Pastors – Legitimate or Not?

Usher: Deak, what are your thoughts on Frank Viola’s book Pagan Christianity? as it relates to the role of the pastor?  If a pastor’s role is simply pagan, and the church continues to practice mostly pagan rituals (including tithing), how does one go about justifying giving their lives to the pastorate? How does one continue to operate as a pastor knowing that Christ does not recognize the pastor as head of the church?  See page 181…

A further peril of the paid pastorate is that it produces clergy who feel “stuck” in the pastorate because they believe they lack employable skills.  “I (Frank) personally know a good number of pastors who felt convicted to leave the minstry.  All of their schooling and training had been dedicated to studying and preaching the Bible.  While those skills are noteworthy, they are of limited appeal in the secular job market.  The major hurdle they now face is forging a new career to support their families.  A friend of mine, an ex-pastor himself, is writing a booklet on how pastors can find employment and enter new careers after leaving the clergy system.  His ideas are not based on theory. ….. Even so, it is exceedingly difficult for many contemporary pastors to acknowledge the lack of scriptural support for their office simply because they are financially dependent upon it.  As Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”  No wonder it takes a person of tremendous courage and faith to step out of the pastorate.  Unfortunately, most of us are deeply naiive about the overwhelming power of the religious system.  It is a faceless system that does not tire of chewing up and spitting out its own.” – Pagan Christianity?  Frank Viola & George Barna

Deacon: How would you feel if you actually were in those shoes?  What would you say to your wife and kids when you came home with that conviction?  Would you claim that your choice was naiive and based on your knowledge at that time?  What would you do with the rest of your life?  Would you be willing to sacrifice all that you had worked for in exchange for a clean set of convictions?  What if you were 40+ years old and had no resourceful ways in which to figure out another method of providing for your family?

Usher: Maybe I’d just continue to take advantage of the poor and naiive of the church simply out of fear?  Is it any different from inheriting a fortune from my father’s moonshine business and then go on to become president of the United States.  Does that make the money clean or justify the actions of my father and how he obtained the riches?

Deacon: Careful, you’re stepping on the toes of a lot of powerful people with that one, oh provocative buzzard.  I’m not sure I want to be on the same branch of your tree when certain people read this post.

Usher: It still doesn’t make it right.  I feel for people who make choices based on limited knowledge or incorrect knowledge, but God knows and he allowed it.  How much more valiant would it be for a person to come clean and confess such a conviction?  What if it became a movement?

Deacon: If pastors came to terms with this issue, it would destroy the modern church.  Debate would incur and those against it would rationalize it away for fear of losing everything they had worked for.  I would venture to say that in any kind of volume it would bring massive disruption and in the end, major revival to the body (not the modern church), but the body of Christ, the believers.  But man will not do it, it must be brought about via calamity, hardship or both.

Usher: How refreshing it would be to know that gathering to share in our lives with Christ would be something other than listening to one man’s current interpretation of his one-sided relationship.  When will people truly figure out that it’s not following man, it’s following Christ together?  It’s a corporate experience, not an oratory!

Deacon: Relax Usher, you don’t have to get so trumped up about it.  Man has followed man since the beginning of time and will continue to want a king on earth, a leader to tell him what to do and someone to think on his behalf.


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4 Responses to “Pastors – Legitimate or Not?”

  1. Mark Says:

    I agree with what you have said. Though we both know it will never change. There are few too many people in this world who want to take the easy way out. They want someone else to lead them and ‘show them the way’. As long as there are those type of people there will be those more than happy to lead them.

    That isn’t to say that I think all pastors have bad intentions, as a matter of fact I believe at least most of them start with good intentions.

  2. Deacon Says:

    Usher: Deak, once again there are many that will take this personally when they really should step back and question the “office” instead.

    Deacon: If an institution is corrupt, then most likely nearly all the components, offices. vessels and instruments are corrupt.

    Usher: Best analogy I can come up with is that of the church operating as an airport as a hub of those en route to their individual destination. Unfortunately, the church operates as the destination and no one ever gets off the ground except the pastor who ends up owning the airport.

  3. Paul White Says:

    I think the institutional Church can function closely to the biblical model if it just would acknowledge publicly that deep down they/we all desire power and control of others. Kinda like what Nietzsche said as far as our “will to power”. I’d have a lot more respect and would be willing to submit to those who are over me in the Lord if they would just show a little humility and expose the hypocrisy in their own lives that we all share. Instead they conduct themselves in a manner that says “Thou shalt not touch thine anointed because I am the head of the Church!” as though they cannot be critiqued or questioned! There are Churches that I have attended that are very transparent and reinterprets authority through a kingdom ethic in NYC, where I live, you gotta ask around, but there out there. And as Augustine said “The Church is a whore but she is my mother.”

  4. Like A Mustard Seed Says:

    If the church is a whore, then we better turn to our Father, and ask his guidance in how to follow him without a “mother”.

    I’m afraid it’s not enough to simply hope that individuals in positions of power would acknowledge the innate desire for control, but still maintain the offices that exploit those weaknesses. If you truly understand the sinfulness within every one of us, that none of us are qualified to lead in the same way Jesus does, then the only action that really acknowledges this is to prevent anyone from being put on a pedastal in the first place. Otherwise, it’s like looking at the Catholic Church and saying, “If only the pope would publicly acknowledge that people are hungry for power, then there wouldn’t be anything wrong with his position…”


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