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Author Topic: Well, I got called an intellectual snob
Belle
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Why? Because I voiced the opinion that the pastor we hire for our church should, well, you know, have some type of schooling and training. I didn't think it was that much to ask.

The person that is being brought in for the congregation to vote on has a BA in music, and a minor in theology. Supposedly. See, I got the name of the college he went to, and checked them out and they don't offer a minor in theology. Hmmm....

At any rate, when I voiced the opinion that we should look for someone who is qualified to be a pastor, as in someone with a Master's of Divinity, for example, I was told that I was a snob to think that someone without a higher degree wasn't qualified.

*shrug* Okay, so I'm a snob. But our church is non-denominational, and we're in the midst of a crisis where half our church proclaims themselves to be covenant theology, the other half dispensational. We're all of agreement that we need a new, strong doctrinal statement, we just can't agree on what it will say. Considering the phase we're in - needing good leadership and doctrinal clarification and poised on the edge of explosive growth - we need a leader that knows his way around doctrine and I personally think it should be someone who has more education and experience than a guy with a BA in music and a minor in theology from a college that doesn't offer a minor in theology and who has never been a senior pastor. His only experience has been as a minister of music and a youth minister.

But, for saying such a thing, I'm a snob.

Whatever.

Come on guys, am I being unreasonable here? I was told that "No one with a master's degree will come work for this salary." Excuse me? Since when was it supposed to be about the money? Besides, I am working toward getting a master's degree in a field and my salary will probably not ever approach what we're offering and it hasn't deterred me. Not to mention all the public school teachers I know with master's degrees that make way less than what we're offering.

Honestly, I don't know why I'm still here. Oh yes I do - because my husband has friends here and my kids have friends here and my hubby doesn't want us to uproot the kids and take them away from all their friends. [Wall Bash]

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TMedina
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I don't think so - a Bachelor's in Music may bring enthusiasm, but I don't think he has the background to be as fluent as it sounds like your church would to have lead.

-Trevor

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Shan
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You know what, Belle - all of my friends in the old congregation are still friends, even though I'm with a new congregation. And probably happier about it, since I am not constantly processing all the things that disturbed me at the old congregation.

In fact, since leaving, I have discovered I have friends tht I didn't even know I have.

And I (and my son) are making new friends and meeting some familiar faces that we met through interdenom. and community events.

Fascinating thing, church families -

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Astaril
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Just a small point - perhaps the college used to have a minor available when he was there, but the programme's been since cancelled. That happens with a lot of small programmes as schools grow.
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Telperion the Silver
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I think your suggestion is good.
People who preach should at least know what they are talking about.

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Taalcon
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quote:
Considering the phase we're in - needing good leadership and doctrinal clarification and poised on the edge of explosive growth - we need a leader that knows his way around doctrine and I personally think it should be someone who has more education and experience than a guy with a BA in music and a minor in theology from a college that doesn't offer a minor in theology and who has never been a senior pastor.
Has he given a canditorial sermon yet? If he has, did you feel the Spirit when he preached?

Personally, apart from being ordained to the work by one who has authority from God to do so, I think a humble heart and a contrite spirit are the biggest qualifiers to preaching the gospel.

The Biblical qualifications for a pastor or 'bishop' are as follows:

1 Tim 3:1-7
THIS is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Peter was a professional fisherman. Would you have denied him a chance at the pastorate?

Acts 4:13
quote:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
I'm speaking from the POV of someone who grew up in a protestant Church, and whose father was a professional minister who graduated from Bible School with a degree in Missions.

Now matter how educated a man may be, he won't be able to properly resolve doctrinal disputes using knowledge alone.

1 Corinthians 2:14
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

How can you be assured that whatever school they're receiving their Theological training at is teaching them the 'proper' interpretation of Doctrine? A Strong yet Humble Spiritually Sensitive Christian is the person I'd want leading the flock - not someone who'd point to their Masters degree as a way to win an argument over who understands scripture better.

[ April 24, 2005, 03:06 AM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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MrSquicky
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mmmm...Second Great Awakening.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Belle, there is a little bit of degree worship in your comments. I mean, seeing as how we don't expect congressmen or even the president to be lawyers, there is something a little odd to request a man of God to be credentialed by some all-too earthly program.

Ask him questions, listen to him speak, I imagine that you will know if he is the right pastor by his words and his deeds, not by how many letters one has after his/her name.

__

For the record, this is the same problem that presents itself with too many standardized tests, that is, just as the tests often don't test what people think they test, colleges often don't teach what people think that colleges teach. In general, because we like neat criteria, adjudicating based on numbers or letters is a lot easier than thinking about adequate criteria for the task.

I've been called an intellectual snob by all sorts of people. The problem isn't people calling you the name, the problem concerns whether it's true.

[ April 24, 2005, 03:30 AM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Theca
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Taalcon, you are making my brain hurt. Since you believe you belong to the only church with the priesthood, then how could any other faiths even feel the Spirit in their preachers? That's a rhetorical question.

I don't know that I would ever trust myself to pick someone by his speech. The most charismatic of men is usually not the nicest of people. This guy's lack of experience is also a problem, even the most spiritual guy may just not know how to handle a divided, confused community.

[ April 24, 2005, 03:38 AM: Message edited by: Theca ]

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Shigosei
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I've listened to some good sermons from people who hadn't been through seminary. However, I do think that formal training in theology has a number of advantages. One of the ones that I think is very important is exposure to a variety of ideas and doctrines. Even if the seminary isn't interdenominational, I would expect more variety of views there than in a single church. Also, seminary students are forced to think critically and defend their ideas. Then too, they often do pastoral care and other hands-on training as part of their degree. I'm not saying that these things can't happen elsewhere, and they're not guaranteed to have happened at seminary, but I think it's more likely that a seminary graduate would have had these experiences.

I guess it all depends what this guy has done in the past, and whether he's willing to work on the gaps in his education, possibly with another pastor (not necessarily at your church) who has more experience.

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mackillian
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I don't think you're being an intellectual snob. Theological study would be fairly important for someone chosen to become your pastor, certainly in times of crises. The more knowledgeable, coupled with being strong with the spirit, would provide a solde foundation in finally developing the doctrinal statement. A statement that would bind together your church instead of continuing to drive it apart.

If someone has an M.Div, there's more of a chance that you know they've studied theology to a great extent. Without an M.Div, you can't be AS sure. So while the higher degree might not be required, it would make things easier in finding the qualification of being pretty educated in theology.

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dkw
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I’ve got a pretty obvious bias here, but I’ll throw my two cents in anyway.

My denomination has always tried to maintain a balance between an emphasis on well educated clergy and a strong tradition of lay leadership and lay preaching. Because of that, and because of a shortage (which is starting to reverse itself) of seminary-educated pastors, we have several “alternate routes” into ministry. A common one, often used by people who hear the call later in life and think they’re too old to go to seminary, is to become a licensed local pastor. These men and women function in the churches to which they are appointed as ordained clergy, though they are not ordained. They attend school for (four? – not sure) weeks each summer, but are able to begin serving a church after their first session.

A few years ago there was a big debate at our Annual (state) Conference about doing away with most of the distinctions between licensed and ordained clergy. The argument being that the important thing was the call and the Spirit, not the degree. (Ordination requires a bachelor’s degree, three to four years of graduate theological school including an internship, eleven weeks as an intern chaplain, and three years serving a church as a licensed pastor after graduation from seminary.)

The conclusion was that both are important. We want candidates with a strong call, with the gifts and graces from God for ministry, and we want them to take that call and those gifts and get the education and training they need to be the best pastors they are able to be. I can’t say that the fact I have a Master of Divinity degree makes me a better pastor than any pastor without such a degree, but I can say with absolute assurance that it makes me a better pastor than I would have been had I not gone through the process of earning it.

You have my sympathy, Belle. A pastor is more than just a preacher, he or she is also a teacher, counselor, mediator, administrator, theologian-in-residence, etc. I don’t think you’re a snob for wanting someone who’s demonstrated his qualifications.

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Dagonee
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quote:
I can’t say that the fact I have a Master of Divinity degree makes me a better pastor than any pastor without such a degree, but I can say with absolute assurance that it makes me a better pastor than I would have been had I not gone through the process of earning it.
Exactly. And I would bet this statement is true about almost anyone. That being the case, how dedicated is this person to becoming as good a pastor as he could be?

Maybe it's very high - I can't know that. But I could certainly use this as one criteria in helping evaluate his potential for my church.

Tactical suggestion, Belle - next time don't express your reservations until after the interview (if it's clear there's going to be one).

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fugu13
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Taal, you're projecting your own theology. Remember, many protestants (likely including Belle, iirc, though correct me if I'm wrong Belle) believe each person can have a personal relationship with God which will result in his/her salvation -- no need for any rites, dispensations, blessings, etc from another person (well, excepting Jesus, who is in some sense considered a person).

As such, the importance of the leader of the church is not in his or her ability to "feel" the spirit, which is supposed of every or nearly every church member, but his or her ability to lead the church in a serious exploration of spirituality, including many varied and complex ideas.

The priesthood as organized of the LDS church does not support such a system. It does a very good job of teaching a single orthodoxy, but avoids many of even the internal esoteric possibilities, much less teaching about the complex possibilities that have spanned Christianity for thousands of years (one need only look at some of the questions lifelong Mormons, including priesthood holders, have asked over the years on this forum).

This isn't a bad thing in the context of the Mormon church, but it is a bad thing in the context of an independent, protestant church which admits a wide variety of beliefs, and requires the pastor understand, grapple with, and explore those beliefs intellectually as well as spiritually (again, unlike the Mormon church; not that they don't explore their own beliefs intellectually, but that they don't explore that same wide variety of beliefs in the same, "this is quite possibly valid, and is an acceptable belief in our church" way).

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mackillian
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Actually, John and I talked about this last night, about a church actually being its people, all the people can be inspired by the spirit, but those people--the church--still need leaders. Hence the heirarchical structure of the catholic church.

random fact: the pope does not have to be a cardinal.

Belle, something else to consider is someone on his/her WAY to getting an M. Div.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Belle,

I sympathise completely. I don't see you as saying that nobody without the degree(s) could possibly do a good job, but saying instead that knowing so little about ANY of the candidates, the choice ought to be biased in favor of those with some demonstrated ability in the areas of greatest urgency for your congregation. Holding the degree is one way to demonstrate competence. Assuming the degree was actually conferred, by an institution that takes their degree conferral process seriously, etc., etc.

Another obvious choice would be to pick a senior person who's successfully helped other congregations through crises and doctrinal decision-making.

Are the other people seeming to want to decide this ONLY on gut feelings if someone "has the call." 58% say "yes" so we hire them?

Could be worse, they could decide on whether they like the preacher's spouse.

[Eek!]

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Taalcon
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quote:
Taalcon, you are making my brain hurt. Since you believe you belong to the only church with the priesthood, then how could any other faiths even feel the Spirit in their preachers? That's a rhetorical question.
It may be rhetorical, but I'm going to answer it. The Spirit is the testifier of Truth. When a minister truly seeks the will of the Lord, and teaches to the best of his understanding with an eye single to the glory of God, you better believe that the Spirit will be present.

LDS will never, ever claim that they have a monopoly on the influence or the testifying power of the Spirit. We don't claim to have a monopoly on Truth either (just more of it [Wink] ).

I was NOT trying to set up any sort of no-win situation. I have been in MANY non-LDS services where the Spirit was very strong.

I've also attended meetings where a preacher was using his Theological Degree as a way to exalt himself.

I understand that Belle's church is tryng vry hard to 'get back to the Bible', and to teach pure doctrine. I pointed out the Biblical prescedences and qualifications for leadership.

I understand all the different duties professional clergy have. I understand there are many non-preaching duties. I understand that they basically have to run all the financial affairs of the church, be a councilor, everything dkw named. Remember: I grew up as the son of a minister. I'm intimately familiar and sympathetic to this.

But Belle's biggest issue in her church seems to be Doctrinal confusion. I think a strong Spiritual leader is what her Church needs - someone strong and intimately familiar with the scriptures, yes, but I don't see a piece of paper being the qualifier for the work.

The Lord qualifies those that he chooses.

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Theca
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Oh, ok.
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AvidReader
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After my first pastor left our church, we hired a very sweet, quiet little man to replace him. The problem was, he just wasn't up to the challenges of rebuilding a factionalized congregation. Especially with the old pastor still there to show off and tell him how he was doing it wrong.

Eventually, he left and we got a much stronger man to take his place. The fighting stopped simply because Dan wouldn't put up with it. Some people left. Others who had left before came back. And even more people began coming.

We couldn't have hired Pastor Dan when we had the opening the first time since he was still working on his church building skills up in North Carolina. And I think it was good for us in one of those character building ways to see the congregation practically self-destruct. I think it taught a lot of folks a lot about themselves. Some people don't seem to have the knack for introspection until they have to face a crisis of their own making.

So even if this is not the right man to lead your congregation to greater strength and unity, he might be the right man to teach them an unpleasant lesson about themselves.

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Belle
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Okay, here's some more thought on the issue.

I'm a published writer, for what it's worth (not much) I'm a darn good speaker, with a lot of training and experience in public speaking. I know my way around a bible and doctrine and most of the major theological systems. I've a good relationship with God through prayer.

I could write a good sermon, folks. I could deliver a good sermon. I could deliver a sermon that was inspired and blessed by the Holy Spirit. But I'm not qualified to be a pastor, by any degree. (no pun intended) Deciding on whether or not someone should lead our church based on hearing a sample sermon is not sufficient in my book. A lot of people can write and deliver great sermons. A pastor is a lot more than what he does on Sunday morning.

IN this case, we have some major doctrinal issues and we need someone who will address them. (and before anyone says it - yes I realize hiring somone before we fixed our doctrinal problems is not a good idea. I protested this move, saying that before we called someone to lead us we ought to know what we believed so we knew what person to call - but I got shot down on that one too)

Peter was a fisherman, that's true. But to do his job Peter didn't need to be well versed in 2000 years worth of history, heresies, and doctrinal shifts. Today's pastor of a church like mine does.

Example - my husband and I are doing some in depth study of Biblical hermeneutics. We have run across some passages that we are having trouble interpreting according to our own view, and we have been reading commentaries and papers by theologians of other views trying to look at it from more than one direction to understand it better. This is something I'd like to be able to turn to my pastor for his advice and guidance with. No offense, but he needs education and experience to help with that. I'd at least like him to know more about the subject than I do.

Most people with a degree in ministry from a Bible college and certainly those with an M.Div have taken courses in counseling as well. Counseling is a big function of being a pastor, and I'd rather have someone with some training in it.

This guy sounds like he might be a great fit for a music ministry position, but we aren't hiring for that.

As to the minor in theology issue - yeah I realize it could be something where they don't offer it anymore. I did not bring that up, I'm trusting the search committee did its job when verifying education.

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Belle
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My mom said something wise, moms do that occasionally.

She said we needed to realize that he may be the wrong pastor for me, but the right one for this church. And in that case, we need to move on.

I told her that I had only been saying we needed to move on for two years now....and nobody was listening.

My husband feels we shouldn't leave without staying and giving the new guy a chance.

(I realize he hasn't been formally hired yet, but usually this stage - having him come and preach a sample sermon is merely the last rubber stamp needed - he'a already been approved by the search committee and our session of elders - chances of him not getting the job are slim)

But he won't be available until July, so that means staying at least through the summer, and that seems so long to me right now. (I personally haven't been to church in three weeks - I have no desire to go, so I just stay home and study on Sunday mornings.)

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AvidReader
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Belle, do you have two cars? You might want to start going elsewhere on your own. I know it's not as nice as having someone to go with, but it's better than being unhappy where you are.

If you only have one car, you could try asking friends where they go and if they could give you a ride Sunday morning. That has the added bonus of having someone to go with.

I'm sorry you're going through this, Belle. I hope you find an answer that makes you happy.

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fugu13
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As you are definitely aware as a member of the LDS church, Taal, getting back to the Bible is not as simple as just reading the Bible. Note, for instance, the often extreme differences of interpretation the LDS church take compared to protestant or catholic teachings. Knowledge of the two thousand years of thought that have gone on are, as Belle points out, necessary, and just being on good terms with the holy spirit is not sufficient.

For that matter, you bring up "biblical examples" of what is sufficient. First, those people you reference were absolutely extraordinary men. I do not think it is valid to directly compare a modern day pastor of a small church who, however worthy, is not going to be as extraordinary in almost certainty. Furthermore, look at what those men you reference did. They set up a church with a strong, separated, education based ecclesiastical corps. Hardly the actions of those who think it matters little whether the person providing religious services has an education in the matters at hand.

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Belle
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New development: Hubby asked if there were transcripts from interviews we could look at. Assistant pastor said no, but said he understood that we, and other congregation members, might like to have more information since we will only get to hear the guy preach one Sunday before we can make our decision.

(Keep in mind this is a different process than if you were in a denomination, like dkw is. When you are, say a Presbyterian Church in America congregation, and you go to hire a pastor you hire someone that is ordained in the PCA. You know what his doctrinal beliefs are - you know what doctrine he must ascribe to in order to become ordained. We know nothing like that about this guy - he's a total mystery to us. We know where he went to school, and if he agrees with the doctrinal statement of the college he attended, then I will vote no. But I'd like the chance to find out if he does agree with it or not.)

So, hubby was asked to provide questions he'd like the answers to and the search committee will see if the candidate will answer them and allow us to pass the answers out to the congregation so they can read it before he speaks. That makes me feel better, I'll have more information to make my decision with.

Here are the questions we're going to recommend they send:

http://www.9marks.org/CC/article/0,,PTID314526|CHID598016|CIID1903294,00.html

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blacwolve
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I might be wrong about this, but I just thought of it and I want to see what other people think.

It seems to me that God called Peter when he needed someone right after Christ's death and resurrection to deal with the people and encourage them. To be an example to them. After all Peter was just like everyone else those days, he was a fisherman, he wasn't well educated, and yet he was a disciple of Christ. I think that must have been pretty powerful testimony to a lot of the Jews in those days.

On the other hand, when God needed someone to directly address the doctrinal issues in the Church he called Paul. Who had the best religious education you could get at the time. It was Paul that gave the most doctrinal guidance to the young church. Which isn't to say that Peter didn't address doctrinal issues, or Paul didn't have a powerful testimony. It is abundantly clear that both did. I just think it's interesting that the vast majority of doctrine addressed in the New Testament was written by Paul, the most educated of the disciples.

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Kayla
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Belle, I'd definitely ask the search committee if someone called his college to confirm the minor in theology.

Even if I weren't opposed to someone without a Masters of Divinity, I would definitely oppose someone who lied about their education.

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urbanX
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I'm with dkw on this one. Then again, I should. We're in the same denomination [Wink] .
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Pelegius
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In my Church you need to be recomended by your priest, get aproval by the Bishop, go to college for 4 years, then go to seminary for three years and then get aproval from three bishops. That is the minimum. A Masters is encourged and Doctorates don't hurt.
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Belle
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blacwolve, you warm my heart. [Smile] I actually made the exact same point to the assistant pastor - that no could accuse Paul of not having an education.

Some more points that I've been researching today, so that I can provide them to the assistant pastor.

quote:
It is true that the Word of God emphasizes the moral and spiritual qualifications for a minister more than it does the natural and intellectual qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1: 5–9). These verses do require, though, that a man be “able to teach” and that he hold fast “the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

Furthermore, Paul admonished Timothy to be “a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), and to “guard what was committed to your trust” (1 Tim. 6:20). A minister of the Word, then, must be thoroughly trained in the exposition and defense of the Word of God.

Our Form of Government reflects an understanding that the necessary skills for preaching the whole counsel of God are ordinarily developed and honed at seminary. Seminary education alone qualifies no one to preach the gospel. But it does serve as the training ground for those who are called to preach and are recognized as such by the church.

The above is from the Orthodox Presbyterian Churches statement on why they require seminary education for their pastors.

Later in the same document:

quote:
It’s this simple: the church has understood the Scriptures to require that ministers be able to handle the Word of God effectively, to teach the truth with all of its implications, and to refute errors of all kinds. Those who have been called to such ministry—such as pastors and seminary professors—can well testify that one cannot have too much knowledge to carry out their calling.

Generally, men in the pastorate bemoan their lack of time for study. I have never heard anyone complain that he has spent too much time studying the Bible, theology, missions and evangelism, or the history of the church. If you really understand the pastoral calling, you know that you need all the theological education that you can possibly get.

Seminary affords men the opportunity to acquire the foundational understanding upon which they will build throughout their pastoral lives. If a man never goes to seminary, he may have to spend much time catching up with his better-informed ministerial colleagues. Most men would not even know what the important issues are and how to address them, apart from seminary training.

The part I bolded is what is bothering me. We have some serious doctrinal issues, and many people are so poorly educated in their own belief system they don't even understand the issue! For example, Wednesday night our music minister delivered a classic Armininian sermon. Today, our assistant pastor delivered a very Reformed, Calvinistic sermon. I did not go, but my husband said it was classically Calvinist. Afterwards, another member came to my husband and said "How does it feel to be in a schizophrenic church? That was a far cry from Wednesday."

That's what we're putting up with here - and I would like for the person who comes in, if I stay, to be somebody with enough training to be able to at least understand the problem. Unfortunately, too many people in our church don't understand it - didn't even notice the difference between Wed and Sunday. I'd like our pastor to be someone who does notice and says "This has to stop - we have to be united under one doctrine." Without the right training, and without any experience ever being a senior pastor, I don't know if somebody can do that.

Kayla, yeah, I get you. It bothers me too, but I hate to act as if I'm questioning every step the search committee took. Having already expressed concerns over the makeup of the search committee (mainly that it was dominated by older men and no one on the commmittee had any managerial experience or had ever headed up a hiring process) and been told to be quiet, I don't know that I'd get anywhere.

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Belle
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I must have missed this on the first time reading through the responses, Bob, but you made me laugh out loud.

quote:
Could be worse, they could decide on whether they like the preacher's spouse.

It wasn't a happy laugh either. When we were told there was a condidate coming in and the floor was opened to questions - I asked about education and what experience he had being a senior pastor before.

Someone else stood up and wanted to know what his wife did for a living.

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zgator
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quote:
As to the minor in theology issue - yeah I realize it could be something where they don't offer it anymore. I did not bring that up, I'm trusting the search committee did its job when verifying education.
The search committee at my hometown church didn't check. The pastor they hired ended up having only one of the four degrees he claimed to have when someone actually checked. The church ended up being torn apart over the controversy.
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Taalcon
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quote:
On the other hand, when God needed someone to directly address the doctrinal issues in the Church he called Paul. Who had the best religious education you could get at the time. It was Paul that gave the most doctrinal guidance to the young church. Which isn't to say that Peter didn't address doctrinal issues, or Paul didn't have a powerful testimony. It is abundantly clear that both did. I just think it's interesting that the vast majority of doctrine addressed in the New Testament was written by Paul, the most educated of the disciples.
Of course, Peter was the one to whom God gave the revelation concerning taking the Gospel to the gentiles. This led to a major doctrinal dispute. In the end, the rest of the Apostles (Paul included) submitted to the will of the Lord as presented by Peter.

Also, it's true Paul had a great religious education. That education, however, and their teachings of their history and doctrine is what led him to wrongfully persecute the Christians.

He wasn't a good teacher because of his education, he was a brilliant leader in spite of it.

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Belle
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Well my husband is meeting with the assistant pastor tonight to give him our concerns, and he will bring our concern over the minor in theology - and make sure that someone has indeed verified the information. If they haven't he's going to request that they do.

He is going to present the questions, most of which were taken from the site I linked to earlier, and hopefully the candidate will answer them and send them back so we can make a decision based on more than his oratory skills.

Then we agreed that if we do not think this pastor is right for the job we'll say so, give our reasons in the congregational meeting, and if the vote is to call him, we will wish everyone there the best and quietly move on to another church, so as not to stay and cause strife. We've already picked out another congregation we'd like to visit, we've visited there before but not on a Sunday, we've just gone over there and met with the pastor. The only drawback is distance - it's 35 miles away.

quote:
He wasn't a good teacher because of his education, he was a brilliant leader in spite of it
I disagree. There are many times in his epistles where he calls upon his education in the Old Testament scriptures. It's obvious he uses his knowledge, it's not something that was pointless or that he was successful "in spite of".

Paul persecuted Christians because he saw them as a threat, and didn't believe they possessed the truth. When the truth knocked him in the road and he finally saw it, he put his education to very good use. I do not think he was successful "in spite of" his education. I think he used that education to the glory of God, just as God intended he do.

I do not believe it was an accident God chose a well educated man to be his apostle to the gentiles. Remember Paul was evangelizing to populations that had no training at all in the scriptures and didn't understand anything. How do you teach redemption from sin to someone who doesn't know what sin is?

The Jews Peter preached to had that knowledge, they already knew much of the ground that Paul had to cover with the Greeks from scratch.

[ April 24, 2005, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: Belle ]

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Taalcon
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I'm not trying to downplay Paul at all - Paul's my personal scriptural hero.

And I will say my word choice wasn't as clear as I'd meant it to be.

What I meant to say, was that the education wasn't what qualified him for the work. His education originally filled him with a lot of error. However, I truly believe that he was a Truth Seeker from the getgo. God, I don't believe, would have called him if Paul didn't personally think his persecutions really were the will of the Lord, that he was routing out 'blasphemers'.

Certainly his education came to his advantage in the calling he was given - but I bet it took a lot of good hard re-learning to set his understandings of the Scriptures correct. God revealed Himself to Paul, and using this knoweldge, I'd be willing to bet he immediately began to study the scriptures again to see the things he'd been missing.

I think my main point is, beware of those who claim to be 'experts in religion', and who are given this status by institutions of man.

I love Church History. I think reading the writings of the ante-nicene Fathers teaches so much about the earliest Church.

A counterfeit dollar isn't best identified by studying variants of counterfeits, but from becoming intimately familiar with a real dollar. The imperfections then jump out.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:

Someone else stood up and wanted to know what his wife did for a living.

I was only half-joking when I wrote that earlier post. Sadly, I think a lot people will decide based on criteria that seem, at best, secondary. Sure if the spouse has serious problems getting along with others, that could be indicative of all sorts of things, but if you're seriously concerned about a pastor's qualifications, their wife's occupation is (or ought to be) of much less importance than all the things you are asking.

Oh well...it's never more clear that a church is the people than when a church tries to make an important decision.

[Roll Eyes]

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Bob_Scopatz
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Belle,

Has anyone pointed out that "pastoral" means something entirely different to music majors?

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