Nouwen on Listening – QOTD

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality:

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept. Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

Shared from here.

on 1 Tim 2:11-15 – the context

I want to take a couple of posts and share how I see the “flow of thought” of 1 Timothy and how that “flow of thought” I think impacts the interpretation of what is often a very controversial passage in the Bible – one about whether women can teach or have any sort of “authority” in the church.  I really intend just to look at the first couple of chapters and not necessarily the whole book as a way to show you my thought process.

To start off I would like to remind us all of a rudimentary aspect of learning to read and understand the Bible.   That is…

A text taken out of context is a pretext for a proof-text.

What this means is that one cannot just take a Bible verse and make it mean something all on its own without giving it some context.  When we do that it ends up being a proof-text for whatever we want it to say. In my opinion, this happens with 1 Timothy 2:12, which, in the NIV, reads:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[a] she must be quiet. (the footnote reads “or her husband.”)

This verse alone, in many churches, keeps women from being able to teach anything in the church but children’s church (often up to 5th grade).  It’s also used by folks like John Piper to argue that because of this verse, women cannot serve as pastors in churches, (preach or teach from the pulpit), therefore, neither can they teach in seminary where men are being trained for the pulpit.

In other churches – many have made exceptions and will allow women to teach but not be the senior pastor because of the authority issue.

In my personal opinion, I think this is proof-texting.  Using a verse out of context to push one’s own personal preference on an interpretation or church practice.

So, I want to do a little flow through the text here to help build a case, from the text, that this verse doesn’t mean what many often try to say it means.

After the brief introduction, Paul begins… (following the NIV here for simplicity’s sake)

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. [bold and underlined, etc are my own]

Right off the bat Paul is telling Timothy to watch out for false teaching – he is to command people not to teach false doctrines – this was the purpose of Timothy being there in Ephesus – to combat the false teachings and promotion of myths and genealogies and meaningless talk.  Paul says many want to be teachers but they don’t know (or understand) what they are talking about – it seems they are unlearned and given to meaningless talk. This is a distraction, he says, from what they’re supposed to be doing, “advancing God’s work.”

This paragraph is important to the overall context of the letter.  It sets that context (and the tone) – false teaching was a problem and it seems many want to teach who did not know what they were talking about – they weren’t well trained or educated you could say – so Timothy was to command them to stop.

I’m going to stop here and pick up in the next post working towards our main verse to show how it fits within the false teaching context and not necessarily as a for all time forbidding of women serving in pastoral ministry.



pastoral ministry

I was recently in communication with a friend about possible ministry opportunities.  It was about a possible church – being the pastor.  It was known I had applied for a chaplain position in the area but that it had not worked out – we were asking about a church.  A comment had been made “if you’re interested in pastoral ministry…” (I’m ordained and have endorsement for chaplaincy with the AG).  I realized that this person (but it is probably really common) doesn’t equate chaplaincy with pastoral ministry – even though it is.  This got me thinking… 🙂

Pastoral ministry is an umbrella term

I see the term “pastoral ministry” as an umbrella term.  It a descriptor that is all encompassing and includes any work of ministry that involves pastoral care of souls.

This means it can be not just the senior pastor but also the assistant pastor, the youth pastor, the children’s pastor (all associate positions) and so in – it also includes chaplaincy, be it healthcare, institutional, military, you name it.

I do pastoral ministry every day – to families, patients, staff – I am involved in the direct pastoral care of souls.

So, yeah, of course I’m interested in pastoral ministry. 🙂

BUT …. WE ALL KNOW …. I overthink stuff.  lol

WE ALL KNOW it really means pastoral ministry in the local church… (wink wink).






Three Temptations for Pentecostals: Donald Gee’s Warning from 1929

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Gee2This Week in AG History — October 26, 1929

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on PE-News, 14 September 2017

In 1929, noted British theologian and church leader Donald Gee warned Assemblies of God leaders that they faced three temptations that could imperil the young Pentecostal movement. Speaking at the biennial General Council of the Assemblies of God held in Wichita, Kansas, Gee observed that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit “get the personal attention of the devil.” He listed three major ways Satan tempts Pentecostal individuals, churches, and movements, drawn from the temptations of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11).

According to Gee, Satan’s first temptation to Christ and to the Pentecostal believer is to use the power of God for selfish satisfaction. Satan tempted Christ to use His spiritual power to feed His own hunger. Gee declared, “Our Lord did not turn those stones into bread to feed himself; but…

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Moltmann on hope.

The ultimate reason for our hope is not to be found at all in what we want, wish for and wait for; the ultimate reason is that we are wanted and wished for and waited for. What is it that awaits us? Does anything await us at all, or are we alone?
Whenever we base our hope on trust in the divine mystery, we feel deep down in our hearts: there is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you. We are waited for as the prodigal son in the parable is waited for by his father. We are accepted and received, as a mother takes her children into her arms and comforts them.
God is our last hope because we are God’s first love. We are God’s dream for his world and his image on the earth he loves. God is waiting for his human beings to become truly human. That is why in us, too, there is a longing to be true human beings. God is waiting for human human beings; that is why he suffers from all the inhumanities which we commit personally and politically.
God is waiting for his image, his echo, his response in us. That is why he is still patient with us and endures the expanse of ruins in our history of violence and suffering. God isn’t silent. God isn’t dead. God is waiting. To be able to wait is the strongest strength. God is patient with us and puts up with us.
God gives us time and gives us future. God is waiting for the homecoming of those he has created. God doesn’t want to come to rest in his kingdom without them. The great miracle of world history seems to me to be that `it is not all over with us’, as a German hymn says. For this we have to thank God’s great, patient, seeking and enticing hope for us and for his whole creation. God is restless in his Spirit until he finds rest in us and in his world.”
From The Source of Life (Jurgen Moltmann)

Peter Gentry on the Biblical Languages

LXX Studies

PGentryThe following article is reproduced from The Gospel Witness 65.6 (1986): 22 (102) with permission. The Gospel Witness is a publication of Jarvis St. Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario that would devote one issue per year to Toronto Baptist Seminary. Dr. Peter Gentry taught the biblical languages faithfully at Toronto Baptist Seminary from 1984–1999 and 2008–2017, and he still teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Enjoy!


By Professor Peter Gentry

During the past fifteen to twenty years many Bible colleges and seminaries have reshaped their curricula and programmes, cutting content-oriented requirements like Biblical languages, church history, exegesis of the original text and systematic theology in favour of method-oriented requirements such as Christian education, counselling skills and psychology. Certainly a balance between content and method must be maintained, but the present trend tends toward highly skilled communicators and counsellors with nothing to say.

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