Issues on ordination

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by tinytim, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    What issues would prevent you from approving someone's ordination if you set on council?

    Minor and Major issues please?
     
  2. sag38

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    A lack of denominational committment.
    A lack of a knowledge of the basics of the faith.
    An inability to define one's calling to ministry.
    A demonstrated inability to manage one's house.
    A lack of spousal support of ministry and church.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    While I try not to decide things on a carte blanc approach...

    If they fail to meet the qualifications set in 1 Timothy and Titus for leadership that is the first major disqualifier.

    A couple of months ago I sat on a council for someone who had never been licensed or ordained but wanted both. It became clear during the meeting that while he had lots of zeal and passion he didn't have a clear calling from God nor any plans for significant pastoral ministry. Since, as we believe, ordination is primarily for the clergy we advised this fine man to be licensed first and after a period of two or three years to come back and be re-evaluated. He accepted our recommendation.

    If a person exhibits a significant amount of spiritual immaturity in their council that would be disqualifying for me. There is a natural soberness that needs to be about the process of becoming a minister. This doesn't mean you're a bland, boring guy but seriousness is important.

    Also a significant lack of biblical/theological knowledge would contribute to difficulty in ordination. Pastors need both for use in practical ministry.

    This is really where I come down on things. I always try to administer grace first, but realize we do need standards. :)
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    Both Sag38 and preachinJesus have covered what I would say.

    While we don't try to trick anyone we want to know if they can defend what they believe. So we always ask the men on the council to push back on their answers rather than just accept the baptist faith and message 2000 answer. :tongue3:
     
  5. tinytim

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    I agree with all of you. Let me ask this... what about humbleness.

    If a candidate is cocky, in that he went to seminary, and when questioned about something he gets cocky and tells people what he was taught in seminary... Or would argue about terminology.

    I'll give you 2 instances

    1) Candidate uses the phrase "sacrament" instead of "ordinance" for communion, and when asked why, he says they mean the same thing, and refuses to see a difference.

    2) Candidate says he doesn't feel guilty when he sins, he feels "convicted".. and actually argued with me that they don't mean the same.

    I, among others has seen his "cockiness" (for lack of a better word) and I am now wondering if this would be enough for me to NOT give my approval.

    Also, he loves family guy, and the Colbert report on comedy central, and when I pointed out how sinful both shows were on my FAcebook status, he started defending them.

    I am just having doubts...
    His theology is solid.
    His life is solid (Young, not married yet)

    Should I just mark up his character flaws to being young (29 yrs old I think) and hope that with age, wisdome comes? Or would you think these things would signal something wrong deep within.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    I don't know this guy or the situation but this would send a little flag up for me. There is a HUGE difference in theology between a sacrament and an ordinance. A sacrament adds to or helps maintain your salvation. An ordinance is a practice for Christians of obedience that isn't attached to salvation.

    Baptists don't use sacraments as they are properly understood theologically. Now if the fellow has decided he can change meanings on people, that's up to him I guess...but I'd give him significant push back.

    I don't know the guy well enough to know what he means about differences here. Maybe he's just using more biblical terminology to explain himself.

    This is where the council has the authority and obligation to talk honestly about concerns with the guy. If your church and your council has problems with this stuff, then mention it. That is the role of the council.

    Age is one thing, but you can be a spiritually mature Christian at 29. Now how one goes about that formation process and how it affects one's emotional and psychological state is another thing. Lord knows how immature I was at 29.
     
  7. Siberian

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    Yes and yes. The issue with this young man probably has a lot to do with age; plus being puffed up with knowledge. And yes, it signals something wrong deep within - a wicked heart.

    But I see two problems in denying his ordination on those grounds alone. First, we cannot put a 40 year-old head on a 29 year-old body. Years have a way of mellowing and humbling youthful pride; years, plus the accountability of godly men. Have you approached him about his struggle with pride? Is he open to instruction?

    Second, who among us does not have the same issue deep within? I am not a humble man - ask my wife. But, by the grace of God, I make war on that sin most every day.

    All that said, if his struggle with the sin of pride is unchecked, then it might be disqualifying indeed. How is his reputation? Is he widely known by those in the church (and those outside the church) as an arrogant man? Is there strife in the majority of his personal and professional relationships? Has he tangled often in controversy, etc.? A lot of discernment is needed to determine when a man's sins warrant his disqualification from ministry.
     
    #7 Siberian, Aug 9, 2010
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  8. sag38

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    It sounds like you may need to pull this guy off to the side. Buy him lunch and have a heart to heart. Share your concerns and observations as a mentor rather than a ordaining council member. See how he responds to you in this situation.
     
  9. tinytim

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    Thank you all.. This is something I am going to have to pray about, and seek God's wisdom.
     
  10. tinytim

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    Yes... that's what I have been thinking, although, we have had many conversations about issues.
     
  11. Major B

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    "...Also, he loves family guy, and the Colbert report on comedy central, and when I pointed out how sinful both shows were on my FAcebook status, he started defending them...."

    I confess, I listen to Lynard Skynard, Jimmy Smith, and Wes Montgomery--See Rom 14. I also listen to O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, and Greta--does that cancel out the southern rock?

    And, what's left of Skynard has professed faith in Christ and are big-time right wingers. Their newest CD is "God and Guns," with a red cross replacing the death's head logo.
     
  12. Ruiz

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    The sacrament issue is one that is overblown. The Reformers and many early Baptists did not reject the word "Sacrament" but they sought to retain the original meaning. Sacrament is derived from sacro meaning, "to make sacred, dedicate to gods or sacred uses." It was not used by many to denote salvation, but was used historically in non-Catholic circles to denote a sacred act unto the Lord.

    I find it a little awkward to vote against someone merely because of a word that is used which has historic precedence contrary to the Catholic view.

    _______

    Onto the topic at hand.

    1. I would never be a part of an ordination council where I didn't know the person prior and where I did not already believe them to meet the qualifications. It is not how well you answer questions, but how well you live and know theology. Thus, I would take in the full gamete of the person's life.

    2. I would divide their knowledge into the following categories:

    ----Biblical knowledge
    ----Church History Knowledge
    ----Systematic Theology Knowledge
    ----Spiritual Disciplines
    ----A thorough belief, understanding and defense of their church's confession
    ----A thorough demonstration of Shepherding
    ----An examination of their life, ministry, and hospitality
    ----Demonstrates Wisdom
    ----Is a diligent studier.
    ----Demonstrates Solid Biblical Exegesis

    Of course, I relate this well to I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. I am probably forgetting something, but here it is.
     
  13. sag38

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    Ruiz, I think it more a matter of attitude than of definitions. If I were the candidate that's the last thing I'd argue about. I'd simply call it communion for the council's sake and move on. I'm not there to instruct the council or to argue with them about anything. What will this young man's attitude and stance be like once he is let loose in a church setting. More than likely he won't last too long and that would be detrimental (short term and possibly long term) to his ministry and to the church he serves as well.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    Perhaps you handle ordination differently in the USA than we do in Canada, but the council does not ordain; it simply advises the local church which does the actual ordination.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Ruiz

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    Sag,

    I disagree. The council was wrong and the candidate was right. Despite all the historic literature on sacraments (defined as I have defined it), and he properly used the word sacrament in that context, the problem was with the council not with the candidate. He used the word within the prescribed definition within a Protestant/Baptist context. As well, he used it among men who should be educated in such issues. The council itself was ignorant and ignorance caused some to vote against him and to try to convince the boy that the avalanche of literature throughout history was wrong, and the committee was right. I do not necessarily see this as arrogance except perhaps on the committee's part.

    Now, I also refer back to when I would attend an ordination and when I would not. If I didn't know the candidate or thought he was not qualified, I would not have attended the committee. Since I knew the guy well enough before the committee, one issue would not have swayed me. As well, on an issue like this I would probably have asked the committee to allow time for further research.

    However, I believe the council itself was wrong in demanding him "see the difference" in the word "sacrament" which has the historic richness in Protestant/Baptist circles as sacrament does. As well, I would not expect a candidate to back off of a solid definition when he was correct and they were wrong.
     
    #15 Ruiz, Aug 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2010
  16. Ruiz

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    One last thing, Charles H. Spurgeon used the word sacrament to refer to the Lord's Supper and Baptism in several sermons. Would we have denied him ordination?
     
  17. Jim1999

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    Ruiz,
    You are quite correct. I have seen common terminology change in my lifetime. We referred to "religion" in my day, whereas to-day many frown on that term. "Sacrament" was also common usuage, but we believed "communion" was a symbolic action in remembering what the Lord had done and not an act in salvation.

    Again, we believe the local church ordains "their" man and simply called upon a council to "advise". This action is like condemning a candidate because he holds to amillennialism rather than premil-dispensationalism, the common viewpoint.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. jaigner

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    Good post. Sacrament is en vogue if one believes they are a means of imparting grace. "Eucharist," today, seems to usually be preferred by those who hold a sacrament view. But, it doesn't really matter.

    Also, putting a seminary degree to good use is a good thing. It doesn't mean one is cocky.

    Additionally, media use is an issue of conscience. If the candidate wants to watch "Family Guy" or the "Colbert Report," that's between him and God. It is impossible for a show to be "sinful." Sin is a human response.
     
  19. Ruiz

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    Jim,

    Thanks for coming to my defense. I also agree with you about the changing of words. Unfortunately, instead of defending the proper use of the words, we jettison them. Religion is a great example of jettisoning a good word (James 1:27)

    My view of ordination councils is probably slightly different than most. I believe elders "appoint elders" (Titus 1:5b). Thus, an ordaining church's elders would make the final determination, but they may solicit Godly and respected men for advise and insight. Thus, while the church is important and plays a part in the process, they do so through their Elders who do so in consultation with and from the congregation. However, it is the final determination of the Elders on who to "appoint" or not appoint. If visiting Elders are brought in for this purpose, they act with the fellow elders.

    I do not see the final authority in this situation being an approval from the congregation but an appointing from the elders.
     
  20. RevGKG

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    Regardless if the candidate may or may not be correct in his definition of the term "sacrament", from the information presented he does appear to have a superior attitude. Humility should also be a part of ones character. Just because one has attended seminary does not make them a "cut above" others. If he insists on this attitude many in a church will reject that attitude.

    Yes a Pastor has to have knowledge and spiritual insight and he needs to teach with authority, but there needs to be a humbleness as well. We are to shepherd not lord it over the congregation.

    In regards to his personal life, I too would question the type of "entertainment" the candidate chooses. It saddens me when I see some of the "stuff" that believers view as acceptable. I am not here to judge another, and each of us will some day give an account for ourselves. Shows that clearly exalt a sinful behavior or lifestyle (IMHO) ought not be condoned by Christians.

    Yes Jim, the church has the final approval, but that approval is generally based on the council's recommendation.
     

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