A Voice in the
I have finally found the perfect pastor's fellowship.
I do not say this lightly.
For over forty years I have been looking for a group of godly men who would serve as mentors to young preachers, who would consistently display a deep humility, who would teach and preach the Word without fear or favour. I have longed for a fellowship of preachers who would resist the fleshly allurements of Hollywood and Nashville, who despised the politics of denominationalism, who saw through the cheap fads and gimmicks of the "Super Preachers." I searched high and low for a group of pastors who were in the orbit of One Man, and Him alone! I wanted to keep company with brethren who were genuine Christian scholars and believed every Word from God without question.
Well, I finally found them. It has been a long search. Admittedly, among the numerous pastors' fellowships that I have sampled, I found some of the qualities I longed for. But not all. Some came close to my criteria, but the wheels always fell off just when they were needed the most.
Let me tell you about this fellowship. No, it doesn't have a name. They have never bothered to choose one. I suspect they have been too busy with more important things. The pastors in this fellowship don't have any of the modern conveniences we have. Not one has a computer. None of them owns a car. They don't even have electricity, so there's no television or radio where they live. They have never been to a pastor's conference, or an evangelistic crusade. None of them has a degree in theology. In fact, none of these pastors have even been to Bible College. They never heard of 40 Days of Purpose, (and I didn't tell them). CCM is unknown to them. I suppose the thing that impressed me the most was the fact that they didn't even have the complete Bible.
I guess we would call these their limitations.
But let me tell you about their pastoral work.
Well, I must confess, my first contact with them was through my favourite historian, Dr. Luke. He told me about them in his first book, his gospel. They are the first pastors in the New Testament. They are the faithful shepherds of Luke chapter 2 (verses 8-20.) These are the pastors who stayed by their flocks when the world was darkening. These are the pastors who abode with them, not forsaking them for the comforts of home and hearth. These are the pastors who watched sleeplessly for the good of their sheep. These are the pastors who feared the Lord and reverenced His Word, and like Abraham, staggered not at the promise of God. These are the pastors who showed true Christian scholarship in believing the Word uncritically and demonstrated this faith in immediate pursuit of the Truth it revealed. These are the pastors who preached the Word to any and all and did it worshipfully. And hearts were touched.
I have finally found the pastor's fellowship I need. This is my crowd! Luther wrote that it was his crowd, and Spurgeon praised them in a sermon preached in 1865.
Of course, there was another fellowship of preachers in those early gospel accounts. They were the Sceptical Scribes Society and their parish was in Jerusalem. They were the lifeless experts on the Law and the Prophets. They believed not a word they copied. Oh, they could split hairs with the best, and they had learned from their teachers how to sit in judgment on the Word of God. They were professionals, and studiously avoided allowing the Word to sit in judgment on them. When the wise men came seeking the King of Kings, the Sceptical Scribes knew where He was, but had no interest in seeking Him.
And so today, pastors are faced with a vital choice to make. We may do the rounds in Jerusalem (wherever that is for each of us) with the intelligentsia and the experts. Or we may seek membership in that other fellowship. I suspect it is the same fellowship that is mentioned in Hebrews 13:12-16. Peter Connolly once called it the "fellowship of the outsiders." That's probably as good a name as any.
I wonder, how many pastors down through the centuries have quietly withdrawn from the Jerusalem fellowship and joined the unnamed fellowship of the scholarly shepherds of the Judean hills?
I know one that did.