old junk in new churches-part five

please allow me one, final installment in this series.  in my next post, i will edit and present insightful comments along with my answer to the question, “what exactly is your point?”  today, though, i want to talk about our fascination with “the man of god.”


in the old testament, god used to communicate with man through prophets, kings, and priests.  god chose the man he would use and then, in order to empower him to do god’s work, pour his holy spirit on him.  moses was certainly a “man of god.”  so was david. and elijah.

since jesus’ atoning work, though, all believers are eligible to be empowered by the holy spirit to do the work god has for each of us.  the apostle paul taught that each of us has a function in the kingdom.  peter tells us that we no longer need a priest, or mediator, as we are all members of the priesthood of jesus. 

in fact, the idea that there is a separate “clergy class” in the church is a man-made myth found nowhere in scripture (we need t-shirts that say, “i’m not a layperson!”).  for example, i am ordained by god to serve my fellowship as pastor, but that does not mean that i am more special or more spiritual than anyone else in my church family.  my calling/office/ministry simply means that i am filling the role designed for me before i was born.

if i were you, intrepid reader, i’d be asking right about now, “so why do we still look at church leaders as ‘the man of god’?”

i think its mostly our (preachers) fault.  we love our positions of honor and authority (like the pharisees) and we work hard to protect our standing in the hearts and minds of our followers.  my brilliant friend, curt harlow, accuses us of being “co-dependent pastors”…we need people to need us.  the fact is, you do need a pastor (if you didn’t, god would not have given them as gifts to the church) and he is worthy of honor, but your pastor is not inherently more holy or more spiritual than you are.  he is a person–a sinful person–just like you are.  

i don’t want to be “the man of god.”  i just want to be a godly man.


8 thoughts on “old junk in new churches-part five

  1. I like what you say here.

    It seems to me the model of a church was to have a team of elders dedicated to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:2-4; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:22; Acts 20:17; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5). When people come into positions of power or respect, they need others in the same/similar position to help them stay humble. They also need others in the same/similar position to help them not get over burdened.

    I think pastors (particularly in churches where they are not part of a team of elders) sometimes get carried away with themselves. And the congregation allows it, even sometimes encourages it.

    All elders should be able to teach (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:2-3; 2 Timothy 2:2). But not all have the same responsibilities (1 Timothy 5:17). The elders are to come from the congregation (2 Timothy 2:2). Too often we put people in positions of leadership before they have been tested (1 Timothy 3:10).

    There is a difference between a pastor and a preacher. We each have different gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-10, 28-31). We each have different roles. But we are all called to be holy (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16). We are all priests (1 Peter 2:5,9). Too often these things are forgotten or never taught to begin with.

  2. You don’t have a choice. You said that God picked you and designed you for a role from before you were born. Same goes for all of us.

    It’s is time for all of us to just be what God made us to be and do it like there is no tomorrow. Man of God, Godly man mostly a semantic issue. Both of those distinctions are to be desired and you are made to do them.

    The book of James says that pure religion is taking care of widows and orphans. Both people that lack a Godly Man in their life. That is what you and I need to be.

  3. I think Randy was trying to say he wants to be a godly man, not THE man of God in the church. True, there should be little difference between a godly man and a man of God. But too often the church only looks to the pastor for exverything spiritual and expects him to somehow be better and more holy than they are expected to be. When in fact, we are all called ot be holy – to be godly men (or men of God, which ever you prefer). All of us need to put our faith into practice, and so few of us do.

  4. A few years back I had a 4th grader in a SS class who was autistic. He would sit in the corner, in the fetal position, in a chair, and play with either the curtains or his socks. Week after week after week. I would sit by him and talk to him with no response every Sunday in children’s church. One day he spoke back and I found after all that time of seemingly in another world he could recite nearly everything I ever taught him in SS class and what he learned in CC at a level of understanding that was staggering for an adult much less a 4th grader. We became friends and talked every week after. That was a turning point for me. No matter where you are at (as long as it is where God wants you) you are a pastor to some one even if you do not know it. And most likely it is to someone only God can reach through you.

  5. Maybe we want to put Pastors, leaders, missionaries and teachers on a pedestal and say they are or should be better than the rest of us so that we don’t feel as responsible for ourselves and our own actions. In a way, in our own minds, it dissolves us of any personal responsibility to answer the same call. If it’s a ‘special’ call only for ‘super special’ people than we can claim we’re not one of the ‘special’ people and avoid guilt and personal responsibility. Jesus called us ALL to follow him and in the end we’ll ALL stand before the same throne and be judged by the same book and it’s the same BLOOD OF JESUS that covers us all. If he loves us ALL the same does he hold some of us to a higher standard than others?

  6. Hmmmmm
    Luke 12:48
    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

  7. G,

    You wrote, ” so that we don’t feel as responsible for ourselves and our own actions.” I think that is why so many people in the pews want to poke their neighbor and say the pastor or teacher was speaking specificaly to them (the neighbor), rather than let God speak to themselves through the message/song/lesson.

    As scripture says:
    1 Peter 2:5
    you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


    1 Peter 2:9
    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

    All of us are called to be holy. We are all called to declare the praises of God. We are all priests. Too often preachers and teachers do not declare this word. And when it IS declared, people who hear it want to ignore it. I think its many of those same people who come to church and ignore John 3:16-18, which reads,

    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son

    In the same way, they want to ignore Acts 26:20,
    20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

    Many of our pew warmers are not dedicated to God. They have a saying faith, but not a saving faith.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s