Bill’s Wrong

I’m not sure what got up Bill’s craw but he’s painfully wrong when he suggests that the New Testament doesn’t know the pastoral office.  If he had only ever bothered to read Ephesians 4-

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Paul clearly knows the office of pastor and he sees that office as integral to the development, discipline, and furtherance of the Gospel.  He also knows that church leaders make their living from that work.  As he makes clear when he writes to the Corinthians (in chapter 9, Bill, since you’re clearly unfamiliar with it)

This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Perhaps Bill should read before he writes.

[As an aside, I am amused that he denounces me for denying the validity of Lent and yet serving as a pastor (for whom he clearly has no regard) and yet he doubles up his standard and praises my friend Mark Stevens, a true Pastor if his emphatic use of Pastor in bold face is to be taken seriously, for supporting the practice of Lent. What this shows is that Bill doesn’t have a problem with my job (if he did he would have a problem with Mark’s job too) – but that he has a problem with my view of Lent. But instead of addressing that issue, he turns his post into an ad hominem.]

10 thoughts on “Bill’s Wrong

  1. His thinking is muddled. He shifts his definitions around from being a Pastor is scriptural (“I don’t hold to Lent or Pastoring, not because they’re “unscriptural”, but because I’ve not found either practice conducive to my spiritual life (such as it is).”) to it really being historical (“Historically, the institutionalized practice of Protestant Pastoring is based on the traditionally pastoral duties of Catholic Priesthood.”) By doing this, he seems to ignore the first 3-500 years of Church history before Rome gained dominance. This also ignores the rise of the Eastern Orthodox church history. They was no board to govern over the church because there was no building to worry about. My understanding of church history is that Christians met as house churches. But, there were was a board of elders that were selected to care for the elderly and orphaned. Acts 6:7. Clearly, a division of labor had already occurred in the early church. I, personally, don’t have a problem with lent, I don’t find that in the Bible. Yet, if others want to engage in that, I am fine with it. Finally, Bill should spend much more time in prayer, examining his own motives for not finding a church that has in his words has a pastor “who facilitated more than s/he dominated.” In my experience, its often the teaching from the pulpit that is the problem and not the dominance of the pastor.


  2. Apparently you missed the part where I said, “the human institution of Pastoring has some grounds for justifying itself based on the extraction of scriptural principles and the application of those into differering contexts. Which is fine.” Or were you just deliberately overlooking that point for the sake of this response?

    At any rate, you exegete out of context. Again, re-apply those principles in your own context if you prefer, but don’t imply that you’re following those principles sans anachronism. To wit: Your first quotation above refers to a plurality of shepherds, not to sola pastora. The Baptist model of elder board and teaching/preaching elder – it just so happens – is not matched in the NT itself. Your second quotation refers to a travelling apostle receiving an income. Peter’s travelling ministry precedes his visit to Corinth by many years, and poor Paul had to start a new business in every town he arrived at – not that he had much time for business, while he was mothering a new baby church.

    You’re right, Jim, that I do respect the men and women whose hearts are drawn to pastoring, and that includes you as well. My critique of pastoring is simply that I find the structure to be counterproductive; it seems to inherently inhibit what Ephesians 4 builds towards, “that which every joint supplies”.

    But I do respect your heart, Jim. You shared once about your upbringing, and it gave me new sympathy for your total depravity posts. At the bottom of Jim West – it appears – there is someone who simply hates to see sinful behavior causing pain, destruction and hurt to other folks. And Pastoring does limit that. It absolutely does.

    In sum, I respect and affirm your right to Pastor as you do. I just don’t think you should imply that your kind of pastoring is structured at all like the NT’s pastoring. It’s not.


    • i didnt miss your point at all. and it isn’t my exegesis which is faulty but yours. i dont fault you for your reading. i simply take for granted that you lack the necessary tools to exegete properly as well as the necessary theological skills to interpret and apply those exegeted texts.

      just as i would never presume to tell you how to do math, since that’s not my field (and i don’t even like it), i think it just fair for you to hold your exegetical opinions to yourself and reject the impulse to speak about theological and exegetical matters under the guise of expertise. (and i dont mean that harshly or mean-ly or anything- it’s simply a factual statement).


  3. Well, I think your exegesis lacks historical sense, but I don’t have an accredited degree in that field either. 😉

    Thanks anyway for the vigorous conversation. My favorite kind.


    • well bill, since you think being disingenuous and deceptive as well as misrepresenting the facts is acceptable i’ll go ahead and reply.
      1- i have in fact 3 ‘accredited’ degrees in biblical studies. a b.a. in religion, an mdiv (with languages), and a thm. all three from ‘accredited’ schools. my terminal degree is from an ‘unaccredited’ school because i came to see the entire accreditation industry as a joke and farce and so made an intentional choice to ignore the process. i’ve spoken of this in bible and interpretation. so youre deceptively misleading remark is just more evidence of your failure to understand either the subject or me or the facts as they exist.

      finally, we do agree on your point this time- you do possess no accredited or unaccredited or any sort of degree in biblical or theological studies. at least you told the truth that time. so what you think about the subject and how you interpret the bible is totally meaningless. feel free to behave as much like hector avalos as you wish.


  4. Doug, I think the present day practice of pastoring (and priesting, for that matter) is indeed NOT in line with the pattern(s) displayed by the New Testament writings, which individual ministers (or elders, or shepherds, or overseers) can be seen to have followed. Furthermore, current practice is NOT one-to-one representative of any exhortations or exemplary comments (whether descriptive or prescriptive).

    That said, it’s fine with me if folks pastor. I’ve seen God pleased to work through many a pastor, and I assume God will continue to do so in most cases. My problem is simply that such pastors shouldn’t imply that they only do what is “scriptural”.

    But on the issue of my heart, I’ll accept all the prayer you can offer. Thanks much. 🙂


    • bill you’re just invincible arent you. no matter how wrong your opinion, you stick with it. i suppose thats a good disposition for a math teacher. it just makes for poor scholarship.


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