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What to Impart Leaving the Right Legacy by T.M. Moore

This page's emphasis for a pastor is to get direction from Paul's plan for the Church. Paul was not one of the original apostles so he was never in personal contact with Jesus. According to the Acts in the New Testament and to interpretations of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Paul was in conflict with James, the brother of Jesus, who was a leader of the Jews after the death of Jesus (the 'King of the Jews'). Apparently, a Christian minister should take guidance from Paul who pushed the teachings of Jesus to the Gentiles rather than taking guidance from Jesus himself.

The first task for pastors is teaching. Here Paul's teachings were 'stood up against various false teachers who tried to undo his ministry'. According to the Acts of the Apostles those false teachers included James, the brother of Jesus. 'Paul was careful to pass his teaching along to trusted disciples, so that they could continue and further his work of proclaiming the truth of God once he was gone, either to another city or the City which is to come.' Paul could not pass his teaching to those that followed James in Jerusalem because Paul was not teaching a message consistent with the others. It is ironic that those that knew Jesus were teaching a message different than someone like Paul that had never met Jesus and the Christian religions are based on the writings of Paul.

The next task for pastors is their conduct as a guiding force. The preoccupation here is again with Paul's writings. Somehow the expression of love of Christ is paramount, so the love of Christ is supposed to be the most important aspect for 'our way of life' to be taught? I could understand if a pastor is supposed to be a role model for ethical conduct but the message will be disjointed when the pastor is supposed to push ancient writings over proper ways to relate to colleagues and to care for the needy.

The next task for pastors is following Paul's plan for the church. Of course 'he was always on the move' since the Church hierarchy in Jerusalem wanted nothing to do with him there. The emphasis of advancing a 'kingdom of Christ' is like the subjugation of opponents. Is this pastoral teaching or just persuading (perhaps with force?) those who might not believe so that all are shown how to conform?

The next task for pastors is the apparent search for 'new ways we might be used of the Lord.' Instead of seeking new ways to help others, through their normal trials of human existence, the pastors must be seeking guidance on their own 'use' for ulterior purposes. An honest attempt to work with and help other people would be much more productive and effective that when behaving in a manner that on surface might seem helpful but whose motivation is really just the satisfaction of unseen impulses in the search of a use by the invisible, untouchable, supernatural Lord.

The next task for pastors is the practice of patience. Of course patience can be critical when having honest, empathetic relationships with other people. If a pastor is seen to be impatient the suggestion here is to 'pray for' this impatient spiritual leader rather than actually developing an honest compassionate channel of communication.

The next task for a pastor is according to Paul to make love the end of all his teaching. This paragraph says nothing of why kind of love this is, other than to mention Paul commending his own love. If the teaching is love of an unseen supernatural god then this love is internal and may or may not reveal itself to others since other people may or may not be part of God's plan for any particular person. If the teaching is love and caring for other people then this love is expressed externally during the compassionate interactions with other people but such emphasis on personal feelings is apparently not the priority for Paul.

The next task for pastors is pursuing the course, with steadfastness. 'Nothing can distract him from his calling, and nothing can deter him from pursuing the ends he believes the Lord has given him.' The emphasis in this statement is again the pursuit of a goal that must somehow be perceived, apparently from a source that is invisible and supernatural. This goal might be discerned from studying texts with myths written thousands of years ago by a people in a somewhat desolate region of the Middle East. This people in the course of these historical writings were able to survive many ordeals including military victories and defeats with its neighboring cultures as well as a few unusual natural disasters.

The last task for pastors is the survival of persecutions and sufferings. Some of the opposition Paul encountered came from the followers of James, the brother of Jesus, as recorded in both the Acts of the Apostles and in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However Paul is considered a Christian leader since he taught his perspectives of Jesus that were based on his interpretation of the life of a man he never met. That sums up the task for a Christian pastor - the teaching and propagation of interpretations of a life of someone that was never met. These teachings require the use of ancient writings in a foreign language from a foreign culture. The pastor must discern the goals of an invisible supernatural being that apparently has a master plan for mankind but wishes that all people pledge their lives and loyalty, much like that from a king that rules through intimidation rather than by example. The goal of a pastor is to eventually hear these words of gratitude from this lord: 'well done, good and faithful servant.'

The foreboding aspect of this determination of a pastor's goal is the interpretation of God's will. In 2005 Pat Robertson, a very well known and influential Christian broadcaster, expressed his wishes first that three Supreme Court justice should die to make room for new conservative justices and second that the democratically elected leader of another country (Hugo Chavez of Venezuela) should be assassinated by covert operatives.

An edict of hate is not limited to Christians. In 1989 the Ayatolla Khomeini sentenced an author to death because Salman Rushdie wrote a book of fiction that included quotations from the Quran and also a character supposedly modeled on the prophet Mohammed. The stated purpose for this fatwa was 'no one henceforth will dare insult the sacred beliefs of the Muslims.'

People that are already willing to listen to these religious leaders that express such teachings (wishing another person should die!) could be convinced that whatever they are doing, no matter how evil, is in accordance with God's plan.

The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:

(http://www.pfm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Columnists &TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=15768)

created - Dec 2005
last change - 12/29/2005
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