Can An Aristotle Quote
Define Religious Ministry?

You might want to copy this Aristotle quote and put it up where you can see it often.


"If. . .a word has an infinite number of meanings,

obviously reasoning would be impossible;

for not to have one meaning

is to have no meaning,

and if words have no meaning

our reasoning with one another. . .

has been annihilated."

Metaphysica Book IV


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What does an accurate definition accomplish?

Good question.

Here's how a farmer used Aristotle's quote to teach his son the importance of proper definitions for understanding...

A farmer asked his son..."Son, how many legs has a horse?"

"Four"...his son replied.

"Correct"...said the father.

Then the farmer continued in the manner of Socrates with his students...

"Now if we call the horse's tail a leg...then how many legs does the horse have?"  the father asked.

"Five"...his son answered.

"You're wrong"...his father told him (in no uncertain terms).  The horse has only four legs.  Just because we call the tail a leg does turn the tail into a leg."


And just because something is dubbed "ministry"...doesn't make it ministry.

Some activities called "ministry" are not ministry.  Some activities called "ministry" are evildoing like adolescent sexual abuse. Here are some others...

The Lord sorts ministry from non-ministry

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,  but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord,
  • did we not prophesy in your name?
  • Did we not drive out demons in your name?
  • Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?
Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers."
 (Mt 7:21-23)

What accurate definitions accomplish according to the Aristotle quote is to prevent chaos...especially in ministry...by showing how...

several things related to the same general category differ from each other.

To show how a horse's leg differs from its tail...to show how a human mammal differs from a non-human mammal...and to show how ministry differs from secular activity.

Were there no agreed upon meanings for words then the Aristotle quote is quite right...there would be chaos.  And chaos exists in some forms of schizophrenia where words are strictly private matters only understood by the patient...but not understood by anyone else.

Take the Aristotle quote seriously and define the meaning of important words carefully...because so many ministers...who were removed from ministry...claimed they were doing ministry when they were doing something else entirely (Mt 7:21ff).

And when you know what ministry is...and what is isn't...you can never make such a costly mistake.

On our hompage we have defined ministry according to Aristotle's ancient rule...still used in science and philosophy...and now in religion...to define ministry and sort it out from non-ministry. This will help ministers avoid the condemnation for doing pseudo-ministry found in Matthew's gospel above.

The eleven-word definition of ministry focused with the Aristotle quote is so accurate you'll even be able to tell why the religious action of excommunication is not...and cannot be "ministry".

And taking the mandate of the Aristotle quote...you'll know that there can be no such thing as general "youth ministry" because a 13 year old is very different from a 17 year old...and ministry to youth must be defined to reflect those differences.

And you'll also know why coaching the youth basketball team is not a ministry either.

Because youths have been so vulnerable to ministerial abuse...you might want to go from this Aristotle quote page to review Christian youth ministry

Then you might want to go and read the definition of ministry and

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