Friday, May 27, 2011

No Pastor, No Sanctification

Thabiti Anyabwile makes a laudable case, based on statistical data, for the predicament that afflicts many pastors. He states:

"Work long hours in a job with too many demands for too little pay. Many have the wrong skills and the wrong expectations. Families being pressured and battered. Pastors are discouraged and depressed. No friends, serious conflict once a month, and people who will not follow. Is it no wonder so many quit so soon?"

I think the crux of the matter rests on the lack of knowledge on the part of the parishioner regarding the indispensable role that the pastor plays in his or her walk with Christ.

Much talk is made of sola scriptura, but it seems the idea that is prevalent in the minds of most is that one only needs the Bible (and a comfortable room), and nothing else, for growth in Christ to ensue. This, of course, is nuda scriptura, and sound, orthodox Christianity would have none of it. With Bible on hand, and a few mystical techniques (aka. "spiritual disciplines"), one is then set to ride on the fast lane of WWJD Christianity. The pastor's role is that of a coach who cheers on the sidelines, making sure the driver is all pumped up and motivated as he negotiates those tight curves on the way to the finish line.

However, Scripture, and how it has been applied by the Church down through history in terms of ecclesiology, speaks of the pastor as one who mediates the graces of God through the means that He has established. The means of grace, the means by which the Holy Spirit unites the believer to Christ and thus fosters Christlikeness, are the preaching and teaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.

The pastor must be trained in Scripture, and his expertise in it, with all its applications, is necessary for the benefit of his hearers. Pastors who are "dumb" in the Bible are dead weight and serve no purpose in the Body of Christ.

Every Christian must love Scripture and endeavor to study it on his own, but not everyone is called to the level of biblical erudition that a pastor is, and since God has promised to accompany the preaching of His written Word and the administration of His physical, tangible Word, via His ordained mouthpiece, with spiritual blessing, the parishioner shortchanges himself dramatically—spiritually—by giving too low of an import to his pastor.

Christ did not leave His Church as wandering, aimless sheep but has commissioned His undershepherds to feed and nurture His flock up until the day He comes back to reclaim them.

Do you want to grow in Christ? Then consider this: No pastor, no growth in Christlikeness. It's just that simple. So love and support your pastor with an unquenchable passion.

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