Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Doctrinal Integrity, Dignity, and Soundness III
11/10/2005 - James White
Titus 2:7-8 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
There is another aspect of in our teaching showing dignity that should be brought out. To handle the Word of God is a great privilege. For far too long in conservative circles the ministry of the Word has been taken for granted and not seen as the high calling it truly is. The radical individualism of Western Society, and especially American society, has resulted in the idea that as long as you claim to have been "called" that this means no one can question this call. I remember the shock I had when I first spoke with the elders at PRBC about such things. Don Fry made it clear in discussing the issue early on that the elders of a church have a duty to examine someone who claims such a call and, if there is simply no evidence of God's gifting that man to the office, they should be direct in telling him they see no evidence of such a call. Unheard of! But oh so proper. For if such discernment is not used, you end up inflicting men upon the flock who have no business behind a pulpit, and in every case the ministry of the Word suffers as a result. The dignity of the office of teacher/pastor is diminished as a result.
To teach the truth with dignity requires work. A good sermon takes time, study, preparation, thought. How sad that so many today rush through that preparation rather than savoring it, mainly because 1) we have made them CEO's and hence left them no time for such work, or 2) those involved in the ministry find it easier to adopt the "look up some stories online, go play golf" model of sermon preparation (one reason I would never have made it in those circles). To handle teaching in a dignified manner requires not only a proper view of the gravity of the matter at hand, but it likewise requires you to hold a particular view of the ministry of teaching itself. Sadly, many go into the ministry without the foggiest idea of what is necessary to pursue the work with dignity before God and man. The work, the dedication, the single-minded devotion to please God and to leave the results in His hands---these things should mark the godly minister's work, and, beyond that, should be the source of his joy in his work as well. If the minister finds joy in that which cannot be taken from him by external factors, he will have a strength in ministry beyond human comprehension, an ability to "last" and remain steadfast, content in the setting in which God places him.