Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All too easy

It is often amazing how easy it is to be a preacher or pastor in a non-denominational church.

Last week I was at a birthday party and we met a couple who had moved to another suburb. We got to talk about church topics and the wife inquired about a preacher who has been enjoining them to become a member of his congregation. It so happens I know the gentleman but not as a pastor at that time and I let her know of my aquaintance with the preacher. So she asked me what I thought. Well I did not beat around the bush and I just let her know of my amazement as to how easy it is for a person in a non-denominational church to become a pastor. I told her that I would rather come under the teaching/preaching of a man I knew who has studied and has the reputation of being a student of God's Word. I also said that pastoring is a dangerous business because souls are at stake, people's mental/emotional and most of all their spiritual well being are affected by what goes on in the pulpit. So I felt it immoral not to tell the truth of my opinion when I got asked. It would be so unfair to play politics at this stage. In fact the said gentleman had nothing but congenial relations with me in the past, but that is not the point, the issue is doctrine/belief and competence.

It is astounding today how one can set up shop, hire a hall, a function room or get a vacant warehouse and turn it into a church. It is thoroughly amazing how one could get a people together and self elect one's self to be their spiritual leader (hence, pastor) and the remarkable thing is --- people go and become part of that congregation!

We would not go to a doctor who had not been properly trained in medicine and take prescription from them, would we? Yet people go to would be - pastors who had no training except the boast that they have the gifts of the Spirit and annointed by God to preach. We go to people whose authority is nothing but their own testimony! It is only in evangelical Christianity that one can stand in an office of preacher without proper qualifications. Goodness, if you practice law without a license from the bar, you would be jailed, but this does not happen in Christianity. This is way too easy! As Jesus said -- broad is the way to you know where.

11 comments:

Steve Newell said...

For most Christians, it doesn't really matter that a "pastor" much less a church believes and teaches. It's about how do they feel.

When one asks for a doctrinal statement, many pastors and/or churches will provide their statement of beliefs on the piece of paper the size of a recipe card. The Reformers, both Reformed and Reformation, worked very hard to give us great documents such as the Book of Concord, the Westminster Confess, etc.

This finds its way to the preaching and teaching that no longer focuses on the doctrine of the Faith but on life issues of the day.

steve martin said...

Great post , L.P.!

Around these parts, you just need a cursory knowledge of the bible and an ability to pick out law passages (after all the flock needs a list of things to do), a couple of nice Hawaiian style shirts and some puka beads, a warehouse with some chairs and a rock(praise)band, a sound system, a catchy name like 'Blue Waters Pacific Coast Fellowhip'(fictional -I think)... and you are a church.

I'd say you'd be filling the auditoriun...er..I mean sanctuary in a matter of minutes.

Steve Newell, your comments were right on.

Thanks!

- Steve Martin

L P Cruz said...

Steve X 2,

One thing to notice, when you start to discuss teachings/doctrine or even a cursory discussion of denominational differences with these folk, they immediately say - lets just go by the Bible.

Cliche, no?

Amazing, but that is precisely why the differences have to be discussed.

When I wrote to my pastor friends about where I now stand, none of them ever questioned or asked why the change?

They gave me a hint - discussing what one believes/teaches and confesses is taboo or anti-social like discussing politics.

LPC

Steve Newell said...

LPC,

I have no problems in going to the bible. Since the BOC is based on the bible, we can cover Lutheran doctrine without going to it. Now, if you get the topics on faith, salvation and the sacraments, then many will have a difficult time defending their position or arguing against ours.

For example, many don't believe that we are spiritually and cannot make a decision for Christ since their doctrine is built on the position of one must make a decision for Christ in order to be saved. Christ and Paul both state that it is God who gives us life and the ability to believe.

Doorman-Priest said...

But what was her reply?

J. K. Jones said...

Good post, LP.

Just leave room for a guy who had no formal theological education, C. H. Spurgeon. He was self-educated through the reading of many books.

There's an exception to every rule not explicitly stated in Scripture.

JK

Steve Newell said...

There is an anti-intellectualism in many parts of the Church today. In the last installment of the White Horse Inn, many pastors did not or could not teach their church the doctrines of the faith.

We no longer here the question in a bible study of "What does this passage mean?" but we hear "What does this passage mean to me?" The subjective has replaced the objective.

L P Cruz said...

D.P.


She said "Oh".

LPC

L P Cruz said...

J.K.

Spurgeon is exactly what is not the way the modern ones are. Spurgeon may have had no theological training, but he was a student of the Word and this is what the Scripture says a minister should be, he studied to show himself approved.

Although I think he missed a few Law and Gospel distinctions, the wisdom he had was because the Scripture had become his companion and friend.

LPC

Steve Newell said...

LP,

When you were a pastor, what was the basis of your qualification's?

L P Cruz said...

Steve,

To be brutally frank, that I had people sitting under my ministry.

In fact the AOG here sought to offer to ordain me. So I was ordained without theological training. Sure I had a science degree but that is not theological.

Only then did I went to uni to get a liberal Religious Studies degree. I got a GDipHum. A type of bachelors degree or additional qualifications for those that already have a bachelors degree.

I was ordained out of expediency.

It was all too easy Steve, just get a following!

LPC