Reverend Hatfield

Photo by Marina M on

Reverend Hatfield was a large man. I came to know him when he started buying from my dad’s store.. He wasn’t one of the most scholarly ministers I have met. But, what he lacked in knowledge he made up for in volume. Reverend Hatfield was a likable fellow except when he was in the pulpit. He was is what my grandmother called a “holiday and clothesline preacher”. If it was near a holiday he preach something related to that holiday and usually the rest of the time he railed about women’s clothing being too revealing or how men shouldn’t have long hair or how people had become too worldly. I think it was his goal to make people squirm uncomfortably in the pews and many did, but mostly from boredom.There wasn’t too much wrong with what he was saying but there wasn’t much right either. If the reverend had been a river he would have been a mile wild but only a half inch deep. He knew the major themes of the Bible. Jesus was good, the devil is bad, Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected and if you said the sinners pray you were saved. If you asked him a question that called for much more than this he just repeated what he knew but louder and with greater intensity. Still, most people liked him in small doses. 

I often wondered how it was that he came to be an ordained minister. His lack of knowledge was obvious to anyone that heard him preach more than three times. One thing I can say for him though, he preached with gusto. He would run around in the front of the church like a man on fire, stomping and kicking the air like he was fighting the very devil himself. He didn’t have much of a message but what he had, he preached with hell fire and brimstone. I suppose that was enough to impress the ordination board into turning him loose on the world. Someone once said to me “it could be worse, he could have been a brain surgeon”. I’ve thought about that statement since then and I have decided it couldn’t have been worse because the surgeon might kill the body but the minister is supposed to be a doctor of the soul, at least that’s the theory. I long ago gave up the idea that paid clergy had any value at all. I have come to believe that Yeshua is our only pastor and teacher. The rest of us that take it upon ourselves to exhort others should only point others to our real teacher Yeshua.

Yeshua explained to us that he was the “sole teacher” and “sole pastor” over all humankind. The Apostle Peter knew this too. This is why Peter declared this boldly in the very first sermon of Christianity. Jesus likewise knew as He said, that His words would never disappear. He would have permanent authority for all mankind. His words (and no followers’ words) set the standards for us to follow. Yeshua bluntly told the apostles that they were not to “call yourself teacher,” for there is only one “teacher” — the Christ. (Matt 23:8-11.)
Hence, Yeshua meant His words had an authority that excluded even the apostles from enjoying any similar independent authority equal to or above Himself. Yahweh only spoke over Yeshua saying “listen to him”. No one else has that honor.

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” listen to him.”

                        Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;

18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;

20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;

26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    my flesh also will dwell in hope.

27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.

28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,

35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Reverend Hatfield was certainly no Apostle Peter.

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