“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.”
“We ought not to belittle our salvation, for when we belittle him, we also hope but to receive but little. And those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and we also do wrong, when we fail to acknowledge from where and by whom and to what place we were called.”
There is a vacuum of real leadership these days; those who do lead amount to little more than cowards, thugs, and thieves. They split and run at the first sign of failure, assigning blame to others.
James says; not many of you should desire to become teachers (didaskalos)... why? We have lost sight in our modern church of the role of a leader, thinking that he is somewhat of a professional manager of people with counseling skills. A Lieutenant fresh from officer training school doesn't have a clue about the realities of the battlefield? A friend of mine who was a sergeant in the Marine Corps told me that a good Lieutenant defers to his Sergeant, because the Sergeant is the one who knows what's going on.
The model for leadership within the Church is that of officer training. We send kids to
and then Seminary, and when they come out we've filled their heads with the idea that they're ready to go. A lot of this is driven by the machine of corporate academia, which without its overblown sense of self-importance would go bankrupt (leaving only self motivated compulsive academic types in their tiny pastor's offices all around the world). The fact is that real leadership comes from the guy who just came from the battle, scarred and wounded, who seeing a fresh bunch of recruits headed out, volunteers to go back without his leave, because he cannot let them go blindly into that meat grinder from which he just came. The leader is the one who voluntarily goes back into the burning building time and time again, knowing that one of these times it may collapse on him. Bible College
The leader is worthy of a double portion, not because he is somehow better. He is no different than you except in his willingness to go down helping his comrade. For the leader is worthy also of double judgment, that is at whatever point he leads any astray, it would be better had he tied that millstone around his neck and been dumped out at sea. He leads at his own risk, and he must lead others as if they were he himself. This is why we are not to begrudge the worker his wages. Likewise those wages should not be excessive, such as is the trend among Mega-Churches, some non-profits and such “For if God paid the wages of the righteous immediately, we would soon be engaged in business, not godliness; though we would appear to be righteous, we would in fact be pursuing not piety but profit.” 
“There have always been self-styled shepherds of God's flock who have exploited God's people for their own profit.... A pastor need not build a People's
with the insane egotism of Jim Jones in order to lord it over those entrusted to him rather than serving them.”  Temple
As a result of machinations of the early fundamentalists, there is now great confusion within Christianity: The advance of the modernism at the end of the nineteenth century has marched into the Church throughout the twentieth century, and what we (now) once indicted as “Postmodernism” has thoroughly taken hold of the throat of the Body of Christ.
Modernism was the idea that things were getting better and better, and that man would only progress. The social perspective was shattered by nearly eighty years of world wars and armed conflict, but the idea that newer is better, that technology can solve our problems, is one that still lives despite its disappointments. What has emerged from all this is the acceptance of plurality, and the disappearance of distinctions and boundaries.
The dogma and doctrine of the Church suffered, as lay people are seldom aware of its intricacies, university types, in their ivory towers have tossed it around and weakened it to the point that it means nothing to us anymore. First good things like the ecumenical movement came about, Presbyterians and Baptists could now get together, because they acknowledged that they believed mostly the same things. Catholics it has been realized do not have horns, although they differ on some points from Protestants. Once the trend started however, there was no place to draw the line. One could not say that Seventh Day Adventists could be part of this ecumenical movement but say that the majority of UCC Congregational Churches could not. Today the general idea has advanced, that the Buddhist as well as the Ralians are all going to heaven because we all believe in essentially the same thing to one extent or another... or at least we are all trying just as hard. This is all because of the fundamental misapprehension that “Faith” amounts to a subscription to a set of beliefs.
The weakness however lies not with the university types, many of whom have no vested interest in the praxis of the church, but with those of us who sit in the pews. Over three centuries the idea has come about that the pastor is a professional who is supposed to meet the needs of the parishioners. Church going families have relied on the pastor to educate and feed them spiritually, and since the rise of pentecostalism, they have expected to have their emotional needs met as well.
Christianity today has become the marriage of social interaction and psychotherapy; just look at the mega church. “The pastor is regarded as much for his technical and managerial competence as for his role as Broker of Truth.” People are more likely to check up on the pastor by watching the clock than they are by watching the scriptures, and few if any Christians are willing to go through the mental discomfort of trying to understand what it is the Church believes (especially if it means they need to increase their vocabulary).
What has happened as a result is that the doctrines and dogma of the Church are relatively unknown. Few people can recite either of the major creeds, let alone break them down and explain what it means to believe in “Jesus Christ the only son of the father, begotten not made,” or why that is important to them. Even fewer know where to go to get the answer if they wanted to. “Isn't that what the pastor is for, why are you asking me what I believe?”
Because our faith is merely assent in someone else’s stated beliefs, it remains unaccompanied by the radical actions it requires; we are reluctant to invest in it. We have allowed false prophets and teachers to lead us in all different directions, and we willingly follow; the blind leading the blind. While we ignore the discipline of discernment, and abdicate the qualifications for ordination to seminaries, they profiteer off the cash cow of the M.Div., which now costs over $100,000. These graduates are not prepared for the ministries which they enter, they have been given the equivalent of an MBA to become the CEOs of small not for profit institutions. But in terms of ministering, they are “fitted like a country boy, with breeches that are too big.” Many are “in their own life, in their own faith… not that far along.” For all that money, they do not “comprehend a penny’s worth of what it means to live on the battlefield of the risen Lord.”
That battlefield is precisely what I am writing about. If one wants to minister they will certainly need some theological training, but they also need to go to the people, to go to trade school perhaps, or simply get a job. The people who need ministering to are out there, and they for sure will not come to us. The battlefield is not in the four walls of a church, especially on Sunday morning. It isn’t really at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble among other “respectable places.” It is in the work force, on the streets, in the dirty bars where you're liable to get beat up, in the welfare line – it is certainly not in any new box we fashion to be “outside” the old one.
One who can afford the price tag to join the academic elite has probably not yet shared in the common experience, which is one of constantly living on the brink of failure with only the distant illusion of success. Those in my generation have seen this success grow even more illusive while our leaders pronounced an era of unparalleled prosperity. The common experience is as Thoreau put it, the mass of men and women leading lives of quiet desperation - of whom hard work is asked, but for whom fair play is increasingly considered a luxury.
Surely it is not easy, it’s battle, it's messy, it's lonely, and it costs. Living mission never rests; it does however receive the scorn of those who feel that they’ve paid their dues. The panic that strikes when your job (the one that supports you) is in danger is the same that the average Joe has to face. You have to hold that “job” on the merits of your tent making skills alone. But understand this: the role of pastor isn't that of preaching at people, it is that of gently coming along side them and nudging them in the right direction. The role of elder is to be one who has been there before.
Traditional ministry of all types presents a problem: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” This phrase epitomizes the struggle to balance a personal calling, with an institutional agenda. Transformed lives, is the goal of the gospel, and in as much as our lives have been changed, it is imperative, for us to avail that transformation to others. The mission of Jesus was to serve. He served the oppressed, the poor, the sick and dying, and though he did not need to, he even served those who followed him.
“Though being God, [he] did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant...even unto death” 
To become like Christ in this humility is the goal of Christian living, through it we are able to see the image of God displayed in those around us. By living in such a way we may, we hope, display the image of God to others, inspiring transformation so profound, that they cannot help but do the same.
The problem in departing from the traditional roles of ministry is opportunity. No man is an island, and even when one engages in a living mission, new opportunities are always being sought out. It is necessary then to serve in organization with others, so that individually we as changed people, can live that change to others. But organizations have their own problems, especially when they grow to sufficient size. Quantifiable results become a matter of numbers, not people.
Numbers driven evangelism of the past has lead to a kind of evangelism that emphasizes the picking of low hanging fruit. This in turn marginalizes everyone else; Christianity then fails to become a healthy and vibrant community. Opportunists who prey upon this are rewarded for exploiting this flaw (think Rick Warren and “riding the wave”), while those who don't cheat, but who labor honestly for the kingdom, face derision, even persecution. Wives get tired of living as second class, family sees them as slackers, friends advise them to compromise, and division heads see them as failures. Something has to give, either they who pay stop calling the tune, (which is unlikely) or the piper stops taking the money.
The teachings of the twelve from the Apostolic fathers, known as the Didache says:
“Everyone who comes in the name of the Lord is to be welcomed. But then examine him and you will find out-for you will have insight- what is true and what is false.... If he wishes to settle among you and is a craftsman, let him work for his living. But if he is not a craftsman, decide according to your own judgment how he shall live among you as a Christian, yet without being idle. But if he does not wish to cooperate in this way, then he is trading on Christ. Beware of such people.”
We face an unprecedented change in the dynamic of pastoral ministry, with the rise of the missional movement, the emergent movement, and various other simple church, house church models, if they can manage to avoid being co-opted by the mainstream. Bi-vocational ministry will become the norm, hopefully not simply due to financial pressures.
There will be some who say that this book is the voice of a lone angry person. “Theological thinking can and ought to grip a man like a passion.” I have attempted to own my theology, as I have earned it over the years, and although much of it is probably wrong, so much modern theology seems to all be written mostly as a collection of quotations of other scholars, with only bits and snippets of the authors own voice, camouflaged so as to possibly avoid being ripped apart by others. Academia propagates the idea that serious theology is done mainly by reading the thoughts of others, and subscribing to the beliefs that suit you. Nothing could be more destructive, or further from the truth, for Theology just be done on ones knees in prayer.
In writing this book, I have tried to make only positive references to other works in which it seems to me that the author at least partially has thought the same thoughts that I have had independently. Synchronicity of thought lends veracity to one’s own ideas.
On the other hand, I do not expect any one to agree wholeheartedly with everything I have written, and that is ok. It would be the height of contempt for the riches of God’s mercy toward me, to sit here and tear apart the theological works of others with whom I may disagree, for if Him who has begun a good work in ME will be faithful to complete it, I must trust that the same God has and is working through the hearts of others, whatever view they hold. Of course we always want grace for ourselves, but judgment for the other guy and that is the warning Jesus gives in the parable of the workers in the vineyard.
If I was interested in demonstrating how it is that I have arrived at all of these places, it would be instructive for you to know the detailed history of my life. This however is not about me, for you have your own story to tell, and must have your own confession.
For those of you who have had the courage to wade through to the end, thank you for sharing in this experience with me. I hope that you will see the genesis of a faith, but also be aware of the insufficiency of any attempt to pre-package faith for others. This then is a confessional theology, it is personal, it is biographical, and it is evolving. A Confession is a point along the road; it is an opening in the discussion. It certainly need not be final.
 2 Clement 1:1-2 ((Michael W. Holmes, J.B. Lightfoot, and J.R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, Second Edition (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Book House, 1998) p. 68)
 2 Clement 20:4 (Ibid. p.78)
 Edmund P. Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament, (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R, 1988) p.151
 David Wells,
No Place For Truth; Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 1993) p.233
 Although I think the laity need to find out what the church believes, I think the fault with vocabulary lies with the Theologians who have made everything far too complex.
 Nicene Creed
 Helmut Thielicke A Little Exercise For Young Theologians (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans 1976) p.10
 Ibid. p.11
 Ibid. p. 29
 Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1854
 Philippians 2:6-8
 The Didache 12:3, (Michael W. Holmes, J.B. Lightfoot, and J.R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, Second Edition (
, Mi.: Baker Book House, 1998) p.156 ) Grand Rapids
 Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise For Young Theologians (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 1976) p.9
AnteChurch: confession of a young theologian, Copyright © 2010 by J.D.M. Jinno. All rights reserved. The Author grants the right for an individual to print one complete copy of this work for personal use only. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever (including but not limited to appearance on websites other than http://www.antechurch.com) without written permission except in the case of brief quotations. You may link to http://www.antechurch.com. For more information contact the author at antechurch @ gmail.com
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This work is not produced for profit
If you find an error in the citation of a work for which you hold the copyright, please contact the author directly.