Pslam 26:8 Lord I have loved the habitation of they house, and the place were my honor dwelleth.
Last time I wrote on pragmatism I spoke about the actual building structure and the style of the sanctuary, or as some emergent churches like to call it, “the worship center.” Next, I would like to address how some pastors present themselves in attire, titles, and traditions.
You can find a variety of dress in the “pulpit” from very casual to the pomp and circumstance of robes and hats. Then you have the practical and respectful attire of the suit coat and tie. Keeping in mind the verse I just shared with you, especially the latter part of the verse, and the place were my honor dwelleth. We will examine what is a proper way to dress and what are appropriate titles, and traditions.
Here we have the religious garb. This type of dress is all about tradition and symbolism. People will wear this because they think it gives them authority. These men are not called by God, to be a pastors or leaders in the church, but they think God has ordained their ministry. The more symbols and traditions your church holds, the more apostate they are. They are religious and depend on their deeds for their entrance into Heaven or they use these symbols to conduct religious ceremonies based on their own traditions. They think these symbols and traditions bring them closer to God. They may also do such things as light candles, say canned creeds and prayers. They have labyrinths and stations to mindlessly recite empty words too, or worship as if it is God himself they are addressing.
The Pharisees and Sadducess are the religious people of Jesus’s day. Jesus rebuked them harshly.
Matthew 23:1-39 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi[b] by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.[c] 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A1-39&version=ESV
This passage brings to mind many churches I personally have attended. The Catholic Church, St. John’s of Archbold, and recently Archbold Evan. The Catholic Church calls the priest Father, which goes against this passage above. Jesus was not talking about our earthly fathers, but our spiritual Father. This entire passage is the entithisis of the Catholic Church.
Then you have the churches that love to flaunt their good deeds. They have ministries that give to the poor and help out their communities and everyone knows about it. They do not follow the passage in Matthew 6:1-4
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.Matthew 6:1-4
I know personally that St. John’s does not follow the biblical teaching of how the elders and deacons are to be according to the Bible. They are not big on the gospel, sin, or repentance. They are big on doing good deeds for all to see. They support organizations that help the poor and needy, but do not share the gospel. They have canned prayers and creeds. They are big on religious symbols and traditions. They boast in the ways they help the community.
Archbold Evan just did the same thing recently, and showed a video at a Sunday morning service of Jesse giving money to the homeless shelters, worse he then this, he put a burden on his people. He said, now that they have given money to the the homeless shelters his congregants are on the hook to helping out these homeless shelters, because they are going to come to Archbold Evan for help. This is the legalism Jesus spoke against! It’s good to help out the poor, but it’s how you do it that is laid out in God’s Word.
Our church helps out people in need but we don’t advertise it and we (congregants) know nothing about it. We trust that our deacons are allocating the money where needed. We have two ladies groups that work to support fellow believers needs in our church body and our missionaries. The main focus of our church is supporting missionaries that share the Good News of the Gospel. Sharing the Gospel is the greatest and best work a Christian could ever do!
1 John 3:14-19
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth!
Then you have the casual and jean wearing pastor
Going back to the first point from Pslams 26:8, a place were my honor dwelleth. I think most people if they think this through, can conclude that a pastor who dresses casually is not showing honor to the Lord or his dwelling place. Is your church building a place that honors God? Are you dressing in a way that honors God. If you would wear a suit and tie for a wedding or to meet a president, prime minister, or to stand in front of a court judge, how much more should you show respect for the King of Kings? Are you being honoring? I would say NO! Your are trying to be hip and relevant to attract people? When you do this you are saying I don’t take my job seriously and nor do I respect God enough to dress my best. Not in a pious way like some, but in a respectful way. You are also showing how superficial you are and people who are true disciples of the Lord can see right through this. The true Christian who wants sound doctrine can not take you seriously if you are drawing attention to yourself rather than the word of God. I have seen men wear jeans so tight that could cause lustful thoughts, or draw the attention from God’s Word. When I worked at Serenity Haven, the women would come back to the facility from Archbold Evan and comment on the pastors looks in a lustful manner. They were not respectful comments like that pastor looked handsome in his suit. Their was no mention of being saved, sin, or conviction of their eternal destiny.
Here are some men you may or may not know. But they do not like lofty titles, because they are/were just faithful servants of the Lord. They were called by God to their position of pastor. To rightfully divide God’s word with humility and reverence for the Lord. They also excepted the title of pastor, and didn’t try to drop it so not to offend people. When you are pragmatic you can change how to do church so that you get people to follow you and not God. Pragmatism is ungodly and worldly. The Bible says to separate yourself from the world, to come out from among them. Not so people will revere you but God!