Qualifications

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by DHK, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. DHK

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    I know that this subject has been discussed before. But I want to focus on one particular verse in 1Tim.3 that has caught my attention.

    1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


    To ascertain the meaning of this verse I simply picked three commentaries (usually fairly reliable) from my software program, and quoted what they had to say. (This is the easy and quickest way to do it).


    Vs.7. a good report--Greek, "testimony." So Paul was influenced by the good report given of Timothy to choose him as his companion (Ac 16:2).
    of them which are without--from the as yet unconverted Gentiles around (1Co 5:12; Col 4:5;
    1Th 4:12), that they may be the more readily won to the Gospel (1Pe 2:12), and that the name of
    Christ may be glorified. Not even the former life of a bishop should be open to reproach [BENGEL]. (Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown)

    It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation. Cmt. on Col 4:5; Cmt. on 1Th 4:12. (Barnes)

    He must be of good reputation among his neighbours, and under no reproach from former conversation; for the devil will make use of that to ensnare others, and work in them an aversion to the doctrine of Christ preached by those who have not had a good report. (Matthew Henry)

    These older commentaries would disqualify from the pastorate those that do not have a "good report" even before their salvation. Thus if a person was involved in a prolific life: a life of drugs and alcohol, a life of reckless immorality, or definitely anyone with a criminal record, they would be disqualified because they would not have a good report from them that are without--the unsaved; especially if he were to go back to the place where he grew up and those of those community knew he had been involved in a life that demeaned the name of Christ. What qualifies you to be a pastor now? How would the unsaved react to a former life lived in the depths of sin? I think this is the meaning of the verse. What do you think?
     
  2. exscentric

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    Your quotes make a good case, that is a good case against Paul. Kick that fool out of his apostleship I say!:thumbsup:
     
  3. DHK

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    I anticipated that that would be the first argument presented.
    1. Paul was a missionary, not a pastor.
    2. God gave him a special dispensation, and set him aside to be an Apostle.
    3. He states that he did it out of ignorance. He believed he was doing the will of God.
    4. He did have a good reputation of "them from without." He was welcomed in every synagogue that he went to. His credentials went before him. At the time of his conversion it was "those within" that were concerned, until the Lord gave them reassurance, and then Barnabas took him and reassured them that he was called of God.

    I don't think that one can use Paul as an example here. The book of Acts is a book of transition, a book of history. And that was at the beginning of the Church Age.
     
  4. Salty

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    Then what is the difference between a missionary and a pastor? Or could he be considered a missionary-pastor?
     
  5. DHK

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    If we look at the life of Paul, he started churches, and then ordained one to be a pastor and moved on to start another. He was more of a church planter. A missionary is more like one who works himself out of a job. I don't believe that a missionary should be one to go and start one church and remain as a pastor of that church for the next twenty years or so. That is not the Biblical pattern.
     
  6. exscentric

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    "1. Paul was a missionary, not a pastor."

    No, an apostle I believe. You even mention it yourself.

    "2. God gave him a special dispensation, and set him aside to be an Apostle."

    Did not know that, where was that "special dispensation" announced.

    "3. He states that he did it out of ignorance. He believed he was doing the will of God."

    And every sinner out there probably pleads ignorance but they are still guilty of their past life no matter the motivation.

    "4. He did have a good reputation of "them from without." He was welcomed in every synagogue that he went to. His credentials went before him. At the time of his conversion it was "those within" that were concerned, until the Lord gave them reassurance, and then Barnabas took him and reassured them that he was called of God."

    "I don't think that one can use Paul as an example here. The book of Acts is a book of transition, a book of history. And that was at the beginning of the Church Age."

    Oh persecuting Christians gets a pass. Got it. :thumbsup:

    "I don't think that one can use Paul as an example here. The book of Acts is a book of transition, a book of history. And that was at the beginning of the Church Age."

    Okay, toss out the book of acts if you like but I'd rather keep it. By your logic we could get rid of those pesky gospels too as they were tranistion as well. Well since the Old Testament is a lot of history and not in the church age, might as well can it too. :thumbs:

    What you need to find in the text is some indication that this good reputation requires the good report be from the beginning of life to fit the interpretation presented in the OP.:thumbs:
     
  7. DHK

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    I think I did that. You are just using Paul as an excuse to get out of the proper interpretation. I don't buy your excuses. Why would Paul, who wrote the qualifications, excuse himself? He tells us in other Scripture that the Lord forgave him because he did it out of ignorance. No one else can claim that. A drug addict cannot claim that they are taking drugs out of ignorance that it is harmful to their body and that they are rebelling against God and society. Neither can anyone else that lives a sinful life. But Paul was sincerely doing the will of God, or so he thought.
     
  8. Trotter

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    From what I see, the verse comes across as "the walk should match the talk" and the man's actions should be of the quality that even outsiders can have nothing to say against him. I just don't see anything regarding the man's former life before conversion.

    Paul said many times for those that he wrote to be imitators of him. Paul also said that he was chief among sinners. There is nothing said about Paul being excused from the same criteria.
     
  9. exscentric

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    "I think I did that."

    Assuming something is not showing fact. Where does the verse say that it speaks of an entire life and not a shorter period of time?

    "You are just using Paul as an excuse to get out of the proper interpretation."

    Not at all but you are certainly allowed to ASSUME as you wish.

    "I don't buy your excuses."

    What excuses?

    "Why would Paul, who wrote the qualifications, excuse himself?"

    Don't know, that is why I think he means other than what you assume.

    "He tells us in other Scripture that the Lord forgave him because he did it out of ignorance."

    Reference would be nice. Doubt it was due to ignorance in particular but rather grace as in all our cases.

    "A drug addict cannot claim that they are taking drugs out of ignorance that it is harmful to their body and that they are rebelling against God and society."

    Do not recall mentioning drug adicts.
     
  10. RevGKG

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    Using the intrepretation presented in the op means that not only Paul was unquaified, but so was Peter, John, and James. Based on the mentioned standard then we would have NO pastor's in our world. God changes lives. A Pastor should be one of those changed lives and his reputation should a testamony of such.

    Here are some other commentaries that do not add the life long requirement as referenced in the op.


    Walvoord, John F., Zuck, Roy B. - The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures.
    3:7. An overseer must also (15) have a good reputation with outsiders (cf. Col. 4:5; 1 Thes. 4:12). Paul’s thought here seems to be that church leaders, as representatives of the congregation, are constantly susceptible to the snares of the devil (cf. 2 Tim. 2:26). Satan likes nothing better than to disgrace God’s work and God’s people by trapping church leaders in sin before a watching world. It is important therefore that overseers achieve and maintain a good reputation before unbelievers.


    Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary
    A good testimony outside the church (v. 7). Does he pay his bills? Does he have a good reputation among unsaved people with whom he does business? (see Col. 4:5 and 1 Thes. 4:12)
    No pastor ever feels that he is all he ought to be, and his people need to pray for him constantly. It is not easy to serve as a pastor/elder, but it is much easier if your character is all God wants it to be.



    MacDonald, William, Farstad, Arthur - Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments.
    3:7 A bishop is a man who must have a good reputation in the community. Those who are outside refers to unsaved neighbors. Without this good testimony, he becomes subject to the accusations of men and the snare of the devil. The accusations may come from believers and unbelievers alike. The snare of the devil is the trap which Satan lays for those whose lives are not consistent with their profession. Once he has caught men in this trap, he holds them up to ridicule, scorn, and contempt.


    Moss, C. Michael: 1, 2 Timothy & Titus
    3:7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
    Finally Paul concludes by turning to the “reputation” of the elder “with outsiders.” Outsiders may work side by side with a prospective overseer. His demeanor and lifestyle can easily be read by them. His reputation with the world affects the influence of the church for good in the world. One who lacks this favorable testimony from those outside the church “will fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”



    McGee, J. Vernon: Thru the Bible Commentary: The Epistles 1 and 2 Timothy/Titus/Philemon
    “Them which are without” means those who are outside the church. In other words, if a man has a bad reputation on the outside—if he doesn’t pay his bills, is untrustworthy, or is a liar—he immediately is not a candidate to be an officer in the church. If he is such a man he is really a candidate of the Devil—he would better represent the Devil than he would represent the cause of Christ.



    Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Hrsg.): The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Timothy.
    Ver. 7.—Good testimony from for a good report of, A.V. that for which, A.V. Good testimony (μαρτυρίαν καλήν, see ch. 5:10). So it is said of Timothy himself that ἐμαρτυρεῖτο, “he was well reported of by the brethren” (Acts 16:2). In accordance with this rule, letters testimonial are required of all persons to be ordained. Note the importance of character in a clergyman (comp. 2 Cor. 6:3). Them that are without (τῶν ἔξωθεν); used in Matt. 23:27; Luke 11:39; 1 Pet. 3:3; Rev. 11:2, etc., of that which is outside or external literally, as the outside of the cup, the outer ornament of the body, the outside of the sepulchre, the outer court of the temple. It is synonymous with the more common form, ἔξω. (For the phrase. “they that are without” (οἱ ἔξω, ), as applied to those who are not members of the Church, see Mark 4:11; John 9:34, 35; 1 Cor. 5:12, 13; Col. 4:5; 4:12.) The opposite is ἔσω, ἔσωθεν, (1 Cor. 5:12; Matt. 23:25, etc.). So exoteric and esoteric, of doctrines intended respectively for the outside world or the inner circle of disciples. Reproach (ὀνειδισμόν); the reproaches and revilings cast upon him by unbelievers (Rom. 15:3; Heb. 10:33; 11:26; 13:13). The verb ὀνειδίζειν, has the same sense (ch. 4:10; Matt. 5:11; Mark 15:32; Luke 6:22; 1 Pet. 4:14), and so in classical Greek. This reproach is further described as the snare of the devil (comp. ch. 6:9; 2 Tim. 2:26), because it is through these revilings that the devil seeks to impair the power of his ministry and frighten him from the exercise of it. The genitive τοῦ διαβόλου, depends only upon παγίδα, not upon ὀνειδισμόν, The καὶ, does not indicate that there are two separate things into which he falls, but adds, as a description of the ὀνειδμός, that it is “a snare of the devil.” The idea in 1 Pet. 5:8 is analogous. There it is by affictions that the devil seeks to devour the disciple who is weak in faith. Those afffictions might well be described as παγίδα τον͂ διαβόλου, “a snare of the devil,” set for weak souls.
     
  11. DHK

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    And here is Adam Clarke:


    which are without - That he should be one who had not been previously a profligate, or scandalous in his life. Such a person, when converted, may be a worthy private member of religious society; but I believe God rarely calls such to the work of the ministry, and never to the episcopate. Them that are without are the Jews, Gentiles, and the unconverted of all kinds. For the meaning of this term see the note on Col_4:5. (Adam Clarke)


    John Gill has the same opinion.


    Here is what I have noticed. The commentaries that I have posted, for the most part belong to 19th century or thereabouts. They are the older commentators. I find it odd how are newer commentators do not hold as high a standard of holiness as those of a century or so ago. It would be interesting to through the entire list and see if preachers were honest with themselves, how many would step down from the pulpit if they knew the qualification didn't fit. The one above was just an example.


    What does it mean to be blameless, or "without reproach."
    Most only put serious sins there such as immorality, divorce and remarriage, having a criminal record.

    I know a preacher who is obese. He says "I love to eat." And therein lies the reason. I believe many preachers are like that. Gluttony is a sin that is a reproach on the name of Christ. It does damage to the body. It hinders the effectiveness of one's ministry. It sets a bad example to others. One cannot honestly say they are blameless and above reproach if they are obese. Should that person remain in the pulpit?


    The word sober means sober-minded--serious minded. Have you ever met that pastor who thinks life is all fun and games--always joking around. He's the one that is not sober-minded.

    A better example would be the Pastor that announces Visitation on Saturday and then doesn't bother showing up for it. He doesn't take it seriously. It is his study day for Sunday. I have seen that happen, and I mean regularly--Saturday after Saturday for months. Why even announce if the Pastor doesn't show up? Isn't he sober-minded, serious about the Great Commission.
    Have you ever seen a church who every year talks about having a missions program but never gets around to it. It is always simply put off, procrastinated. They are not serious about the Great Commission either. These are some examples.



    Each qualification should be studied carefully, and applied in the light of our own society.
     
  12. RevGKG

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    Based on your assumptions every Pastor should immediately resign.
     
  13. DHK

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    They aren't assumptions; they are observations.
    It is a discussion forum, and I throw them out for discussion.
    Yes, I have already given thought to that consequence--many of our pastors would be disqualified--many of them. Let's not put the cart before the horse. What do these qualifications actually mean or were intended to mean.
     
  14. exscentric

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    "I find it odd how are newer commentators do not hold as high a standard of holiness as those of a century or so ago. It would be interesting to through the entire list and see if preachers were honest with themselves, how many would step down from the pulpit if they knew the qualification didn't fit."

    Or maybe the older men were applying an improper standard in their thinking, it still has not been established from the text that this is a life long standard nor has it been established that the old guys were right and the new guys are wrong. Let us establish what the text says. How does the grammar used relate, what does it tell us?

    I would guess the men would definitely step down if they thought they were unqualified just as many men do today.
     
  15. TomVols

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    Let's not read too much into the text.
    Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders (ESV)
    And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (NASB)

    First, I see no mention here as to pre-conversion life. Second, None of the qualifications are thus, so why is this one different? Third, how could it be so before conversion? Our filthy rag righteousness would not permit it to be so.

    Now, I have scanned these and other commentaries and I believe you're lifting things out of context.

    "Who are without the church; that is, of those who are not Christians. This includes, of course, all classes of those who are not Christians—heathens, infidels, Jews, moral men, and scoffers. The idea is, that he must have a fair reputation with them for integrity of character. " (Barnes)

    "This appears to be very difficult, that a religious man should have, as witnesses of his integrity, infidels themselves, who are furiously mad to tell lies against us. But the apostle means, that, so far as relates to external behavior, even unbelievers themselves shall be constrained to acknowledge him to be a good man; for, although they groundlessly slander all the children of God, yet they cannot pronounce him to be a wicked man, who leads a good and inoffensive life amongst them." (Calvin)

    Gill nor JFB mention anything of pre-conversion, just pre-eldership. I don't think Clarke says this either, though his wording is odd (As usual).

    And let us remember the words of A.T. Robertson regarding these qualifications: "There are, of course, two sides to this matter."

    That's just a brief scan of what's on the computer I'm using at the moment.
     
  16. TomVols

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    By the way, should this qualification be taken literally and universally? Are there any "exceptions" or qualifiers, if you will?
     
  17. DHK

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    Because there is a consequence for sins. Most do not allow those who are divorced and remarried to be a pastor. Would you accept a "former" pedophile as your pastor? How about a serial rapist? Now the question becomes: Where does one draw the line? Sin is sin. Sin is a transgression of the law. But those sins which affect the character of a man, cause a scandal in the community, etc. even before the man was saved, may permit him from being a pastor after he is saved. Forgiveness is not the issue. It is the consequence of sin. Where is the line drawn? What then is "good report."
    You didn't read far enough:

    It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation. Cmt. on Col 4:5; Cmt. on 1Th 4:12. (Barnes)

    Gill, in his verbiage, does agree that life before conversion should be "of good report."
    --In other words, professors of religion are apt to be upbraided because of his past sins or sins before conversion. Those sins will make him in great measure useless and ineffectual.
    --He also may be despised by the people of God because of his former sins.

    Here, again is JFB on the same matter:
    Not even the former life of a bishop should be open to reproach [BENGEL]. (Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown)

    And here is Adam Clarke
    --Clarke is very clear on this subject.
     
  18. TomVols

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    You are assuming "former life" to be pre-conversion. I think that to be beyond the bounds of the text. I believe it to be his post-conversion pre-eldership life, as the text seems to indicate and the commentators seem to agree. To assume that an elder's life such defined is only pre-conversion ignores Paul's admonition not to appoint a novice to the eldership (cf 1 Tim 3:6). Same is true of Gill and JFB. A natural reading of them does not produce the meaning you have. Seems more eisegetical, if you will.
    I was wondering when the slippery slope would come up. Okay, so let's assume pre-conversion sins are in mind here. We would have to apply it universally, would we not? If so, a man before his conversion must not have been a new convert (v. 6). Hmmm....bit of a strain there, isn't it?
    A man must have been able to teach prior to conversion (v.2). Hmmm....
    And I suppose the deacons in v. 9 would have to have held the doctrines of the faith in their lost state? The present tense of these character qualities speaks volumes.

    Not one single commentary on my shelves refer to these as encompassing pre-conversion sins.

    Clarke may be right that God would not call a pedophile who got saved to the ministry. Of course, hopefully they'd be doing prison ministry, but that's another story.

    By the by, care to take the bait...I mean, a crack...at this? :)
     
  19. DHK

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    The only exception I would make is the Apostle Paul. The Bible clearly indicates that a special dispensation was given to him. He was the one that wrote these guidelines under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    apt to teach. Have you ever been to a church where almost every sermon is a gospel message, and the message doesn't go much deeper than that? I have. In fact I have been to a church where a member called someone from outside the church to come to his home to give a weekly Bible Study because he wasn't getting the teaching, or being fed from within the church. The preacher was shallow. Certainly there was teaching. But if the teaching is simple gospel teaching then something is wrong.

    There are pastors that don't have much more than a grade 12 education. It has been said that you can't teach beyond what you yourself have been taught. There is some truth in that. Not everyone is a Spurgeon or a Moody.

    How many pastors don't rule their house well? Perhaps their wives rule their house more than they they do? Or perhaps they have some spoiled children, somewhat rebellious. Does that automatiically disqualify them?

    I suppose my point in all of this: Are these qualifications flexible?
    1 Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
    --The word "well" is subjective. How well is well? Compared to who or what standard?

    Likewise "apt to teach." Meaning basic discipleship, or a college professor?

    We can go through each one and put our own standard on each qualification.
     
  20. TomVols

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    The Bible declares that the man of God must be skillful in teaching. If he is not, then he has no business in the pulpit. I'm not sure if that's what you were looking for, but there you have it. You don't have to be Spurgeon or Begg or Lloyd-Jones to be skillful at teaching. Then again, maybe the "one note banjo' to whom you refer is just fine. He's apt to teach...but his lesson never changes :tongue3:

    If rightly interpreted and applied, no. That goes to my point, though. Far too many interpret these and apply these incorrectly. More to come.....

    Here's where subjectivity gets a lot of pastor search committees or watching eyes in trouble. They set this preconceived notion (often, foreign to the Word of God) as to what the minister's family should be. Any slight deviation and the minister is an albatross. That said, I can remember preaching a revival at a church where the pastor's 5 and 3 year old used the sanctuary as their playground. Ripping hymnals, dancing on the piano benches. Does this guy have his children in grave subjection? Hardly. Neither did another man who hosted me for revival meetings. His children (now adult) would not speak to him because he spent more time at the flower committee meetings than he did at home nurturing his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But I digress.

    Perhaps there is some subjectivity involved cultrurally or contextually. Maybe that's why there has been a disagreement as to the meaning of the andra monos gunaikis (man of one woman, husband of one wife).

    Okay, I'll let the cat out of the bag. We often take these standards prima facie without thinking of, as AT Robertson put it, the other side of the coin or other side of the story.

    I can name a preacher who has a very bad reputation with the general population. People in his city speak daily of how they detest this man and deem him unfit to be a man of God. I can think of another man in a small town who is very poorly thought of and is ridiculed by the public. They, too, say he is unfit to be a man of God. So I ask you: given this, are these men disqualified because of the opinion of those outside the family of the faith?
     

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