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Archive for the ‘Pastoral Epistles’ Category

A bad pastor, how many can you find?

Probably more than we want.  I suppose if I wrote them all down I won’t even be able to fit them all in our blog–let alone this blog post.

Even if we sort out false teachers among those who call themselves pastors, we will still be sadden to see how many weak or even bad pastors there are still out there.  Bad pastors.  Bad Pastors shepherding Christians.  If you are a shepherd of souls that should make you weep.

Bad pastors among the sheep?  Remember what Paul said to the Ephesians elders when he departed them in Acts 20:28-30:

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you [q]overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He [r]purchased [s]with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

For the sheep who attend a nominal Christian church that’s still within the bound of orthodoxy and have a bad pastor, no doubt there is a dilemma.  Or in some instances a trilemma:  Is their Pastor Lazy, a Liar or Loony?

I believe most pastors won’t fall right away with the big controversial things–things such as adultery, and stealing money from the church.  In fact they might never fall into what I once heard was the three S of failed pastor’s sins: Sexual sins, salary and self-promotion.  I think even those pastors who fall into those larger shameful sins began with certain “respectable sins” first and gradually progressed from bad to worst.  I think the more common sins that most people fault in their church that is legitimate is that their Pastor is lazy, a liar and loony.

(I must be clear at this moment that I do believe there are godly pastors out there and just because I am focusing on those who are bad does not mean there are those who are not faithful to the Lord by the grace of God.)

If you are a young man desiring to enter the ministry you ought to read this and search your heart.  If you are a pastor I think it’s good for a heart check.

Search your heart before the Lord.  Remember that the last four words of a Pastor who is spiritually irrelevant is “But I’m a Reverend…”  And a spiritually irrelevent Reverend will be the rear end of the world’s jokes, giving them materials to mock your Savior.

Are you Lazy?

Proof

I love the example of Paul’s ministry when he told the Ephesians’ elders the following in Acts 20:

26 Therefore, I [o]testify to you this day that I am [p]innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

Paul declared the whole purpose of God?  He remembered his congregation night and day?  Paul admonished with tears?  And the one that blows my mind away: Paul can say he is innocent of the blood of all men?

Something tells me he was far from being a lazy Apostle, far from being a lazy Pastor.

I think the Apostle Peter had the same attitude: “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;” (1 Peter 5:2).  It’s kind of hard to be described as lazy when you are eager to serve the Lord.

Questions

Are you the best steward of your time?

Do you do ministry more or less than the members of your congregation?

During the week do you work more or less than the members of your congregation?

Do you sleep in?

Do you use your time to pray for God’s people?

Do you use your time to meet with God’s people?

Do you use your time to study and prepare to preach God’s Word?

Do you spend more time playing tennis, downloading apps, etc than you do your spiritual responsibilities?

Do people think you need to put more time in ministry or do people think it is okay for you to cut back?

Do you go the extra-mile?

And more importantly, does your love for God translate into a love for people?  If you genuinely love people, you would desire to minister to them.  You won’t hold back.

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Grace for the motivation: But it’s hard to be motivated to serve the Lord eagerly and all out.  What is the heart’s cure for laziness in ministry?  Peter goes on two verses later to say: “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading [c]crown of glory.”  That’s your motivation.  It is Christ and for Christ’s pleasure.  To please Jesus, the Chief of Savior who will give us a reward for faithfulness.

Are you Liar?

Proof

Paul in speaking to Titus said “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with [d]purity in doctrine, dignified, sound inspeech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).  Pastors ought to be above reproach in their speech.

Questions

Do you accurately represent those who disagree with you?

Do you omit certain details when you share something as to portray something in a light that you desire?

Do you allow the other side to share their views?  It is easy to misrepresent the other side if one does not allow the other side to share.

Do you have a habit of lying about the small stuff?

Are you incline to exaggerate a little bit the fruits of your ministry?

Do you use “I feel…” to sneek in deliberately something knowingly that is not true?

Do you tell “When I was in Seminary…” stories that aren’t true?

Are you prone to tell stories about how good you are all the time? (Perhaps not being forthright with your less than noble side).

Grace for the motivation: God is a God of truth.  As His people we ought to be a people who loves the truth!  Jesus Himself is the Way the Truth and the Life!

 

Are you Loony?

Proof

Paul in speaking to Timothy said “But [c]have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;” (1 Timothy 4:7).

Paul said something similar to Titus: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” (Titus 3:9)

Paul’s Pastoral Epistle definitely see a concern for the pastor not to get involved with foolish controversies and sensationalism.

Questions

Do you spend more time talking about what is right and true more than what is wrong and false?

Do you spend more time talking about conspiracy theories than the Bible?

Do you believe you know something extrabiblical that most people don’t know and you pride yourself in it?

Does Youtube videos about the Free Masons interests you more than Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology?

Do you think people are out to get you?

Do you have a martyrdom complex?

Do you see the following symptom is a problem?  You can spend more than an hour talking about the Illuminati, 9/11 and Charles Mansion than you can about the book of Genesis.

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Grace for the motivation: God’s Word is more delightful than any conspiracy theory.  Abiding in Christ is a sweeter satisfaction than the lust and infatuation with darkness.  Commune with Christ through the Word and prayer!   Rest in God’s Sovereignty, knowing that man’s conspiracy attempts will not be victorious against His Divine plan.

Conclusion

Pastors and Seminarians:  Are you lazy, a liar or loony?  Hopefully you are not all three.  May we not forget God’s gracious provisions in the Gospel that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and He is the one who cleanse us.  That is the promise of 1 John 1:9!  Repent from your sins and turn to Him for the source of power to be the man of God that pleases Him.

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Gordon Clark Volume

I was disappointed with this commentary. Gordon Clark is best known as a Christian philosopher advocating an epistemology of Scripturalism. While I appreciate his contribution to Christian philosophy (with the caveat that I critically accept him and also reject certain views he hold, see my other reviews of his works), here in the Pastoral Epistles it is not up to the par with what I expected from how his followers talk about his commentaries on the Bible.
THE GOOD
–The commentary rightly stresses the objectivity of the Christian faith and that faith is no mere subjective experiences.
–The commentary also makes the observation that the Pastoral epistles emphasizes the importance of doctrines and teaching.
–I was encouraged with the comment on 2 Timothy 2:1-2 about teaching faithful men who can teach others
–The second appendix gives a good explanation of Presbyterian doctrine of ordination. Clark makes it clear that he is dependent upon the work of George Gillespie.

THE BAD
–Clark does not grasp the Greek aorist tense. For instance on page 17, we see him commenting that an aorist “refers to a single act in past time” which we see him assuming this again on page 48 concerning 1 Timothy 3:16. As is seen in the commentary (and for those familiar with Gordon Clark’s background), Clark is more well verse in Classical Greek than Biblical Greek.
–I wished Clark could have gone over in more details the qualification of what is expected of an elder in 1 Timothy 3 but Clark disappointingly stated, “Most of these qualifications require no exegesis” (39). One should see how other commentaries expound on 1 Timothy 3 exegetically.
–Commenting on 1 Timothy 1:17 Clark goes tangent to say about heaven that “the New Testament indicates that some organs will be missing—our stomachs, for example,” without any verse quoted or reference cited.
–He asserts on page 52, “That a convinced vegetarian can be a good Christian is doubtful. In any case, abstinence from foods must not be based upon allegedly divine dietary laws.” But what he conclude about vegetarians does not follow from 1 Timothy 4:3 since he does not take into account vegetarians who choose so out of preference and is not driven to be one because of divine dietary laws. Think of the guy who is vegetarian for health reason but loves Jesus.
–Clark’s rhetoric is unnecessarily inflammatory; for instance, in commenting on 1 Timothy 4:8, Clark writes about Olympians: “Even aside from the drugs they take to pep them up, and the medication used to desex the women contestants and turn them into masculine freaks, the athletes have chosen the wrong values and lead wasted lives” (55).
–He translate “saying” as “proposition” in 1 Timothy 4:9; I don’t know if there’s an exegetical basis to translate it that way.
–Concerning 1 Timothy 6:16, Clark believes the “light” here refers to truth but if this is the case then it leads one to hold a position that God is unknowable.
–More than once Gordon Clark writes that “there is little need of exegesis and explanation” (122). If you look up the same passage in another commentary you discover there are insights of something there in the passage.
— This carelessness of seeing no need of exegesis is disappointing when it comes to lists of words such as in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 where Clark states “most of the words need no boring, dictionary definition” (123). Clark’s commentary is seriously deficient in lexical insights. It is also disrespectful to the Word of God to say there’s no need for “boring” definition.
–The section on the book of Titus fail to discuss what we know of Titus from other passages from the New Testament, a glaring omission for a commentary.
–Clark translates “vain talkers” in Titus 1:10 as “fallacious reasoners” but he does not give any explanation for his unusual translation. I do believe vain talkers contrary to the faith will reason fallaciously or with wrong premise but I don’t think this truth means one should translate “vain talkers” to mean “fallacious reasoners” here for this passage.
–Commenting on Titus 3:6, Clark notes that the verse cannot be used to support water baptism by immersion but then says “the Lutheran practice of pouring is Scriptural; at least Scripture permits it” (169). Earlier in Titus 3:5 he denies that this passage is teaching baptismal regeneration so obviously 3:5-6 is not talking about water baptism. So if Titus 3:5-6 is not talking about water baptism, what other Scriptural support does he have for water baptism by means of pouring? Clark just asserts it without proving it.

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