Rick Warren in the Wall Street Journal

5 09 2006

[Rick Warren]In a page-one story today in the Wall Street Journal journalist Suzanne Sataline wrote an article outlining a controversy in a Mississippi church centering on the employment of Rick Warren’s popular but not necessarily biblical ecclesiology.

Judging by her appraisal of Warren’s ministry perhaps she was at the same Saddleback service as me.

“Mr. Warren preaches in sandals and a Hawaiian shirt, and he encourages ministers to banish church traditions such as hymns, choirs and pews. He and his followers use “praise team” singers, backed by rock bands playing contemporary Christian songs. His sermons rarely linger on self-denial and fighting sin, instead focusing on healing modern American angst, such as troubled marriages and stress.”

(HT: Eric Ball)

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Any Volunteers?

5 09 2006

Does God ask for volunteers for gospel ministry? David Hegg in his helpful book Appointed to Preach, says:

When it comes to putting men into pastoral ministry, the evidence shows that God drafts those He intends to use in leadership. Far from calling for volunteers, God descended upon Moses, upon the prophets, the disciples, Paul, and a host of other men down through history. The idea that God is waiting for men to come to him and sign on as leaders in his kingdom may appeal to our modern sense of nobility, but it just won’t stand up to the evidence of Scripture.” (p. 17)

I really appreciate this picture that Hegg draws here. I remember as a new Christian looking around at the pastors that God had surrounded me with. I remember guys who were apathetic, compromising, and less than zealous in their post.

I visited The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville and Dr. Danny Akin, who was at Southern at this time, articulately said just what I needed to hear: “Many pastors should not be pastors.” He went on to exhort all of the men who were in attendance with a quote from Spurgeon where the Prince of Preachers said: “Do not enter the ministry if you can help it.” Akin rightly continued exhorting those in attendance : “if you can do anything else than do it!”

This was helpful for me in trying to integrate what I was seeing in ministry from what I was reading in Scripture. It is always good to have my leash tugged by the Word of God. God has gone through great lengths to eradicate any confusion as to what kind of man is supposed to lead his flock.

Here is just a brief job description for a pastor:

desire the post (1 Tim. 3.1)

be above reproach, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach (1 Tim. 3.2)

not pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Tim. 3.3)

be a leader in his home (1 Tim. 3.4)

be disciplined (1 Tim. 4.7)

be a good example of a believer for a believer (1 Tim. 4.12)

be committed to public exhortation and teaching (1 Tim. 4.13)

be absorbed in ministry and clearly making progress (1 Tim. 4.15)

be paying close attention to his life and his doctrine (1 Tim. 4.16)

be persevering (1 Tim. 4.16)

be impartial (1 Tim. 5.21)

be continually pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (1 Tim. 6.11)

be fanatical about personal sanctification (1 Tim. 6.14)

be unashamed of Jesus’ gospel (2 Tim. 1.8)

be willing to suffer (2 Tim. 1.8)

be strong in grace (2 Tim. 2.1)

be committed to discipleship (2 Tim. 2.2)

be captivated by the risen Savior (2 Tim. 2.8)

be committed to his flock (2 Tim. 2.14)

be diligent & conscientious in the study (2 Tim. 2.15)

be fleeing from youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2.22)

be pursuing righteousness, love and peace (2 Tim. 2.22)

not be prone to arguing (2 Tim. 2.24)

be kind to all (2 Tim. 2.24)

be able to teach (2 Tim. 2.24)

be patient when wronged (and you will be!) (2 Tim. 2.24)

be committed to gentle correction (2 Tim. 2.25)

be scared to death of offending Jesus (2 Tim. 4.1)

be committed to preaching the word of God (2 Tim. 4.2)

always be ready (2 Tim. 4.2)

be correcting, admonishing, encouraging> all patiently and doctrinally! (2 Tim. 4.2)

be sober (2 Tim. 4.5)

be doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4.5)

be loving the flock of Christ (Acts 20.28)

and the fuel of it all:>> be loving Jesus Christ preeminently! (John 21.15-17; Jam. 1.12)

Any volunteers?

For the sake of the glory of God, the good of the church, and the preservation of your own sanity, if you are not being fitted by God to carry out such a ministry then please do something else!

On the other hand, if you are being shaped by God for such a work, know that God has always and is now drafting, sustaining and fueling men and thanks be to God!

It is so good this way, for it is in such a system the man of God will not rely upon himself to lead the church but upon the church’s very head, the ultimate Senior Pastor, Jesus Christ himself who will forever outrank everyone.

O’ may pastors fear and love Jesus until we see him!

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