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What I Read Online – 11/01/2013 (a.m.)

01 Nov
    • All Hallows’ Eve: Trick or Treat?
    • The response was overwhelming.  On June 7 more than one hundred men – mostly pastors – gathered in Carlisle for three days of preaching and discussion.  The era of Reformed Baptist cooperation had begun.
    • The 1966 conference was certain to end without much progress on a formal association.  While the attendance revealed an encouraging renewal of interest in Reformed theology, the attendees were the wrong men with the wrong fears and the wrong ecclesiological convictions to adopt any formal union.
    • It is important to remember that at the time of the 1966 conference, Grace Baptist was the only confessional Reformed Baptist church in the nation.  Barnhart had not yet introduced the confession in Paradise, Martin had not left the C&MA, and Mack had only just arrived in Collingdale.  Yet if an association were to grow, these men were the only soil in which it might be planted.
    • The requirement was not that definite efforts be approved by the churches before the association launched them, but that the association could never launch, establish, control, or supervise anything.  The subsequent history of the RBA would reveal the inherent weakness of this approach.
    • The means by which the RBA Constitution restrained the associational impulse was to restrict all actual activity to the local church.  Representatives from various churches could meet; they simply couldn’t do anything.
    • To put it another way, each church was on its own – without any check or balance on its practice beyond its own board of elders.  In the event of irresolvable controversy, the church would have to suffer through schism while the association sat mute.  In the event of abuse, the members of the offending church would be without recourse.  In the event of a doctrinal collapse, the association would not have any means to recall the no-longer-confessional church.
    • “Elder” is simply a more common biblical title for the office we typically call “pastor”
    • I’ll say it again: to be an elder is to be a pastor, and every pastor is an elder. What might surprise some is that Scripture never uses the term “call” or “calling” in relation to pastoral ministry.
    • If you say you’re called to ministry, I don’t immediately know what you mean, or if what you mean is biblical. But if you say, “I aspire to be an elder,” I know just what you’re talking about. You desire to teach the word and shepherd God’s flock, so you desire to fulfill the office God has established for that purpose. And the apostle Paul says you desire a good thing.
    • Notice that in all these cases, financial support is tied to preaching and teaching. All elders must be able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2), and their job description includes exhorting in sound doctrine and refuting those who oppose it (Tit. 1:9). But 1 Timothy 5:17-18 seems to indicate that some elders will be especially devoted to, and gifted in, the work of preaching and teaching. These are singled out for special honor—including pay.
    • I’m not saying that preaching is the only valid full-time ministry. What I am saying is that aiming first at the office of elder, and secondly at being especially devoted to teaching the word, is a biblical goal. Since the Bible doesn’t use “calling” in this context, “calling” isn’t tethered to Scripture. Aspiration to eldership is.
    • Being a pastor is not more spiritual or more acceptable to God than being a plumber. And a plumber who’s also a pastor is walking in Paul’s own footsteps.
    • So not all elders are paid to elder, which means that you might never be. Anyone who aspires to pastor should not only be reconciled to this, but embrace it. If you desire the work of an overseer, you should be willing to do it whether anyone pays you or not.
    • Again, you aren’t a pastor until a church calls you to be their pastor. Whether you ever serve as an elder, and whether you are ever paid to serve as an elder, is up to a church to decide. Ultimately, it’s out of your hands. This should be both humbling and freeing: humbling because you shouldn’t presume on it, freeing because you can simply serve the church and trust God to open whatever doors he wants to. 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 01/11/2013 in Current Issues

 

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