an army that could have possibly numbered from one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand, or about the size of a small American city. God did not call for Gideon to produce a larger army, in fact He was displeased with the number Gideon had assembled; 32,000 was too big. God wanted the number reduced, so only He could gain glory for the event.

 

When we look to Jesus, he led an anonymous life. We see that He chose twelve unassuming men to spread the word of His coming. He did not pick the stars of the day, He did not rely on the Pharisees, He did not amass large crowds simply to enjoy the fact He had all the numbers; Jesus came in simplicity and used just a few to spread the good news. He was born to an obscure Jewish mother in an obscure Roman province. He lived an obscure life and died an obscure death. His death was so insignificant to the Roman authorities that there is only one Roman historian of that time who records the event[12]. I am not attempting to downplay the life and death of Christ (as both are essential to Christianity) but instead showing that Christ lived a life of such humility that when the God of the universe hung upon a cross and rose again, not that many people knew it or even cared.

 

If Jesus, Creator of the universe, could be so humble upon this earth, why can the church not follow this model? Jesus Christ, contrary to the popular musical, was no superstar. It therefore makes sense that a pastor should not seek to be a superstar. Anytime a pastor looks to the numbers, television program, airtime on the radio, or any other marketing ploy as validation of his success in the church, he inherently becomes arrogant and attempts to strip God of His glory.

 

There is nothing wrong with having a big church, a television program, a radio program, a big building, or any of the other “mega-church” ideals. In fact, many of these things can be used by God. However, when we seek after said ideals we only seek to increase our own glory and not the glory of God. A big church does not guarantee quality within the church, which is exactly what God is looking for. Jesus said that the world would recognize Christians by the love they had for one another (John 13:35), not by the size of our congregation. Jesus told us that He would recognize us by our service to the poor, the naked, and the hungry (Matthew 25:31-40), not by how recognized we are in the pulpit.

This is the running theme in not only the Gospels, but also the entire Bible. The people of God are to serve the community and world.

 

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of verses on poverty alone and how God commands – not advises – us to take care of them. It takes humility, not pride, to care for those that will probably never give back. A church that is concerned with growing in numbers is less likely to care for the poor because the poor are needy, they will need money instead of give money. The poor lack power and influence, thus they will not bring any prestige to the church. The poor cannot be well dressed due to lack of funds, thus they destroy the image of the church. Never mind that we are commanded not to show preference based upon clothing (James 2:1-13), the poor do not show a “successful” image.

 

The purpose of a church is to serve God first and humanity second. Growth should be a possible result of a church living the Christian life (it is not a guarantee, just a possibility), not something sought after. Growth should merely be viewed as more people to help serve, not as a validation of a good pastor. Any salesman can get ten thousand people to buy into his message; it takes a true man of God to help change those hearts. A bigger church can have benefits, such as a bigger source of income to help the homeless, a bigger servant base, but this only occurs if the primary function of the church was to edify people, not just merely get warm bodies sitting in the pews.

 

A big church can lead to an arrogant attitude of the pastor. When a pastor surveys the numbers of members and visitors and sees that it is growing, it becomes easy to grow in arrogance over what he has done. The numbers, however, do not matter: what matters is the quality of the people involved. Likewise, the pastor may have increased the numbers but this does not stand as a validation of the truth being taught. I look to a church I formerly attended and that, at our peak in membership and attendance, we had seven married couples in major leadership positions going through divorces. While every church will have problems, this speaks volumes. We had a big congregation, but we lacked substance. Blame is not solely placed on the pastor, or the deacon body, but the church as a whole. Yet failure begins at the top in most cases, and this is no exception. Our leader led us to believe that numbers showed blessing, numbers showed success. This collapsed in on us very quickly when it was shown the opposite was true. Yet the arrogance continued for absolutely no reason.

 

The problem began when the chance for discipleship was significantly lowered. The bigger a church gets the harder it is for it to remain in discipline. I am a member of a church that is relatively small, but is undergoing immense spiritual success. The reason is the size provides for discipleship and accountability, which makes the church stronger. The funny thing is this church does not seek numbers, yet because it follows the very basic tenets of Christianity it is growing. A close-knit community forces people to become involved in the church, in Christianity, and in the community around them.

 

This is the role of the church, to build up the believer so that he can in turn build up the community in which he lives. The pastor should not seek after wealth, after numbers, after a “pretty” ministry or big building. He should seek after the general welfare of his congregants and how his church works within the community.

 

The former church, with the problems, was unique in that it was located in the center of the city. They prided themselves on keeping their church downtown, but the fact is, in its heart it had moved. It may have been physically located downtown and in the “ghetto,” but it had a most decidedly suburban attitude. There was no homeless ministry, there was limited ministry to the neighborhood around the area, and the locals that did wander into the church are often looked down upon by the pastor. The biggest interaction they had with the people living in the community around that church was purchasing their homes to make way for parking space. Should we not worry more about these people’s eternal state than if their house can be bought for a slab of concrete? Should we not worry about these people’s welfare and general well-being than if we can use them? That church sought after numbers and the “mega-church” vibe for far too long and this led to its demise.

 

Family Matters

 

The next attribute of a pastor is how he treats his family and how he manages his family. When Paul was describing what a pastor should look like, he made sure that management of the family was high up on the list (1 Timothy 3:4). In looking through commentaries, I found this one most beneficial:

 

An overseer must (13) manage his own family well. Paul’s specific focus here was on the children. The most reliable (though not infallible) means of determining the quality of one’s potential leadership is by examining the behavior of his children. Do they respect their father enough to submit to his leadership? With proper respect (lit., “with all gravity”) may refer, however, not to the children’s submission, but to the manner in which the father exercises his authority, that is, without due fuss or clamor.[13]

 

The requirement is not in how the children act, but in how the father reacts to his children. Before the importance of this can be seen, we must first examine the importance of the family to God.

 

One of the first commands, as I covered earlier, was for man to multiply and cultivate the earth. God expounds on this later explaining that man is to leave his mother and father and become one flesh with his wife (Genesis 2:24). This means that the husband and wife are one flesh truly. This is neither a clever metaphor nor poetic hyperbole; the two become one flesh in the absolute most literal sense. The individual is lost, the want and desire of the individual is forgone. Instead, the two must think together and do what is best for each other’s interests.

 

This means that fellowship, both physical and spiritual, must occur solely within the marriage. A married man’s best friend should be his wife. He should have no desire for deep friendship, sexual relations, fulfillment, etc. in any other woman. His wife should be the sole object of his every desire because she has become one with him. The reason for this is that a marriage represents the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-26).

 

From looking at the example of Christ, we realize that this subjection does not allow man to be authoritative or magisterial in his leadership. Though Christ is the spiritual head, He also serves the church. He gave His life for the church, the ultimate sacrifice. “It [head of the family] was defined as a divinely sanctioned office that conferred a duty to represent not his own individual interests but those of the entire household…There was a ‘good’ for individuals, but there was also a ‘good’ of the whole, which was more than the sum of its parts – and this latter was the responsibility of the one in authority. He was called to sacrifice his own interests – to be disinterested – in order to represent the interests of the whole. Husbands and fathers were not to be driven by personal ambition or self-interest but to take responsibility for the common good of the entire household…It meant that a man was expected to rank duty above personal ambition. To use a common phrase of the time, he was to fulfill himself through ‘publick usefulness’ more than through economic success.”[14]

 

Man, in his headship, is not given the power to be a tyrant, nor is this activity excused. Instead, he is to look after the best interests of his family and forgo his own selfish ambitions. He does what is best for his family, not what is best for him. That is what it means to be the head of a family.

 

Once a pastor realizes this, he must further realize that his children are a blessing from God (Psalms 127:3). Children stand as proof of God’s providential blessings here on this earth, thus they ultimately belong to God and not us. It is best to think of children as on loan from God, not as actual property that we are to rule over. As I discussed at the first part of this essay, God holds pastors accountable for the acts we commit. Imagine what He will do if we mistreat what belongs to Him, especially as pastors when pastors are charged specifically to hold proper management over the house.

 

Looking back it is seen that a pastor is to have good stewardship of his family. As the commentary points out, this does not necessarily mean his children have to be the model children of the church, just that he is using proper biblical methods of discipline. Yet, it goes deeper than discipline. After all, if all there were to being a father was discipline, then not much would be involved.

 

A father must be not only aware of his family’s life; he must be proactive in them. This means time with the family inherently takes precedence over time with the church. This may not seem like the “spiritual” thing, but looking back earlier into this essay, we see the illegitimate divide between “spiritual” and “temporal.”

 

If we are called to create culture, than we must begin developing the culture in the home. A pastor cannot ignore his duties at the church but these duties should never supersede his duty as a father. At the moment his priorities become displaced, he must willingly step aside for a short while or let the deacons have him step aside. A pastor that neglects his family, according to the Bible, is no longer fit to be a pastor. This means a man who has an emotional affair with a woman places his ambitions above his family, or has violated anything else within this essay.[15]

 

Conclusion

 

Will we have pastors that stand up, train us, give us proper doctrine, and then live it, or merely pastors who give us what we want to hear? We need pastors who are willing to lead by example, that when the bullets are flying, when the controversy keeps us down, when our own desires begin to lead us astray, he is willing to stand up and take the heat, he is willing to lead us towards a common goal in Christ. We need pastors who are men of God, not just men who speak about God.


[1] Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1971), 6-7

 

[2] As a side note to the deacons reading this, “deacon” comes from the Greek word diakoneo which was a word used to denote a household servant. In other words, the very word “deacon” means “servant.”

 

[3] Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (Nashville: W Publishing, 1998), 34.

 

[4] Michael Wittmer, Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You do Matters to God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 43

 

[5] Ibid. 42

 

[6] Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 373.

 

[7] Ibid.

 

[8] http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/upload/Huangwu.pdf

 

[9] Pearcey, Total Truth, 366.

 

[10] Larry King conducted an interview with Osteen where the following exchange took place:

 

KING: But don’t you think if people don’t believe as you believe, they’re somehow condemned?

 

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I’m for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it’s not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that’s God’s for you. You can live a good life no matter what’s happened to you. And so I don’t know. I know there is condemnation but I don’t feel that’s my place.

 

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html

 

[11] http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9704/14/egypt.islam/

 

[12] It is recorded by Thallus and though most of his works are lost (in fact, only partial fragments remain) he is quoted extensively by early Church fathers and secular historians. The most famous being from Julius Africanas, “As to His works severally, and His cures effected upon body and soul, and the mysteries of His doctrine, and the resurrection from the dead, these have been most authoritatively set forth by His disciples and apostles before us. On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun”. (Julius Africanus, c. 221 A.D., “The Chronology of Julius Africanus”, 18.1)

 

[13] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

 

[14] Pearcey, Total Truth. 328

 

[15] It should be understood that an “emotional affair” should not be confused with a “physical affair.” Anytime a pastor is best friends with a woman, or emotionally relies upon a woman, that is not his wife (or blood related) he is committing adultery in his heart. This is, in my opinion, worse than actual adultery in that it is harder to leave because one has become emotionally dependant upon the other person. It forces the woman to fulfill a position reserved for your wife.

Advertisements