Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Archive 7b Assistant Pastor

Is the idea biblical? Specific Old Testament models
As for more specific examples of men in a role like that of assistant pastor, two or three again come to mind. There were no pastors as such in those days but they had leaders. The key ones were Moses and Elijah. Both had assistants who later lead God's people themselves.
· Joshua. In Exodus we learn that Moses' successor started off as his assistant (24:13, 33:11 young assistant). Num 11:28 refers to Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' assistant since youth.
· Elisha. In 1 Kgs 19:19-21 we read how the prophet Elijah found Elisha son of Shaphat … ploughing with 12 yoke of oxen …. He went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha said goodbye to his parents and took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them then burned the ploughing equipment to cook the meat. He gave it to the people to eat then set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant. Elisha also had a servant, Gehazi. His relationship to his master may have been similar to Elisha's to Elijah. Sadly, his greed led him astray for which he was punished.
· Baruch. Another possible model is Baruch who served the prophet Jeremiah as a scribe, writing out some of his prophecies and on occasions reading them out. At the fall of Jerusalem Jeremiah said to him (45:5) Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the LORD, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.
Is the idea biblical? Specific New Testament models
In the New Testament we have no examples of assistant pastors as such but we do have three examples of assistant apostles.
· John Mark. In Acts 13 we read how, led by the Spirit, the church at Antioch set apart two leaders, Paul and Barnabas, for missionary work. In verse 5 we read John was with them as their helper or servant. John Mark was Barnabas's cousin. He grew up in Jerusalem and it was in his mother's house that the early church met. This childhood home was probably where the upper room was, scene of the last supper. When Paul and Barnabas came with a gift to Jerusalem he was invited to join them, accompanying them to Antioch. Sadly, on the first missionary journey, after the period in Cyprus and at the beginning of their journey into the interior of Asia Minor Mark left the apostles. This eventually caused a division between Paul and Barnabas as when they began planning the second missionary journey two years later (15:37-39) Paul did not think it wise … to take Mark because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. Happily, we know that Paul later had a better opinion of him. In Col 4:10 he sends greetings from my fellow-prisoner Aristarchus and from Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. He adds (11) referring to Mark and others These are the only Jews among my fellow-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. In 2 Tim 4:11 he writes
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
· Timothy. It appears that Timothy was from the backwater of Lystra in Lycaonia, part of the Province of Galatia (today central Turkey), a wild and mountainous district. Shortly after Mark had left them Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra and Timothy appears to have been converted through Paul's preaching then, when still pretty young (early twenties?). We also know that he was brought up in the faith. In 1 Tim 1:5 Paul refers to his sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. They were probably also converted through Paul. We know Timothy's father, however, was a Greek and not a believer, though not necessarily hostile to the faith. It was on Paul's return journey to Lystra that he decided on Timothy as a replacement for young John Mark. Because he would be preaching chiefly in synagogues on the journey Paul decided to have Timothy circumcised. They all knew that Timothy's father was a Greek and so could accuse Paul of consorting with a heretic. It was better, therefore, to have that objection removed. Circumcision is something indifferent - it can't affect salvation but like anything indifferent it can interfere with the gospel so Timothy was circumcised. It cannot have been pleasant for him but he willingly bore it. He was willing too to leave family and friends and the scenes of his upbringing to go who knew where. He knew his journey probably meant persecution and trouble (he had seen Paul nearly stoned to death by his fellow Lystrans) but he was willing to go for the sake of Christ.
· Erastus. In Acts 19:22 we read that Paul sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia (at Ephesus) a little longer. We know almost nothing about Erastus. He is mentioned in 1 Tim 4:20. It is possibly the same Erastus as the one in Rom 16:23 referred to as the city's director of public works (ie of Corinth). No doubt there were many faithful workers in New Testament days about whom we know nothing or very little. They were faithful nevertheless.

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