Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Lie number four.."They need me..And I'm indispensable."

There is little doubt that a modern day senior pastor is a busy person. There is little doubt that a modern day senior pastor's family is often neglected. There is very little doubt that many members of the modern day organization we call the local church believe and demand that a modern day senior pastor should ALWAYS be available to them when they, by their definition, are in dire straits.

Add all this together and you get a situation where a, shall I say it again, modern day senior pastor could, unless very careful about it, begin to believe a fourth lie that I state this way..."They need me..I'm indispensable you see." This particular lie can even be framed in spiritual language [It sounds so sacrificial] and, because of that, be defined as particularly godly. Unfortunately that is NOT the case at all.

There are several things wrong with this kind thinking and I wish to address a few that I think will clearly demonstrate that it is a lie in more ways than one.

First, we all agree that the church is the "Bride of Christ." He is her Groom and her head. [Source] As her Lord, He is her authority also. We would agree I'm sure that ALL members of a local body make up that local expression of the Bride of Christ which would include those teaching/leading her as pastors/elders/bishops. In other words, when I'm a teaching pastor, I'm still a part of the bride. I'm not the husband or head of that group. I'm CERTAINLY not the Lord over that group. In fact, I'm a husband/head [source] to only ONE PERSON. That is the woman who is my wife. [She has only ONE lord, by the way, and we've said who He is.]

Now..were I as a pastor to believe that I'm indispensable to the congregation and wind up being more intimate with the bride of Christ, [local body I pastor] in terms of time, commitment, communication, emotional involvement, resources, and general relationship building than I am my own bride, I would be committing spiritual adultery would I not? [Illicit spiritual intimacy with someone else's bride.] So unless I hold that physical adultery is different than.. or worse than.. spiritual adultery, I would, in fact, have a major problem with my own walk with my Lord AND my wife and would be disqualifying myself for a pastoral role to anyone. That, in and of itself, is sufficient to show me the error of such a lie.

Second, every person needs a sabbath. I'm NOT saying "The Sabbath." The Sabbath was unique to Israel and part of her covenant with God. By the way, that covenant was done away with [fulfilled] in Christ and a New Covenant has been ratified by His blood where EVERY DAY is a Sabbath for us [Jew/Gentile/bond/free Christians and we rest from any labor to please God for acceptance] because of being in Christ. He finished the work needed for acceptance quite well.

What I'm saying is that there is seen in creation a sabbath need for rest that means at least one day [Whatever that day might be.] a week ought to be taken to relax, recoup energy, and rest from ANY labor that is tiresome, including pastoring. And for a pastor that day IS NOT Sunday. This happens to be true across the board for human beings in my judgment regardless of job, age, gender, or whatever.

It is for this reason that I recommend what I heard someone else say YEARS ago about removing yourself from your work and investing yourself in your marriage/family and I adopted it as my own. He said [whomever it might have been] "Divert daily.. withdraw weekly..abandon annually." Those three things speak for themselves I'm sure. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they mean. Each day spend some time investing yourself in the lives of your wife and/or children. Each week remove yourself from your work for an entire day for your personal and family time. Every year there needs to be several days invested in your family relationships with emphasis on isolation with them.

In my own life I made it MANDATORY after the truth about my not being indispensable to the local church became known to me several years ago. Then I saw to it that it was embraced by those with whom I served or had any influence over in the ministry. I remember the wife of a man on staff who came up to me and kissed me on the cheek [Mary standing there] and saying "Thank you pastor Paul for giving my husband back to his family." I can honestly say NO ONE has to sacrifice their own family for the sake of pastoring a people if it is done correctly in my personal opinion.

Third, it seems to me that the SINGLE greatest deterrent to embracing that lie would be to be biblical about having multiple elders instead of a single pastor which is historically Southern Baptist but may be so as a result of the westward expansion in the 1800's rather than the interpretation of scripture. That way no one person would be tempted to think of themselves as indispensable. Nothing like a few others who have their biblical heads on straight to keep yours from getting too big concerning yourself as a teaching pastor to a local congregation.

In reality, I think we are aware that the only indispensable one who is part of the church is the Holy Spirit. When we truly follow His leading we would never find ourselves committing spiritual adultery, failing to get needed rest and refreshment, or failing to be intimate with our own bride with regularity as He will ALWAYS lead us ONLY into acts of holiness and acts of righteousness..even as senior pastors.

What was it that Jack Nicholson said? "You can't handle the truth!!" [Oh..I'll bet we can.]

Paul B.

Friday, June 25, 2010


We're continuing to look at some very subtle lies which, if believed, can trap a ministry or minister in ways that may not be thought about early on in that minister's life. But the need for knowing the truth is overwhelming in my view. I will show why this is true in a bit

We've seen two lies so far. You can read the last two posts for understanding. They are...

1. They said it..I believe it to be true.

2. They did it..I should do it too to be spiritual.

Now we turn to the third lie and it is.."They'll come..if you preach the Word."

As has been the case in the first two posts, these lies are drawn from my own experience and recovery so I'm continuing with a personal flavor to what is written here.

Success has been generally measured in Southern Baptist life by numbers. Whether it's the numbers that are reflected in salary or experience or the Convention itself, [14 million Convention members half of whom can't be found] it's a fact that numbers play a big role is measuring success both in the view of congregations and individual ministers.

But no numbers are more talked about than is the attendance on a given Sunday in the local churches. Traditionally that attendance was posted on the wall for all to see. Thankfully that has changed somewhat, but still, when gathering for a ministers conference, inevitably the ministers remark about how many were present last Sunday and how it was more, if the ministry is thought of as truly successful, than last year's attendance.

I'm assuming that we all know there is nothing inherently wrong with speaking of attendance...unless it becomes a statement about the church or the minister and a definition of the success of either. With respect to those who hold this view, I have to say, that just isn't the biblical definition of success at all as I'll show later.

Then, unfortunately, some add to that the idea that attendance is ASSURED with the preaching of the Word. I cannot tell you how often I've heard said, or worse said myself, "Just preach the Word and people will come because they long to hear the Word of God. Not enough men are giving the Word on a regular basis."

When you put together those two concepts you have a lethal formula for defeat, depression and even despair. It winds up as.."The attendance isn't growing/increasing/ I MUST NOT be effectively preaching the Word." Often it becomes a comparison thing when one hears..."The crowds are going to hear_______, and I don't believe he's preaching a thimble full of real truth. I'm guilty of something or the Lord wouldn't be punishing me." [Wrong theology of success and sins being punished go hand in hand it seems to me.]

Let me say a couple of things at this point.

One is that I believed this for a while BECAUSE of my own success with numbers attending. I preached..they came. I knew it wasn't me. So it was the Word for sure. It was accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent out. [Remember my belief was purpose is numbers coming.] For sake of example, my pastorate in 1968-1972 grew numerically. My pastorate in 1972-1976 grew numerically also. My pastorate in 1976-1982 exploded numerically. It was in this last mentioned pastorate that I was able to minister to many seminarians who saw that explosion of attendance. The conclusion was that I was preaching the Word so of course the people came. Sounded right/good to me.

Then came another pastorate. Same preacher, [me] same sermons, [mine] same philosophy, same goals in ministry, but different results. I will leave it at that for now. Just know that I had a great period of depression which challenged my own ministry to a massive degree. I came through that time but I had learned a real lesson or two. Let me close with those.

Lesson one that I learned... Congregations are different. Matthew 13 teaches that if nothing else. There are different kinds of soil the seed of the Word is sown into. No entire congregation automatically responds to the word. Some do long for it, but some can often fight against it out of pride, sin, or apathy. Their hearts can be hardened, worldly, cold, or hurt. Anyone of those conditions will affect their response. Whether the church happens to be a first Baptist Church, and old baptist church, a new baptist church, white collar, blue collar, what it happens to be often can affect their response too. Need I go on?

Lesson two that I learned...Sermons that minister to one flock do NOT automatically feed another flock because of the former statement. So if a preacher is preaching the Word but he hasn't heard from the Spirit as to the REAL needs of the congregation and deal with the scriptures accordingly, there may be a disconnect.

Lesson three that I learned...The scriptures indicate that two preachers preaching the same sermons under the same genuine anointing of the Spirit may have a different response that can only be seen as a thing of Providence. Peter preached on Pentecost, many responded in brokenness and salvation. Stephen preached the same sermon [check it out] under the same anointing and the congregation got mad and stoned him to death.

So if something good happens..God in His Providence has blessed for His own purposes. If something bad happens..God in His Providence has blessed for His own purposes. It is the purposes of God we do not always understand and it is ours to simply be faithful in whichever results God has providentially placed us.

And, by the way, THAT is the biblical definition of success "FAITHFULNESS." It takes the power of the Spirit. It takes a committed servant. It takes a Sovereign Savior. When and where you find all three present..you have a ministry/church/Convention/person who/which is a true success biblically.

Another lie to be corrected next time.

Paul B.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Lie number two.. "They did it..I should do it also to be truly spiritual."

Back in the days of my hero worship one of the things I grappled with was a mistaken idea of what spirituality was all about. My heroes all had certain strengths that were observable to everyone. That's basically WHY they became my heroes. It was those strengths that made them what they were to my immature way of thinking. Added to that was the belief that if I could somehow do what was so obvious in them then the REAL spirituality for which I longed would be realized.

Take for example Peter Lord. I love Peter and Johnnie, his wife. I had the Privilege of pastoring two of his children when they were in seminary at SWBTS in Fort Worth. I've preached in conferences with Peter, Jack Taylor, Jim Hylton and others who, along with myself, started a magazine called "Fulness" in the late seventies and early eighties which was used of God to reach Southern Baptists with the needed truths of the work of the Holy Spirit in a believers life on a daily basis.

Peter had a unique style of personal devotions that he practiced for years arising at 4:00am in the morning and meeting the Lord. He wrote that formula down in book form and called it the 2959 plan of meeting with God. It was good. The name comes from spending 29 minutes and 59 seconds [2959] in a devotional time each morning before breakfast. [2959 grabs you better than saying 30 minutes] It was used of the Lord in many lives. I got introduced to it around 1970 and it may have been that back then it was just his teaching with the book coming later if I remember correctly.

Now for the problem. None with Peter or his plan. Both are unique gifts from God to the Body of Christ. The problem lay with me. It was two-fold. At that time I was NOT a morning person at all. I didn't even like talking to my wife, much less God, before coffee and breakfast. You think I'm kidding? Ask her. I knew it was the right thing to do, after all Peter did it, but I was NEVER successful in it. What does one do?

I never said I did the 2959 plan to anyone. That would be a lie. But I carried the book with my bible. On retreats I would use it as an example of what people were to do in order to be properly disciplined in the things of the Spirit. I brought Peter in to teach it to all the church folks.

So you ask what's the problem!! I never honestly said I DIDN'T do it. Somehow to say "it wasn't for me" would be tarnishing the glow of a hero and a spiritual man who made it his ministry to assist others in meeting with God. So I kept hiding reality and played a little game of spirituality. [This is all a bit embarassing for me but..hey..it's the truth]

Understand that Peter did not believe that if I didn't do his plan I was less a spiritual man than I could be. That was my private belief system. He would have certainly been shocked, I'm sure, had he found out I held him in esteem as I did anyway. But now multiply this one illustration by many-fold with the "spiritual" men I knew and admired but couldn't do what they so obviously did well to become godly men and you'll catch a glimpse of a sense of falseness that I lived with well into the decade of the seventies.

But remember I said the problem was two-fold. Here is the second fold and the REAL problem. What they did [or did not do] had nothing to do with their being spiritual men anyway. I just didn't somehow believe that. I had accepted the lie that it's what you DO that makes you a spiritual person. But the truth is all believers are spiritual men and women by virtue of the Holy Spirit having done His work of wooing, winning, redeeming and indwelling us. I AM a spiritual being and Christian..SO ARE YOU. [1 Corinthians 2:12-16]

Certain methods are good tools for some, helping them grow up a bit, but may NOT be such a good tool for others at all. It is true that we're all growing in our journey with Jesus in life, but that growth is unique. And it's even OK to admit someone else's method ISN'T for you. In fact, find your own if you wish. Celebrate with others theirs, but NEVER measure spirituality by what you or they do whether it's church attendance, bible reading on a regular basis, performing a 2959plan for a month without fail or preaching sermons every Sunday for a year. You can do ALL THOSE and not even be a genuine Christian. By the same token, our spirituality isn't what we REFRAIN from doing either.

Genuine spirituality is recognizing who you are by the grace of God in Christ. Forgiven, loved, accepted, indwelt, sealed, doted on [New mercies every morning] and when you fail He lavishes upon you His ABUNDANT GRACE as the Father He truly is to you. Of course He disciplines [trains] you when necessary but even that is out of the overflow of His abundant grace and mercy. Then,you can live your life learning to forgive, love, accept, and even lavish grace on people around you because you are this spiritual being He indwells and is being Himself through your unique personality.

While you're going about living life, it might be good to read your bible some, attend church with some kind of regularity, have seasons of prayer if you choose, though real prayer is a lot like breathing, it just happens when you know whose you are and know He's with you intimately.

In fact, enjoy ALL of life. It's all yours anyway according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. But for goodness sake..celebrate being yourself. He's already got someone like them. [Whoever your heroes are.]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

seven lies that can trap a ministry

Most of you are aware one of my original reasons for this blog was to help people in ministry come to grips with issues, theology, personal problems, and general roadblocks to living life to it's fullest while serving in full time ministry. [That can be a misnomer for sure.] In keeping with that purpose, I'm going to share autobiographically for the next few weeks, some problems that I believe plague many today in Baptist life.

If you're a reader with no connection to FTM, [Full time Ministry] I think that what's said here might benefit your life in general if you're willing to read it. Regardless, here's the first installment of "Seven lies that can trap your ministry." [Substitute 'life' for 'ministry' here if you wish. It's applicable I believe. Full time life...that has a ring to it.]

The first lie is.."THEY SAID IT..I BELIEVE IT TO BE TRUE."

I guess the desire for "heroes" is in us all. Maybe that's the reason for the popularity of Superman, Batman, the guy at the top, and every other super hero who all have comic books written about them. It may also be that in some, like me, who may have few childhood memories of strong role models in adults, a need for heroes is stronger. Who knows?.."what evil lurks in the heart of man?" [For the UN-initiated.."the Shadow knows." ;)] But when that is carried over into the realm of your Christian walk you create big time troubles. Trust me..I know. [What I'm about to say some of you reading who are NOT in FTM might want to substitute your own heroes whomever they may be.]

As I've said several times before, I started preaching when I was fifteen years old and was called to pastor my first part-time church at seventeen years of age. Then is when my heroes became men of the cloth. [Preachers] I admired them, followed them, and believed them. Some were correct in how they lived and what they said.. some where not. But the over-riding issue with me was not the truth.. but the fact that they were my heroes. And, you see, heroes are NEVER wrong and would NEVER lie. My truth WAS what they said about the scriptures. What did I know. If they said it..I believed it to be true.

Who are the 'THEY?' Frank Coy, Danny Recer, Fred Cherry, Billy Graham, Hershal Ford, A.W. Pink, Warren Wiersbie, John R. Rice, and a HOST of others. Don't laugh. Some of these were the greatest individuals imaginable. [Some still are.. but some I've found to be less than heroic in behavior and even in belief.] If we genuinely checked, I think we might find that we all have lists..maybe just with different names on it.

Problems resulted from this as you can imagine. A lot of them in fact. One was my having a low view of the importance of the text of scripture itself. I'm not saying I didn't believe the text of scripture to be inspired. I'm saying I didn't know/study the text to find out what I believed it said. In actuality, I assumed I knew the text BECAUSE of what "they" said about it. So.. what do you study for sermons? The text? No! Who do you listen to for the truth of a text? The Spirit? No! The answer is obvious.

Systematic theology became my goal for knowledge. Style of delivery became my goal for preaching. Studying the masters [My heroes] became my goal for reading. Systems written for leading a church and imitating the authors became my goal for pastoring. You see the problem.

You may be thinking that if I had gone to seminary I would have laid all this aside. I did go to seminary. I just changed the names on my list of heroes. The names then included people like..[Name any professor you wish that was strong in the Word.]...along with new friends like Jack Taylor, Peter Lord, Ron Dunn, Manley Beasley, T.W. Hunt, Oscar Thompson, and a host of NEW others. These became my new greatest individuals imaginable. I'm not saying they wanted to be any one's hero. They would probably have died if they had known they were mine. But you see the result I'm sure.

Celebrity worship may be the prevailing sin of SBC life today. If it is, The roots of it are probably in what I've just described autobiographically. Left unchecked in ANY ONE'S life and these kind of roots will wind up in a CELEBRITY STYLE CHRISTIANITY which is so obvious in SBC life today. So tertiary truths have become the issues that divide us, with anger on both sides, as we [Ministers basically] defend positions held by our heroes, past or present. Or worse, we defend our heroes whatever they do or say.

A second problem that resulted from this faulty thinking was I failed to comprehend who I was and how I was uniquely gifted in whatever way God chose for me to be. So I never believed I was someone who could do or be what my heroes were. This became the second of seven lies that hindered my ministry and is the lie that will be spoken about at length next time. Remember I SAW no failures or weaknesses on my heroes part. But that's WHY they remained heroes isn't it. I DID, however, see the failures and weaknesses on my part and that laid the foundation for the second lie. If I can be like them everything will be right with me. We'll look at it next time

I said there were other problems that resulted from the lie, "If they said it..I believed it." Without getting into specifics, permit me to say what some were as I close. You will notice that there are no WOMEN'S names on my lists. That's a problem because the only way I thought of most women was as the 'wife' of one of my heroes. Will it surprise you to find out that that was the way I thought of my own wife early on? I don't think it will surprise you at all. It also made me a perfect candidate for a hierarchical system of authority [That's a REAL problem] that left men in charge of everything. I read the scriptures through this filter for several years which was unfortunate for my own family and the churches I pastored.

I'm glad I can now say that filter has been removed and were I to have a list of heroes, and I don't, my wife would head the list. But she has her head on straight and her heart right and will not abide that kind of thing in her husband at all. So we now talk of our weaknesses and our faults without shame or a desire to hide, which is healthy and necessary for any true relationship to grow. But will not happen when hero/celebrity worship is in play.

I know what has happened to our marriage and family with the demise of hero worship. For those family members willing to plug into it, there is an ability to know and love without shame, anger or condemnation. Now think of what would happen to church-life if hero/celebrity worship were to be laid aside there. What? No shaming, condemning or perpetual anger? No defending in anger a position on doctrine or a need to maintain an image? My goodness.. perhaps REAL Body-life would be experienced.

Next time___lie number two.. "They did it..I should do it also to be truly spiritual."

Paul B.

Monday, June 14, 2010


As we all know, I'm sure, the Gospel is a declaration of the who, what, and why of Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King. He is the fulfillment of each of these holy offices and has reconciled the world to Himself and has given to those of us who are part of that group the ministry of reconciliation. EXCEPT FOR WOMEN some would say.

That "EXCEPT FOR WOMEN" message is being taught by many in our day as much as the gospel is being taught. Perhaps more. Many are incorrectly saying that the husband is the Prophet, Priest and King of the family and far too many, for various reasons, have bought into that unbiblical view IMHO. I thought EVERY believer was a priest. Is that not true? Or is it really EXCEPT FOR WOMEN? What do I mean? Let me show you.

I thought because the way has been opened by our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, offering His own blood upon the mercy seat, [Hebrews 10:19-25] ALL BELIEVERS could boldly abide in the holy place offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. Has that changed? Is there a new revelation that would alter that and make the man/husband the High Priest of the family? I don't think so.

Is it not true that He is our Prophet and as the new law-giver, our Moses, so that at the transfiguration we were told to "Hear ye Him." Then He commissioned us [all believers] to go into all the world sharing the gospel [Being prophets] as we go. Or is that true EXCEPT FOR WOMEN.

Am I wrong in thinking that ALL BELIEVERS are seated in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, [Ephesians 1:3] and ALL believers have dominion over the god of this world because we are in Christ [King] and all believers will reign with Him in the Kingdom that is yet to come.? Is that true? EXCEPT FOR WOMEN?

Taking away from women their position of being in Christ and all that means so their man/husband can be the priest over the family is unbiblical. It is usurping the position of the One who really is Prophet, Priest, and King over ALL who make up the Church. He is, after all, "Head over all the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." [Ephesians 1:22-23] So..to try to make the man the Priest of the family is creating an elevated spiritual position for husbands that simply DOES NOT EXIST in the text of the scripture and is robbing a woman of her place in total union with Christ.

I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the "author" [pioneer--Heb. 12:2] for EVERY believer and has led EVERY believer behind the veil where EVERY believer is given the privilege/responsibility of intercession for each other as family members. I believe ALL family members are to have a personal relationship with the Father with only the ONE high Priest, who is Jesus Himself, who now as our Intercessor, does just that, with EACH believing family member also interceding for each other.

There was a time when I taught this false concept of the man/father being the Prophet/Priest/King of the home myself. I had read it, heard it from men I respected and regurgitated all I had read and heard. That continued until that day several years ago, which I have mentioned on previous occasions, when I came to a place where I became committed to saying nothing I couldn't find in the TEXT OF SCRIPTURE ITSELF.

I still may misunderstand some things or even mis-interpret some things, but it WILL be because I understand the text to be saying something which I then believe and teach. I do not see in the text that any thing we are given in Christ as a believer has been taken from a woman and reserved for her husband as her head. The man is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church for sure. [Ephesians 5] But I believe that means the originating source. [Head doesn't mean authority as the scriptures speak of being put 'under His feet' as the proper metaphor for authority. [Ephesians 1:22] I hold to this view because of an exhaustive study of the words of EVERY text that mentions it.

And may I say..I've read Grudem on it and have answered, for myself, every objection he has to my position to my personal satisfaction.

I can only imagine the pain and hurt women have suffered for years hearing that they are less than their husband [No matter how you try to spin the concept of equality] and they are not really complete in Christ at all. They find their completeness in their husband only. That has played havoc with female Body members who are as gifted and called to minister in the power of the Spirit as anyone else in the Body of Christ. But their gifts are often allowed to rust and go unused and the entire Body of Christ is diminished because of it.

And the man under that teaching? As someone has said, "He is like a favored child that can't help but feel arrogant toward his siblings, [The female members of the Body of Christ.] and walks as a deluded male walks, in unintended prideful conceit,
provoking the resistance of God in his life." That, my friend, is a powerful statement found to be true in far too many places/churches today.

Paul B.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I believe it is pretty clear that there is no method or form offered in the New Testament for what we call 'ordination.' In fact, I think it is clear that the biblical materials do not view ordination the way it is presently viewed in modern times at all. No instructions were given for who, how, or why anyone was to be ordained. The best we can do is derive from the meaning of the Greek word, cheirotonein, that people were to be "appointed" [The meaning of the word] for certain ministries [such as elders in Acts 14:23] and then we can find a few occasions in the text where that was done, thus, giving us an example. It could very well be that the idea of being ordained to the "gospel ministry" is an invention of human culture beginning long after biblical times. The writers of the New Testament surely were silent on that.

They did however, seem to view the "laying on of hands" as a method of recognition.
The Greek phrase "Epititheio tas cheiras" [to lay hands on] occurs five times in Acts in ways that might be indicating a setting apart or appointment to a particular ministry. As an example I'll mention three of them. In Acts 6:1-6 the seven servants were set aside for practical ministry. Acts 9:17 shows Paul was set apart for his work of preaching that began in verse 20. Who doesn't know of the incident in Acts 13:1-3 where Paul and Barnabas were set aside for their missionary work.

Basically what we see in the biblical materials is the recognition that a person possessed certain spiritual gifts and character that were necessary to do a specific needed ministry. The church then commissioned that person by the laying on of hands for that specific task. The appointment could be to preaching to serving as an elder to going on a missionary journey to feeding widows who were being neglected. In its simplest form, ordination could be defined as the church’s symbolic recognition of what the Holy Spirit was doing or wants done in the life of the church using people to do it for the benefit of the others.

One final thought. It should be noted that the Bible gives no specific instructions as to whether women should or should not be ordained. The refusal to "set aside by laying on of hands for a specific ministry" [The biblical meaning of ordination] of women would have to be based on an interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12 that I believe is generally totally misunderstood. AND one would have to hold to the "office" concept of Pastor or Deacon with their understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12 to refuse women ordination to those "offices."

The truth of the matter is, using the biblical definition, there is no clear command OR condemnation in the New Testament for the ordination of ANYONE and the word "OFFICE" isn't used at all. [Except in the KJV where it is a mistranslation of the words] The scriptures simply indicate we are to recognize need and the people in the body who are gifted and anointed to meet that need and set them apart perhaps by the laying on of hands, so they can minister to that need...regardless of gender.

I do realize this may be much like the modern understanding of how to do church [Body-life] that we hold to that is so foreign to the biblical text and yet would need a miracle or major catastrophe to change. Ordination as we know it would take another miracle to be changed back into the biblical model. Until then I guess we'll all do the best we can with what we've got...awaiting that miracle or catastrophe. Frankly, I think either one would be for our good and His Glory.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


W.B. Johnson was the first President of the Southern Baptist Convention which was founded in 1845. In 1846 he wrote this after quoting a specific passage of scripture, which I failed to write down for my post, and was recorded in an article that I discovered written by an Internet friend in a research paper on the subject of ordination. The following is that statement..with some of my explanation enclosed. Johnson said..

“In a review of these Scriptures, we have these points clearly made:

1. That over each church of Christ [local church belonging to Christ, not a denomination] in the apostolic age, a plurality of rulers was ordained who were designated by the terms elder, bishop, overseer, pastor, with authority in the government of the flock.

2. That this authority involved NO [emphasis mine] legislative [to enact rules/guidelines] power or right, but that it was ministerial [serving] and executive [oversight] only, and that, in its exercise, the elders were not to lord it over God's heritage, but as examples to lead the flock to the performance of duty ...

3. That these elders were all equal in rank [position] and authority, no one having a preeminence over the rest. This satisfactorily appears from the fact that the same qualifications were required of all, so that though some labored in word and doctrine, and others did not, the distinction between them WAS NOT IN RANK, but in THE CHARACTER OF THEIR SERVICE..[Emphasis mine.]

4. That the members of the flock were encouraged to follow and imitate the faith of their elders, with due consideration [watching with knowledge] of the end of their conversation, [The way they lived] for Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever...” [End of Dr, Johnson's statement.]

It is obvious to me that Southern Baptist people/churches, as a whole, have sure departed from the description of Church leadership taught by the first President of the Convention from his view of scripture.

It is apparent that Dr. W. B. Johnson believed there was no such thing as a one man pastoral role. Just as apparent is the fact that he believed there was no dictatorial authority vested in an "office" of "Pastor." We can even safely say that the idea of "do not question the authority [Pastor] God has placed over you" was foreign to his understanding of scripture. Otherwise there would be no reason to "Watch the way they lived" before imitating [following] them.

He [Johnson] DID believe the leaders of a fellowship were to be respected and followed [willingly] with an eye to testing their walk as believers. But there was no blind mindless sheep following a Shepherd BECAUSE he is the Pastor in Johnson's way of understanding the scriptural ministry of pastor.

I would add that the qualifications for that ministry had nothing to do with degrees, seminaries, or training. The qualifications were of character and conduct not sheepskins signed by a Seminary President. I have one of those but it has nothing to do with biblical qualifications for the ministry of Pastor/Elder or whether or not I'm qualified to pastor a fellowship.

I think all of you are aware that my view of Pastors/Elders or any biblical subject for that matter is held BECAUSE I believe I see it in scripture and NOT because some SBC leader, past or present, says it a certain way or culture wants it a certain way. Some of my friends see those same scriptures differently by the way. But that's the joy of our walk. The possibility of being wrong in our understanding but knowing that one day we will ALL fully and correctly understand.

It is interesting, however, to hear the views of a man who was with the SBC from it's beginning and to see how we've changed. Perhaps NOT for the better.

Paul B

Monday, June 07, 2010


I have nothing to say today. But I'm asking you to read my wife's blog about our friends Rex and Sherry Holt here..http://rebel4reality.blogspot.com/ It is worth the time.

Friday, June 04, 2010


I'm going to wax very personal here. So..If personal things bore you please move on to someone else's blog. You will be very disappointed with this one today.

I used a phrase [not original with me] when I wrote about our anniversary recently that I've been asked about. In fact, two phrases were used and asked about. One was "stirring the oatmeal." The other was the altering of an old cliche to make it say "familiarity breeds respect." "Familiarity breeds contempt" was, of course, the original way it was said. I'll write about that later perhaps.

The first was used to show how ordinary things can be turned into an adventure rather than waiting for only the extraordinary things to be that. Who experiences many "extraordinary things"anyway? Much of daily living is lived in experiencing mundane often boring things that are more routine than exciting.

What celebrating the ordinary does is it keeps us appreciating what we have and are experiencing rather than always hoping something will happen that is exciting. It keeps us from wondering what we're missing out on in life. We're not missing out on anything. That's the point. Life is fun and appreciated where we are and with what is happening.

It is very similar to the old idea of "stop and smell the roses." Some people live their life without ever really enjoying it. They may even miss seeing what they have and waste their time longing for what they think other people have or are afraid they have missed out on. What a waste of time and energy and of life itself.

Mary and I HAVE had extraordinary times together. We've pastored large, exciting churches as well as small ones which were just as thrilling. We've gone to meetings sponsored by the multi-billion dollar Corporation for which she works. We've traveled to places like Hawaii, Israel, London, Egypt, not to mention trips on our motorcycle to Colorado, Bear Tooth pass in Montana, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole Wyoming. Those trips can ONLY be described as extraordinary when you're on a motorcycle.

Add to that the REALLY extraordinary events we've shared like the birth/marriages of children and grandchildren and who's to doubt that some really great things have been experienced by the two of us.

But, generally, our days are made up of the ordinary and it is the celebration of those times that make life far more exciting. This, especially as age begins to dictate the slowing down of extraordinary times/events. In fact, the older one gets the more likely it is that funerals become more common place than do weddings and births or travel and sight-seeing.

This is when having learned to celebrate the "stirring of the oatmeal" [What's more mundane than that?] comes into play. But I do think it takes learning this early in life on rather than later. You don't magically wake up one day doing it. It takes a commitment, time, and it takes practice.

Let me give an example. Mary's coffee. What I mean is this. Mary works for a major Publishing company and offices about a mile from our house. When I'm home from traveling myself, which is a good bit these days, I take her to her office, walk to Starbucks, three doors down, get a tall, mild, with room, cup of coffee. I then doctor it with a little sweetener, a little non-fat milk and walk the few feet to her office where she's unlocked the front door. I step in, she comes to me, I get a kiss, and she gets her coffee.

Now that's celebrating a cup of coffee if I do say so myself. This is every morning unless Providence dictates otherwise. When I can't, she jokingly wonders how she will get coffee that day. She doesn't know how to make it taste right she says.

Another example. When I'm gone on a meeting, two, three or four days at a time, it varies, and I get home I find something. The morning papers I've missed reading are at my place at the table, along with my personal mail, and a note has been written welcoming me home [With a few words that are private telling me how MUCH she has missed me.] and left on the cabinet that I see as I enter.

This is the moment I sense I'm REALLY home and I find relaxing feelings starting to take shape in my shoulders and back. Try it sometime. It's worth leaving briefly just to get to come home. Of course you have to learn to celebrate it like we do.

I might add that when she travels the same thing happens when she arrives home only the thing she finds is perhaps a clean house or groceries bought or a meal cooking. That says the same to her that my papers and mail do to me.

I could multiply these examples by telling about our noon dip in the pool during the summer time as I pick her up at 11:45am and have a protein drink ready. We float, we sun, we laugh, and she drives back to work by herself. [I'm going to be too busy in the pool to take her you understand. ;)] Or, a simple thing like her calling me "mister." Nothing else..just "mister" which I happen to be crazy about. Don't ask me why? I just am.

I could tell of our forgetting things as we get older but celebrate it by jokingly saying "There she goes" [Meaning she's losing it.] or "There he goes," depending on which one forgot something. This, instead of dreading getting older or getting upset that we are. We just are. And we are forgetful. "Celebrate it" is our motto. And we do.

I could even tell you about the moment we get in bed every night and Mary snuggles in close to my back. There is a small thing she says that makes me laugh every time. I will leave unshared what she says since it is personal and of a nature that would draw a censure from some I'm sure. But what do they know!! They just need to get a life. ;)

We started learning this several years ago when we would take trips and Mary would navigate while I drove. We'd REALLY get upset and even fight if wrong instructions, turns, or whatever happened to be given/made. One day we decided we would travel with the philosophy.."There are no mistakes, only ways of going and doing things we hadn't planned on. So we'll celebrate the unplanned." [Mistakes]

You ought to try it sometime. It will revolutionize any trip you take together. It carried over into other things for us and most little things have become an adventure. "Stirring the oatmeal" we have found can be a great thing. Try it sometime.

I do know that one day, for the spouse that remains, if that time comes, it will likely be those ordinary things that were shared and laughed about that will be remembered with misty eyes and smiles, rather than the trips.

By the way, if this is all too childish to really be right and is kind of dorky...don't tell me. I'm having too much fun thinking this way instead of being mature and as miserable as some people are.

Paul B.