Posts Tagged ‘clericalism’

Finally, under all the scrutiny and pressure, the reluctant and recalcitrant “leadership” of Willow Creek finally does the right thing. Perhaps it became inevitable, especially in light of the latest allegation.

First Steve Carter resigned.

Then came the long awaited wholesale wiping the slate clean.

Beth Allison Barr is dead on when she wrote:

For Christians who loudly proclaim the “priesthood of all believers” and that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” evangelicals are surprisingly quick to venerate pastors. Charismatic personalities and dynamic preaching—especially preaching that attracts thousands of new members—seems to make us forget that pastors are still frail humans.

And Mel Lawrenz offers 7 untruths that all leaders need to pay heed to, because “This teachable moment will not last long before we all move on with the busyness of our work. If this crisis is only seen as one man’s transgressions with women, the bigger picture will be missed.”

The time for megalomania-driven “ministry” and rampant idolizing of Christian celebrities must come to an end. If the Church does not repent and learn from this incident, then shame on all of us.

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The latest issue of 9Marks Journal deals with Pastoral Burnout and sadly, most of the articles, while helpful, are predictable. For example, in this article, the author is correct that nowhere in the NT is there anything to suggest that a local assembly of believers should be led by one man:

He’ll realize that he cannot care for the church alone—like a CEO—and so he’ll desire men who can do more than run his ministry mechanism. He’ll desire men who are shepherds with different gifts, viewpoints, and perspectives.

A plurality of elders is a natural conclusion for those who rightly understand the New Testament church and the role of pastoral ministry. But more than that, a plurality of elders is a biblical conclusion and expectation. …

A healthy congregation needs the care and oversight of more than one man, and a plurality of elders affords many particular benefits: better teaching, a broader congregational perspective, a variety of gifts in leadership, and accountability among leaders.

This is all good and fine as far as it goes. But the article seems to suggest that having a plurality of elders offers a (humanly) self-sufficient prevention against burnout. However, the apostle Paul acknowledged the help and encouragement from a diverse number of friends of various backgrounds. He did not hang out with just a “clerical clique”.

Dear pastors/elders: do you have close relationships with “regular Joes” in your congregation? Do you pray intimately with them and seek counsel from them? Or do you only seek out other pastors/elders? Some of the most encouraging help, wisdom and prayer I’ve received over the years have come from simple, ordinary brothers and sisters, young and old.

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