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There is a disheartening rite of passage every young pastor faces. And though it was almost 10 years ago, I remember my own moment clearly. "Have you heard?" asked my senior pastor when I arrived at the church office that morning. I hadn't. ...

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Jim Ricker

February 22, 2013  9:02pm

Rick, On the apostles, you bring up a good point that I wrote a 25 page paper on so I understand the problem well. Nowhere does God tell us apostles will continue. The list you give is not complete and apostles are very visible and known (they are appointed and not ignored by God). An invisible apostle throughout the centuries is an oxymoron. You're free to believe as you wish but that doesn't mean your beliefs fit with Scripture. Using a couple loose references that give no context as 'proof' of continued apostleship today is poor hermeneutics at best and brings poor interpretation.

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Jim Ricker

February 22, 2013  8:58pm

Rick, Paul wrote those words, yes. The problem is that 1 Corinthians 12 is not addressed as how to 'order the house of God' as 1 Timothy and Titus are instructed as. 1 Cor 12 is about the GENERAL gifts given to the church body, NOT organizing the house of God or church leadership. "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." Notice how it is about the common good, not to be the order of leadership or what needs to be taught. Now we see something else just as important, "All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually has He wills." Context is the key to knowing what God tells us in His word and the context is not about officials, church offices and the ordering of His house.

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Rick Dalbey

February 18, 2013  8:16pm

Paul writes that, “God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” All of these ministries are equally appointed and normative with no indication that any gifting would cease. Timothy is called an Evangelist, gifted by the Holy Spirit and was trained on the job by Paul. In fact, most preaching in the New Testament is evangelistic and occurs outside the church. Teaching, exhortation and prophecy occurs inside the church. Why do you say, there is no promise of healers in the church when Paul says, God has appointed in the church gifts of healing”? He makes clear in verse 29 and 30 that these are people with ministries in the church. By the way, I count 19 apostles in the New Testament, including Matthias, James the brother of Jesus, Paul, Barnabas, Andronicus, Junias, Apollos. I believe many have functioned as apostles through the ages without ever bearing the title

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Jim Ricker

February 18, 2013  7:16pm

We see those that are called to be prophets raised up and recognized by the local church body but there is no office mentioned. Same with evangelists. Healers are mentioned but again, there is no promise of healers being in the church. As to apostles, there is no evidence of apostles after those noted and written of in the Scriptures. None of this means that the gifts have ceased by any means but there is no promised continuation of most of the gifts (although Peter does speak about prophets in the last days starting during the Acts church time period) throughout all of the church's history. There is a difference between what is recorded as normative (elders and deacons) and what is spoken of as being gifts given by the Spirit AS HE DEEMS, not promised continuation. As to prophets and healers being ignored, that is not true. They are ignored in some circles but the fastest growing part of the evangelical church is the more 'Pentecostal' portion and it is no longer some minority.

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Jim Ricker

February 18, 2013  7:10pm

Hi Rick, Leadership Journal is not a bad thing by any means. What the issue really comes down to is the American person who happens to go to 'church.' We desire a preacher. Most church organizations in America "outside of the Roman and Orthodox Catholics, Amish, Bretheren and some others) have structures built on the individual right and freedom model that makes leadership elected by the flock. As to colleges turning out preachers - they do but they also turn out teachers and those who understand eldership (as this was how I was trained at an evangelical college while being trained in Pastoral Ministry). On the idea of training evangelists and prophets, the concept is not one I find biblical at all. Evangelists utilize the same skills taught with preaching, only the context is different (much like the difference between a preacher and an elder - related but not the same). There is no evidence of a NT prophet needing to be taught, nor an evangelist for that matter. Continued..

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Rick Dalbey

February 16, 2013  9:58pm

Jim, I thought I made it clear that I agreed with you. I said "Paul calls them overseers in 1st Timothy. They were to lead and guide the church with shepherd hearts." I agree a Shepherd's heart is essential for an elder. We agree that the Western view of the office of a single-pastor church (wearing of all hats) is a deeply flawed model. This is the model I grew up under...the sole Preacher who ruled the church. Seminaries and Bible schools are still turning out "preachers". They are still creating magazines for them like CT's Leadership Journal. The evangelical church pays zero attention to the office of prophet and little attention to evangelists and teachers. Paul also says God appoints healers and miracle workers. Wouldn't it be interesting to take these church responsibilities just as seriously?

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Jim Ricker

February 16, 2013  8:16pm

HI Rick, There is no expectation (outside of eisegesis) to think those lists are exhaustive individually. On top of that, gift lists and ministry lists do vary if we look at them closely (compare 1 Tim 3 and Titus with 1 Cor 12 for example). I notice you didn't interact with 1 Pet and 1 Tim 3 as Peter makes it clear that they are to exercise their office as shepherds. Your calling Paul's words for elders to have a shepherd's heart as being 'useful" misses the intent completely. It is not a 'useful' quality, it is an essential character trait. As for the Americanized office of a single-pastor church (wearing of all hats), that is agreed on.

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Rick Dalbey

February 15, 2013  11:42pm

Elders were plural at every church. Paul calls them overseers in 1st Timothy. They were to lead and guide the church with shepherd hearts. Elders are never listed in the five-fold gifts to the church. It was either “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers” (ephesians)which is the single mention of the word pastor in the New Testament. Paul drops the mention of Pastor in 1st Corinthians 12 “God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” The concept of the sole church ruler/pastor/weekly preacher is alien to the 1st century. The normal church service might have exhortations from up to 3 prophets, bible reading, teaching, the Lord’s supper, singing, all by different members extemporaneously as we see in 1 Corinthians 14. When we ask one man to do it all, they inevitably implode.

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Jim Ricker

February 15, 2013  7:56pm

Peter specifically tells the church that elders are to pastor the flock (1 Peter 5). There is no ambiguity with that passage. The qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3 present characteristics and expectations that the elders will care for the flock. Jesus instructed Peter to feed His sheep (pastor His flock). Allowing elders to flourish and lead well includes having multiple elders (the NT model) in order to support each other, lead the flock with wisdom and yes, help keep each other 'in line' when needed.

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Rick Dalbey

February 14, 2013  4:25pm

We were never designed to shoulder the job description of what we today call, Pastor, or Poimen, a word used only once in the New Testament. Yet the New Testament office of Prophet is referred to 39 times, from Philips 4 daughters to Agabus to Barnabas, to the Corinthians, the 12 Ephesian men and on. You think we’ve perhaps got it backwards? Paul never called anyone in the epistles a Pastor. It was a shepherd’s heart he was refering to, a useful quality for elders, teachers, administrators, missionaries and prophets, not an office. After John Calvin rejected priests, we took the ministries of prophet, teacher, evangelist, apostle and elder and rolled them all up into the Super Office we named Pastor. We have also given him the role of facilities administrator, given him the tithe and made him the sole ruler over a religious body of people. Is it any wonder they implode? We need team ministry. Real team ministry, (not the Pastor's team, the Lord's team).

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Steve Skeete

February 14, 2013  4:20pm

Is pastoral ministry really a 'dangerous calling' or do Churches create monsters by making mistakes? The article notes that seldom are pastors chosen for their spiritual qualities, but instead for their academic achievements. Two passages in the N.T are dedicated to the qualities pastors should have. Another mistakes churches make is giving pastors too much power, naively believing that "power corrupts" does not apply to pastors. People think highly of and gravitate towards men of power. Men of power often come to believe in themselves and see themselves either as above the law, or as having some special 'dispensation'. A third mistake is that many pastors, especially those who have started their own 'church' or 'ministry', are accountable to no one; there is no 'plurality of leadership', no one to reign them in if they go 'rogue'. We all know the sins to which men in the pulpit are most prone: women, money and the abuse of power. The church must face up to and deal with these.

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Matt STEPHENS

February 13, 2013  9:30pm

Thousands of us (former pastors) understand very intimately what Paul Tripp is writing about. We could not dare talk about our sin or psychological dysfunction, because being "above reproach" is written into the job description. With regard to the short temper and emotional disengagement (guilty on both accounts here!), what else do you expect from someone whose "job" demands such constant emotional gravitas? We are only human! Everything we do is more emotionally weighty than most people can imagine. The plain fact is that full-time ministry of the sort pastors do saps so much emotional energy that there literally is nothing left. And you don't have to be a workaholic pastor for this to happen. I wasn't, and it happened to me.

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