Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What Should be the Work of a Pastor?

What did the "older" baptists see as the work of a pastor? Was their thinking on this different than ours today or the same? Well, below I give you a list of the work a pastor, bishop, or overseer should do according to Elias Keach (printed in 1697). And this may give us some indication of what some of those older baptists thought about the pastorate. Do you think this list is too short, too long, or just right? Biblical or unbiblical? Are Keach's list and the expectations of members in the church towards their pastor the same? Here's Keach:

I. The work of a Pastor is to preach the Word of Christ, or to feed the Flock and to administer all the ordinances of the Gospel which belong to his Sacred Office, and to be faithful and laborious therein, studying to show himself approved unto God, a Work-man that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. He is a Steward of the Mysteries of God, therefore ought to be a Man of good Understanding and Experience, being found in the Faith, and one that is acquainted with the Mysteries of the Gospel: Because he is to feed the People with Knowledge and Understanding. He must be faithful and skillful to declare the Mind of God, and diligent therein, also to preach in season and out of season; God having committed unto him the Ministry of Reconciliation, a most choice and sacred Trust. What Interest hath God greater in the World which he hath committed unto Men than this? Moreover, he must make known the whole Counsel of God to the People.
II. A Pastor is to visit his Flock, to know their state, and to watch over them, to support the weak, and to strengthen the feeble-minded, and succor the tempted, and to reprove them that are unruly.
III. To pray for them at all times, and with them also when sent for, and desired, and as Opportunity serves; and to sympathize with them in every State and Condition, with all Love and Compassion.
IV. And to show them in all respects, as near as he can, a good Example in Conversation, Charity, Faith and Purity; that his Ministry may be the more acceptable to all, and the Name of God be glorified, and Religion delivered from Reproach.
V. He must see he carries it to all with all Impartiality, not preferring the Rich above the Poor, nor lord it over God’s Heritage, nor assume any greater Power than God hath given him; but to show a humble and meek Spirit, nay to be clothed with Humility.