With this being the 60th anniversary year of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution, Union University held a special chapel panel today to discuss and contemplate Bonhoeffer’s life and legacy. It was a great chapel and I assume the audio will soon be available from Union's Audio Webpage .
One thing that stood out to me concerning pastoral ministry occurred when one speaker described Adolf Hitler’s charisma, how he captivated crowds with his mesmerizing speeches and how efficient he was with government. I began to think of the things most often listed as key requirements that people have for their pastor. Here is a list of things that show up most often in such discussions:
- Great public speaker
- Makes us feel better
- Charisma, powerful persona
- Great leadership skills- meaning he can run an efficient organization
- Vision for where we are going
- Ability to attract new members, especially young people
If these are the characteristics we want, then Hire Hitler! Hitler was all of these things! He excelled in each of these categories as historians agree. Being a ‘leader’ is all the rage, and Hitler’s typical title, “Führer,” simply means “Leader.” Is not something drastically wrong when such a man fulfills the typical expectations of a pastor! How desperately we need to return to the Scriptures to gain the right perspective of the pastorate! In fact not one of these characteristics is a biblical requirement for the pastorate. They are more akin to the ideas of Paul’s opponents in 2 Corinthians than anything else.