A Question about Baptist Pastors

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by tomana, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. tomana

    tomana
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    I'm not a practicing Baptist, though the last church I frequented was a Reformed Baptist fellowship. I know this is a "Baptists Only" thread so I will make no comments but I figured it was ok to ask questions here, as long as I remain silent regarding replies. If this is not so, I figured I'd know soon enough :rolleyes:

    Do Baptist Pastors have to go to a seminary/theology college before they are allowed to pastor a congregation and if so, what do you do when what the Spirit reveals to you in scripture is different from what you are/were being taught in seminary?

    Just as an example only: the pre-trib vs post-trib doctrine
     
  2. TadQueasy

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    Aren't you supposed to be a practicing Baptist to post in this area?

    The answer to your question is no they do not. Each church is able to call whoever they feel God wants for their church no matter the education.
     
  3. Jack Matthews

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    The answer to your first question, do Baptist pastors have to go to seminary or Bible college before they are allowed to pastor a congregation, is that it depends on the church. Baptist churches, even those within various Baptist denominational groups, are independent and autonomous, and call their own pastors. Theoretically, a church can call whomever they feel led to call, and set their own qualifications. The church where I am currently a member is the only Baptist church I've ever attended, and I served on the search committee when we called a pastor a while back. One of the qualifications was that he have a minimum of a graduate degree from an accredited seminary with a statement of faith in agreement with the church's doctrinal and theological perspective. We worded it to say that we preferred someone who had a degree from one of the six seminaries supported by the SBC, since we give to the Cooperative Program.

    I do know pastors in Baptist churches who do not have degrees, and even a couple who don't have a college degree or college level Bible training. Most of them are self-educated, taking advantage of all kinds of opportunities to learn through reading, and a number of other means, to continue their discipleship. Those who I know, and it's just a couple, do fine without the formal degree.

    Someone who has been to seminary or college should answer your second question. I would imagine that at a Bible college or seminary, all of the various nuances of doctrine would be covered. No human institution is perfect, so I am sure seminaries and Bible colleges make mistakes, but I think you can observe and see that attending them is a major benefit to a pastor's ministry.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Well if we are convicted by God then we do what anyone else does in any other church. We follow him. Neither college nor Seminary dictates what is preached. In fact what you will find in either is critical thinking skills rather than puppets. Academic work is not based on following a set view but being able to defend your own view.
     
  5. Greektim

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    I'm a baptistic elder/pastor in my evangelical church (still am SBC though when in the states). My theological views changed radically after bible college but while in post grad studies. So I changed. It was not so much leaving the baptist tradition so much as leaving the fundamentalist fold. The change was not monumental nor any big deal since I am still studying at 1 of the 6 SBC seminaries. I just changed.

    One thing that is emphasized in any good grad school (but especially an evangelical one like my seminary) is that we are taught to think critically and for ourselves. This is a skill I am even still developing since my fundamentalist bible college training was more about indoctrinating (or something near it). So it is a good thing to reevaluate your views and change to conform to what you believe Scripture to teach.
     
  6. 12strings

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    All good answers...

    I would add that while Each Baptist church is free to call anyone they choose with any education, most prefer at least bible college, and many prefer Grad/Seminary Degree.

    There are some good self-studied men who are self-motivated learners without formal degrees.

    There are also still a few very rural baptist circles in which too much education is looked down upon..."We just need the bible."



    Even in the SBC, the Seminaries might teach one thing that a grad later rejects...and the SBC can't do a thing about it...unless that pastor/church goes so far as to endorse homosexuality...the the SBC will probalby dis-fellowship that church.
     
  7. Herald

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  8. tomana

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    thank you for all the comments :cool:
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    Since Baptists are a free church style of governance there is no norm or standard for all churches to follow as it relates to the education of their pastor(s.) You can easily go from church-to-church in the Baptist world and find a mix of educational backgrounds. So no, Baptist pastors are not required by some fiat or something to go to seminary.

    It is highly recommended and I know plenty of churches that will require their pastor(s) to have a seminary degree, Masters of Divinity is the standard. Larger churches often require doctorates as well. Your educational background can often dictate the kind of churches you serve in as well. Some churches that I know will only consider candidates who have graduated from their denominationally affiliated seminary. It is a completely voluntary thing and each church sets it standards of conduct on this issue.

    As for your second question...all things I have been taught have been tested in accordance with what Scripture says as Scripture is my standard for truth. I think that about covers it. :)
     
  10. saturneptune

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    Good post. That is what sets local autonomous Baptist churches apart from the one size fits all of other Protestant denominations and the RCC, for example. Each local church sets their standards for the pastor's education, and each pastor follows the Holy Spirit as he leads the church.

    For example, if this were a Presbyterian message board, I doubt you would see the endless Calvin-free will debates. If this was a RCC message board, there would be no threads discussing open and closed communion.

    As Baptists, I believe we try to achieve unity through the Spirit, not a seminary theological stance. Yes, this tends to make differences of opinion greater in a local church, but I have never experienced that as a problem. A good pastor and loving congregation does not focus on differences, but telling others about Jesus.

    In our congregation, we sometimes discuss differences in a civil manner. One of our issues is open vs closed communion. Other issues with differences include DoGs, end times, etc, but they have never caused a problem.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    So is your church open or closed communion?
     
  12. Herald

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    The problem with being lead by the Spirit, as the pastor determines, is that the pastor becomes the determining factor as to whether or not the Spirit is leading. I believe Baptist history indicates that Baptists have always placed a higher confidence in the Word of God over the subjective nature of being lead by the Spirit. Don't misunderstand me. We are to be lead by the Spirit, as revealed by the Word of God. I'm a bit sensitive to the term "lead by the Spirit" because I have seen it used to sanction all manner of heretical false teachings. The Spirit's leading is not the same for every person at every time, but the Word of God is a standard that never changes. It is the Spirit that gives us understanding of God's Word, but that understanding should be consistent to what has been revealed to the Church over thousands of years.
     
  13. Herald

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    Adding to my previous post; this is one of the reasons why English particular Baptists of the 17th Century penned the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. Yes, it's a DoG document (not hiding that fact), so FW'ers will disagree with it. But it's purpose was to provide common agreement on doctrinal issues facing the church at that time. It was not designed to be equal to the Word of God. It was, and still remains, a secondary document. But it does point to common agreement on what the Word of God teaches. That common agreement has been helpful in keeping churches from going off the rails so-to-speak.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Are particular Baptists & reformed Baptists considered one in the same? Please advise.
     
  15. Herald

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    Mostly. RB's, as a name, came to exist in the 1960's. "Particular Baptist" was an English term.
     
  16. Van

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    Paul had training as a Pharisee, so well studied Pastors are certainly modeled in the NT. However, many others came out of more common pursuits, i.e. fishing or tax collecting. In the past, in order to be discipled, you fellowshipped with the more learned, or thought to be more learned man in your area. Higher education schools have been around for a while and so going to college has been a way to be discipled for the last several hundreds of years. Other forms of discipleship may become common in the future, i.e. self trained via internet courses.

    As far as separating from a church that teaches views that differ from our own, it depends on how healthy the church is. Is it making new converts, disciplining new members, are lives being changed and Jesus exalted? Then the core doctrines are probably biblical and we can simply remain silent when tangential views of scripture are presented, such as the sequence of End Times events, where well studied folks differ.

    If we are in this difficulty, we must be careful not to undermine the leadership, i.e. telling others the teaching and teachers are presenting unbiblical views. That is being factious. OTOH, we should certainly meet with the Pastor/teacher and tell them why we think what they said did not fit with scripture. Sometime we learn that we were mistaken, sometimes we learn that the Pastor did not mean what we inferred, and so forth.

    But, if the issue is viewed as significant, then we are free to seek another fellowship with folks we believe are better at presenting the core doctrines of scripture.
     
    #16 Van, Dec 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2012
  17. Greektim

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    The reality is, even in the "SBC 6", the faculty disagree on minor issues like eschatology and such. So the issue that was presented is not even a real one since a student is likely to run across various views throughout his education. Thus he must think critically and decide for himself what stands most closely to the Bible.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    Paul is not a "NT model' for education. His purpose in his education was not for the ministry it was to be a Pharisee. And there is no indication that God called him because of it. The disciples had none other than OJT. Having said that I believe God calls men with a boat load of education and some with little to none, one just the same as the other.

    I also believe a pastor should pursue all the education that is reasonable and within his grasp.
     
  19. Benjamin

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    OJT Curious? Onsite Jesus Theology??? :)
     
  20. Mexdeaf

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    On the Job Training
     

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