Truth In Advertising

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Major B, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Major B

    Major B
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    There have been several instances in my area over the past 10 years, of pastoral candidates who were 5-point Calvinists and were less than fully honest about their views when talking to the pulpit committee at their prospective church. Most of these guys were called, but in every case there was a blowout within a year or two, resulting in a disaster for the preacher and the church.

    In most cases, these men took advantage of pulpit committees composed of lay people who know the Bible, but who lacked the theological sophistication to understand, for example, that when the pastoral prospect said that he believed in the Doctrines of Grace," he was saying that he was a 5-point Calvinist!

    In the Air Force, we considered such quibbling to be equal to lying. Our definition of quibbling was that if you as me a question about anything, but that you, due to technical ignorance or some other reason, don't ask the question properly, then I am bound to clarify the situation to help you get the answer you SHOULD be asking for.

    Have any of you been on either end of this type of a situation? I am curious to see how widespread this is.
     
  2. exscentric

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    I heard of several churches in the midwest about 15 years ago that got had with men that were less than honest it seemed. Some had questioned specifically about 5 points then miraculous conversions to "the truth" occured after only a few months.

    I know of one (I followed the guy) here in OR that tried it. He did not know that the church property was in two founding members names and even though he had the majority of the folks behind him had to leave. :thumbsup:

    I've also heard of others over the years.

    Runs in my mind there was a thread on this quite awhile back if you search you might find it in the ancient history.
     
    #2 exscentric, Dec 21, 2009
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  3. Tom Butler

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    I chaired my church's last pastor search committee. We had agreed that we would act on any candidate only by unanimous vote. By far the best candidate was an avowed Calvinist, but one of the guys on the committee said he'd never vote for one to be pastor, so that was that.

    I agree that prospective pastors should be candid about the issue, but the search committee shouldn't wait for that. It should ask the question directly regarding a candidate's view of the Doctrines of Grace.

    Often, the discerning eye can find clues in the resume, even if it's not stated specifically.

    By the way, I'm a Calvinist and prefer a Calvinist pastor. But I treasure unity and peace in a congregation, too. A church may be willing to call a Calvinist pastor, but it needs to know what it's voting for before, not after, the vote.

    Also, two of our last five pastors were Calvinists. Both had rough moments in their pastorates, but in neither case was it related to Calvinism.
     
    #3 Tom Butler, Dec 23, 2009
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  4. Revmitchell

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    Having been part of a board that is reformed I saw many discussions where they planned to be less than up front to churches with the notion of turning the church in that direction over time.
     
  5. Major B

    Major B
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    I am about 4/5 of a Calvinist myself, and my honesty about that has cost.

    Most churches in our area would be unlikely to accept a 5-point Calvinist as pastor, if they knew what that meant. However, the "point" that really causes trouble is "P", because the real sticking point for most people is that Calvinists of every hue preach against easy believism.
     
  6. David Michael Harris

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    Your a Calvinist or not I would say. Otherwise oppose it. If TULIP is not right then it's dangerous and a wile of the devil.

    Strong eh!
     
  7. exscentric

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    "If TULIP is not right then it's dangerous and a wile of the devil.

    Strong eh! "

    Probably the attitude why the splits that result from this topic happen. I've seen Cal/armen. men serve in the same church with no problem at all. They state their belief and let it rest since Scripture is more important to them. (Of course the Cal. says Scripture is Cal. but then so does the other side.) :thumbsup:
     
  8. David Michael Harris

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    My point is that the system of theology that we believe will affect us. With regards to evangelism for example.

    Nothing worse than being holier than thou.

    Can two walk together unless they agree?
     
  9. exscentric

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    "My point is that the system of theology that we believe will affect us. With regards to evangelism for example."

    Very true.

    "Nothing worse than being holier than thou."

    Don't think I've met a Calvinist that wasn't :tongue3:

    "Can two walk together unless they agree?"

    You are kidding of course -- Of course they can in life. I walk with my wife all the time. :laugh:
     
  10. David Michael Harris

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    :) I submit to that one. Happy holidays to all btw.
     
  11. rbell

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    major, 'tis sad when a church blows up under the scenario you've described. I'm watching one happen right now (not mine). It ain't pretty.

    I'm with you...I don't like folks being deceptive. "Man up" and state your beliefs.
     
  12. Victorious

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    My husband leans more toward Arminiansm (although he would deny this) but I'm a "Spurgeonist." We don't argue over this, but there are times when we have friendly debate over the issue. Also, I don't believe it's being dishonest to skip the "Calvinist" label since there are so many degrees of both Arminianism and Calvinism and it may be that one can't honestly call oneself by that label! I think the search committee would do well to ask specific questions to find out where a candidate stands.

    One thing I do know - there are saved on BOTH sides of the issue (I was saved for 11 years before I came to believe in the "Doctrines of Grace," first coined by the great preacher Jonathan Edwards.) Unfortunately, as we've done with so many non-essential issues, we've placed this particular teaching in the "essentials" category. To my knowledge, being a Calvinist or Arminian wasn't a salvation requirement, just a belief in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
     
  13. exscentric

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    "To my knowledge, being a Calvinist or Arminian wasn't a salvation requirement, just a belief in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross." I don't think it was back then but it is in some circles today, this is why churches are being split over the issue by the men that seem to be less than honest as to purpose when candidating.

    In Biblle college our faculty was almost to a man 5 pointers and they got on a kick where we were getting all points in every class and every chapel session. To be less than they were was to be less than smart.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    I think the average non-Cal church member could live with a Calvinist pastor if he is convinced that the pastor was evangelical and mission-minded.

    I'm guessing the typical church member reacts to Calvinism in this sequence:

    "Oh, that's predestination. And that's Hardshell stuff. And they don't believe in missions. And we're missionary Baptist."

    So the Calvinist preacher gets tagged as anti-mission Hardshell, and you can stick a fork in his chances of pastoring there.

    Even so, candor is always the best policy, regardless of the consequences.
     
  15. Victorious

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    I once attended a church where the pastor would give BOTH views of certain non-essential passages, told the congregation what he believed and why, and then told them to study the issue for themselves. I liked this approach very much and it challenged me to seek the answer from God's Word.
     
  16. rbell

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    I could tell you of five churches in Alabama, with attendance over five hundred, that have imploded or are imploding because of their Calvinist pastors' dishonest, clandestine, back-room approaches.

    The problem isn't the Calvinism per se, but the lying about it.

    As I said...in my state alone, I know of five churches personally who have done great damage to the gospel, all because the senior pastors were not up front about their intentions.
     
  17. Victorious

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    I cannot see how it is dishonest to claim that one believes in the "Doctrines of Grace" when this is what Jonathan Edwards termed the view and it is not necessarily "5 point Calvinism." Just as there are many who won't claim to be Arminian, but have those "leanings."

    The pulpit committees should be more concerned with a pastor's godliness and salvation, and ask questions that they deem important. Their first question should be, "Do you lean toward Calvinism or Arminianism?" If it is so important that the pastor be an Arminian, ask directly! I would not slander a man of God because the pulpit committee was unsophisticated! 1st Timothy 5:19.

    I would, however, be careful not to judge either side by a non-essential. I have sat under the teachings of both and prefer Calvinist, but have had my friendly scripture debates with them also. Many Calvinists are saved as are Arminians, so if the church is imploding, it's due to sin and not Calvinist teachings, which were preached by the most prominent and godly preachers of all time.

    As a Calvinist, I can say that there are many unknowns that God has chosen NOT to answer on both sides of the equation no matter how much we believe we are right! Who knows? Maybe He wanted us to learn to rightly divide the truth - and the non-essentials from the essentials. Maybe He wanted us to learn to love each other and focus on Christ crucified?

    I have to wonder how much honor these pastors have received in your church? I also wonder if they are men who lead godly lives?
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Few Baptists, at least the one's I know about, will claim to be Arminian. That's becaue, in this part of the country, Western Kentucky and Tennessee, Arminian means two things--works salvation and falling from grace.

    If they're not Calvinist and not Arminian, then they are some kind of hybrid. That's why many Baptists, like Major B., will describe them as 4-point-Calvinists, 3-point Calvinists, etc. But never Arminian.

    And if you call them Semi-Pelagian, they're eyes will glaze over, for they won't know what you're talking about.
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    All of the reformed terminology eg Arminian, Semi-Palagian, etc is born out of a high minded self view of academia. It is pure arrogance and unnecessary. And you cannot tell me that Calvinism is not following the doctrine of men. Calvinism is from the man John Calvin. Regardless if it has metamorphasized into newer views Calvinism is John Calvin. Paul spoke against identifying with the movements of men. It is ungodly
     
  20. Victorious

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    I know you were responding to Tom, but I can surely tell you that Calvinism is not "the doctrines of men." I find that statement the height of arrogance, Rev.

    As for identifying oneself with the teachings of men? How about (here we go in a circle) someone who espouses "The Doctrines of Grace?" I suppose you will criticize this also?

    You are making too much of labels and too little of Scripture. I never read Calvin's Institutes past the first chapter, but I did study this particular topic scripturally for about a year before I came to the overwhelming conclusions that God's Sovereignty does interfere in the lives of mortal men and only HE changes hearts and minds. Only HE can save and HE chooses us; we don't choose Him.

    (I just couldn't get past Romans 9...:BangHead:)

    As for identifying ourselves with men? Every "Calvinist" I know first claims to be Christian and then will identify with the teachings of Calvin just for clarification. I don't like the label, but it seems because I believe as I do, I AM labeled - by those who don't believe as I do. So, how about we all just call ourselves "Christian" and stop judging each other within the Body? Nahhhh....as one poster said, pastors are deceiving pastoral search teams by not declaring themselves to be 5-point Calvinists. Can't win, it seems.
     

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