WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT WILLIS?
I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Who Am I?
In the early days of my preparation for "professional ministry" I began to wonder where my position ("minister") could be found in the Scriptures. Afterall, I am a pat of a movement that calls Bible things by Bible names and endeavors to speak where the Bible speaks. Early on I found "minister" in a concordance and it made me feel better. I later discovered that the word just meant "servant" in the original language, not some clerical office. So, I began to wonder some more. Then I was told that I was an "evangelist" which could be found in three places in the NT (Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11 & 2 Tim. 4:5). I had never heard this concept before. I then heard good brothers like George L. Faull describe in precise detail of the office of "evangelist" in the New Testament church. Admittedly, this position became less tenable to me as the years progressed. Scott Sheridan argues for this understanding istead of the more popular "pastor" title/position of our day. Honestly, most of the so called "evangelists" I know don't function like the NT word itself implies. I tend to see that role as roughly equivalent to our "missionary" concept. So, again I ask who am I? Some would say I am a "preacher." Now, I do like doing what we call "preaching" but seriously is that supposed to be a church job? It seems like most of the "preaching" (or proclaiming) had to do with lost people = evangelistic work. Another thought came to me in my pursuit of a Biblical answer: the preaching elder of 1 Tim. 5:17. My friend Tim Warner argues for a pastor-teacher position in the church. You can read his thoughts here. Im not sure I'm persuaded to embrace this concept either though Tim makes some good points. Jack Cottrell (my favorite theologian), in his excellent book, "The Faith Once for All: Bible Doctrine for Today" basically concedes that the modern minister is a hybrid position of sorts in today's church. I think he might be right. Now I don't beileve the Bible supports "the pastor" but maybe it doesn't support "the preacher" or "the minister" or "the evangelist" either. We might be guilty of forcing things a little too much in order to fit our theological positions. That's why I give Cottrell credit for admitting the obvious.What say you?