Why I Don’t Want to Be a Denominational Pastor

Sermon on Tithing1. Censorship. I don’t want a carnal church board telling me what I can and cannot preach. Isaiah 30:10, NLT: “They tell the seers, ‘Stop seeing visions!’ They tell the prophets, ‘Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.'”

2. Job Insecurity. I don’t want to give a carnal church board the power to fire me; and leave my family exposed to financial instability. 1 Corinthians 9:18: “When I preach the Gospel, I may present the Gospel of Christ  without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the Gospel.

3. Burnout. I don’t want to leave myself exposed to “burning out,” by putting myself in a position, where a carnal church board expects me to do tons of church events and administrative activities, not sanctioned by Scripture:–and where I am spending an inappropriate amount of time away from my wife and kids. 1 Timothy 3:5: “If a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?

Further Reading

London, H. B., and Neil Wiseman. Pastors at Greater Risk: Real Help for Pastors from Pastors Who’ve Been There. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2003. Unlike Newbold and Viola, this seeks a redemptive view of pastoral ministry. I however, would add that non-denominational pastoral ministry is the safest and most Biblical route to take:–and was basically the position that “non-conformist” Puritan pastors had to take after the Great Ejection (1662). The “cream of the crop” among these Puritan preachers, who laid the foundations for the Great Awakening and subsequent evangelical revivals, were Richard Baxter (The Reformed Pastor), John Flavel, Thomas Brooks (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices), Thomas Manton, Thomas Doolittle (Rebukes for Sin by the Flames of Hell), and Thomas Watson (The Godly Man’s Picture; The Doctrine of Repentance; The Ten Commandments; A Body of Divinity). Most of these preachers were held in high regard by Leonard Ravenhill:–my number one preaching hero; and by Paul Washer (my number two preaching hero, who is alive today).

Newbold, Charles. The Harlot Church System. Knoxville, TN: Ingathering Press, 1999. Chapter 8: “THE Ministry”; Chapter 10: “The Marks of the Pharisees”; Chapter 14: “Witchcraft in the Church; Chapter 16: “The Demons of Witchcraft.” I don’t agree with all of Newbold’s views, which basically result in a ‘house church only’ viewpoint:–but many of his critiques of pastoral ministry in a denominational setting are on target, in my opinion.

Tripp, Paul. Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

Viola, Frank, and George Barna. Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008. “How the Pastor Damages Himself”: pp. 137-140. While I disagree with Viola’s overall thesis, which like Newbold, leads to a ‘house church only’ viewpoint; and argues against any single-pastor leadership (in which I find Viola’s view to contradict 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus):–nevertheless, in this section (pages 137-140), Viola provides a helpful, and annotated critique of pastoral ministry in denominations. Something that non-denominational pastors can fix simply by free choice, provided they do not have a church board over them.

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