Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Personal Opinion

I don't normally form opinions about things.

 I hate conflict and I don't like arguments. Now, I'll argue with you about whether WallE of Toothless is cuter, because that doesn't matter. But when it comes to things that really make a difference in the world, I think I am afraid to voice my thoughts because I am always learning more and changing how I feel later. What if I adamantly defend one point of view, only to discover I was wrong a few months later?

But I suppose the point of arguing is to present an argument and listen to the other person's argument, and therefore learn more about the subject and possibly change your opinion. But for now, I can only base it on what I know.

And here's what I know:
1 Timothy 3:2 gives a strict list of the lifestyle requirements for a church bishop: "above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap."

So, sorry that was such a long quotation, but there is a long list of requirements. And then it goes on to say more about the deacons, and their wives. You see, the church took their leaders seriously.  Maybe it is because they took God seriously.

In the midst of persecution, the people who accepted this new, possibly heretic faith wanted to be fully transformed by God. They wanted to hand everything over to him and completely trust him with their lives. They had to if they were going to turn their back on their family's way of living in order to follow Jesus. Jesus commanded his disciples to leave their families and follow him, to not turn back or second-guess their decision. He wanted serious followers.

So if you're a serious follower of a serious religion, you certainly want leaders who are serious. Maybe it's because we don't feel we need Jesus anymore; church is just something we do to make us look good on college applications and to the local community. Maybe it doesn't even do that anymore. Maybe church is just an outlet for people who feel the need to live for something bigger than themselves, so they join the church and try to change her to fit their lifestyles.

Leaders are not called to the church to rewrite her doctrine, leaders are called to serve her and take care of her. Now obviously we are human, and we screw up in the church all the time, so yeah, we can speak up if we don't agree with something. But we cannot change what the church fundamentally is, and that is a place to learn about and serve Jesus Christ. That means we have to follow his rules. If you don't want to follow his rules, you probably don't want to be a part of the church.

A pastor should be someone who cares passionately about God and passionately about the church. A pastor should believe in the Bible. A pastor is going to be preaching from the Bible. That's what pastors do. Therefore, I don't believe that someone who disregards portions of the Bible they do not agree with, is really suited to be a pastor. It's like you want to be a professional photographer, but you only ever change the shutter speed, and not the aperture. Or you want to be a chef, but you leave the salt out of every recipe, because you don't believe in salt. If you don't believe in and advocate the Bible, you can't preach from the Bible.

So this, I suppose, is an argument about a random subject, but this is what I pondered in my devotions this morning. I don't think I adequately shared all sides of the argument, but this is already a long blog post, so if you make it down to here, I hope you'll understand. There are too many little details that one can complain about to cover them all anyway. But basically, according to my logic, I don't think the church is wrong in preventing people who don't accept the Bible's standards from being pastors. They can be a part of the church, they are not bad people at all, but pastors are held to a higher standard, and I'd think that if you cared enough to be a pastor, you would care enough to accept those standards.

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