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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Driscoll's Suggestions to Young Men

Himself a fairly young pastor, Mark Driscoll is aware of the many temptations and dangers of sexual sin. In light of the recent events involving Ted Haggard, Driscoll offers some very good suggestions for ministers, especially young men. Here is what he had to say: 1. The only way to stay away from sin is to stay close to Jesus. Colossians says that we are prone to making a lot of rules but that if we don’t deal with the issues in our heart, we are fooling ourselves; holiness cannot be obtained by the sheer force of white-knuckled will power. More than anyone, a Christian leader needs time with Jesus in repentance, for their own soul and not just to make them a better leader or teacher. Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture for purely functional and not relational purposes. 2. Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either. 3. Every pastor needs a pastor. Too often the pastor is seen as a sort of little God and his wife as some glorified First Lady. Every pastor needs a pastor with whom he can regularly have accountability and the confession of sin. Every pastor’s wife also needs a godly woman chosen for her maturity and trustworthiness. 4. No church should tolerate sexual sin among its leaders. Christians cannot be guilty of playing plank-speck with non-Christians on matters of pornography and homosexuality and be guilty of going soft on sin in their own leadership. As Paul says, nothing can be done out of partiality or favoritism. Pastors should have their office at the church and their study at home. There is no reason a pastor should be sitting alone at the church at odd hours (e.g., early morning and late evening) to study when anyone can drop in for any reason and have access to him. Instead, a pastor should come into the office for scheduled meetings and work from home on tasks such as emails, planning, studying, sermon preparation, etc. I spend the vast majority of my time working from home. Some years ago when I did not, I found that lonely people, some of them hurting single moms wanting a strong man to speak into their life, would show up to hang out and catch time with me. It was shortly thereafter that I brought my books home and purchased a laptop and cell phone so that I was not tied to the church office. 5. Pastors have the right to protect their own home. This means that if someone keeps dropping by unannounced and is unwelcome, or a flirtatious woman shows up to a Bible study at the pastor’s home, the pastor and his family have the right to request that they never return. The pastor’s home simply cannot be viewed as yet another piece of church property that is accessible to anyone who desires it. Rather, the pastor’s home must be a safe place for the pastor and his family without the wrong people rudely calling and dropping by. 6. Churches should consider returning to heterosexual male assistants who are like Timothy and Titus to serve alongside pastors. Too often the pastor’s assistant is a woman who, if not sexually involved, becomes too emotionally involved with the pastor as a sort of emotional and practical second wife. I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us. 7. Pastors need to protect their email and have it screened for accountability. For me, this means that no email but an email from one of our pastors comes directly to me. This also means that I leave my email account open at home and my wife regularly checks it to get schedule information, etc., because I have nothing to hide. I also do not have a secondary email account from which to build a secret identity. 8. Pastors need to carefully protect their cell phone number. If that private number gets out, too many of the wrong people have access to the pastor. Not only should the cell phone number of a pastor be given out to only a few people, he should also consider eliminating his voicemail and simply have calls forwarded to his assistant. In this way people will not become too informal with the pastor and if the pastor knows someone is trouble (e.g., a flirtatious woman), he can see that on his caller ID and simply refuse to answer the call or have to deal with a voicemail. 9. Pastors must speak freely and frankly with their wives about their temptations. Without this there really can be no walking in the light and sin always grows in darkness. 10. Pastors must not travel alone; the anonymity and fatigue of the road is too great a temptation for many men. A pastor should take his wife, an older child, an assistant, or fellow leader with him. If this cannot be afforded then travel should not be undertaken. 11. Any pastor who is drifting toward serious sexual sin should have the courage, love for God, devotion to his family, and respect for his church to simply fall on his sword and resign before he goes down in flames. He must get the professional help he needs without fear of losing his position as a pastor. It is much better to be an honest Christian than a wicked pastor. 12. Lastly, the big issue is a love and fear of God. Only a man really knows his heart and whether or not he loves and fears God above all else. Without this a man will fail to live for God’s glory, and it is only a matter of time. In conclusion, I say none of this as moralism. Indeed, this is a deeply rooted gospel issue. How can we proclaim that our God is a faithful Trinitarian community if we are not faithful to our marriage covenant and family? How can we say that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us if we have no holiness in our life? How can we proclaim that we are new creations in Christ if we continually return to lap up the vomit of our old way of life? How can we preach that sin is to be repented of if we fail to model that ongoing repentance? How can we say that God is our highest treasure and greatest joy when we trade Him for sin that defiles our hands and defames His name?

5 Comments:

Blogger centuri0n said...

Nobody has any comments on this?

Are people dead inside?

Here's my 2-cents, just to cause a bru-ha-ha:

If you're going to be this serious about the personal sin of sexual immorality (and I think one should be this serious), one should also be this serious about the sins the tongue produces.

And I think Driscoll's point about pastors and their wives is spot-on. The wife of a pastor doesn't have to be Jessica Simpson, but she ought to be his wife in all the things that means -- in the same way he ought to be her husband in all the things that means.

And that includes the problem of being too busy as well as the problem of being too fat.

11/06/2006 04:17:00 PM

 
Blogger SFB said...

Cent, you're so right on. I have to say that although I agree with Phil over at TeamPyro re: Driscoll's language and his flirtations with emergent-ism, in this case his insights are both absolutely valuable and trustworthy.

What is pathetic about this article and scores of others like it is that we even need to be discussing these things concerning gospel ministers. How ridiculous that those who occupy the same place as the apostles (as TEACHERS of what is right) must be reminded like those who are ignorant babes in Christ. It always vexes me to have to wade through article and book after article and book about "how to avoid acting just like the reprobate damned". These are seemingly all directed at ministers, those whose holiness and separation and moderation and Godly example are supposed to be obvious to all men.

One of the most precious Biblical babies we threw out with the Romish bathwater was the constant impression on people's minds that the Lord's apostles were HOLY... set apart by the Spirit of God to be blameless in their zeal and devotion. The apostles were always described and pictured as "other" when compared to the lost. I know they and we are sinful and in constant need of God's grace, but seriously, where did we lose the idea that we are supposed to hate sin and love holiness so much that it simply permeates and transforms our beings and daily lives?

11/07/2006 12:34:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Cent,

I am sorry to disappoint, but P&P doesn't have much of a record of carrying a controversy. I agree that one should be serious about sin regardless of its manifestation. I agree that Driscoll's colorful language is a poor choice of words, but lest we forget, there are other sins of the tongue that are equally as sinful but is more tolerated in our culture today. If we though of gossip and slander as grevious in our churches as cussing, I think Christians will really start getting serious about sin. For every Driscoll-ite who is cavalier with inappropriate language, I dare say there are many more who are deceitful, slanderious, coarse, and gossiping who seem to not receive the public scrutiny as the likes of Driscoll. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and I pray that the sovereign grace of God which captures our hearts would also season our speech.

sfb,

You asked, "where did we lose the idea that we are supposed to hate sin and love holiness so much that it simply permeates and transforms our beings and daily lives?"

I don't know where it began, but I would submit that it didn't begin with Driscoll. People are giving him more credit than he deserves. Furthermore, Driscoll is not "flirting" with Emergent movement. He was one of the original practitioners in the movement over a decade ago, and when the movement took a liberal turn theologically, he left. Facts do matter, even more than perception. I confess that I do not know everything about Driscoll, but what I do know, I believe Driscoll is not as bad as you or Steve Camp and others make him out to be.

11/07/2006 02:35:00 PM

 
Blogger SFB said...

Re: Driscoll, I said...

"in this case his insights are both absolutely valuable and trustworthy."

Timmy, please don't misread my comment as an anti-Driscoll diatribe. Try getting past your obvious soft spot for the man and read the point of my comments:

I said: "What is pathetic about this article and scores of others like it is that we even need to be discussing these things concerning gospel ministers. How ridiculous that those who occupy the same place as the apostles (as TEACHERS of what is right) must be reminded like those who are ignorant babes in Christ."

Let's be clear: I never did say nor intend to intimate that the problem of ministerial sin and the lack of personal holiness in the church has anything to do with Driscoll. It has to do with false professions of faith and a lack of fear of the Lord.

11/07/2006 03:58:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

SFB,

I am sorry sir, but was very apparent to me that you were responding to Cent's comments about nobody having anything negative to say about Driscoll. Looking back at your comment, I see that you began your comment addressing Cent, and the folling comments are in that context. When you mentioned "pathetic articles" like this one, I was assuming that you were talking about mine (and indirectly about Driscoll's).

I have a soft spot for Driscoll for many of my Reformed friends have shown themselves to be total jerks when dealing with the things they do not like about Driscoll. Were I having to choose between aligning myself between the likes of Steve Camp or Mark Driscoll, I would have no hesitation in linking arms with Driscoll. That said, my allegiance is totally to Christ and His gospel. I wish such unhelpful comments wouldn't be said, especially when they are either generalizations or perceptions and have very little to with fact.

I accept your correction and appreciate your clarification.

11/08/2006 10:58:00 AM

 

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