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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Highest calling??

I read this statement on a blog the other day: "To be called as a pastor is the highest calling there is, period."

Is this really true? Is the office of pastor the highest calling? If so, where in the New Testament is this taught?

Or is this just an old saying we have heard so many times that we begin to believe it?

6 comments:

Jim1927 said...

I think sometimes we make statements that may be true in this earthly life, but are not eternal truths in God's scheme of things.

If I am called to be a minister of God's truth and I work as an architect, obviously, I have abandoned the higher calling. So, in this sense it is the highest calling.

Just one of the problems with titles.

Cheers,

Jim

Bro. Matt said...

Yeah, I would say God's highest calling is for you to be obedient/faithful whatever your "position" is. God does not call everyone to "pastor" but He does call us all to be obedient.

R. L. Vaughn said...

As I said on the Clergy vs laity post, I was surprised more of you don't have an opinion -- or that you are highly possessed of the ability to keep it to yourself! ;-D I have a few brief comments. Thanks, jim 1927 & bro. matt for yours.

There is no Scripture passage or passages that teach the pastor as the "highest calling".

This idea of a "highest calling" assumes that one calling for one particular type of Christian is higher than a different calling of some other Christian. It would seem we need Scripture foundation rather than assumption.

Paul mentions a "high calling" in Phillipians 3:14. Even if one admits that Paul had in mind his apostleship, it does not follow that he conceives of his apostleship as being a "highest calling". In fact, following the context, Paul exhorts his readers to be "thus minded" and "Brethren, be followers together of me" in pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling, and surely he doesn't limit this to apostleship.

I Cor. 12 and other Scriptures teach that all are one in the body, but with differing gifts.

Paul wrote that it is required in stewards "that a man be found faithful" in whatever calling he has.

D. Michael Gregg said...

AMEN! I totally agree. I have been teaching for quite some time that there is no second-class Christian and there are no super-Christians. We are not all equaly gifted, but we are all equally called. God gives us different jobs and talents, but He calls us all to service. This is an extension of the doctrine that many Baptists seem to take for granted, the Priesthood of the Believer.

I know that there are men and women who sit in pews thinking to themselves, "I just wish there was more I could do, but I don't feel that God is 'calling me into the ministry,' so here I am"--have been told as much on more than one occasion.

All of us have been called into ministry. Within that universal calling, some are gifted and led into leadership, but that's not "better" or "more" or "higher." It's just different.

A man gets on fire for God and we have taught him to automatically assume that the Lord is calling him to something higher than the average Christian. I say no.

In fact, many times, I hear testimonies of men who say things like, "I got saved at an early age, and then backslid as a teenager. I stopped going to church and praying and reading the Bible, and I got into drugs and alcohol and sex. By the time I was in my early thirties, my marriage was on the rocks and my kids were getting in trouble. On a rainy night I had a car accident, and God kept me alive. I just know it was His wakeup call to me to get right with Him. So I repented and started going to church and surrendered to preach three months later. That was one year ago, and now I'm the pastor of Fictitious Baptist Church."

In so many of these instances I would much sooner believe this man had a false conversion at a young age, thus he lived a life of habitual, unrepentant sin, outside of the Bible and prayer and Christian fellowship. And when his life was at its lowest point, he actually--for the first time in his life--truly repented. But he thought he was already saved, so he mistook this new, unfamiliar leadership of the Holy Spirit to be a "special call" to ministry. And that's why a novice Christian is now pastoring one of the Lord's churches.

Of course, I cannot know the hearts of men, but I am certain that this has been the case many more times than we care to admit. After all, almost all of Jesus' parables talk about false conversion, don't they?

Well, anyways.

Yes, Brother Vaughn, I heartily agree.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks for the comments, Bro. Gregg. I had intended to mention priesthood of the believer and am glad you brought it up.

It may be hard for a church member to comprehend the Scripture's teachings on priesthood of the believer and the giftedness of the entire church body when they're told their job/calling is to be in service every Sunday to "hold down a pew". I'm sure some of you have heard that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say it over my nearly fifty years, but it's been too many.

Edwin Fountain said...

But we do have I Tim. 3:1, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he sesireth a good work." Then we have a description of what a bishop ought to be and it certainly shows a man with exceeding understanding of what he is called to and what his testimony ought to be.