Sermons

Summary: Sometimes we need to take a fresh look at long held or cherished traditions and teachings.

Having been raised somewhat in the Methodist church and my wife in a Lutheran background being saved was not in our vernacular as neither one of us ever heard that concept. Both of us thought being baptized as a child was all we needed. That is sad since I learned about both Wesley and Luther in bible college. Wesley rode 250,000 miles on horseback preaching you must be born again and Luther was heavy on justificatio sola fide or only justification by faith alone. We would have both gone to Hell even though I had Methodist on my dog tag and she had attended Sunday School with an Aunt. Thus being saved in a small General Association of Regular Baptist Churches in Dover, Delaware on April 6, 1975 was a real cultural change and probably some shock as well especially since the church had no steeple, stained glass windows or pipe organ.

Jump ahead forty plus years later and moving over to a Pentecostal environment definitely had some new changes and challenges. Some things were similar and others had to be translated for us. Many Baptists actually believe in a word of wisdom or word of knowledge. They just do not call them that and would argue to the death that what they believe is not same as what those terms describe. Thus it is still a learning experience as we have only been with Pentecostals for around five years. One thing is not different is that there are as many divisions among Pentecostals/Charismatics as there are Baptists having folks that are from somewhat far left to far, far right and some off the rails or chains depending on what colloquialism you choose to use. That said, some will affirm this study and others may have a conniption fit as Southerners say.

Ephesians 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

While I have heard Ephesians 4:11 preached in Baptist circles, we never called it the Five Fold Ministry. So when I heard this phrase I had to look it up and do some research. In so doing, I realized that both Baptist and Pentecostal teachers may not have looked at this closely enough. That is a flaw many of us Christians are known to have from time to time. We are often skimmers and miss things or get so scholastic that we can write a five hundred page paper on Mary had a little lamb or roses are red and violets are blue replete with numerous pictures or symbols with massive numerology completely missing the simplicity of the passage or rhyme.

This happened when I was just curious about computers. My Brigade was happy to get the new 286 computers with two 5¼ inch floppies and an 80 MB hard drive. I am telling my age. One of the programs written by the Brigade crashed and the computer I loved and depended on was out of commission for several days. In my curiosity, I starting looking at the programming and noticed that all but one line of code started with a +. That one – looked out of place. I figured it was already broken so I changed the – to a +, rebooted and it worked! I called the Brigade and told them what I did. What a bunch of expensive programmers failed to see because they were looking too deeply a neophyte saw because he did not know what the proper protocol was for troubleshooting the program. It would seem that now and then a simple mind can fix a complex issue better than a complex mind. Sometimes dumb luck is better than skill because you can still see the trees and not just the forest. ;-)

So while trying to understand this new terminology and the teaching that it represented something stood out to me that I never noticed as a Baptist because it did not come up in college or from a pulpit. While indeed there are five terms used there are only four categories of gifts.

The categories all start with “and some.” Four terms start with that, but not the fifth term. It is separated from the fourth by and, but not and some. Why is that? The Greek Word kai between two nouns can be translated as “and” or “even.” Thus because of the layout of the pattern “and some,” I believe that the fourth category is “and some” pastors even teachers, pastor-teachers or teaching pastors. They are not two categories. It is clarifying the role of a pastor as the teacher of the congregation and in the beginning pastors were the only teachers in the Body.

There were no Sunday Schools as we know them. That concept did not come into play until the 1800s in England when Robert Raikes created them to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to children who worked in factories or fields all week. It was not a discipleship class as it later became. Paul said that elders are worthy of double honor especially those who ministered in the Word or as some call them the teaching pastors or elders.

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