Thursday, July 19, 2012
Educate Our People
I enjoy the conversation and even some of the debate of the issues we’re dealing with today in the SBC. There are times when the debaters get a little ugly and personal – but beyond that – I have learned a great deal by reading the comments from thoughtful people who disagree.
Here’s my concern for the church…
We’re having the debate, but the vast majority of our people don’t have a clue what we’re debating. It is assumed that Calvinist-driven pastors are slipping into the churches with a plan already in place to reform that church. Certainly, that could be true on occasion – but I suspect most of these pastors are never asked about their theological leanings and don’t feel obligated to share them. Isn’t it possible they aren’t trying to be covert – but just following a call to a church? Isn’t it possible they are preaching a more Calvinistic theology because they believe it? I think so. In my interview I was simply asked if I was Southern Baptist. I said yes. I didn’t think to offer anything else – I just waited for the next question.
That leads to my primary concern…
We need to educate our churches.
Are we explaining theology to our people? Are we communicating with our associations and with our sister churches that are looking for pastors? Do we have information that can be placed in the hands of Search Committees? We might find Calvinist-leaning congregations looking for that kind of pastor. They might gain an understanding of the Calvinist “point system” and desire a certain number of “points” in a new pastor. I suspect the opposite will be true – but at the very least they should expect a potential pastor can articulate his theology – and they should be able to understand his answer. The idea of an informed Church/Search Committee and theologically astute pastor has to be appealing to everyone… Right?
What am I going to do? In October, we will have a sermon series on “The Election” but rather than talk politics – we will look at Romans 8-10. In the last Sunday of the series we will bring in Dr. Eric Hankins to preach and have a time of question and answer after the 11:00 service. At that time our people can talk to the primary author of the Sinners Prayer Resolution and hopefully leave with a better understanding of the issue. I will also talk to the DOM in our county to see if there’s a way we can help educate Search Committees who are looking for pastors. I will not start an anti-Calvinist campaign but rather will seek to help in the education process.