Friday, August 3, 2007

Who is qualified to speak for God?

I've read in a number of places discussions about people being "qualified" to be pastors. To support their case, such people'll cite Scriptures such as 1 and 2 Timothy, or Titus.

But, are these really qualifications of the person, or qualities one can use to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit within a pastor? This question is important because if a man is "qualified" to be a pastor like he would be to be a carpenter, then it logically follows that the work he performs is not that of Christ working through him but something he does under his own power.

But how can a fallen, sinful, and limited person accomplish the work of a perfect, omnipotent, and righteous God? It's just not possible.

As 2 Corinthains 3:5 writes:
"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant..."
While many denominations require a person to undergo formal training in a seminary before being placed in an official pastoral position, it would be a mistake to think that scholarly training is what makes them pastors. As 2 Corinthains 3:3 relates:
"And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, not with ink but written with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
It is rather that God has laid that Calling on them to perform, and given them the sufficiency to deliver His letters to His people, and do all the things His ambassadors are to do. He does this by the presence and working of the Holy Spirit within these men to accomplish His will.

Why is this important? Because without the Spirit working through a man, he's working under his own authority and thus is seeking his own glory, and not that of Christ. As Jesus states in John 7:18:
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
This is important, because without God placing His Call on a man to perform His work, the man will not have the Holy Spirit working through him to accomplish His will. The end result is that all you have is a very educated man who'se seeking his own glory.

However, if the person is in the pastoral office by virtue of the Calling God has placed on him, then he has the Holy Spirit working through him to accomplish all that God would have him do.

So who is "qualified" to speak for God? On their own power - nobody is qualified. But with the Spirit within a man, and the Calling of God in His life, any man can serve in this post.

All citations from The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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