What Is a Pastor – Intro to Series

What is a pastor?  Is he a good teacher?  Is he a good leader?  Is he someone good at drawing people together?  Is he a counselor?  What are his responsibilities?  One of the big problems the church has faced is that many people have decided to follow the brick-and-mortar model of a church and appointed themselves to start such a church.  The problem is that many of these men are not qualified to be pastors.  I am talking more here about heart, focus and shepherding than anything else.  If a man is unable to be a shepherd, a gentle guide who cares for every member of his flock as his own, he should not even be thinking of starting a church.  I hear often from futurist pastors “I need to do what is best for the majority of my congregation.”  By which they mean shunning a small minority they believe are beyond help.  But Jesus left the 99 to try to save the 1; that is being a shepherd, not playing to your power base!
Pastoring is much more than preaching on Sunday and organizing a few events, or doing some writing.  Pastoring is nurturing and loving every single member of the congregation, regardless of their place in life.  The thing I see lacking the most in pastors these days, is love.  Some are great teachers, outstanding writers, great organizers, but instead of shepherding a flock they are more interested in carving out a niche for themselves.  When a bump in the road (read: less than perfect member) arrives they circle their wagons instead of following scripture and being a minister to those in need.  This is also obvious in the community when pastors and churches only help certain kinds of people, instead of being the church to everyone in need.
This is where the model of the scriptures comes into play so much.  A pastor should be under the guidance and support of older, more experienced pastors.  He should be taught how to shepherd.  He should learn how to counsel his people in love.  He should learn how to care for those in the community.  For many pastors, preaching comes naturally, but they can and do permanent damage spiritually, psychologically, and physically when they fail to learn the other necessities of being a shepherd.  Let’s say, for example, a person in the church needs marriage counseling.  If the young pastor, without being a good counselor, or knowing what he is doing, dives right in to counsel the couple because he is their “pastor,” a relationship has started that can never be severed.  He is now a part of their marriage.  They have opened up themselves in a way that does not go away just because counseling stops.  If he gives bad counsel, he could damage lives forever.  If he abandons the counseling, he could make it impossible for that couple to ever entrust their marital secrets to another counselor.   If, on the other hand, he brought an experienced pastor along side with him in the counseling process as he learns, he has less risk of creating problems.  That pastor would be able to be someone else the couple could trust.
Pastoring is much more than preaching on Sunday.  There are so many things pastors can do that can be spiritually devastating to their members without even knowing it.  I focus in on counseling in particular, because that is part of my training and background.  I have seen hundreds of people personally whose spiritual, emotional, and psychological lives have been completely shattered by pastors who give advice when they should keep their mouths shut, who counsel people with no knowledge of what they are doing, but especially of counselors who start the process with a member, gain trust, and receive intimate secrets from couple or individuals, and then either walk away from counseling or hand the people off to other counselors.  Anyone  trained in psychology, or counseling knows this is one of the most damaging things a counselor can do.  So why do people with no experience and no oversight  think they can pastor people and counsel them?  I am not sure.  But the damage is rampant in our pews and in people that will never step foot inside a church again.
That is why it is essential for men thinking of starting new preterist churches to find an experienced mentor, to guide them through these landmines.  AS a shepherd your first concern should be for your sheep, each and every one.  (Remember Jesus left the 99 to try to save he one, he didn’t stay with the 99 to do what was best for the majority!)  There are many experienced pastors in the preterist movement who can guide young pastors through this process.  Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.

Preterism Demands Universal Health Care (but not how you think)

All scripture from The 1599 Geneva Bible, Copyright 2006 by Tolle Lege Press, White Hall, WV.

This is a general introduction to this topic to spark discussion, not a complete treatise on the issue. Every society required financing of public works, charity and care for all.

Social financing is a necessity in any and every society above the most backward level. If ti is not provided by God’s people, the state must step in and assume the responsibility, or face anarchy. Status Welfarism and social financing have been from antiquity a source of civil corruption, the destruction of the family, and a burden that can bring down the state.”

Often American Christians of the conservative variety have equated Christianity with blind capitalism. The problem is, scripture does not teach a blind capitalistic economic system. It does teach a value for private property and accumulating work through honest healthy work, but it places limits on both. One of the primary issues concerning those in the United States right now is economic policy and universal health care. People on both sides have been using sound bites about freedom of choice, lack of care, helping out those in need, but I have yet to see a consistent biblical response to the question of bailouts, economic stimulus packages and universal health care. So I want to take some time to delve into those issues with you. What does scripture have to say about these issues? As full preterists we believe that scripture defines our actions and responsibilities. We also believe that the dwelling of the New Jerusalem offers healing to all the nations. Is this healing merely spiritual or does it have physical dimensions as well?

Rousas Rushdoony states this idea succinctly: “By undermining the Biblical doctrine of property, capitalism has undermined itself. The godless state and the godless corporation are alike in their disregard for the theological meaning of property.”

Unrestrained capitalism is just as evil as Continue reading “Preterism Demands Universal Health Care (but not how you think)”

Economics (transcribed from another blog site)

Original material will be forthcoming this weekend, but I wanted to consolidate the topic to this site.
We know the present reality in which we live! We should be living as if our actions are meant to shape the universe we live in, because they are! How many of us know for example that biblical law not only limits the size of the government but the size of the church as well!!
Many American Christians feel that scripture always justifies their position. Many used scripture as justification for slavery while others claimed slavery was always unbiblical, although scripture speaks of definite laws regarding slavery and the stealing of men. This will not be the volume to defend or attack those positions, I merely point out the ways in which Christians use scripture to justify their own views. The same has been seen throughout history in various political debates concerning economics. Some claim scripture teaches unfettered capitalism. Some feel scripture teaches unfettered communism. Both are to be disappointed with this exegesis of the actual economics of scripture. Capitalism is to be bound by biblical mandates which do limit profits in some cases and provide for those in need in a much more aggressive way than straight capitalism. Communism is in its essence theft and is not amenable to a biblical economics, although the spirit of providing for the lesser among us is contained within scriptural economics. Exploration of biblical economics is both fascinating and convicting.
Sabbath Years and the year of jubilee are the basis of a biblical economic system. Inflationary systems, communism, socialism, and Keynesian all have one thing in common, the maximization of distribution to their chosen class. Biblical economics has one goal, the eternal sustainable dominion of man over the earth for his own benefit. Many Christians deny environmental concerns based on the dominion mandate. This misses half of the biblical model. Other Christians deny the dominion covenant in the attempt to reach sustainability through environmental fiat. Ignoring either half of the biblical purpose only leads or tyranny and exploitation, and an increasing reduction of the number of people the land is able to sustain. The earth was created to sustain man and provide him wealth, if ti is treated as god has demanded. We will need to explore what this means in terms of sustainable use of the earth, a great deal of this is based on the principles of sabbath and jubilee as taught in scripture. We will also need to explore what dominion means, as taught in scripture. Finally, we will need to explore what God’s law and economic policies do in provision for the poor and alien in our midst. As we are now in the New Jerusalem, we are to finally be practicing the economics as laid out in scripture. Even Israel failed to follow God fully in this regard. Preterism means not that we shed the principles of biblical economics, but that our world is finally the first place where it can be put into its full and final form.
I have been contemplating the way Christians live in America today. It seems to me they are much more concerned with getting the latest Republican candidate elected than worrying about whether that candidate will actually uphold scripture in his/her governance. We are so set on winning little battles we have lost the war for our culture and the future.
Now I can excuse the futurists somewhat. I mean heck, if the world is going to end or God is going to miraculously transform the world into a perfect place to live instantly, why make an effort? What’s the point. The dispy adage about polishing brass on a sinking ship is true, if you are a futurist. Working for cultural transformation, biblical economics, biblical justice and Godly government are futile from the futurist perspective. But I cannot excuse preterists.