Things I Think

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79 Responses

  1. Nonnie says:

    “Real ministry is crippled when we try to completely divorce the experiential from the doctrinal, the emotional from the spiritual, and already from the not yet…”

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  2. The Pope’s resignation is a good start.
    Some other Popes should resign.
    Wonder if Luther will ever resign or Calvin they have been popes for a long time.
    I would just like to find a pope.
    Where did that name ‘pope’ come from anyway.
    Checking Google.

    Pope Dread

  3. Apparently it means ‘papa’ … Tertullian appears to have ‘coined’ it … or not.

  4. Babs, you have a Pope – Todd Bentley. 🙂 – or at least a spokesman.

  5. Michael says:

    Now, Dread… Calvin was installed posthumously by people who never read him. Most of those who claim him still haven’t.

  6. MLD… yes he is a highly decorated man as you have noticed.

    Michael… Poor Jean, guess we are stuck with him.

  7. Kevin H says:

    Doing a little historical reading on past popes who have resigned (there haven’t been many and the last one was almost 600 years ago). It would seem that the current Pope’s resignation may be first resignation done under benign and peaceful circumstances. He may be the very first Pope ever to humbly submit that he no longer has what it takes to do the job and is willing to step aside for someone else who he believes would be a better choice moving forward. There is much to be admired here (assuming there is no backstory of corruption or other circumstances which are forcing his resignation).

  8. PP Vet says:

    Who is this person? 🙂

    Born in 1927
    “Friendship with Jesus Christ” is a frequent preaching theme
    Controls a large religious organization
    Theological conservative
    Controversy surrounding idea of retirement

  9. Shaun Sells says:

    #1 –

    I always find it interesting where we stop quotes when scripture is quoted. Finishing the paragraph you started:

    “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
    1Corinthians 4:3-5 (ESV)
    …and so we see from your references that:
    – pastors (by implication) are servants of Christ
    – pastors (by implication) are stewards of the mysteries of God
    …and the rest of the paragraph that:
    – pastors (by implication) are examined by the Lord
    – pastors (by implication) are judged by the Lord

    Tough judge, but always fair… However I find Paul’s conclusion in verse 5 important:
    “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes…”

    make your own application.

    #2 – the new cultural divide in Wyoming is gay marriage.

    #6 –

    #7 – true of me as well.

    #9 – consider taking Acidophilus while on antibiotics. your belly will thank you.

  10. Michael says:


    Barring any seamy backstory, I think the move shows both humility and a real love for his church.
    Someone take a picture.. 🙂

  11. That was in answer to PP vet’s query

  12. Wait Shaun … gay cowboys is more than a hollywood theme?

  13. PP Vet says:

    As someone brilliantly pointed out on FB:

    Back in the day God used people like Lonnie. But He got tired of all the baggage, so now He uses only professionals.


  14. LOL and ROTF which makes it hard to type

  15. Michael says:

    But, it is asked, on what ground it was allowable for Paul, not merely to set aside the censure of one Church, but to set himself above the judgment of men? for this is a condition common to all pastors—to be judged of by the Church. I answer, that it is the part of a good pastor to submit both his doctrine and his life for examination to the judgment of the Church, and that it is the sign of a good conscience not to shun the light of careful inspection. In this respect Paul, without doubt, was prepared for submitting himself to the judgment of the Corinthian Church, and for being called to render an account both of his life and of his doctrine, had there been among them a proper scrutiny, as he often assigns them this power, and of his own accord entreats them to be prepared to judge aright. But when a faithful pastor sees that he is borne down by unreasonable and perverse affections, and that justice and truth have no place, he ought to appeal to God, and betake himself to his judgment-seat, regardless of human opinion, especially when he cannot secure that a true and proper knowledge of matters shall be arrived at.
    If, then, the Lord’s servants would bear in mind that they must act in this manner, let them allow their doctrine and life to be brought to the test, nay more, let them voluntarily present themselves for this purpose; and if anything is objected against them, let them not decline to answer. But if they see that they are condemned without being heard in their own defence, and that judgment is passed upon them without their being allowed a hearing, let them raise up their minds to such a pitch of magnanimity, as that, despising the opinions of men, they will fearlessly wait for God as their judge.

    Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (1 Co 4:3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

  16. Josh Hamrick says:

    Y’all are cracking me up. But I want to comment on a couple of the things:

    1: That’s it! If we desire to be seen as successful, we want the wrong things. If we want a big church, we want the wrong things. We can only hope to be faithful to the Lord, and obediently serve those He has entrusted us with.
    2. Not being a person who finds my identity in either, I find that to be quite odd. As an IT guy, I do find the cultural shifts around technology interesting, but I have trouble relating. I guess people do find identity in football teams, and other such things.
    3. Well said.
    4. Ahhh, your an apple guy.
    5. I don’t watch MMA because i think it is usually boring, but I don’t see much difference, morally, in MMA and football.
    8. very true. Must have truth and you must have experience. Either of them alone is incomplete.
    10. I’m in class all day, and only on break, so i don’t have time to watch, but I will. Thank you for bringing this guy to my attention.
    Locally, we lost a musical giant this week. None of you have ever heard of him, but his name was Alan Biggerstaff, and he was a brilliant, humble man, and a dedicated believer in Christ. It means very little globally, but almost every life in this small town was affected in some way by Alan.

  17. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Now if Roger Mahony would resign from his post here in Los Angeles then were talking. It was discovered that he covered up abuse of children by protecting these wicked preists. Something about being better to have a milstone tied around you’re neck Roger so why don’t you man up and resign as you are a wolve in sheeps clothing. Yo are a disgusting man.

    #5 AGREED!! I used to love MMA but it goes against what Jesus was about, sheer violence and brutality.

  18. The daring freedom and experimentation within Renewal circles has always been fascinating to me. We both risk and retreat within the same few minutes in the gathering. Same can be said for our Contemplatives. Quieting oneself in the presence of God is about the most challenging thing a human can seek.

    It’s like painting with watercolours, you think you know what will happen until it really happens.

  19. Success is a whorish master. We in the free church tradition do bow and scrape for her pleasures. There is no peace to be made with her. As soon as we think ourselves free of her clutches she appears in a new form perfectly fitted to our altered mindset. I can never declare myself free of her as even that is counted as her victory. Wait… she is a he. Ok him too.

  20. Jim Jr. says:

    “Barring any seamy backstory, I think the move shows both humility and a real love for his church.
    Someone take a picture”
    As he was immediately below the Pope John Paul 2, he was the official directly responsible worldwide for making sure that abusing priests were dealt with, and he did a very poor job of it. I highly recommend the film Deliver Us From Evil…
    His being appointed pope in the first place was a thumb in the eye of the victims that he did nothing to protect.

  21. Jim Jr. says:

    “Now if Roger Mahony would resign from his post here in Los Angeles then were talking. It was discovered that he covered up abuse of children by protecting these wicked preists…”
    Ratzinger chose to promote Mahony rather than defrock him.
    When it comes to abuse, no organization comes near to topping the Catholic church.

  22. Michael says:


    Point well taken on #22…

  23. Jim Jr. says:

    Jim Jr. = 1
    Michael = 220

  24. London says:

    @10. Sad news. He was one of the speakers who stood out for me at last year’s Justice Conference. He will be missed

  25. from this corner says:

    #10-IMHO Richard Twiss (God now rest his soul) does not dig deeply enough – he spotlights thinking has caused far more problems in the world than we even realize – it has insidiously polluted far more than just the Christian denominations and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Faith …

    but European Christianity? – the European natives (my ancestors) were a rude and crude people with pillaging Vikings and hut dwelling Celtic polytheists…
    then, in God’s time and plan, along came Paul bringing refinements along with the Faith to the gentile world and the Romans then carried it north and the Faith came with it… my ancestors (most of them) embraced a Judeo culture along with the Faith – IMO we needed both …
    it is evil for any European, who has benefited from Christianity to feel that he is of a superior racial stock …but those people then were the tide that carried Christianity on to the whole world… not a superior people, but a superior understanding of God the Father and His plan…

    a world view? here’s mine: humanity is like the flotsam that the tides carry, we seem to get deposited by the flow of history and we impact the beach until the next high high tide carries us on … or so it seems to me … no rights, just the grace of God

  26. Reuben says:

    1, I have been saying that for years. I also expected Shaun’s response, just not from Shaun.

    2, iOS is going to lose my business again, because the functionality of the Samsung Galaxy Note II is superior for my needs by a long shot. Twice now, I have seen guys on roofs with it, taking pictures of service tags, notating the pictures with an actual pen, and sending them to the office so parts can be ordered. iOS is made for white collars. I don’t own any white collars. But this is not to say that I do not love Apple. They are simply falling behind with phones.

    This divide is nothing like Ford vs Chevy vs GM in Australia, where people have been killed for showing up to a bar with a Vauxhall or Holden rather than vice-versa…

    What cracks me up is that “crack-berry” is attempting to get back into the game with the same crap they have always had, except this time, wait for it, this will rock your world, it will come with this thing called a “TOUCH-SCREEN”.


    8, one of the most profound things I have read in a long time…

  27. Ixtlan says:

    The message by Richard Twiss is a primer of the vast problems that American Indians face. They need more from white people than painting their churches and vacation Bible schools. They need to be validated as human beings with value, recognizing they have something to contribute. That was the thrust of his message.

  28. Michael says:


    “not a superior people, but a superior understanding of God the Father and His plan…”

    I guess if you believe God’s plan was to enslave or exterminate the natives of the places they conquered…in the name of Jesus, of course…

  29. Shaun Sells says:

    Reuben and Michael –

    My intent was not to disagree, but add further details to Paul’s view. As noted by verse 3 which I posted and Calvins commentary Paul was willing to submit to be examined by the church at Corinth or by any human court – but he saw those examinations as small compared to the examination coming from God.

    I realize you guys read yours and others pain into what is said (it would be unnatural not to), I just wanted to be clear that I wasn’t trying to start a fight, just add to the discussion.

    Sorry if I ruined your day Reuben.

  30. What happened to Twiss? He was the picture of health

  31. Steve Wright says:

    I guess if you believe God’s plan was to enslave or exterminate the natives of the places they conquered
    MIchael, that of course was EXACTLY God’s plan at one point in history. Kill or enslave all those living in Canaan and have His people, Israel, take over the land.

    So this is yet another place where I have such a problem with the whole “the Church is Israel” belief and the idea of the kingdom here on earth. The European settlers to North America truly believed (many of them) they were setting up a kingdom here on earth in this new land. If the natives would come along and receive the gospel, then great. If they objected….well, they were pagan savages worthy of the judgement of God. the eyes of the new Israel that is…..

    (and for total clarity, I am not saying this is my belief. In fact, quite the opposite)

  32. from this corner says:

    no, Michael, you’re missing the point – but it’s not important – it really isn’t

    i am so sorry for the loss so many are feeling now that this good Native American Christian man has been called home … God comfort and heal those who love him

    agreed, we are a treacherous, greedy people with a treacherous government and the natives on this continent got the full brunt of it and are still suffering

  33. Michael says:


    He had a massive heart attack…

  34. Man that is horrible to hear… I am sad.

  35. from this corner says:

    most of the white settlers in the west (which is where the Indian populations took their last stand) were fairly simple minded folk looking for a life and the government, Greeley and the railroads goaded and enabled them to try … the Bible was their anchor, but the dream was their master and the tide of humanity rolls

  36. Michael says:

    “MIchael, that of course was EXACTLY God’s plan at one point in history. Kill or enslave all those living in Canaan and have His people, Israel, take over the land.”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here…and I’m almost afraid to ask.
    There really is no excuse for people who follow Jesus to make the Great Commission an excuse to rape and pillage every land they found in His name for their profit…which is exactly what the Europeans did and in some ways we continue that heritage to this day.

  37. As someone who lives and works around a lot of Native Americans, I see their problems every day. It is reported on the news and police reports around here. They need Jesus more than anything else and our world where everyone’s viewpoint is valid and past excesses by the Catholic Church and Protestants has made it hard to talk with them about it without it devolving into “Well, that’s your view.”
    I just pray that more and more will turn from the sin I see reported daily on the news here and turn to the Lord.

  38. Steve Wright says:

    God told Israel to go into a land and kill all the natives and take it over. You can read about it in the Old Testament. Pick up the story around Joshua, but earlier if you want the backstory. That is the same God we serve and worship. The same God who became flesh and died for our sins. The God who is perfect, holy and good.

    THAT God ordered that.

    My point is…of COURSE such behavior is an abomination for those who follow Christ. Because though God has not changed at all, and we need not apologize for His orders to Israel of the past, the Church is NOT Israel. There is zero comparison to our dispensation and its according duties towards God and His will, and with that of God’s people of the past.

    As I often state, dispensationalism involves far, far more than just discussing eschatological points.

    The non-dispensationalist of the past rationalizes that God sanctioned the murder/judgment of the pagans by His people, Israel and has not seen any problem with similar behavior in the name of God today by His people today.

    With tragic consequences.

  39. Michael says:

    “God told Israel to go into a land and kill all the natives and take it over. You can read about it in the Old Testament.”

    I won’t dignify this with a response…but I sure as hell had one.

  40. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, you’re mourning a loss and so I am going to drop out of the conversation. Maybe it can be resumed at a later date.

    I was by the bedside as someone I loved went to glory this morning, so I too am in no mood to apologize for Scripture or our God’s ways in ages past.

    I’ve already made clear in both prior posts that murder and violent suppression in the name of Christ has been an abomination, but I guess that was not enough. It is enough for me though.

    Grace be upon you.

  41. Michael says:


    While you may think me a biblical imbecile, it is moderately impolite to address me as one.
    That was the issue.

  42. I think it is good for pastors to hold themselves accountable to the churches. Last week Matt Harrison, the president of the LCMS started a firestorm by asking the pastor who participated in the interfaith worship service to apologize for the hurt that he caused.

    Here, is a video of him apologizing to the churches for creating the firestorm.

    I have an idea, let’s all post public apologies by our church leaders – I will go first.

  43. Michael says:


    I have to admit…that was very impressive.

  44. Shaun Sells says:

    #44 was a good apology, but it was not first … I went first today – see my #31

  45. Reuben says:

    I don’t understand the mess being referenced here, MLD. Is this over a pastor participating in an interfaith prayer vigil or something? If apologies need to be made for that, I have a few firestorm criticisms myself…


    I only watch Al Jazera and BBC, so if this was in the National media, I did not see it.

  46. Reuben,
    In a nutshell, it’s a matter of do you participate in a worship service with Muslims, Buddhists and Jews etc. The constitution and by laws of the LCMS say no – which pretty much agrees with God. 😉

  47. 1. And all this time, I thought successful ministry was about Buildings, Bodies and Budgets. 😀

    2. When we find our identities in something trivial our lives become trivial. BTW, did I mention that I’m a PC guy, but as soon as Mac moved to OS X, I enjoyed it.

    5. I find myself looking into a mirror of depravity. I have enjoyed MMA and right now I haven’t been able to follow it as much as I would like. This is due to some more important things that have come up in work and with the family.

    I also have begun to enjoy an unnamed violent and horrific TV show. I have absolutely no Christian justification to watch such a show.

  48. Reuben says:

    Shaun, you did not ruin my day. My day was ruined by the fact that I have no work. Thus no pay.

    I have yet to meet a CC pastor who will not quote said passage to defend the Moses model of church government. I really really really hope you are not attempting to leverage that passage the same way…

    Paul’s premise is that “pastors” serve (as servants) the Church. EVERYTHING ELSE is built on that. So to fail to serve the Church, and be a faithful steward of the things of God brings a wrath greater than mere mortals can bring, it brings the wrath of God.

  49. from this corner says:

    Reuben, praying that some business near you has a crippling glitch in their HVAC system and you get the call … one that can be fixed from indoors

  50. Reuben says:

    I LOVE that prayer!

    I have 3 days of work at Hospira ending the week. I got a call for tomorrow to work on an RTU at one of my regular buildings. The cold does not bother me as much as no work…

    I asked our church to pray that Winter would happen. 😛

  51. Shaun Sells says:

    Reuben, I wouldn’t use that passage to defend the Moses model, but I would say you and I disagree on the point of the passage.

    It seems pretty clear to me that both in the context of the book (see 3:9) and the section quoted, that ministers are servants of Christ (4:1), not of the church. As such we should be trustworthy because God is our judge. That is not a loophole for pastors to avoid accountability – it is a greater accountability than I can fathom. It strikes fear in my heart and shame for the mediocre work I accomplish. Obviously my service to God is accomplished in a local church and they have the ability to discipline and even fire me if I don’t accomplish God’s work in a trustworthy manner – but the greater fear for me is how I stand before God. Grace, grace, grace, is where I place all my hope, to put it anywhere else would be a hollow grave I dig myself.

    That being said, I also hope you get some work soon. We have a heating and A/C guy here at the church who suffers the ups and downs of that line of work – very difficult. Luckily for him ours breaks down regularly so we hire him when we can.

  52. Paige says:

    There is a sweet little nightly radio program here on KPDQ FM from First Nation Ministry The stories they tell are heartbreaking, but they continue to take help in the form of the Gospel, food and material goods to several reservations in the North and Northwest.

    I am sorry that I didn’t know about Richard Twiss prior to his earthly departure. He lived to close to us here. My prayers are for his wife, family, tribe and extended family and ministries.

  53. Steve Wright says:

    Michael…above…it is because I respect your understanding of the Word and DON’T think you are an imbecile that I dropped the snark on you in reply. So I apologize…

    Now, moving on.. I find the Corinthian letters much more challenging to preach than other Pauline works like Romans or Ephesians – because they are so personal and thus it is hard for me to see the personal application in some of the material for the people I am preaching to. And I’m not there to solely give a seminary class on the 1st century church of Corinth.

    For example, in the discussed verses here, I did not even think about pastors today – myself or others. I see Paul speaking of ‘stewards of the mysteries of God’ as being quite unique for his time, the time of the apostles when the mysteries of God were being put into writing, before we had a New Testament. And Paul of course was central to that process.The context with the earlier chapters screams this to me.

    Given that a mystery in Scripture means something previously hidden but now revealed, I do not see myself or modern pastors in general as stewards of the mysteries of God in any way that Paul was speaking of here. There are no more mysteries of God in that context, as the Scripture is complete.(Yes, there is an awesome stewardship to proclaiming God’s Word but that is different). By the end of the chapter Paul will remind them that he brought the gospel to them, and so of all their ‘instructors’ maybe he should be seen a little greater – a father to them in the faith. Again, hard to make that fit my role as a guy teaching the Bible – given there was no New Testament Scripture to check out the different guys running around claiming to speak for God.

    I do see a relevant application to stewardship, judging others and so forth, but those lessons are for all of us – and so I shared along those lines when I taught this chapter, in addition to the direct 1st century context of what was going on with Paul here. Verse 5 of course has a very broad application in a general sense that is consistent with other teaching found in Romans and elsewhere.

    The idea that these verses applied to modern pastors was not (and is not) on my radar. This is one of those paragraphs that is very personal for Paul. Just count the number of uses of “I” “myself” “me” and so forth.

    Anyway, that is my take…

  54. Michael says:

    I consulted about half a dozen commentaries on this passage…from Calvin to Fee to N.T.Wright and a few in between…and they all made this applicable to leaders today.

  55. Steve Wright says:

    Well, when reading detailed commentaries from multiple scholars one quickly realizes that they disagree on many points. Thus, the value of reading from different perspectives because when one find points of agreement, one is wise to pay attention.

    I find this a little less crucial though in areas of application than interpretation or observation. In fact, I tend to focus on those exegetical commentaries with very little application.

    I do have Fee though…and dug it out. I read it cover to cover when I preached through this epistle.

    Fee writes, “But his new point is that although he “belongs” to them (since he is Christ’s servant for them) he is not accountable to them. p.158

    Now, I read that in my prep, but chose not to say it (or anything similar). (I’ll refrain from asking if that point was prominent in the teaching 🙂 )

    In the concluding paragraph where Fee typically places his application (before moving to the next section 4:6-13) he makes a double application – first to the congregation who is forever ‘examining’ their ministers. Then, we read “although not intended so by Paul, by implication it is a word to those who preach and teach”(and he continues) p.164

    not intended so…by implication…

    So it seems to me that if a pastor wants to include application towards pastors and himself (to whatever degree) then one also needs to make it about the congregation at the same time as Fee did. Otherwise, it is only half the story…

    However, because I do not see the pastor/congregation relationship today to be equivalent to what was taking place in Corinth with the apostles, before the New Testament, I chose my specific applications to be about US – all of US Christians in whatever our stewardships and judgements.

    I’m also the guy that did not see a direct application to denominations today based on the first chapter of Corinthians. Though most commentaries tend to run that direction. Is there a more general application that can work with denominational bickering…sure. I just don’t think it is key.

    Like I said…just my take (and reasons for it)

  56. Jim Jr. says:

    55, 56 and 57 are enlightening posts.

  57. Isn’t this a tiny bit like over complicating what Jesus said, which is, “Whomsoever wishes to be greatest in The Kingdom, let him/her be the servant of all.”?

    Just love everyone, serve them with a heart of love, have their best interest in mind, even when it often conflicts with what might be selfishness on my part… When I read Jesus’ words that’s what I hear, see, not some odd idea that a pastor serves God ALONE, that is pure religious hogwash that reinforces a hierarchy that Jesus never intended. There was never supposed to be a “Moses Model” because of the new and improved “Jesus Model”!

  58. Steve Wright says:

    (Sorry for the length but this explains better where I am coming from in all this as to how I preach I’ll shut up now 🙂 )

    Exegesis by definition does not speak to modern, personal application. However, exegesis without application is not preaching IMO. It might be OK for a seminary class on the book, but not the pulpit. Application without exegesis is premature, quite ‘light’ and can also end up being improper application. I seek to exegete so people know the word, but also give application so as to put the word into practice in life. We talk a LOT about Paul, the 1st century Corinthian church situation, but we also talk application.

    The Calvin passage by Michael cited above presents a good balance for application if one wants to go down that path. If the pastor wants to both say A) I’m your servant, and you have every right to examine me like a book but B) If you criticize me without cause I have the right to get very uppity with you for daring to do so. That is certainly an application one can draw from the passage, and Calvin, Fee and others did so.

    Of course, to emphasize one at the expense of the other seems like a problem akin to a possible agenda (whether one goes with A or B as that emphasis).

    Since I am not an apostle responsible for sharing the truth of God for the first time as an author of Scripture. And since I am not personally responsible for the salvation, to large degree, of everyone in the congregation due to entering their city one day with the gospel for the first time, I see a different relationship than Paul had with Corinth.

    There are sometimes multiple applications that are still faithful to the text. WIth limited time we can’t hit everything. That is also why I don’t seek out applications from commentaries. I prayerfully rely on God to guide in selecting the applications that He knows the people who will be there need to hear, and what is best for our church. I put together my applications and illustrations at the end of all the study prep, typically just a couple hours or so before I give the message. One time I mentioned something from Mormonism (which I truly never do) and sure enough a visitor was there invited by a Christian friend who was debating leaving Mormonism at the cost of her family in order to follow Christ. She said the point was powerful and also the exact thing the two of them had discussed the night before. That sort of thing happens a lot – and all credit goes to the Lord who knows what everyone is going through.

    And some applications as mentioned just aren’t on my radar. What our church may need to hear may differ from someone else’s church. As long as the application is faithful to the text, no big deal.

  59. Anne Nonymous says:

    “Isn’t this a tiny bit like over complicating what Jesus said, which is, “Whomsoever wishes to be greatest in The Kingdom, let him/her be the servant of all.”?

    Just love everyone, serve them with a heart of love, have their best interest in mind, even when it often conflicts with what might be selfishness on my part… When I read Jesus’ words that’s what I hear, see, not some odd idea that a pastor serves God ALONE, that is pure religious hogwash that reinforces a hierarchy that Jesus never intended. There was never supposed to be a “Moses Model” because of the new and improved “Jesus Model”!”

    ^^ That’s the secret sauce! ^^

    All the other bloviating is meaningless hogwash.

  60. Jim Jr. says:

    “and all credit goes to the Lord who knows what everyone is going through.”
    Big amen.
    Also, if we take Paul’s relationships to the churches at all seriously, that guides our interpretation.
    When reading Romans we cannot forget that Paul had never visited them. Not so with his other letters.
    And his relationships to those churches must carry over into the twenty-first century if we are to have a clue at all.
    I don’t like it when people pretend that the letters were written primarily to us. They weren’t.
    We are, by definition, voyeurs.

  61. “that is pure religious hogwash that reinforces a hierarchy that Jesus never intended. There was never supposed to be a “Moses Model” because of the new and improved “Jesus Model”!”

    Hey G, that doesn’t sound very loving!!

  62. I agree pretty much with Steve. I checked out my commentary and it was much on that line. The exegesis is all about Paul and his co workers and any application to today’s pastor is pretty stretched. But much application is like that. I am still trying to figure out how my walk in bettered by bringing Paul his cloak each winter.

    I also do like Steve in my application of scripture for my class – I study all week and don’t even think of the application until Sat night when I am convinced there is an application. This past Sunday I just finished 3 months in Galatians – and that is a hard one to apply to Lutherans in SoCal without looking ridiculous at some points. As Steve said, in some points Paul writes so personally you know that he means those words just to that group.

    While I type this I am watching WWE – did anyone here know that The Rock is the WWE champ?

  63. Ixtlan says:

    “There was never supposed to be a “Moses Model” because of the new and improved “Jesus Model”!”

    Well, your dispensationalism is showing…… but seriously, you might be right.

    God did not give Moses an administrative model, but the plan that Jethro suggested my have come from the Lord. Can’t really say either way. We do see God apparently honoring that system. Later, God raised up Judges that oversaw a portion of the nation. The “Jesus Model” was amplified by Peter, Paul and the writer of Hebrews. You can make a case that Jesus confirmed that in Revelation 1-3 (those are red letters, too).

  64. Michael says:

    I believe Paul was restating what had been passed on to him from Jesus…“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””
    (Matthew 20:24–28 ESV)

    In doing so he was not just writing about the way leaders should view themselves, but he was rebuking the Corinthians who were making celebrities out of preachers and dividing based on those assessments.

    Who exalts a slave?

    I suppose you all could be right and there is no application to be made presently in a church filled with men who think they own their churches and the people in them and in a culture that exalts the servants of God to celebrity status and judges spiritual success based on style and numbers instead of spirituality.

    I, on the other hand , believe there is application that desperately needs to be made and this passage is shouting at todays church hoping to be heard.

  65. Amnotamouse says:

    ^^ Yep ^^ but people twist things and won’t listen to this simply teaching.

  66. Ixtlan,
    Let me assure you I am a recovering dispensationalist and I smashed those glasses for a more brutal reality that these writers indeed recorded their world and events as they believed it to be, not necessarily as it was or as God intended, but were evolving in a moral and ethical world view that ultimately culminated in the reality and truth of Jesus, Who so radically reframed the narrative as to change it forever, for the better.

  67. My point wasn’t that you can’t make application, it was just that you need to be careful and not stretch the text to make an application that is not there.

    If I were to make application of the passage it would be that leaders and the members of the church should withhold judgement against each other… at least inappropriate judgement.

  68. Steve Wright says:

    I too think I was clear that application along those lines was possible. I just chose not to go down that road at our place. One service does not exist in a vacuum either and those who attend and hear me week after week know the points I stress and believe me, I stress the ‘greatest is the servant of all’ regularly.

    My secondary point was that when citing scholars as authority, then isn’t it appropriate to cite them fully and not partially. Both Fee and Calvin (haven’t read N.T. Wright) give a double application that is just as “hard” on the members who have the audacity to judge the pastor when they don’t know the whole picture. That seemed lacking in the initial Things I Think passage. It read one-sided to me.

    To requote Fee. Paul was saying that he is not accountable to the Corinthians but to the Lord as His apostle.

    Was that application then supposed to be made to the local pastor? . Well, I don’t think it DOES apply – one reason we have an accountability plan, written and published, to deal with possible pastoral scandal.

    My message is in the archives and anyone can listen to the first 10-15 minutes or so that cover these verses and see if they think I was unfaithful to the text or our Lord. I feel fine with it. As I’m sure those who sought other applications specific to their church fellowships likely feel fine with what they did.

  69. from this corner says:

    #66 -over a lifetime i’ve come to the conclusion that evil is very insidious (we tend to see it as blatant and bloodthirsty; that’s wrong, i think) … leadership, wherever and whatever the motive is demanding and i just suspect that the power hungry (wolves? dunno) leadership that we’re seeing in Christianity today, perhaps more than ever before, take Michael’s Matthew reference and openly claim it, justifying themselves as “slaves” … the verse couldn’t be clearer, but evil’s greatest power – IMHO – is to twist an evident truth into a lie.

    an open, blatant dispensationalist still 😀

  70. papiaslogia says:

    “In doing so he was not just writing about the way leaders should view themselves, but he was rebuking the Corinthians who were making celebrities out of preachers and dividing based on those assessments.”

    Yes he was.

    The tendency we have to line up behind men is as real to us today as it was back in 1st century Greece. Paul is smashing this tendency by asking rhetorical questions which assume a “NO!!!” response. And this is not just for the leaders, but the followers as well. We

    Not thinking too eloquently this morning, but I did want to weigh in here, even a little bit.

  71. Steve Wright says:

    To be clear, throughout that chapter I made the point of how wrong it was for the Corinthians to prefer one above the other – and made THAT present application, emphasis on the ‘above the other’ part.

    Corinth didn’t just have their favorite guys, they were pitting them against each other. In listening to my old message I am reminded just how much I hit on the points that are regularly exalted here….(and supposedly not ever said from the pulpit by certain tribes)

  72. Steve Wright says:

    Calvin also wrote on verse 1 in his commentary:

    In the first place, then, he teaches in what estimation every teacher in the Church ought to be held. In this department he modifies his discourse in such a manner as neither, on the one hand, to lower the credit of the ministry, nor, on the other, to assign to man more than is expedient. For both of these things are exceedingly dangerous, because, when ministers are lowered, contempt of the word arises, while, on the other hand, if they are extolled beyond measure, they abuse liberty, and become “wanton against the Lord.

    (there is the balance…the tightrope…needing to be walked in going down the pastor/congregant application. A tightrope for both the speaker and the listener)

  73. Chile says:

    My former tribe leaders all regularly made the point that Scripture says we should be servant leaders. But the system they chose to order their local churches – their actions – drowned out the voiced words.

    If I had only listened to my 3 pastors of my former tribe on radio, I’d have been much better off. But when one is in a community (local church) and sees how the passages are lived out, the very words used are then altered to mean something different than what was intended, by the leader’s actions.

    A Moses Model Pastor is not a servant leader by definition. He’s a despot, as Moses was. Those of us who were involved in ministries understood clearly that we were to be the servant leaders. Which was ultimately defined as us serving the leaders.

  74. Reuben says:

    100% truth, Chile. Experience speaks louder than words, and your experience, my experience, proves this to be the case.

  75. Chile says:

    If a church allowed a voice and influence by the members, then applying a passage about how they do so would make sense. When a church silences the attenders and tasks them with “listening”, then that is a mute point. Seems best to focus on the application that applies to the leader/s.

  76. Chile says:

    Ya know, Reuben, I think the reason this concept is hard to grasp is because so many have not grown up in, or experienced as adults, churches that value their members as evidenced with the voice and trust they give them. The lack of “us” vs. “them” mentality between the leaders and the members is something one must live in order to really understand what a stark difference it is … refreshingly so.

    What is evidenced through freely empowering the people to exercise their gifts is a trust in God. As leaders we trust God’s voice to come through the Body as a whole and not just one person’s mouth, one person trying to “cast a vision.” Working together as a group, slowly, deliberately, and not being afraid of waiting for people to come on board, nor being afraid that the vision will be altered to fit the group as a whole, to some degree. The buy in can be great! The pace may be slowed sometimes, but that is often something God does for the sake of what He’s building into the community.

    HOW we do things is often far more important that the deed itself. Expediency is often an idol. It’s often a lack of faith in God’s ability to work through the group as a whole.

    As a team member trying to forge our way into new territory, I see this dynamic all the time. I think I could do better if they would all just get out of my way, or finally see the brilliance and giftedness of my calling; and serve my vision in order to make more expedient progress. But alas, this is not to be. I think God delights more in the love we have to show one another in the process of trying to work this out together. The iron sharpens iron, the dying to self in favor of someone else’s idea is a greater calling. Yet, consistently, God knows how to override even unanimous decisions in order to get done what He wants done. Meanwhile, we grow and are blessed for our working together. I’ve watched my relative pastor do this and it’s a great inspiration and example!

  77. Ixtlan says:


    What is called “the Moses Model” is very far in practice to what we see carried out by Moses and the rest of the leader during the Exodus.

    Num 12:3 (Now the man Moses [was] very humble, more than all men who [were] on the face of the earth.)

    Moses wrote this, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I can only imagine it gave him great cause for reflection and great pain for humble man to obediently write this about himself.

    A tribute to Richard Twiss:

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