“An idle minister — what will become of him? A pastor who neglects his office? Does he expect to go to heaven? I was about to say, ‘If he does go there at all, may it be soon.’ A lazy minister is a creature despised of men, and abhorred of God” (Spurgeon, The Greatest Fight in the World, p. 40)
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Lazy?! But he spendeth half his week laboring under the those incandescents to produce his masterpiece of lecturehood! That leaves no time for visiting the sheep.
Not a fan of masterpieces, but a sermon fit for the whole family of God, both young and old, takes a lot of time. That and all elders are to be hospitable, not just the pastor.
You’re very kind.
Does the pastor or any of the elders pay your family regular visits?
No, but they do a pretty good job of visiting widows, the infirm, and having families over for dinner, which seems to be the requirement of Scripture. Honestly, I’m not seeing a broader requirement in the Bible for visitations beyond orphans and widows. I do like the recommendations of Baxter on visitations, but I wouldn’t make it a requirement. I should note, we also have our pastors and elders over for dinner on occasion, so we do get opportunities to encourage one another.
No biblical requirement for a shephard to know his sheep?
PerfectHold, thanks for the helpful exchange. I guess in context of your initial response, I’m trying to protect the pastor’s sermon prep time. I’m not against visitations and I’m certainly for pastors knowing the flock, but I’m very concerned about putting undue, and possible unbiblical requirements on pastors that would pull them away from their primary task. I think of it this way. When Jesus conversed with Peter after the resurrection, he commanded Peter to ‘feed my lambs, … tend my sheep …, feed my sheep.’ And yet, when the widows were being neglected in the daily distributions, Peter and… Read more »
Do your children feel the same about the basis of their attachment to you? Better to be well fed than known by you?
Hmm. This might be the nub of our seeing things differently. I had a godly father (not a Presbyterian, certainly not Reformed in any sense of the word, but more of a Charismatic) who loved the Lord and his family well. We never felt neglected or malnourished. Maybe because of this, I’ve never really thought of a pastor or elder needing to fulfill that role for me. But even in such cases where new converts need a little more in this area, I would venture to say that that is the role of the church as a whole, and not… Read more »
You’ve equated the admonition “feed my sheep” to preaching? You’ve identified the apostles’ forced-upon-them neglection of the Word with not spending time cloistered up studying the Old Testament to discover new applicable nuggets of wisdom they might share at meetings? You say you’ve been fed aplenty by attending multitudinous such lectures, so that’s the stuff they must have been wanting to attend to rather than wait tables? One might get the impression that you take being fed to equal getting more and better theological info? It’s a thinking thing? You’re primarily a thinking creature? Hearing pastors’ timely ruminations feeds your… Read more »
PerfectHold, I’m at a disadvantage from not knowing you or your life story. You haven’t responded with a single statement from scripture to substantiate your questions about what I’ve said, so I’m not sure if you recognize the Word as authoritative. Regardless, that’s all I’ve got, so I’ll simply end with one verse to answer your first question. I think it speaks to the sentiment of the rest of your concerns. “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15 ESV) So much of the Old Test and New… Read more »
Are you understanding that this passage teaches you that God’s heart reaches out for you for the purpose of intellectual knowledge advancement? As though what Israel had been missing was a clearer concept as to the mistakeness of their whoring ways?
And so those pastors justify half their salary going to prepare for a couple hours of lectures that they propose will advance the “knowledge” of their flock?
I don’t see this as an either/or like you appear to be presenting it. I’m not speaking of mere lectures. I think of this as more of what John Piper refers to as ‘expositional exaltation’.
If you have some time, here’s a summary of what I’m talking about:
All the lectures in this series are actually well worth listening to.
Perhaps you imagine this as the primary method Jesus spent His time doing with His apostles and disciples?
Jesus as the protoCartesian, then?
Gotta get your thinking well informed and accurate to be a good disciple?
Please help me. Are you merely a cynic or do you have a well constructed biblically informed alternative to what I’ve presented? The link to the Kent Hughes lecture on preaching is really the best summary I can think of to represent my position. Your ongoing questions make me think that you don’t really have an interest in understanding what I’m trying to say. If that’s true, than be just and stop asking questions. If I’m mistaken, please present an alternative.
Consistorian — It’s possible I’ve developed a patina of cynicism, but I hope not. I do really really believe we (church folk in the presbo – bapto – bible churchy flavors) have been preached at and organized by leaders who themselves have been raised in a think-ism neoCartesian outlook. So my questions to you are genuine because you seem to propose more of the same — but you pull back when asked to make the connection to the logical consequences of your premises — which is good — because it seems like you feel like there maybe something amiss in… Read more »
Thanks PH, that helps a lot. Still don’t agree, but at least I know where you are coming from. A few observations: 1) Think-ism: Since you are using words to get me to change my views, I have to assume that you agree that words, logically and persuasively applied, have a powerful influence that can accomplish much. I think I can agree with your sentiment that the way of life of the pastors and elders can do much to either substantiate or undermine what is praught week in and week out. I think this is the primary reason Paul refuses… Read more »
Brother Consistorian, I’ll agree — teach and preach is the bomb — but, won’t YOU agree: only from a life that is imitatable-worthy? And won’t you agree that the teaching and preaching needs to be done more one-on-one and one-on-two and one-on-three etc than from pulpits on Sundays to assembled devotees? Brother Kent, by his own admission, states he spent more than 11 years of his time (YEARS) in his office, studying, in ongoing “preparation” for the 1400 Sunday morning sermon-lectures he gave over the course of his 27 years. See anything out of whack?! You’ve got to sharpen the… Read more »
I totally agree that the preacher/teacher must, must, must live a life that is above reproach and worthy of imitation. He must be holy, and just, and merciful, and pure, and joyful, and praiseworthy. He must be wise, and sympathetic, and patient, and tender. He must be godly, and strong, and resolute, and steadfast. He must also be hospitable and able to mentor. I’ll even admit that my paraphrastic translation of Matt. 28:x goes like this, “make disciples (students) of all nations, …, teaching them how to obey all that I have commanded.” Certainly, in order for the pastor/teacher to… Read more »
“Those modern preachers” who fashion themselves itinerant preachers might have a bit of an excuse why the don’t know much about the sheep they feed.
But does your translation of the commission imply their job is to teach folk about obedience, or something more?
Something more certainly. I say ‘how’ to obey so I can show that it’s more than merely commanding. It’s teaching. And teaching is more than data transfer. It’s giving reasons and demonstrating that it can be done. It’s using all the tools we’ve been given. Scripture, the Holy Spirit, training, rebuke, correction, reproach, encouragement, instruction, shame, inspiring, mentoring, excommunicating, etc. Merely stating that Jesus wants us to obey his commandments falls short of what we see of the Apostles in the New Testament. He actually wants us to obey. He’s purchased the right through his death and resurrection to give… Read more »
Sounds like a lot of personal contact and connection needed for that kind of result. Can you expect to get that done spending half your week studying in your office for an hour’s worth of preaching, then most of the rest organizing and attending meetings?
Okay, I know my numbers are bogus, but work with me here. Let’s say the average church has 350 members and each member needs at least one hour a week of visitation. Since you think 20 hours of theological study/prayer/sermon prep time is too much already, let’s use that as the benchmark. That leaves the normal 40 hour work week pastor with 20 hours to meet with these 350 members. By my calculations, he would actually need to meet with four separate groups of 15 members each day, for six days a week. In other words, he’s actually working a… Read more »
Ahhhh! Peter, storms back to his wife — “Feed my sheep” He says! Like I’m supposed to abandon my own wife and kids to coddle that group of nitwits! Who’s got time for that. … Wait … I know … I’ll just preach at them for a couple hours — or at least to whomever shows up — spend the rest of the time in my office … okay! I think I can get by with this.” If you’re asking how shepherds are supposed to make enough time to actually make disciples, I answer: There were at least 10 apostles… Read more »
One thing on brother Hughes’ “listening to the lecture-exposition = eating the meal”: ask yourself: how well did Jesus or Paul or James or John do in their “expositional” sermons? Why, their submissions would have been kicked back for both style and content — too much dysexpostion!
Brother Hughes presents the understanding that the Word is first & foremost = ? = Bible.
This itself is dys-exposition, isn’t it?