Thursday, May 7, 2009

PASTORAL HERMENEUTIC?

It seems to me that there is a dichotomy in Bible interpretation between that of pastoral ministers and us non-pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and so forth who do not lead local congregations.

One of these areas is the concept of "storehouse tithing" I am convinced that there is absolutely no scriptural basis for teaching such a "doctrine," but from the most muddle-headed, decisional-regeneration-hyping, inch-deep, mile-wide theologian of the high-volume-covers-inadequate-study pastors to the Godly, scholarly, otherwise-pretty-good-divider-of-the-Word type, there is agreement on One Thing: We want your money here!

Basically, they are saying: Do not support para-church ministries. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I lead a para-church ministry. Our financial support, apart from my wallet, is in the neighborhood of $240. annually). To be sure, I think there should be no need for para-church ministries. All ministry should be done by the local assemblies. Since local churches have often failed in their assignment, para-church ministries have been started. Many of these para-church ministries are thinly-veiled scams but there are those led by Godly men and women who have stepped into the gap created by the failure of the local church.

It is not unusual, for example, to find a large, prosperous local church with a fairly good foreign missions program. They support several folks in the fields across the world, mission boards, and so forth....BUT that same local assembly has no outreach in its own community. They have no nursing home ministry; they have no jail or prison ministry; they have no food bank; they have no shelter for abused women or children. Their idea of local ministry is usually reduced to the "visitation" model centered on inviting neighbors to attend services at the church....and there's no need inviting folks from nursing homes or prisons, right?

I hate to disabuse all the "comfortable pew" folks but asking your neighbor to come to church is not obedience to "preach the Gospel to every creature." "We have the best coffee in our Sunday School class!" is not the Gospel. "We have a really fun children's program" is not the Gospel!

The other aspect of this "pastoral hermeneutic" is in regard to Hebrews 13:17--Obey your leaders and submit to them.....I'll make that a separate post....soon.

1 comment:

shewmen.com said...

Brother... You nailed it with this post. Thank you for writing this article. I know your struggle and I understand your desire. Keep telling us like it is in Christ brother. I needed to hear this today.

Mike