God's Effectual Call? Part Two

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bible-boy, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. Bible-boy

    Bible-boy
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    In the original thread entitled, “God’s Effectual Call?” We attempted to examine what has been called the “traditional view” regarding the “call” to ministry. However, little if any headway was made. The problem is that no one who claims to support the traditional view has stepped forward and provided clear definition of what they mean when they use the terms “call,” “called,” and/or “calling.” We debated over the space of the entire 20 page thread limit and still were unable to arrive at any conclusions regarding the traditional view of the “call” to ministry. Therefore, I am beginning this new thread entitled, “God’s Effectual Call? Part Two.”

    If you hold to the “traditional view” and have been following the debate in the original thread and wish to contribute to this new thread you must:

    1. Provide a clear definition of the traditional view of the term(s): “Call,” “Called,” and/or “Calling.”
    2. Provide Scripture, without eisegesis, which supports the above definition(s).
    3. Provide Scripture, without eisegesis, that demonstrates that such a “call” is required of those who serve in ministry as pastors and/or missionaries within the church today.
    4. Provide Scripture, without eisegesis, that shows how one is to objectively discern if he has received such a “call.”
    5. Provide Scripture, without eisegesis, that shows how a local church body is to objectively recognize and determine if a prospective minister has received such a “call.”

    This discussion can not real proceed without someone who claims to support the traditional view providing this basic information. Once the traditional view’s definition of the terms “Call,” “Called,” and/or “Calling” have been established we sill stick with those definitions and examine the Scriptures to see if this idea is as biblical as some have claimed. When we have reached a conclusion regarding the traditional view and whether or not it is soundly biblical we can then examine other alternative views and their biblical support in the same fashion.

    This discussion will proceed in an orderly fashion and according to the published BB posting rules.

    I look forward to dialoguing at length with anyone who is interested in following this proscribed method of discussion.

    Yours in Christ,

    Bible-Boy,
    BB Forum Moderator

    [ February 11, 2006, 07:07 AM: Message edited by: Bible-boy ]
     
  2. npetreley

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    I'm confused. I thought the term "Effectual call" was in reference to salvation, not being called to the ministry.
     
  3. El_Guero

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    npetreley

    You are correct.

    **Personal attack removed***

    [ February 07, 2006, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: blackbird ]
     
  4. El_Guero

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    Bible Boy,

    If you still do not know the traditional view of God's call of men to ministry:

    "I pray thee tell, what have you been arguing against, and what have you been arguing for?"

    You have changed your position so many times, that you are exhibiting confusion. And merely pointing our your difficulty to be clear, lead you to threaten use of your SUPER POWERS as a moderator.

    ***Personal attack removed***

    If you did not want your ***thoughts to be***(sentence rephrased by moderator) BOLDY POINTED OUT:

    YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE COMPARED A BAPTIST TO THE POPE and thaught it cute. [​IMG]

    You are much further away from the stance of Luther than I am. Luther believed that everyone had a call from God for a specific 'VOCATION'. Hence we use the word that means 'calling'.

    You intentionally obfuscate the terminology used from the outset.

    'God effectually calls' is reformed terminology dealing with salvation.

    'God calls' is what God does to sinners and to His leadership.

    [ February 07, 2006, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: blackbird ]
     
  5. gb93433

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    Did anyone read the first posting?
     
  6. El_Guero

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    i lost all respect for you when YOU BROUGHT MY DEAD FATHER into your FALACIOUS ARGUMENT.

    [ February 08, 2006, 12:32 AM: Message edited by: blackbird ]
     
  7. gb93433

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    As a Baptist you quote Luther as your support? How about quoting the Bible instead? After all Luther was wrong on a few things. Lutherans still baptize babies. I did not know that God "called" anyone to baptize babies.

    As Christians our passion and vocation is to make disciples.

    I noticed in your profile you wrote, "mmm ... wishin' I was preachin'" I wouldn't be waiting around so long to make known the gospel. What are you waiting for? Get busy.
     
  8. El_Guero

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    gb ???

    I am tired of weak mindedness. But, when you take the side of a man that used the thought of my dead father in his argument against me, and alluded that I am the pope:

    A smart 'Baptist' would get out of my way.

    If you are not that smart 'Baptist' - then read on:


    OOOOOH you got me where it hurt! OUCH!

    I pray, tell me where I quoted Luther in that paragraph?

    Just because you are not busy doing the Lord's work is no reason to infer that SIN upon me. Much less to make an exegetical mistake and say that I meant it literally and not figurtively.

    [ February 08, 2006, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: blackbird ]
     
  9. bapmom

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    Just a thought here, after watching the two of you gentlemen go at this topic for weeks now....

    Maybe you can feel like you are called to a particular vocation and be perfectly within the parameters of God's will for your life, doing what is right, ministering where you are needed, in the way that you are needed.

    AND

    Maybe you can feel like you are NOT called to a particular vocation and yet be perfectly within the parameters of God's will for your life, doing what is right, ministering where you are needed, in the way that you are needed.


    Sorry to interrupt.....I must say, I truly enjoy reading what both of the major posters in this topic post around the board.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. El_Guero

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    Mom,

    Thank you! I take that as a compliment.

    But, I am still offended at the intentional slights against myself and the memory of my father.

    And the threat of board reprisal because I was offended.

    These things should not be part of a Christian dialogue.

    [​IMG]

    [ February 07, 2006, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: El_Guero ]
     
  11. Bible-boy

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    Hello El_Guero:

    On page 11 of the original thread I said:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/3/3173/11.html
    On page 15 of the original thread I said:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/3/3173/15.html
    I was using an analogy to show that trying to argue this issue based on who, or how many professors agree with one’s position is as silly as little boys who get mad at each other and try to prove that they are right because, “My daddy can beat up your daddy.” It was an analogy only. It was not a reference to my ailing 87 year old dad, to your father, or anyone else’s father. I was pointing out that it is a childish and foolish way to argue.

    I am sorry that you have lost your father. I did not know that until you said so. I pray that God will draw you and your family close to Him and give you peace that goes beyond all understanding. However, this was by no means an attack on your person or the memory of your honored father. If you took it that way please forgive me.

    Yours in Christ,

    Bible-Boy

    [ February 08, 2006, 02:06 AM: Message edited by: Bible-boy ]
     
  12. cysperus

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    Bibleboy...I've been following this discussion as you said but apparently you and El Guero are not on the same page. You have provided some interesting and provoking arguments about the biblical basis of vocational call (particularly relating to the full time ministry).

    If you try to look back to the verses quoted by El Guero, I believe it's quite obvious that one can apply a systematic treatment to justify the manner in which God called men to the ministry.
     
  13. Bible-boy

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    Hello cysperus,

    I agree that this is true for OT Prophets and NT Apostles. However, we do not see this same thing happening in the early church regarding elders/pastors. All we know for certain from the Word of God is that men who meet the qualifications set out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are to be appointed to the position. Who does the appointing? According to the texts Timothy and Titus were to seek out and appoint men who met the qualifications. What does that mean for us today? Our existing elders/pastors are to seek out and appoint men who meet these same qualifications.
     
  14. Bible-boy

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    A good friend of mine just had an article published in Faith & Mission: A Journal of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His article is entitled, Should Churches Ordain the Divorced and Remarried? An Examination of Mias Gunaikos ' Aner in the Pastoral Epistles.

    He opens his article by briefly explaining how we typically determine candidates for ordination. He says, “Within conservative Southern Baptist circles, a sense of inward calling generally serves as one of the primary perquisites for ordination. Along with this subjective standard, there are the objective standards found in the pastoral epistles. Specifically, 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 function as a tangible means of evaluating those who perceive God’s guidance toward the pastoral ministry.”

    My friend has hit the nail square on the head with the above quoted description. As an active member and responsible leader in a local church, who may well be called upon to serve on a “Pastor Search Committee,” I am greatly concerned why we so readily accept someone’s personal subjective claim that God has “called” them into the ministry.

    This idea of the subjective part of being “called” into ministry raises several questions that must be addressed. First, what do they mean when they say “God has called me into ministry”? By that I mean that I would like hear a detailed and cogent definition of the term “called” as it is being used in this instance. Second, I would like to see some Scripture that supports whatever definition is supplied. Third, I would like to see some Scripture that supports the idea that such a “call” is required of those who serve in ministry today. Forth, I would like to see some Scripture that shows how one is to objectively discern if he has received such a “call.” Finally, I would like to see some Scripture that shows how a local church body is to objectively recognize and determine if a prospective minister has received such a “call.”

    I had to chuckle just the other day when my Christian Ethics professor was lecturing on the topic of appropriate sources of authority and he stopped briefly and asked the class a question to illustrate his point. He said, “You know I hear a lot of students say that, ‘God called them to go to seminary.' What exactly does that mean? How do you know ‘God called you to go to seminary’? Did God call you on the phone?” Then he returned to his lecture making the point that the Bible is our only objective source of authority and that personal subjective sources of authority are unacceptable.

    As my friend noted in his article (quoted above) generally when someone defines or explains what they mean when they say “God called me to…” is that they had some type of deep personal subjective inner feeling that they were to do a particular thing or act in a certain way. However, after spending numerous hours of honestly and deeply searching the Scripture I can not find any passage that supports the idea that such a personal subjective inner feeling is to be equated with a call of God on one’s life. When God called Prophets in the Old Testament and Apostles in the New Testament He spoke to them in His audible voice or He gave them divine visions. We do not see this same thing happening to elders/pastors of the early church in the New Testament.

    What I do find the Scripture to be saying is that those men who aspire to the office of elder/pastor desire a good thing (1 Tim. 3:1). Then the Bible goes on to give us a list of qualifications that are to be used in determining the right kind of men for the office. These basic qualifications and attributes are found in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Pet. 5:1-4. However, in addition to these it only makes sense that a prospective elder/pastor would also be living up to the Lord’s great commission and great commandment (Matt. 28:18-20; and Mark 12:30-31). The prospective elder/pastor must be able to demonstrate that he is a disciple maker, and that he loves the Lord God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that he truly loves his neighbors as he loves himself. Once it has been established and verified that he lives up to these most basic Christian tenets it must be established that he meets the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Pet. 5:1-4.

    However, the investigation into the prospective elder/pastor’s life does not end there. There are still other objective criteria to examine. The Bible informs us that there are certain spiritual gifts that all born again believers either receive and/or possess. Therefore, we must examine the prospective elder/pastor to determine his spiritual gifts. Clearly the ability to peach and teach must be of high importance. However, it is not just the technical aspects of public speaking that are in view here. He must also be able to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). His doctrinal positions must be sound. Likewise, his hermeneutical method and exegesis of the Scriptures must be solid. He must not be found to slip off into eisegesis of the Scriptures in order to support preconceived ideas and presuppositions that are not found in the Bible. The danger here is that when one adds to the text of the Bible it leads to the teaching of false doctrine. Yet, there are still other areas of his life to examine. How has God prepared and gifted this man to fill the office of elder/pastor? We can find lists of spiritual gifts in Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 1 Pet. 4:8-11; 2 Tim. 2:15 etc.

    Concern has been expressed at the high percentage on elders/pastors who drop out of the ministry. Apparently some of those concerned over this issue have attempted to link this high drop out rate to the lack of and/or presence of “God’s calling” on the lives of these men to the ministry. Interestingly, a study of the types of questions that churches ask prospective elders/pastors conducted at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary turns up some surprising statistics. The study sought to determine if churches were asking potential pastors questions regarding their moral conduct during their ordination examinations. According to the study, only 45 percent of those ordained pastors responding stated that they had been asked such questions. Amazingly, the vast majority of churches represented in the study focused their questions on the potential pastor’s conversion and calling to the ministry (95 and 97 percent respectively).[1]

    Is it possible that because our churches have placed more emphasis on the prospective pastor’s salvation experience and his subjective personal inner feeling of being “called” and little or no emphasis on his moral character and the qualifications and spiritual gifts listed in the Scripture that we are ordaining the wrong men in the first place? I would argue that this is one of the primary problems behind the high percentage of ordained pastors dropping out of the ministry today.

    So let’s be intellectually honest enough to admit that the Bible is silent regarding any type of deep personal inner subjective feeling, which we typically term “the subjective part of the call.” Likewise, let’s admit that the Bible is true when it says, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Tim. 3:1, ESV). Therefore, what we have typically referred to as the “subjective part of the call” is really nothing more than a man’s deep personal aspiration and desire to serve the Lord. This frees us from what appears to be a deeply held form of Christian mysticism regarding the ministry. Likewise, it further distinguishes Baptists from some of our more charismatic friends who seem to base parts of their Theology and doctrinal positions on subjective personal experience and eisegesis of the biblical texts. This is the full explanation of my position on this issue. I look forward to discussing it further with you all.

    Yours in Christ,

    Bible-Boy


    [1]Daniel Aleshire, “Ordination and the Minister’s Personhood and Character,” [/i]Review and Expositor[/i] 78 (Fall 1981): 544-47.

    [ February 11, 2006, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: Bible-boy ]
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    Bible-Boy,

    May I jump in here with just a couple quick questions? I am not interested in going around and around with you about this subject. I think for all who have read this thread and the other thread, that it is clear that you have spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into this topic. I respect your work and thoughts completely.

    Just to satisfy my own curiosity, here are my questions:

    1) Have you at any time in your life felt this "subjective" call of God into ministry? If yes, could you tell me about it? If no, could you tell me how you got where you are in what you are doing for the Lord?

    2) Are you wanting to completely throw out the concept of a call into ministry?
     
  16. webdog

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    1Ti 3:1 This saying is trustworthy: "If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work."
    I think "desire" is the key. God put's the desire in your heart, which would be a "calling" of sorts. I think the problem comes when someone sits around and waits for some special revelation, some special instruction out of the blue, which they think "being called" is, regardless of how they are gifted.
     
  17. Bible-boy

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    Yes, that deep personal inner feeling is what prompted me to go to my pastor and seek his advice about getting a Theological education in order to prepare for ministry. He prayed with me about the issue and suggested that I check out the six SBC Seminaries and associated colleges. Then he specifically pointed me to Southeastern. Back then I would have explained what I was feeling as a "call" to ministry. However, after studying the topic and searching the Word I can not find where the Bible says that such a feeling equates to a "call" to ministry from God. So there has to be some better more biblical way to explain it. What I find is that the Bible talks about an aspiration and desire to serve in the ministry (1 Tim. 3:1).

    No, not completely. I just would like to see our churches reject the idea that our personal subjective feelings automatically equate to a "call" from God. Let's speak about such feelings as the Bible speaks about them (i.e. aspiration and desire in 1 Tim. 3:1). Then we can apply the objective standards found in Scripture to a man's life to see if he is qualified, prepared, and gifted to serve in the office of elder/pastor. Once we have conducted a thorough and complete investigation into a man’s life and found that he measures up to the objective qualifications found in the Bible, and that it is evident that God has prepared and gifted him for the ministry, then we can say with confidence that God has called him into ministry. This objective method and idea of "calling" does not depend on a man's personal subjective feelings to legitimize his service in ministry.

    However, that is apparently not how it works today. Unfortunately, the study conducted by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary shows that less than half of our churches even ask a single question related to a prospective elder/pastor's moral life. We simply are not following the objective standards God gave us in the Bible. This is documented by that same study that shows that the churches represented focused their examination questions on the prospective elder's/pastor's salvation/conversion experience, and their personal sense of "calling" (95 and 97 percent respectively).

    So when you boil it down to the basics a guy comes along gives his testimony that the Lord has saved him and states that he feels that God has "called" him to be a pastor and we ordain him. There's a big problem with such a weak process.

    [ February 11, 2006, 07:26 AM: Message edited by: Bible-boy ]
     
  18. Bible-boy

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    I agree that is another huge problem. When men who have the aspiration, desire, and spiritual gifts to serve in ministry sit back and wait for a mystical "call" that never comes we are denied the opportunity to even apply the objective standards of the Bible to see if they are qualified to serve in ministry.
     
  19. TomMann

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    Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    KJV

    I suppose this is what I would consider the call.... The fact that He gave some.... Exactally how he choses to reveil that giving (call) to the individual is varied and still a mystery.

    I do believe that some, anxious to do good works (i.e earn Gods favor,) ... assume a giving (call) that was not made, just as I believe that not everyone who says LORD, LORD, is known of God.

    Probably for everyone who recieves the call there are many more who assume the call or desire a call that wasn't given.

    I think we have a lot of people filling pulpits who were not given to be pastors.... regardless of their pedigrees.
     
  20. Bible-boy

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    Hello Tom,

    I think you have hit on some truth there. However, the problem that we experience of having men who were not "called" in the patorate does not arise from whether or not they received some sort of mystical calling. The problem arises when our churches do not follow through with fully examining the man to see if he fits the biblical qualifications and if God has prepared and gifted him for ministry. The true test of God's calling is in the objective standards of the Bible's qualifications and the tangible evidence of God having prepared and given the man certain spiritual gifts for the ministry. We can not simply trust the man's personal subjective feelings to mean that God has called him and we should therefore ordain him.
     

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