This is the second volume of Don Carson's daily Bible reading plan based on the the same complex system that the previous volume was based upon. The only difference between the two books is that he writes a brief outline of a different passage from the previous book. I sort of wondered why he did not write a third and a forth book in the series, but then since Carson is one of those academics that seems to constantly churn out books it is likely that once he finished one project, he immediately moved onto another. I do wonder whether these super-pastors who write Bible reading plans set up a plan for themselves, and instead of reading a short commentary, write one instead.
The problem with Bible reading plans though, as with any religious text, is that you can pretty much write any rubbish, and as long as you stay away from the taboo subjects you can get away with it. When I say taboo subjects, I am generally referring to sex before marriage, abortion, and homosexuality, though they are not so taboo if you are condemning people for even passively accepting such practices.
As I have said before, and as I will say again, religion is all about control of people, namely people who desire to be led and have no purpose or direction in life. Now, I am not saying that being a spiritual person is a bad, or unsophisticated, thing; by no means, but I am suggesting that one has to be very careful when one gets caught up in religion, and the use of Bible reading materials can add to that danger. Now, once again, I must suggest that there are a few conditions that I must put on this commentary, and that is that not all Bible reading material is bad, and it can be very helpful to use such plans to assist you in your daily reading, but when doing so you should be discerning at what is being said, and just because a commentary is linked to a Bible passage does not necessarily mean that what the writer is saying is collect.
One of the big things involves money, and in that regard, we should be discerning as to where we are sending our money. Pastors love to play the money card to guilt people into giving to them. Okay, as Christians, we should be generous with the wealth that God has given us because in reality everything that we have, whether we have earned it or not, has been given to us by God. However, whenever somebody asks us to part with our cash we need to prayerfully and discerningly consider what that money is going to be used for, and in that regard I will outline a couple of areas where we need to be careful.
First of all we have the pastors who live extravagant lifestyles. Truth be told, the pastor should really be living in a humble home with an average car, and be on a modest salary. The trappings of his life should really be such that he has a living that is not too hard, and if the pastor has a family, it should be enough to comfortably support the family and to offer the children a good education. However one should be careful where a pastor has a wife who is working fulltime. Ideally, a pastor should not be drawing a wage, however some argue that he Bible does support the idea of full time pastors, and once again, the job of a pastor can be very time consuming.
Then we need to consider what the pastor is doing, and how many pastors the church has. In reality, a church should have no more than one full time pastor per two gatherings. Yes, granted, there may be need of support staff, but I suspect that there are a lot of people in the gathering that may be able to provide those services free of charge. Many of these positions should be offered on a part time basis, and the people performing those tasks should be doing it as a part of their tithe. Further, once a church reaches two gatherings on a Sunday, then if the church wishes to start up further gatherings, the church should consider creating another church plant, and in fact should be looking at doing that prior to actually reaching capacity.
Also, let us question what the pastor is doing? Is all the pastor actually doing writing sermons, meeting with leaders, and wondering around the city talking to people. Well, in reality one does not need to actually be paid to do that. A pastor is actually not an evangelist, that should be left to the gifted people within the church. Rather, a pastor is a teacher and one who supports the people in the church. They are also the leader of the church. Sometimes Pastors seem to feel that everything in the church must be done by them, but in reality, if somebody is a gifted evangelist, they should not be writing sermons and locked away in the church, but should be out in society talking to people, and guess what, you can do that with a full time job. To be perfectly honest, if you are a gifted evangelist and are not working full time, then I am afraid that you may be wasting your gift.