Does a pastor have the right?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by aefting, May 29, 2004.

  1. aefting

    aefting
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    Do pastors have a Biblical right to establish (perhaps non-Biblical) institutional standards for members of their church. For example -- on visitation ladies shall wear modest dresses or skirts and men shall wear ties. I'm don't want to argue if this particular example is OK. Just in general, does a pastor have that right or responsibility?

    Andy
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Andy,

    I think you are going to have to give us an example of a non-Biblical insititutional standard before we can respond.

    As far as I know, dressing modestly is a Biblical standard.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. aefting

    aefting
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    In my example, the ladies cannot wear pants on visitation and men cannot wear just a golf shirt.

    Other examples would be dictating dress standards for those teaching or those in the choir.

    Or requiring deacons and staff to not attend hollywood movies.

    Or requiring teens to sit with their parents in church.

    You get the idea. I'm really don't want to argue particulars, if possible. I just want to know if the Bible gives pastors that kind of authority in the church.

    Andy
     
  4. massdak

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    nope, i would stay away from that pastor
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Typical conduct of the insecure is to develop a legalistic code so you KNOW you are doing right.

    Jesus said that the matters of the heart were more important than the rules of the pharisees . . but He added that we should NOT leave the rule part undone.

    Our church had a choir cantata. They asked all men to were a coat and long tie. I wear bowties but defered to this "code" so the choir would be uniform. That is not a problem.

    But if such a code was required for "spirituality" (as the no slacks, etc often is) then I would run, not walk away from such.

    I'm a recovering Pharisee and even the smell of legalism is tempting . .
     
  6. freeatlast

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    The bible does not say exactly. It does say that we are to obey them. Paul did set down some rules and warned the people when he came if they were not follwing them he would deal with them. So Unless you can show where these particular dishonor the Lord why question them? It is true that they do not make one a Christian, but the church today has lost all sight of what modesty is and is in rebellion that is so bad what you mentioned is a breath of fresh air. If the people in that church were godly such rules would not be needed in the first place. You ALL might want to step back and look at yourselves and your relationship with the Lord if such rules cause you emotional distress.
     
  7. go2church

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    Such a pastor seems to more interested in control then shepherding. You cannot control what people think and it is useless to try, you are only teaching people to be deceptive and rebellious. Playing Holy Spirit is indeed tough! I agree with the others...run not walk away from this guy! BTW if I wore a tie when I visited someone the first question they would ask is "Preacher, who died?"
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    I think there are some valid concerns to have in the setting of standards. But it is necessary for the pastor to make the distinction between biblical mandates and institutional standards. While I think wearing a shirt and tie is a rather useless mandate, we do ask the deacons who are taking the offering to wear a coat and tie to do such. There is no real reason biblically; it's just a matter of practice. I do ask that if a lady participates in teh service from the platform (such as a special music number), that she wear a knee length dress. It's not a biblical standard; it is a practical one. I would not attribute these to biblical mandates, and in fact, have confronted those who didn't like the fact that visitors were coming in pants and shorts.

    Much of it is attitude with which it is presented. A pastor who is a demanding jerk has problems. I wouldn't attend that church. A pastor who says, "This is an institutional choice we have made for these roles" without attaching spirituality to it is a whole different matter.

    There are good reasons to have institutional standards that have nothing to do with inherent spirituality. Remember, testimony is at stake and appearance does matter. In a previous church, a lady got up on Sunday AM to sing with a skirt that was mid thigh. It was distracting and inappropriate. While mid thigh skirts are not my preference, I would not make an issue out of it. I simply ask that those who participate in various ministries avoid it in the context of ministry.

    I think we way overreact to "legalism." Much of what is called "legalism" is simply standards. If someone attaches spirituality to a non biblical issue, then that is a problem. Other than that, just live with it or move on. But don't accuse someone of legalism because they believe it best to have an institutional standard for some things.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    You lost me here. How is an institutional standard of dresses and ties teaching people to be deceptive and rebellious?
     
  10. Greg Linscott

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    I think that "oversight" as mentioned in 1 Peter 5:2 can cover quite a lot. Setting up a few standards to encourage uniformity and a godly environment could be included in this task.

    Let's use another standard for an example. It is within the acceptable bounds of the pastor's authority, for example, to establish set times for things to occur- 9:30 Sunday School, 6:30 Thursday visitation, and so on. Is a pastor being "legalistic" because he expects people to be in place at a certain time- would we condemn him for evaluating spirituality in this way? I wouldn't think so- someone's pattern of timeliness usually speaks to their priorities and dedication.

    Why would some of the other areas that have been mentioned (such as dress) be any diffferent? As long as it is understood that those standards are not all-encompassing (i.e., just because the women are encourage to wear a dress or skirt while representing the church on visitation doesn't mean wearing pants is a heinous violation of Scripture), I don't see a major problem. The problem is when we evaluate other people who are under the oversight of another pastor who has chosen a different standard.

    Case in point- In my previous church in Iowa, we did encourage a standard platform dress code for choir and speakers. I have not held people to that here in Maine (although I still wear a coat and tie). It's a different set of circumstances, and the people here have different needs to be ministered to.
     
  11. aefting

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    By the way, I don't have any particular pastor or church in mind. I was just asked to give some specific examples.

    I am inclined to believe that a pastor does have the authority to establish institutional standards for the local church that he is sheparding. Minimal platform standards, such as those that Larry mentioned, help those who may be less discerning minister without distracting or offending.

    Andy
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    True, brother Larry, but I think the greater danger is not acting enough to counter the menace and spiritually debilitating effects of "legalism".

    Under the guise of "standards" we see arbitrary non-biblical rules (some de facto and never spoken aloud) that seem to impart spirituality. A pastor will never say "you are more spiritual if you wear a suit" or "you are more spiritual if you're out bus calling each Saturday" (or I hope they won't say it).

    But it is there, alive in most of our churches, and its name is legion. Think we could have "fun" making a list of the horrors of legalism. I say that to our shame.
     
  13. TWade

    TWade
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    It is the duty of the elders to oversee and rule, not a single man. It is especially disgraceful for a man to condemn another according to the tradition of men.
     
  14. Alcott

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    If the people from your church came to visit me, and I didn't know them, I would probably assume they were Mormons or JW's and would likely react the same was as I reacted to the last couple of visits by those... On the most recent JW visit, a woman zipped right into 'political leaders' and said "Would you trust them?" I said, "No and I sure don't trust you either." A couple of young Mormon guys came just 3 or 4 weeks ago, saying, "Hello, sir..." Before they could say another word I thundered, "CLEAR OUT O' HERE NOW!!"

    The visitors from your church probably can expect a few incidents like that if they wear Mormon/JW "uniforms."
     
  15. aefting

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    Like I said, these are not examples about my church or any other church I know.

    We had a group of JW's come by our neighborhood a few weeks ago. They were dressed nicely. I didn't even think that they would be anything other than a cult group, even before they came to my door. Personally, I think there are very few communities any more that take kindly to door-to-door outreach.

    Andy
     
  16. aefting

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    I don't think that is much of a danger anymore. We are so afraid of "legalism" these days that pastors are very reluctant to establish any institution standards whatsoever. Legalism still exists in this new paradigm, however. It is the legalism that says if the Bible doesn't specifically and directly address an issue, then pastors cannot and should not address the issue either. The end result is very little application of broad but Biblical principles.

    Andy
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    I agree with Andy [​IMG] , and Freeatlast and Pastor Larry [​IMG] . I believe that the Church today is on a slippery slope and rapidly sliding down the hill. Pastors are compromising their standards more and more in order to make their churches attractive to the masses rather than make them attractive to God.

    I don’t believe that laying down a multitude of rules of conduct is the answer in and of itself. But in a “have it your way” “I’m OK, You’re Ok” permissive society, we NEED rules of conduct, and we need Godly, knowledgeable, pastors to lay down the rules and teach the congregation the reason for the rules in the light of the teachings of the New Testament.

    None of this, however, is going to be of much benefit unless it all comes from clean hands and a pure hearts, and rules neither cleans the hands nor purify the hearts.

    Psalm 24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. KJV
     
  18. go2church

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    The church has always been on a slippery slope, Paul had to make major corrections only a few decades removed from Jesus.

    Pastor Larry, I was referring to what Dr. Bob mentioned concerning making "standards" a as sign of spirituality.
     

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