Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pastoral vocation and the ministry of the Word

From Richard Lischer, "The Called Life: An Essay on the Pastoral Vocation," Interpretation (2005): 168:

Today we find the church cautiously distancing its ministry from the word of God. It does so under the modern pressure of professionalism and the postmodern impulse to pluralism, both of which are offended by spoken affirmations of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a matter of public policy, the wider culture still wants something like ministry, much in the way it encourages volunteerism and philanthropy, but it thinks it can have it without the word of God. Faith-based initiatives are welcome; preaching is not.

Stripped of its word, however, the ministry disintegrates. Without its organizing principle of acknowledgement, the pastor's calling relapses into the chaos of busywork. The minister is sliced, diced, and cubed into a thousand contacts and competencies but left without a heart of passion in the word, without a vocation.

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