I honestly believe that part of the problem we face in New Testament churches is caused by men who either are not truly called of God to the ministry or are unqualified to be there. Although it has been said that "many a hot day and many a stubborn mule have called many a men to preach", not just everyone is qualified to be a pastor according to the Bible. God has set some qualifications that must be met in order for a man to be called of God, to have His blessings upon his ministry and be effective as a minister. I must hasten to add that no man will meet every qualification perfectly. These qualifications are what God has set for the ideal preacher and we, being mere mortals, cannot (with our sin nature) perfectly fit into God's perfect mold. However, the man of God should strive to be the best minister he can be with God's help and also strive to meet each of these qualifications as best he can.
M.L. Moser, Sr. said, "...love to Christ must be regarded in all ages and in all places as the pastor's supreme qualification. All other qualifications are worthless if this is absent" (Baptist Doctrine in One Year, pg. 32). Never before in the history of the church has this statement been more true than it is today. If there is one great need among Gods men today it is the need to fall more deeply in love with Jesus. There are too many men who are laboring in the vineyard of the Lord without an undying, overwhelming love for Christ and the things that pertain to Him. Recently I was in attendance at a Bible Conference where one of the guest speakers made a very favorable, long lasting impression on this preacher. As I spoke to him after he preached, telling him how very much I appreciated his message, tears came into his eyes and he said to me simply, I love Him. This evangelist went on to say that he felt so unworthy to be used of God, but that from the depths of his heart he wanted to do everything possible to please God because he loved Him. Oh, that this could be the confession of every God-called pastor today; I love Him. Whew! What a statement!
While I am sure others could possibly find more, as I have searched the Scriptures, I found 29 qualifications which God has placed upon the pastor of the New Testament Baptist church.
1. The Scriptural pastor must be blameless (I
Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6a, 7a).
Dr. Albert Garner in his Baptist Commentary, Volume 11, says, a bishop or pastor must be one against whom no indictable charge can be laid.
2. He must also be the husband of one wife
(I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
There are two principal interpretations of this phrase. It is usually interpreted as meaning either a qualification prohibiting polygamy or one excluding divorced men from the pastorate. My personal conviction is the latter, that a divorcee is unqualified to be in the pastorate, not because divorced people are second-class Christians, but rather because the pastor of a New Testament church is to be a unique example to the rest of his congregation; an example in stability, an example in his relationship with his wife, and an example in love, faithfulness and fidelity to one wife.
3. The pastor is to be vigilant (I Timothy
Too few pastors are willing to pay the price necessary to keep vigil over their flock. According to the New Websters Dictionary, the word vigil means to be wary or to be on the alert for danger. With so many wolves in this world, it is more necessary now than ever before for the loving shepherd to be alert to the dangers that decimate his flock. Dangers such as heresy, apostasy, carnality and worldliness require constant, daily vigilance.
4. Being sober is also included in the list
of qualifications given for the pastor (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
I have heard preachers say that this word means to be serious minded, but perhaps they are confusing this with the words somber or solemn. The word sober means habitually temperate. There should not even be the slightest chance that the man of God could ever be drunk. To be absolutely sure that this never occurs then, one must be a virtual teetotaler. A preacher couldnt do this and still use wine at the Lords Table. If a church uses wine in observance of the Lords Supper, the pastor of that church cannot partake.
5. In addition, the pastor must be of good behavior
(I Timothy 3:2).
The man of God must learn to be discreet, modest, congenial and an excellent example in his deportment and demeanor. In the day in which we live it is especially important that the pastor of one of the Lords churches be very cautious in his treatment of ladies in the church itself. It would certainly be of good behavior for the pastor never to counsel women by himself, but rather always have someone else present. I believe that the attitude of our society being what it is, the pastor should even be careful in the manner in which he addresses little girls in the church. Having been the pastor of this good church for over twenty years many of the children of our church are the age that their parents were when I came here. I was there when most of them were born. I have held them, cuddled them, kissed them and hugged them since they were infants. However, it is an unwritten rule around here that when a girl turns 12 years old, she must stop hugging the preacher and advance to simply shaking my hand.
6. A good pastor must be given to hospitality (I
Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
I am sorry to say, but after traveling and preaching in different churches for these past nearly 30 years, I have noticed that the great majority of preachers do not know how to take care of their guests, nor do visiting preachers know how to treat their host. Many times over these many years I have been asked to preach on pastoral ethics, a subject that is almost forgotten and I shall cover it more thoroughly in a later article. However, a pastor should be a gracious host to his visiting preacher brethren. We here at Fellowship Baptist set aside three days every year for our annual Bible Conference. Those who have attended would unanimously agree that our people know how to treat guests. The pastor should treat visiting pastors, missionaries and evangelists for what they are; ambassadors of the King, men of God. They should be provided comfortable living quarters, where they are assured the strictest privacy. Guest preachers should not be housed with a single lady or even be place in a situation where they might be alone with a woman in the house. Guests should not be expected to do the pastors work for him, making calls from sun-up to supper and then be expected to preach with the freshness of a thoroughly rested individual.
The visiting preacher should be well-fed. Well balanced, nourishing meals should be provided. It is our custom to place a nice fruit basket in the room when our guests will stay so that afternoon snacks will be available for them. The guest should be given an opportunity to rest in the afternoon. And by all means, the visitor should not be required to be responsible for his own expenses. I have pastored small churches before, but we always made sure that our guests were amply cared for financially. And if this is not possible, tell the visiting evangelist, etc. beforehand that you will not be able to give him much of a love-offering or perhaps none at all. Many preachers, no . . . most preachers would be willing to come anyway if they themselves are financially able. The best advice is just simply to use common sense in the hospitality shown to other men of God. But then sometimes common sense isnt so common, is it?
7. He must be apt to teach (I Timothy 3:2;
II Timothy 2:24).
It is my firm conviction that the pastor is to be the principal teacher of a local, New Testament church. It is his responsibility to feed the sheep (Acts 20:28) and as the shepherd of the Lords flock, it is also his responsibility to select the pasture on which they will graze. We, like so many other independent Baptist churches, are beginning to put much of our teaching material into print so that our preacher brethren may glean from it. However, it is not my responsibility to teach any other people but the ones whom God has given me. Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, James Dobson and Bill Gothard have not been given the responsibility to teach your people, pastor, you have been. One of my pet peeves is to hear someone say that they are a student of C.I. Scofield or J. Vernon McGee or Oliver B. Greene, etc. If a person is right with God and their pastor, they will be a student of the one to whom the oversight of the church has been given, the pastor. A truly God-called man will have the ability to teach his people the Bible and will jump at the opportunity to convey to them the truths it contains.
8. The man of God must unquestionably be not given to wine
(I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
I believe that his means NO alcohol whatsoever; not wine, not beer, not mixed drinks; not hard liquor, no alcohol. And this means at no time; not at home, not at a cook-out, not at a bar, and definitely not at church. Dr. Albert Garner in the Baptist Commentary, Volume 11, pg. 41 says that among other things this phrase means, not . . . sitting or reclining alongside wine. It would definitely be VERY difficult to not sit by wine if you are drinking it. A preacher could not sit by the stuff if he is holding a little glass of it during the Lords Supper. In fact, it would be nigh on to impossible to do so. For further teaching on this subject order the tract The Great Wine Debate from Wilderness Voice Publications.
9. And a good pastor is to be "no striker" (I
Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
Most of the independent Baptist pastors I know are real fighters. We fight the world and worldliness every day. We fight the flesh. We fight the devil. And sad to say, we often fight each other and even worse we fight the very people God has placed under our leadership. However, our fighting must be done with the proper instruments of battle. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. (II Corinthians 10:4).
10. The earthly leader of the church must not be greedy of
filthy lucre (I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
The greed and avarice of the Jim Bakkers and Robert Tiltons of this world have done irreparable damage to the reputation and testimony of all preachers of the gospel everywhere. Regardless of what the world may think, I doubt that many, if any, independent Baptist preachers are in the ministry for the money. Back several years ago, the pastor of a local Methodist church was said to be making $52,000.00 per year. Man, if that is the case, what a life! Draw $1,000.00 per week, preach one message per week and the message comes from headquarters. Sit back, eat fudge, watch soap operas, and if any problems crop up, let the elders handle it. I honestly and sincerely doubt that there is an independent Baptist church anywhere on this earth that is in danger of paying their preacher too much. Nevertheless, the man of God should not be in the ministry for the money and if he is truly God called, he will continue to serve the Lord whether he receives any wages or not. The man of God is not paid to serve God. He receives salary from the church so that he may minister daily to them, study and pray. However, the way that a church takes care of their pastor financially, is an indication of how much they appreciate this gift from God.
11. The exemplary pastor must be "patient" (I
Timothy 3:3; I I Timothy 2:24).
Oh, my, I wish that the Lord had not said anything about patience. If for no other reason, most of the pastors whom I know on a personal basis would be disqualified because of the lack of patience. This lack of patience is the cause for more grief and unsettledness than any of the other twenty-eight qualifications for the pastor. In years gone by I heard one very well known preacher try to explain away his lack of patience, his reputation of being very impatient. But if the truth were known this word patience means exactly what you think it means and most of us have very little or none of it. Zero. Zilch. Totally void of patience.
I remember years ago hearing a missionary to Mexico make a statement which I thought was very good. In acknowledging his impatience he aid, Now, why would the Lord call a German, who wants everything done yesterday, to Mexico, where they dont care if they ever get it done? Preachers, we cannot be what God wants us to be if we, who are Gods men, are not willing to wait upon the Lord and be patient. We grow impatient with our wife, our children, the people we pastor, our deacons, fellow preachers; in short almost everyone we come in contact with. If we take a long look at Isaiah 40:31, it seems to say that impatience, not waiting on God, getting ahead of Him, is a source of discouragement. When we wait upon the Lord, strength will be renewed; we will be on the mountain top where the eagles soar; we will be able to run, get things done, accomplish great tasks and never grow weary or discouraged; and will not faint or fall by the wayside. Impatience is a real preacher killer and something of which we are not aware that takes its toll on us.
12. The man of God is not to be "a brawler" (I
I have heard preachers boast of their conflicts and end their tale by saying something like, and brother, Ill knock him through a wall or Ill knock his head off. We may think that this is macho language and a sign of strength, when in actuality it is unbecoming to the man of God. Moses was the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3). And yet, Moses was no coward. He stood up to Pharaoh, he stood up to Korah and his band, he stood up to the ten unfaithful spies; yet he did not brawl with them. He did not knock them through a wall or knock their heads off. He was bold, he confronted them, rebuked them when necessary, but did not resort to fisticuffs. I am not a pacifist! There is not a pacifistic bone in my body. I pray for holy boldness and believe that the man who cowardly refuses to take on the enemies of God is not worthy to be a God called preacher. However, the weapons of our warfare are not made with iron and steel (II Corinthians 10:4), but are much more durable and powerful than they. Our weaponry is the infallible, perfect, pure, preserved, unalterable, invincible, two edged sword of the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
13. The man truly called of God must not be "covetous"
(I Timothy 3:3).
Brethren, covetousness is a sin! Whether it is an adulterer coveting another mans wife, or a man coveting another mans car, home, salary, church, ministry or whatever. Covetousness is a sin! Covetousness stems from dissatisfaction with what God has given us or provided for us, and is more a condition of the heart than anything else. Sometimes, if a church pays their pastor starvation wages, that people is guilty of aiding the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4) defeat Gods man by tempting him to covet.
14. He must be "one that ruleth well his own house"
(I Timothy 3:4).
I wish I could (and probably ought to) stop here, park and preach for awhile. So many men do not understand what the Scriptures mean when they speak of the man being the head of his home. Being the head of his home does not give any man the right to abuse (physically, emotionally, verbally, or any other way) his wife. It does not give a husband the right to put down, denigrate, belittle or ridicule his wife. On the contrary, if a man is to be the head of his home, then he must accept the responsibilities that go with the position and be the head like Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:22 - 25).
First of all, for the man of God, it is imperative that his wife be supportive of his ministry. To have a sweet spirited, submissivewife is a gift from God and how a man treats his wife is a signal to God of what that man actually thinks of His gift. If a man is to be the ruler of the home as Christ is of the church, then he must love his wife more than he loves himself. Christ so loved the church that He was willing to give His life for it. It was that valuable to Him. The man of God must not be selfish with his wife or always think only of himself and put himself first. No, Jesus put the church above Himself. As Jesus has always had the best interest of the church at heart, so must the man of God emulate the Lords example. Everything that Christ has done, He has done for the benefit of His bride, the church. His bride is precious to Him. He only seeks what is best for her. He has put her onto a pedestal so that all the world may view her with awe and respect. But, at the same time, the church is to be obedient to theLord. Read Ephesians 5:24. If a preachers wife is rebellious, domineering and contentious (Proverbs 21:19), then God is not pleased and the man will always have a difficult time trying to pastor a church (I Timothy 3:5).
15. It is imperitive that the man of God have "his children
in subjection" (I Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6).
It is interesting to note here that God puts more emphasis upon a mans home life, the situation within his own household, than He does on any other part of his life. It seems to me that the Lord must be telling us that a mans family is the most important part of his life and that to have a right relationship at home is more vital to having a successful ministry and being a qualified pastor than perhaps anything else.
This is the age of rebellion and I would say without qualification that more preachers fight this battle at home more than anywhere else. It all revolves around a principle given in Zechariah 13:7, Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. And where else could our enemy smite us where it would hurt more or do more damage than our homes? And let me be quick to say that I believe that the devil works harder on the children of the preacher than he does on anyone elses kids. If the wicked one can defeat the pastor through his children, then he has won a very strategic battle. If the man of God must always fight the world, the flesh and the devil and then go home and fight a rebellious child, that man will not be the energetic, enthusiastic, excited example to his people. Churches should not only pray for their pastor, but they should also pray faithfully for his wife and his children. The church family should pray a hedge of protection around the pastors family. Without his family on his side, the pastor is more susceptible and is a much easier target and prey for the devil.
16. The God-called pastor should not be a "novice"
(1 Timothy 3:6).
After the Lord tells us that a pastor should not be a novice, He then goes on to explain why; . . . lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Many years ago I knew of a situation where there was a family who had a very bright son. This boy surrendered his life to preach and his pastor took him under his wings to help him, to guide him and insure that he got on the right path doctrinally. In the course of time, the parents divorced and the boy moved to Texas with his dad. There he joined an independent (?) Baptist church and immediately the pastor of that church sent this young man, still in high school, to pulpit supply for small churches in surrounding towns. In time this boy was offered the pastorate of a church and, with the urging of his pastor, accepted their call. Now mind you this boy wasnt even out of high school yet. Im still not sure where the boys father figured in all of this, but nevertheless he took the church. It was not long before the church was in a mess financially and spiritually, the young man had been very foolish in his conduct with a woman in the church, there were men in that church ready to lynch him and his pastor had deserted him and left him for the wolves to devour. This boy called me and I tried to get him to see that he was not qualified or mature enough to pastor one of the Lords churches, but he would not listen. Today, that boy is a total mess. He has dropped completely out of church, the church he attempted to pastor has folded and I have been told that every family in that church has also dropped by the wayside. All this because an older preacher coaxed a novice into the pastorate.
With the complexity of life today, with all of the problems that people are facing, mature adult men have difficulty advising their people which way to jump, let alone a young man who isnt dry behind the ears. What that older preacher did to that boy was shameful! It just could be that God knew best when He stated that a pastor should not be a novice, but have some experience in life.
17. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are
without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil
(I Timothy 3:7).
Recently I overheard a conversation involving a local businessman who owns several rental properties and another man. I know both of these men, both are members of our church. In the course of their conversation the man who owns the rental properties said that he would rent to anyone, but a preacher. I know of the situation that caused him to make that statement and I understand completely what he is talking about. He rented one of his houses to a pentecostal preacher and this businessman was truly taken to the cleaners. Reluctant to evict a preacher, this brother allowed the pentecostal minister to go on for several months without paying the rent. When the preacher did move out, he left the house in such bad repair that a great deal of money had to be spent getting it ready to rent again. Now my opinion isnt worth much. (In fact, my opinion and 75 cents will buy you a cup of coffee here at a local cafe). But, I doubt very seriously that God has ever called a pentecostal to preach His gospel. Nevertheless, that one preachers actions, being dishonest and shady, has brought reproach to the cause of Christ and added a tremendous burden to the already tarnished public image of true men of God. It is so important that a preacher maintain a good testimony and reputation! The cause of Christ as a whole suffers tremendous scrutiny under the microscope of those who are lost. And when one, who is supposed to be exemplary in his deportment is suspect of improprieties morally, financially, etc. God help us as Gods servants to never do anything that would hinder the work of our blessed Redeemer.
18. The man of God should be "gentle" (II Timothy
Ask my little 5 year old adopted granddaughter (Bro. Praters little girl, Tiffany), about the fruits of the Spirit and she says, love, joy, peace, longsuffrin (longsuffering), gentlemens (gentleness), goodness, faith, meatless (meekness), temprance (temperance). Even she knows that gentleness is a characteristic to be greatly desired and admired, and that its possession is one of the evidences of being controlled by the Holy Spirit. American men are some of the most emotionally handicapped people on the face of the earth. We are taught from infancy that real men dont cry, real men never say Im sorry, real men are rough and tough. We have developed what I call, the John Wayne philosophy. The truth is that real men are like Jesus, and Jesus was a real man who showed emotion (John 11:35), was gentle even toward sinners (John 8:6 11), and loved children and displayed affection to them (Mark 10:13 - 16). When we see the suffering in this old world, it ought to move us more toward compassion knowing that Jesus is the solution. Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Oh, to be more like Jesus and be of a gentle compassionate spirit.
19. The man of God must "in meekness" instruct
"those that oppose themselves"(II Timothy 2:24-25).
The characteristic of meekness in not to be confused with cowardice. Cowardice is refusing to take a stand for what is right. Cowardice is remaining silent in the presence of wrong and sin. Cowardice is taking one stand when in the presence of friends and then taking another stand when with a different crowd. Cowardice is knowing that something is sinful and yet not condemning it. I know many good men who believe right, they are Baptists to the core, they are separated from the world both ecclesiastically and secularly, they believe that God has indeed preserved His Word and yet, out of fear of rejection from their peers, they refuse to separate themselves from modernists, liberals, apostates and compromisers. It is not being meek when a preacher remains silent while heresy and compromise are being propagated. Meekness is old-fashioned humility, which most of us independent Baptist preachers could really stand a good dose of. Meekness is freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of ones own worth. In theology, (meekness) consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of ones own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the Divine will (Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, by David Cloud, pg. 186).
As unfortunate as it is, there are so many preachers who refuse to take a stand. Either they are afraid of criticism from the people they pastor, or afraid of a board of deacons or trustees, or afraid of not receiving a salary, or afraid of their peers. These men who will not preach Biblical standards and convictions because of fear are not in actuality the servants of Christ. Consider what theApostle said in Galatians 1:10, For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Not only should cowardice not be confused with meekness, but a proud and haughty spirit also reveals a lack of meekness. One of my pet peeves is to sit and listen to a preacher go on and on about his accomplishments. I remember well my days in Bible college when I was privileged (?) to sit under the ministry of one of this countrys big preachers. I remember a specific instance when a classmate and I grew tired of the speakers usage of personal pronouns, I did this and I did that and my way is best so we began to count the times he referred to himself. I have many years ago forgotten just how many times it was. Needless to say, this man was truly full of himself and not displaying any genuine meekness.
20. The bishop must not be "self-willed" (Titus
As those of you who have been reading my articles on the pastor know, I believe very firmly in pastoral authority. I believe that god has given the oversight of his churches to their pastors. I believe that a pastor should not be under the domination of a board of deacons, trustees or anyone else. However, a truly god-called new testament baptist church pastor has no right whatsoever to lead the church according to his own will. The pastor does not own the church. Even though in casual conversation we may refer to a certain church as bro. Smiths church, it really is not the pastors church, it belongs to god. Even though there is not one place in all of the holy scriptures where the pastor is referred to as an undershepherd, he still must not be self-willed and in complete submission to god and his holy spirit. I remind all the laymen who are reading this article that paul did indeed command the people to follow him. He said Be ye followers of me (I Corinthians 4:16). It is scriptural to follow the leadership of the pastor. It is divine to be in submission to him (hebrews 13:17). It is as the sin of witchcraft for a church member to rise up in rebellion against the god-ordained authority in the church, the pastor (1 Samuel 15:23). However, it is just as wrong for that pastor to do as he desires without consulting the Good shepherd (John 10:11). Yes, the apostle said, Be ye followers of me, but he was quick to add ...even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
21. The man of God should be not soon angry"
As I have said so many times before, there will be no such thing as a perfect pastor. Because the man of God is exactly that, a man, he cannot be perfect while still in this flesh. Nevertheless he should constantly strive to be everything that god wants and expects him to be. And this includes having control of his temper. Dear brethren, most of the preachers I know (including the one who sits at this computer) have a rather large keg of powder with a mighty short fuse leading to it. Very likely there is not an independent baptist pastor on the earth who hasnt at one time or another had a problem with his temper. It must surely go with the calling. The Bible is full of examples of Gods men who had a hard time with their temper; moses is perhaps the supreme example of a preacher who lost his temper, and he suffered because of it. Remember that god would not let him take the children of israel over jordan to claim the promised land because moses had lost his temper and disobeyed God (Deuteronomy 32:48-52). A temper out of control has been the downfall of many good men. Many preachers have had to leave their place of ministry because they have ruined their testimony with a bad temper. God help us in this area. Certainly the man of god should have a fire to him. He ought to have a little righteousness indignation, but at the same time he should learn to allow the holy spirit to rule over his temper.
22. The man of God should be "a lover of good men"
I shall not cover this in detail as I am writing another lesson on the manner in which Gods servants should be treated, but still it should be noted that the true man of God should have a great, compassionate, compelling, abiding love for his preacher brethren as well as faithful laymen within the church he labors. Too often a pastor may feel threatened by the men in the church he pastors, but this should not be. I well remember the first little country church I pastored. There were two godly old men, deacons, in that church who were both spiritual giants. I loved them and to this day over a quarter of a century later still revere the memories of those two wonderful New Testament deacons, Bro William Stradley and Bro. Mack Perry. I learned much from those two men. Even though they were both up in years, (I would guess in their eighties), those great men never made me feel anything less than their pastor. These men were giants of the faith, knowing far more than I about Biblical matters and doctrine, and yet they were so kind and patient with me. Even in the face of church problems, those men stood with their pastor and guided me through very turbulent waters.
Just this last March, Fellowship Baptist Church lost one of our deacons, Bro. Chuck Knudsen. He, too, was a godly giant and perhaps the greatest man I have ever had the privilege of pastoring. His wisdom, counsel and friendship are sorely missed by this preacher. I have been so fortunate over these many years in the pastorate to have been able to serve Christ with great men. Even today I am in awe when we have our deacons meetings to be able to work with such precious, godly, loving men.
How unfortunate are those pastors who never learn to trust and love the deacons of the church he pastors. It is my firm conviction that godly deacons are the greatest stabilizing force in the New Testament church and the truly God-called pastor should learn to love good men. As I travel over the country I have met some of the Lords finest laymen. The testimony that they have with their pastor causes me to love them. Their faithfulness and loyalty to their pastor is worthy of notation and I believe they will have great reward in heaven.
23. The pastor should be "just" (Titus 1:8).
If a man pastors more than one family and has been pastoring more than a month, he most assuredly has been accused of being partial or of showing favoritism. He may not have heard the accusation, but nevertheless he stands charged with this crime. As pastors we are to be just and fair with every member of our flock. As human beings it is just natural that we will be closer to some than we are to others. However, when it comes to dealing with our people, human emotions and feelings are to be cast aside and we are to treat all impartially, kinship or friendship aside. And let me hasten to add, most pastors I know are harder on their own families than on anyone else in the congregation. How wrong this is. We should treat our family with equal tenderness and compassion as any other member. As difficult as this is, we should certainly strive to be just and fair.
24. The man of God should be "holy" (Titus 1:8).
Amen and Amen!! I believe if there is one universal need among Gods people and Gods preachers today, it must be holiness. Regardless of how a preacher interprets this passage of Scripture, God does expect His people to be holy; But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (I Peter 1:15). This wicked world of ours (worldliness) has so diluted the testimony of believers that for the most part, we have no witness. There is a universal need for Gods people to return to some old-fashioned holiness and preachers must lead the way. There is a crying need for Gods men to realize that if God used only holy men in Bible days (II Peter 1:21) and if God never changes (Malachi 3:6), then He is still looking for His men to be holy men. I wont go into a great deal of detail here, but dear friends, anyone with good sense knows what is holy and what is not. I cannot see how one can be holy and let a continuous stream of depravity flow into their home via the television. Yes, my wife and I have a TV, but I will guarantee that we control it, it does not control us. Holiness does indeed contain elements of purity and virtue; looking right, acting right, speaking right, thinking right, dressing right. However, one may do all of these things and still not be holy. Holiness begins in the heart and for Gods man this is essential to having the blessings of God upon him and his ministry.
25. A New Testament pastor should be "temperate"
To say the least, most preachers I know have tempers, but are not temperate. One Bible commentary says that to be temperate is having restraint or control over his body, passions, tongue, and impulses. Even though we independent Baptists have no connection whatsoever with the likes of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and their ilk, the world nevertheless sees us all as ministers and as a whole, that damages not only our credibility, but even more important our testimony. Would to God that there would never be another preacher fall into moral sin! We should never revel in hearing of a preacher brother who falls, but it should grieve us to no end and force us to our knees to plead with God to help us never be guilty of the same. Immorality comes when preachers begin to think themselves invincible and above sin. My brethren, we are all flesh and blood, subject to the same temptations. We are all capable of the greatest transgressions against God. God help us to be men of temperance.
26. The truly God-called man must be uncompromising, "Holding
fast the faithful word as he hath been taught..." (Titus 1:9).
Regardless of which way others go and regardless of what others may do, if a man is to have the blessings of God upon him, he must stand uncompromising. For 21 years I belonged to an earthly, man-made ecclesiastical organization and for the entire duration of those years I heard a constant stream of compromise for the sake of unity preaching. Even though I knew that it was wrong, I, too, was guilty of spouting such garbage; compromise convictions for the sake of unity, compromise Baptist doctrine for the sake of unity, compromise, compromise, compromise. How nauseating this must be to our uncompromising God. Even now, after preaching for the better part of 30 years, I still often go to meetings and hear preachers encourage their brethren to compromise for the sake of unity. This is not of God. The men whom God has used over the centuries have been those who drew a line in the sand, so to speak, and refused to budge. These men have often paid a tremendous personal price for refusing to compromise their beliefs. They have faced confiscation of personal property, public scorn, ridicule, whippings, beatings, and torture. Many have seen their families torn apart, children snatched from their mothers arms and suffered ostracism by their brethren.
J.M. Carroll, author of the Trail of Blood, states emphatically that over 50,000,000 have paid the ultimate price for refusing to compromise Biblical truths. These were stoned to death, drawn and quartered, drowned, burned at the stake, beheaded, hanged, crucified, shot through with arrows, and any other way that the wicked minds of men could invent to inflict excruciating pain upon those who have died for not compromising. It is an insult to God for a man who claims to have Gods calling upon his life to compromise Gods word. It is wicked to do so. The Bible is not a collection of the thoughts of men, nor is it fables. The Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is wholly, solely and completely the very words of God. Those who change and compromise it, I believe, are under the curse of God.
27. The God-called pastor is to be "courageous" (Acts 20:22-24).
This certainly goes along with uncompromising. Whether anyone stands with him, or whether he must stand alone, the man of God must be valiant and courageous in his stand for Christ. Some months back I had my first one-on-one encounter with a Promise Keepers representative. While I was visiting with him over the phone I told him what we believe at Fellowship Baptist, to which he replied, Why, there isnt another church in town that believes what you do. He meant that as an insult. I took it as a compliment. Hes right!. There isnt another church in town that believes that the Bible is the absolute Word of God, not to be tampered with or polluted by modern thought and philosophies, nor corrupted by modern translation. There isnt another church in Liberal, Kansas that takes the open unapologetic stand against alcohol, homosexuality, abortion, fornication and Promise Keepers that Fellowship Baptist does. I am thankful to have the church I pastor behind me in these stands and on these issues, but whether I have the support of my people or not, I pray that God would give me the courage to still stand on these and other issues. Even in the face of open confrontation, we must be courageous and stand for the truth.
28. The true New Testament pastor should be "diligent" (2 Corinthians 8:22).
This word diligent means fervent. We ought to be fervent in the ministry. It deserves the undivided attention and efforts of the one to whom a calling from God has been extended. I know that many pastors have to work a secular job in order to pastor. However, that secular job should only be a means by which he may be able to conduct his ministry. The job should not be the major thrust of his life. His ministry should be.
29. The man of God should be "prayerful" (Acts 6:4).
Many years ago, I was well acquainted with a preacher who told me that because he walked closely with God, he did not need to spend great seasons of time in prayer. Many years after that he was exposed as immoral. I believe that one cannot walk closely with God without investing great amounts of time in prayer. In fact, I believe that prayerlessness is perhaps the single greatest sin among preachers today. A good prayer life will keep us from immorality. Being constant and consistent in prayer will help us to be faithful to the truth of Gods word. Prayer will cause us to be bold, unwavering, steadfast and courageous in our preaching. Perhaps this qualification for a God-called preacher should have been at the first of the list of qualifications. For if a preacher is prayerless, if he has no contact with the source of his calling and the source of power for his ministry, then he actually becomes a liability rather than an asset to the cause of Christ.
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