Lesson 3 – Fundamental Errors

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II. The fundamental errors with respect to what constitutes a call to the pastoral office

A. Some historical perspectives

The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), p. 15 & 23.

B. Specific categories of erroneous thought

1. Ignorance or uninstructed zeal

Rom. 10:1-2
Titus 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 3:5 with Acts 20:28

2. Fanaticism or mystical piety

3. Individualism or atomistic Christianity

Rom. 12:3 in its context
Prov. 18:1
Acts 16:1-3

4. Pragmatism or rationalistic ecclesiology

Acts 20:28
Eph. 4:11-12


III. Some common unbiblical and unrighteous reasons for pursuing the pastoral office

A. The difficulty in seeking to organize these unbiblical and unrighteous reasons into neat categories

B. A specific description of seven common unbiblical and unrighteous reasons

1. The pressure of a falsely instructed conscience

1 Cor. 8:4-7, 12
Acts 26:9
Jn. 16:2

2. The pressure of unwise and sometimes unsanctified ambitions of other people

Samuel Miller, The Duty of the Church to Take Measures for Providing an Able and Faithful Ministry (Dallas: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1984), pp. 5-6.

3. The presence of unbalanced and unbiblical concepts of spirituality

Rom. 12:3ff
Eph. 5:18ff
Mt. 7:21ff

4. An inaccurate assessment of ourselves and of our gifts

Rom. 12:3

C. H. Spurgeon, “The Call to the Ministry,” in Lectures to My Students (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1990), book I, p. 26, 27-28.

5. An unmet psychological need for personal identity

6. An inaccurate and inadequate view of the breadth of the biblical qualifications for and the responsibilities of the pastoral office

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), pp. 30-31.

7. An unmortified lust for the authority, attention, influence, and monetary gain connected with the pastoral office

Mt. 23:6-7 and 1 Pet. 2b
1 Pet. 5:3
1 Tim. 3:6

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