Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

James 3:1

"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."

Aw maaaaaaan. I'm just not feelin' this verse. That's like a real bummer, man. The dude is like messin' with my head. 'Cause like, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan... dudes don't want The Rev. to be all starchy and hung up and all. They want the boss-man to be chill and cool and into the groove like everyone else.

Okay. Well... maybe not.

Actually, the word "teacher" here is didaskalos. I've heard this passage used to suggest that pastors are held to a higher standard by God than the people of the congregation. Using the test we have been working with (remember the five solas) we know this can't be the case. There is no hierarchy in heaven. ALL will be judged solely on the merits of Christ. But that doesn't save them from being greater targets in the courts of the human tongue!

Jesus railed against the Pharisees, calling them "blind guides" and saying that once they found a convert they made them "twice as fit for hell" as they themselves were. Again, with a nod to Lewis' Screwtape, there is no lowerarchy in hell. You don't actually receive a more severe punishment for being really bad. The reward is the same: the wages of sin (any, all, one, several) is death. But ah! When Jesus publicly called out the Pharisees for their error it was a great example of the particularly potent form of judgment that only He whose counsel is in the heavens with God could offer. For Jesus was in a position to offer that legal decision and find them wanting. And all who presume to teach the doctrine of the faith to others need to understand that their work will be scrutinized and guard their tongues carefully to be sure they are properly representing God.

Jon

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