Wednesday, February 24, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (pt 8)

NOT AN ANGRY PERSON

A bishop/overseer/leader/pastor/elder must not be one who is easily angered. (Tit. 1:7)


In my experience, this is one requirement that is completely ignored, especially in regard to a pastor. 

Again, it is passed off as “that’s just the way he is.”

The problem with this one is that the anger is usually not manifest with the general population of the church, but with other men or women who have a gift of leadership in some capacity.

The person in the pew generally just sees the friendly, compassionate, “how can I help you” person.

Behind the scenes, where the necessity of being a “yes-man” is most important, the root of anger is always just below the surface, and can manifest with the slightest provocation.

The word that is translated “soon angry” in its original classical sense, beginning with Hesiodus (700B.C.), had reference to the “impulsive nature” of man or beast, especially of the human disposition,…(that) breaks forth actively in relation to what is without. (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary, Vol. 5, page 383).

And, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, “originally any ‘natural impulse, or desire, or disposition, came to signify anger,’ as the strongest of all passions.”

It is the “natural impulse” idea that should intrigue us the most.

As a Christian, we are supposedly “a new creature in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17), which should mean that our natural impulses are not as strong as when we came to the Lord. If we have been growing in the Lord and the knowledge of His grace, then our basic nature should have been dealt with before we are placed in a position of leadership. (1 Tim. 3:6)

Leaders in the church are there to protect the people of God from many things, some of which will be noted as we continue this study in Titus.

However, if the leader is weak, what can be said about the protection?
He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. (Pro. 25:28)
Maybe we do not understand that concept from our perspective of modern society.

Cities of biblical times and beyond were surrounded by a wall to keep the enemy out. (Consider Jericho, for instance; or the early western frontier forts in America.)

The proverb states that a person who does not gain control over his or her own spirit is just like that city—easy prey for any enemy.

David, Solomon, Jesus and Paul all had something to say about anger and how it is not something we want to allow in our midst—neither within our own being, or to be around it in others.

So, why do we allow it in our pastoral leaders?

This is obviously one of the reasons for the protection of having a plural form of leadership. Since anger is most generally revealed only “behind closed doors,” then it is with those who are there that have the best possibility of bringing it to the attention of the offender.

However, with our present system of a pastor forming a church, and then choosing those whom he would like to have help him with his vision, this character flaw will most generally be brushed aside with the pablum of “that’s just the way he is.”

What should we do, then?

Begin demanding excellence from those over you in the Lord. Don’t just accept them because they are there. Hold them to the standard of the Word.

When considering someone for a leadership role with the church, use Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus as an outline for a candidate interview. Let any candidate know that you are looking for someone who manifests these qualities.

If change is not possible with the one who is over you in the church, then change the person over you—either by choosing another, or leaving.

I am firmly convinced that as we approach this time of the end, that judgment must first begin with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17).

The idea of “playing church” has been bandied about for a few years now, but only in reference to how we conduct our so-called ‘services.’

“Playing church” with an artificial form of leadership and methodology will also find itself under judgment in the days to come. (1 Chron. 15:13)


Strive for excellence in the Lord’s way in all that you do.n (Eph. 5:10)

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