but i gotta admit that it’s kind of intimidating…and more than a little uncomfortable… to recognize that i disagree with modern big dogs, the likes of: john macarthur, bill hybels, mark driscoll, john piper, chuck swindoll, jack graham, rick warren, t.d. jakes, matt chandler, tommy nelson, tony evans, ed young, david platt, perry noble, and the like.
and not just the current ones, but influential pastors down through the ages, as well.
shaky ground, campers. shaky ground.
but i will hold fast.
simply put, no matter how much i read my bible (and study church history ), i don’t see justification for the existence of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. i just don’t.
i see an entire system of modern church leadership build around a word that appears only once (in its current usage) in the entire new testament:
It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service… Ephesians 4:11-12
the idea of THE pastor…the concept of the chief-boss-director…head dude in charge…powerful…authoritative… anointed…ordained by god…the singular prophetic vision-caster for an entire church…well, that’s where i draw the line.
i just don’t see anywhere in the bible that says that one man is supposed to be the spiritual conduit of god’s wisdom and leading of a congregation of god’s people. i just don’t see it.
there is no question that the list of men at the top of this post represents a modern-day hall of fame for church leaders. they are each eloquent speakers, powerful leaders, and diligent bible scholars (many of whom disagree radically with each other…ahh, the irony…).
they are influential, courageous, passionate, wise, loving, and have each lived lives of compassionate grace for the good of the churches they lead , as well as the church world-wide.
this is not a shot at them. on the contrary, i have deep respect for them and the legacy of church leadership they will leave behind through their books, speaking, church reputations, and personal lives.
(on a positive note, my personal influence and legacy is building. my daily readership in the great blogosphere is expanding by at least one or two a month. *crowd cheers*. and i’ve now had three people ask me when i’m writing a book. dang…it would sooo be four, if my mom were still alive…)
i believe they are fully convinced of their biblical exposition and even more convinced of the high calling they have received. i believe they follow the long and storied model of church pastors passed down to them from their teachers and mentors.
but i still find myself on the other side. when i read my bible, i just don’t see the singular anointed leader role that they do. and that most churches see, also. its not just the pastor who perpetuates the role…it also comes from the expectations of the people they lead.
i see the need for leadership. i see the need for good teaching and preaching. i see the need for people to be cared for. i see the great need for integrity and commitment and healthy example. i work hard to do my best in these areas.
but there is no room for a pedestal.
to the north point family: thanks for knocking the pedestal over years ago. thanks for my reminders to resist the urge to build it again. thanks for the consistent lessons that i need you guys much more than you need me.
* i will be the first to admit that my personal theology of pastoring is not popular. nor is it without flaw. but i have arrived at it through careful consideration of the word and an honest look at the church throughout history… including what is going on in the church today.
** i think i’m going to write about food or baseball…or both…tomorrow. too much seriousness for one week.