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Can a Pastor DO All 9?

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Screen shot 2010-04-08 at 2.21.19 PMI had an interesting conversation several weeks ago with some fellow pastors, and the subject came up about what could a pastor do or not do that was “truly biblical?” In other words, in our cultural context, from a purely, undeniable, strongly supported biblical position, not traditional or denominational or “me”national just straight up bible. So… Weigh in on the following list, if you believe that a pastor could do, believe, act or be there and it would be OK, give that question a “0.” If you think it would certainly be unbiblical for a pastor to do that give it a “1.” Add up your score and let’s compare notes. Ready…GO!

1. It’s OK for a pastor to drink wine.


2. It’s OK for a pastor to see an “R” rated movie.


3. It’s OK for a pastor to go over the speed limit.


4. It’s OK for a pastor to smoke an occasional cigar.


5. It’s OK for a pastor to wear jeans while he preaches.


6. It’s OK for a pastor to use a little “cuss” word every now and then.


7. It’s OK for a pastor to go to a bar with a lost friend.


8. It’s OK for a pastor to be overweight?


9. It’s OK for a pastor to sleep around, get drunk & steal anything he wants.

(Had to put the last in for all those ultra free, hold nothing back types so they would at least score “1″)

So… How did you do? Record your score with a short explanation, and lets compare… (↓)

Comments

  1. Lynne Shaw says:

    3 – I’d be a hypocrite otherwise. Some of these things are about stewardship of our personal health, & some of these things are about being careful in our freedom not to cause another with a weaker conscience to stumble. In the end only the last point is really completely worthy of a 1 score but we are called to live a life of integrity and transparent godliness, though we are still weak & foolish without God. & we all have our blind spots or areas of struggle. Forgiveness & understanding needs to be pratctised towards us as well as by us.

  2. The problem with this list is that things that are obviously unbiblical receive the same points that ones that aren’t Biblical receive.

    Ie- 1 point if it’s ok to drink wine (keeping in mind Jesus drank wine)
    And 1 point for speeding (Romans 13)

    It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

  3. Artie: GREAT POST!

    I got a “5″. Here’s the breakdown:

    1. Jesus drank wine, served wine, etc., And, no, it was NOT “grape juice”. 0

    2. Not all R-rated movies are “bad”. Life is not a Disney experience. Face it, parts of the Bible would be rated R and even NC-17, if accurately and completely portrayed. (LEV 18 &20, Song of Solomon, King David’s dysfunctional family,etc. I would guess that a film showing accurate Temple sacrifices would be R-rated, too.) What is the content? Context? THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was R-rated for graphic violence, but I would think that acceptable. 0

    3. Absent genuine emergency, no. 1

    4. Unless there is a true, theraputic value that offsets even the short-term risk, I would say no. This may have a TON of personal prejudice impacting my dividing of the Word, though. 1

    5. Well, I’d rather that than robes, spandex, leather, etc. Not an issue, unless the venue necessitates dressier fashion. 0

    6. Paul says not to use rough language, but that is not really defined. Some of his Greek was slang/common talk. What “makes” a cuss word wrong? Some words/phrases are, in my hermenuetic, almost always wrong, but I can, I think,validly provide exceptions based on context and usage. Without knowing which cuss words you are talking about (and how they are used) I don’t think there is definitive answer. But, I believe the most offensive “cuss words” would be “damn” and “hell”, yet they are usable in Church. Ponder that. Still, the “won’t eat meat if it offends” principle is at work, even if you are not “cussing” but using a dual-meaning word around someone who would be offended. I think our use of “euphemisms” that carry the same pejorative or violent intent as a “cuss word” is, to use a “clean” phrase: HOGWASH! But, because of the risk of offending, I would put this as a 1.

    7. Definitely OK, provided it’s not a topless bar, etc. A regular bar…no problem. Look, Jesus hung with drunks, prostitutes, and the like. They weren’t at the Temple, so He was hanging with them in THEIR environment in order to reach them. It takes a strong man to do “Bourbon Street ministry”. Not all are called to that. This is a provisional 0.

    8. This is a 1 for me only because we are to care for the Temple that the Spirit lives in. It distresses me the number of those in ministry that would be “fat” even if they lost 30-40 pounds. I would make allowances for true medical issues, etc., but this is one area the pastor should be the role model for! It’s a 1.

    9. ONLY if he is doing all of these things so he can receive more grace!!!! NOT! This is definite 1.

  4. Joe Bates says:

    This is a good one and one that Jodi and I have considered a lot over the past several years. My thoughts are based on motivation. Anything in excess or as a substitute for God is in error. If it is done to help another or simply for enjoyment in moderation then it’s ok.

    Wine is good with a meal, but if it is used to escape then it’s wrong. (done that)
    I believe that pastors need to stay relevent and understand the “world”.
    There are times when it’s dangerous to only drive the speed limit and others when it is far more efficient to speed. ( I may be justifying. done that everyday)
    I don’t smoke and personally think that smoking is a corruption, but I am not about personal deprivation to prove worth either. ( haven’t done that).
    Pastors need to be relateable and jeans are a simple thing. We respect God by performing his plan and loving Him and our neighbor and not by the clothes that we wear. ( am adament about doing this.)
    Again be relateable. don’t substitute profanity for vocabulary, but we need to speak the language and teach that we don’t judge by things so simple. ( Again I am adament enough to have created a training for this).
    Christ came to us where we were/are so shouldn’t we emulate? We need to meet people where they are and not expect them to rise to some worthy standard.
    Being overweight is questionable to me and it depends on extent. An obese pastor or pastors wife indicates lethargy and excess. Doing God’s will takes a lot of effort and a lot of time, i.e. less time to eat and more time to burn it off. I don’t believe that God has 20 pot luck dinners per week planned for us. We are the temple and we need to take care of it not for esthetics but for function. ( pet peave).
    The last one is wrong. ( although I have done some).

    This is getting long, but you asked for my opinion and you KNOW that I have an opinion. Our focus is supposed to be on God and His instructions for us. We have to ask two questions: “Is this what God would have me do?” and “Will this help me accomplish what God has for me to do?” If we answer both of these questions with a yes, then we’re good. If one of these questions is a no and we do it anyway, then we’ve missed the mark. God loves to see his kids happy and enjoying themselves, but not at the expense of relationship with Him or His goals.

    Ramblings from your average Joe

  5. Gotta say it… simply stated… 1
    I think some of the other questions… nah. I’m gonna stay simple.

    1

  6. I scored a 1 on #9.
    I almost put a .5 for #8 if the pastor is working out trying to lose that gut :)
    Just having some fun. Great post brother!

  7. Kirby Vardeman says:

    1. It’s OK for a pastor to drink wine. – 0

    2. It’s OK for a pastor to see an “R” rated movie. – 0

    3. It’s OK for a pastor to go over the speed limit. – 1

    4. It’s OK for a pastor to smoke an occasional cigar. – 1

    5. It’s OK for a pastor to wear jeans while he preaches. – 0

    6. It’s OK for a pastor to use a little “cuss” word every now and then. – 1

    7. It’s OK for a pastor to go to a bar with a lost friend. – 0

    8. It’s OK for a pastor to be overweight? – 0

    9. It’s OK for a pastor to sleep around, get drunk & steal anything he wants. – 0

    A grand total of three. And of course, all of those responses are subject to change depending on context. Well, except #9…

    Being “above reproach” means we hold ourselves to a different standard, even though we have freedom in Christ. Because, while all things are legal, not all are profitable. Right?

  8. 2. Besides the obvious, I went with #8. Yeah, I’m just an odd guy.

    I think the problem is about how we define “above reproach.” If you use it as “doesn’t look like they’re sinning” and “doesn’t do things people may have a problem with”, then even Jesus didn’t do it. Sorry, Jesus can’t lead your church.

    If you use it as “no major areas of sin evident in life”, then it may work. Yes, we all have sin. If a person has some major sin areas, they are not above reproach. They cannot be leading the church. Just like anyone else, they can still be a part of the church, be restored when in sin, etc. We are all called to be holy, to avoid sin. When there’s patterns, significant sin, etc., then we have to question the leadership ability for the church.

    Just because a pastor does something not profitable, it doesn’t mean it’s not okay. Big difference.

  9. OK. I’ll keep it simple. I scored a 3.

    I gave a “1″ on: 3, 8 & 9

  10. Joe Bates says:

    You keeping it simple made me realize that I didnt’ score myself.
    I scored a 2 for #8 & 9.

    My only problem with 8 is that it is subjective. I am overweight by medical standards even though I am in pretty good physical condition. Obese is what I scored the point on.

  11. I have a 2 because of 8 & 9. I can see where 3 deserves it, I was just feeling convicted and didn’t want to put it. :-) Gotta work on that!

  12. Artie,

    Great discussion and food for thought! I think that Adam hit the nail on the head. Some of the things you listed, besides being “contextual”, are also PHARISAICAL in our modern Church culture, IMHO.

    And, sorry for the verbose reply. I thought it WAS short! (For a preacher!!! )

    Have a blessed weekend!
    Buddy

  13. I agreed on the three…….no, it does not say smoking is a sin directly in the Bible, but there is no positive benefit to smoking. You are doing something that you know will intentionally hurt your body (and it is not really yours). I kind of equate it to Russian Roulette…..you might die, you might not. However, how likely are you to risk the game………and would God want you to play it? I know it is “iffy” with some, but not me…..

    • 2 for me (3 in normal context, and 9). Pastors need to have the morality of every other believer. We are all to be above reproach.

      Shocked that some say speeding is okay (Rom 13:1-4) but smoking an occasional cigar is sin. There is no “value” in dessert either, but few would say a pastor can *never* have dessert. To me the issue is moderation and if something “enslaves” you (1 Cor. 6:12).

      Good post.

  14. Kirby Vardeman says:

    I just realized I put a “0″ on #9. Obviously, I was in error.

  15. No positive benefit to soda either, or cake. Soda a major obesity factor. Ironically, article in fast company just said it could be the new smoking very soon. So, same logic, is that wrong?

    Only reason I didn’t put speeding, and probably should, is (besides conviction (-: ) that there’s a degree over that you can go that the police (law) will allow and really not care. Suppose its still not good though.

  16. Joe Sewell says:

    Why do people always equate “obesity” with “gluttony” and not “thyroid problem” or other genetic issues?

  17. 5. As an overweight pastor with a lead foot who’s seen an R-rated movie (or 2), but has only ever had second-hand smoke, had a church sneak homemade wine into the communion cup and then roflol when I nearly choked on it, the one that probably gets my attention the most is the “cuss”. When the Lord called me to preach, HE cleaned up my vocabulary. In later years, some of the lost co-workers thought I was cussing (I wasn’t), but their certainty (and the license they took from it) made me realize that even the appearance of evil was not in their best interest. Saying “Sugar” with the vehemence usually reserved for the Anglo-Saxon expression can lead to mis-hearing, especially when the Devil is trying to distract someone from the work of the Holy Spirit. Same for that case of beer they justify if I were to take “a little wine for the stomach’s sake”.
    And jeans on Sunday morning in a traditional church? Not worth the drama!
    We all fall short, the goal is to avoid the avoidable while proclaiming the Unavoidable One.

  18. 1 point. I’ll let you guess which one. :)

    The scored could have been dramatically different with the same question posed differently. I took the question as “Which of these activities would disqualify a pastor from his role?” However, it could be phrased/interpreted differently: (1) If you are searching for a new church, which of these would you be okay with your new pastor practicing? (2) Which of these would you (do you) practice and feel you could practice the role of pastor with a clear conscious? (3) Which of these are truly items you have no strong feelings toward and do no consider sin? (4) *the opposing extreme* Which of these habits/practices would you not be willing to surrender for sake of the ministry?

    By the last interpretation, I would score a 9 instead of a 1. We have liberty in Christ. And in that liberty we are free to love people in a way that sets aside personal indulgences. The closest one to NOT getting the point is the “friend in the bar” question.

    Also – question on #9… are we talking all at once or separately? :p

  19. Barry Wiseman says:

    I'm going to break ranks here and point out that many "lay" members of congregations all over would say it's alright for all 9 FOR THEMSELVES, but none of them would be alright for the pastor.

    Why is it permissible for "normal" folks and not for the "spiritual giant" that's in front of the congregation on Sunday?

    On the other hand, can we really "score" holiness by our own attempts at justification? Sure, Jesus drank "real" wine in the NT, but does that justify me, who has alcoholism in the family and admittedly shows signs of an addictive personality, partaking, given the obvious dangers it poses for me personally? And does that translate into holiness for another person without my baggage?

    I'm coming around to the concept that all this reflects who your Master is, and are we willing to lay EVERYTHING on the altar?

  20. Weigh in on the following list, if you believe that a pastor could do, believe, act or be there and it would be OK, give that question a “0.” If you think it would certainly be unbiblical for a pastor to do that give it a “1.” Add up your score and let’s compare notes. Ready…GO!

    1. It’s OK for a pastor to drink wine. – 0

    2. It’s OK for a pastor to see an “R” rated movie. – 0

    3. It’s OK for a pastor to go over the speed limit. – 1

    4. It’s OK for a pastor to smoke an occasional cigar. – 0

    5. It’s OK for a pastor to wear jeans while he preaches. – 0

    6. It’s OK for a pastor to use a little “cuss” word every now and then. – 0

    7. It’s OK for a pastor to go to a bar with a lost friend. – 0

    8. It’s OK for a pastor to be overweight? – 0

    9. It’s OK for a pastor to sleep around, get drunk & steal anything he wants. – 1

    * There are many of these that I personally disagree with, but unbibical is different than my personal opinion of how good or bad something is for you, or if it will lead another astray.
    *** As a result The Bible specifically speaks about obeying the law of the land, so speed limit gets dinged for that, even though I fail there a lot.
    *** And obviously there are many references to the nature of number 9 and as a result that was is out.

  21. 1. yes, he is not to get drunk but drinking it in general is not an issue.
    2. There are too many movies that are R rated due to the realism level. yes the R rated movies that are everything but porn are ill advised,
    3. No as the speed limit is a part of the laws of the land, but the same can be said for everyone not just pastors.
    4. I don't believe that it would be a good thing as it can affect the health of the pastor over time and I have a strong bias against smoking in general. That said it may not be non-biblical i just haven't heard a specific scripture against or for it.
    5. Yes, I totally want my pastor to feel confortable when he's presenting the word. it also helps those that are non-churched to be more receptive to the message because they often times will see the jeans and relax.

  22. 6. The bible teaches us to not use idle words but there are times when a strong word accurately expresses how you feel about a subject.
    7. yes, it's ok to go to a bar.
    8. We are to be good stewards of the temple of the Holy Spirit, I do believe it's a biblical standard that we all be healthy and manage our weight in a way that will honor God.
    9. yeah that's all pretty much well defined by the scripture in the 10 commandments so no it's not ok.
    total Score: 4

  23. Glad I saw your post on twitter today Artie. I got a 3. No on speed limit, cussing, and the wild and crazy #9. For me, the biggest factor in answering these, was the Holy Spirit. These are His no's for me – not my own. It may/will be different for someone else. He's THAT personal. If we follow His lead, everyone of us should get an A on the test. Great post.

  24. So… I believe some points are misunderstood. I mean, what if somebody drinks wine? It's not about drinking or not but about not getting drunk. Then, about being overweight – some people are overweight because they suffer from some hormonal problems. Then, wearing jeans while preaching – it's a nonsense, again: what does it have to do with preaching? I really believe there are enough churches today where they accept your jeans and your spiky hairstyle or whatever you're wearing.

    It's interesting how much you can say about these 9 points – for example, we can say for sure that everyone will be accounted by God. There's another obvious thing: Pastors are meant to be leaders for their churches and not only for the churches but for the other people. Right?

    There are things in this list that are very obviously non-biblical. I mean, the Bible is clear about keeping our mouth "clean" (cussing), about taking care of our body which is God's Spirit house and temple, so we shouldn't destroy the "temple" by smoking, getting drunk, or even overeating! ;))

    Anyway, there's one more important thing I must say: Everything that departs us from an intimate relationship with God, that makes our consciousness lit up, that becomes an addiction, everything like that should be a warning point in our lives. That's all I had to say. I'm not even a pastor, but a very young bible teacher who's still in the School of the Holy Spirit :)) It's just my opinion based on what I've been studying through the Bible. :)

    Peace! ^_^

  25. Got a 3 from me. Basically, the 2 things that negatively effect the body were outfit me & the obvious morality issue.

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  1. [...] Can a Pastor Do All Nine?  by Artie Davis is this week’s guest post.   Artie’s blog can be found at artiedavis.com.    The post I’m featuring came out of a conversation Artie had with some other pastors about whether certain activities were biblically  “acceptable” for them. [...]

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