March 12, 2011

Surely Jim knows better

My response to Jim West, who says my last post was "wrong".  Comment left on his blog:
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.
Seriously, we just need to embrace this, y'all. Keep on pastoring. Better yet, start finding better ways to pastor. (Some of y'all might start with Michael Hyatt's post on the difference between Leading and Managing.) But don't get your hissies in a fit because somebody says it's not scriptural. It's not. Neither are church buildings.  But really, so the heck what?

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