Sunday, January 29, 2017

What Do You Mean By "Pastor"?

I swung by the Cripplegate blog this afternoon. Jesse Johnson's got a post titled "A Plea for Pastoral Prayer" (click here). The point of the post is we ought to take more time and give more thought to prayers in our public gatherings. They can be deeper, more thoughtful, more moving, more appealing (both to God and to those who pray with us), etc. I don't use a manuscript when I teach, but there is one thing that I write out and read (though hopefully you can't really tell I'm reading) when I teach. That's the opening prayer. And Jesse's right about that. We ought to have better prayers in my opinion. And by better, I don't mean that extemporaneous prayer is lesser than any other prayer. I just mean we give so little effort to what we would like to communicate to God, and we do a great service to others if our prayers could be as calculated as some of the other elements of our worship together. That part of the post is great. Before you get to all that though . . .

I couldn't help but read the first sentence in the second paragraph and sort of do a double take. Jesse writes:
"By pastoral prayer, I mean a pastor (someone whom has been ordained, and is being paid by the congregation for pastoral ministry; 1 Tim 5:17) praying a deep prayer over/for/with the congregation on the Lord’s Day."
Is that really what we ought to mean by the word "pastor"? What do you think, folks? In full disclosure, I wouldn't land my plane on this runway. Regarding the first part of Jesse's description, see my post with Spurgeon's letter on ordination (click here). Regarding the second part, a pastor could choose to not receive financial remuneration (wisely I might add), and a church could be in a position where it's just not possible, among other reasons. But, hey, enough of what I think.

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