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quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Holy Ministry - Looking Back

The blogpost below is my "first" blog of note. Dating back to October 19, 2005 it is re-issued again here:

the "gift" of pastors - Ephesians 4:11-16

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
(Ephesians 4:11-16)

How do you look at your pastor? Should he be a good motivator, administrator and leader like we find in the business and political worlds? Should he be a good salesman for the church and her activities? Should he avoid theological matters and instead focus on numbers, revenue and success? Should he avoid the church's liturgy and instead focus on entertaining the people? Should he "get out of the way" so we can "do the ministry?" These are questions raised by people both inside and outside the church who, for whatever reason, see the church primarily as an institution or business that deals in or sells spiritural themes and slogans to inspire us or motivate us for the week ahead. These are sincere people who want to see the church succeed.

See how the Apostle teaches that pastors and the church are something quite distinct from these popular notions that we hear about today. The church and her pastors are of a different tradition. They are of the apostolic tradition, that of the Holy Scriptures, which speaks of them as "gifts" of God Himself. Why are they called "gifts"? Because they are sent by the Lord for the benefit of His Church on earth to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to edify the body of Christ. Why? So that people will no longer be tossed here and there by any and all kinds of doctrine that are everywhere in the world but that come from outside of the apostolic tradition of the Scriptures. Also, that they will not be fooled by "new" teachings about who the pastor and church are or ought to be. Instead, God gives the gifts of pastors that people who hear and keep His word will "all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" and " may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ."

The difference then is not in seeing the pastor and the church as merely a voluntary association of like-minded people who love to do good but rather as "gifts" from God Himself. God gave and gives pastors to the church, as He did the apostles, prophets and evangelists, so that people may be drawn out of the popular thinking of this world and come into communion with God Himself in Christ Jesus. Jesus was sent by the Father and gave Himself over to death for the world that we may in and through Him receive forgiveness of sins and life in God. This tradition in the catholic church of communion with God in Christ lives on in the holy liturgy of the Word and Sacraments, rightly preached and administered by pastors for the blessing of God's holy people. So as God is love He gives to His Church on earth the gift of pastors in love and in Christ "the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

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