Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

A final thought or three

…on this subject before moving onto something else. Qualifications, requirements, mandates, and personal opinions … all the things we look for and impose on a pastor.

I Timothy 3:2-7 sets the pattern. Blameless was dealt with in a previous article. The Bible states that the same measure that we judge it shall be meted out to us. A very prominent evangelical leader wrote his own article on the definition of blameless. He took a very narrow, hardline view of the word and the subject of fallen pastors. Fine. Thirty one years ago a young man committed suicide under this same pastor’s counsel and care.  The person was suffering from clinical depression and had asked about suicide and salvation. The family sued the pastor and church. This became the case that caused every pastor and church to carry counseling insurance. The reason I mention it is because that some thirty years later you can still find articles about it. Would the young parent’s consider the pastor blameless?

The sad irony is that the pastor’s own narrow view of the word and its application actually condemn him. Yet he continues in the ministry. Personally, I think he should. I also believe he needs to re-evaluate the concept of blameless. Otherwise he needs to apply his own definintion to himself and step down.

Husband of one wife… is that a statement against divorce or polygamy? It is still debated today. Can a divorced man serve as a pastor or deacon? I believe he can. It does not say a divorced man cannot serve in those positions. It states he must be the husband of one wife …written during a time that some men had more than one wife. Otherwise, a widower who is remarried is precluded from serving as well. I believe it also indicates a Senior Pastor is to be a man. Pretty hard for a woman to be the husband of one wife.

Vigilant and sober… a man who takes the role of pastor seriously. He understands his calling and further understands that satan is going to come at him with everything in his arsenal.

Good behavior and hospitality… his conduct and treatment of people is always being watched and observed by others. Is a pastor who also coaches a ball team, for example but not limited to, and gets into a dust up with an umpire or referee demonstrating good behavior? Is a pastor who “behaves” but keeps to himself and doesn’t really mix and mingle demonstrating hospitality?

Apt to teach and not a novice… do we allow men starting out time to grow and develop or are they to be immediately ready? Now, there are varying degrees and some men who have been pastors for decades are still novices and cannot teach without putting people to sleep.

Not given to wine, not a brawler, honest, not a striker, not greedy… there goes freebirds and fighting fundamentalists out the window (tongue-in-cheek). What one calls brawling another calls contending. What one calls a striker another calls taking a stand.

Ruling well his own house… has more said about it than the rest. Does this mean his children must be perfect? Does this mean if one of them is in trouble he’s out the door? Rule means to manage. Manage means to handle problems. The problem isn’t problems. The problem is if the problems are left undealt with and not corrected.

Good report… even a pastor with flawless behavior and credentials will have a hard time with this. Doesn’t the Bible warn us to beware when all men speak well of you? Yes, he is to behave himself. If he doesn’t … it is to be corrected.

At the end of the day this list accomplishes the same thing as the ten commandaments … it reminds us we cannot do it apart from HIM!

Is a man who violates any one of these requirements to be removed from office? Is he never to be given  consideration to be restored if removed? Interesting there is nothing in that list about removing him. Yes, I believe there are times a man may need to step down. It may be permenately or only for a season. It may be self imposed or imposed by others. The reason this list does not give too many details and no information reguarding removal or reinstatement is simple. It’s not a formula.

Each man, each situation is to be looked at on an individual basis not as blanket case. But that’s what we do. We have so elevated the man of God to the place that he almost replaces God in our eyes. And when he reveils his human side we cannot handle it and “God” is tarnished in OUR eyes. Thus, we make this human man the whipping post.

That does not mean there are not men who have not abused their office or done wickedly in the sight of God.

It does mean look at each case on an individual basis in the light of scripture and not the taint of your experience or agenda. Not every fallen man is a sinister huckster. Not every man still thundering and pronouncing judgment from the pulpit is a saint. They are, at the end of the day, men.

Men make mistakes. Men sin. Only Christ in them …in us… can set us apart and give us what we need to move on and move forward.

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