The Pastor Has No Clothes!

The Pastor Has No ClothesI haven’t read Jon Zens’ new book The Pastor Has No Clothes! But it comes with great recommendations from Frank Viola among others. And I liked Zens’ previous book What’s with Paul and Women?, which I read and reviewed here last year. What’s more, I love the cover picture. Here is part of the product description:

Protestantism carries on with the practice of making the “pastor” the focal point in church. In The Pastor Has No Clothes, Jon Zens demonstrates that putting all the ecclesiastical eggs in the pastor’s basket has no precedent in the New Testament.

So do what I say, but have not yet done: buy the book and read it!

0 thoughts on “The Pastor Has No Clothes!

  1. Jon Zens…boy, that takes me back 30 years. I’ve often thought Jon has a good understanding of ecclesiology. Some of his writings helped me, as a young Christian, gain a workable understanding of why the narrative of the text says one thing and the narrative of church experience says something quite different. This was at a time in my life when I was asking the church leaders around me very sincere questions (much like a child trying to “put it together.”) However, the answers I got back from these leaders NEVER flowed from the text. It was always proof-texts and/or a logical sewing together of unconnected verses. It always left me with the weird feeling that a Frankenstein model for hermeneutics was the normative one. To this day I refer to such a model as Frankensteinian Hermeneutics.

    To put it pointedly, if you would write a text based solely on the narrative of your church experience, would it contain anything you see in the NT (other than the negative teaching)?

    Also, as an aside, Jon is an extensive reader. His library back in the mid 80’s was many thousands of books. And he had read them all.

    Anyway, more to the topic…I’ve noticed that the “Pastor” seeks to institutionalize an attitude whereby everything revolves around the church (the local organization, typically). This is somewhat understandable since he is typically a paid professional for that church. And, therefore, his livelihood and value are derived from the definition of what the church is. As the church functions, so does he. As the church succeeds, so does he. So, church activity, its processes and functions, is normative.

    For example, it’s taught that devotions are absolutely vital. And by devotions, interestingly, it is meant a reproduction of the church liturgy (In my sphere: spiritual song, Bible reading, prayer)–the sphere of the “Pastor”. Why are devotions so absolutely vital when it’s only been in recent history that a Christian (or Jew, to think in even a longer timeframe) could do them? And why did Paul forget to mention them? You would have thought Romans 12-15:13 would have a paragraph addressing devotions. Or, at least, 1 Corinthians 12-14. Surely the weak Corinthian believers should have done this most basic of Christian activities to boot-strap their spiritual well-being. You would think that Acts would have several references to believers having individualized quiet times as the story of the new church is told. Of course, conscientious Jews spent a little time, each day, under a fig tree–a common practice; however, that’s only mentioned in John 1. And, certainly, that text isn’t teaching its necessity.

    Why is it that “church” (the institutionalized, “Pastor” led, functions) needs to be reproduced everywhere?

    As I read the NT, it’s the God designed, incredibly complex, multifaceted, mutual, ministries of believers that need to be reproduced. It seems to me that such activity is the REAL church. I think Jon would agree.

    Sorry for the length, Peter. Mentioning Jon brought back fond memories…and struck a chord.

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