View Full Version : Ordination Council Questions

07-05-2003, 02:30 PM
Just to start a topic of interest and reminisce, think back to your younger days of ministry, to the day of your ordination council. What were some of the more memorable and tough questions you were asked and what response did you give then. Also, if it applies, how do you differ in opinion from that reponse today?


Major B
07-05-2003, 07:29 PM
Because I had a minor local reputation as a sort of a theologian, the council asked some extra questions on the nature of the Trinity, etc. However, two months later, I was sitting on my first council, and the candidate (a young colleague) had one really funny answer. When asked the standard question, "What would you do if a woman came to you and told you God has called her into the pastorate?" [Around here, the answer is "tell her God doesn't call women into the pastorate.} My little red-headed protege pointed over to me and said, "I'd send her to talk to [Major B], and he'd straighten her out..."

In answer to your question, my views have grown and refined over the years, but other than becoming pre-millenial, little has changed in them.

Dr. Bob
07-05-2003, 08:34 PM
I always ask the same question (FIRST) on every council: "Go through the list in I Tim 3/Titus 1 and tell me why you are qualified in each characteristic."

Had one young man lie about an area and later in the questioning got "caught" in the lie. Council looked at me and we agreed to have him spend another year under close mentoring, then be reconsidered for recommendation for ordaining.

Major B
07-05-2003, 08:43 PM
The requirements for ordination that MacArthur uses through Grace Community Church are just plain daunting. See the appendix in his "Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry." Sample: they have THREE ordination councils, each covering a specific area of life/ministry.

Dr. Bob
07-06-2003, 01:25 PM
Major, it's about time that churches did something about the travesty of "sham ordinations" that are plaguing Baptists. I can see why some denominations went to standardized ordinations after completion on seminary and internship.

I stood mouth open when visiting First Baptist, Hammond and watching (as part of the music preliminaries to a p.m. service) THREE men be ordained. None had much training or experience.

In 20 seconds, they were asked to affirm the doctrinal statement of their church and then knelt and were "ordained". I kid you not. All three took about the same time as two hymns.

Ordination has about the same value as an honorary doctorate in these circles. (For those unfamiliar, Jack Hyles at FBC Hammond gave an honorary doctorate from Hyles-Anderson College to a horse). These guys used to be my heroes. Sad. Sad.

07-06-2003, 07:33 PM
Well, Dr Bob, my ordination was two Sundays ago. I hope your general statments don't cover everyone that has not been to seminary as you have. I have not been to seminary or formal internship. It almost seems that according to your course of events, mine may have been a sham too.

Let me assure you that not all ordinations are like the one you witnessed. I was thoroughly tested. Not just by questioning, but by a test of consistency; meaning that I am not new to the faith, and have demonstrated my faithfulness to God in the eyes of my (several - due to military moves) congregations.

I have mentioned to some that I am at times intimidated by the knowledge of some of the pastors on this board in particular. In fact, I've been advised by some trusted pastors that preachers have a habit of actually trying to impress each other with their knowledge. One thing's for sure though. I'm not intimidated or fearful at all concerning the gospel, and my clear call to proclaim it. Please give that some thought before you make such a general statement. I realize my need for further training, and will willingly submit to the task.

There are several on this board who faithfully pastor churches without having had the benefit of seminary. I am one of them. Be careful not to allow your stature to overshadow your less-educated, yet faithful brothers in ministry.

Major B
07-06-2003, 11:28 PM
Dr. Bob and USN (Swabbie)

Here is the problem in a nutshell.

1. Many churches, especially SBC churches are small to medium, small town or rural, "family chapel" churches. If you check the rolls, you will see the same last names appearing for generations. As many as 75% of the SBC congregations fit this description. Most of these will not ever have a seminary-trained pastor, though churches like this which are not far from a seminary will probably have a succession of seminary students for pastors. The churches are there; they are rough to pastor, but they have been the breeding ground for many young people who go off to do great things from the Lord. And, they are not going anywhere and are not likely to change much.

2. The second part of the problem: uneducated men in the pulpit (uneducated in the sense of not sufficiently well-versed in Bible, Theology, or pastoral work). Bible colleges help some; external degree programs may help, but this pool of men is where the bulk of SBC churches will get their pastors. What is really tragic is that it takes more training and experience to pastor these churches than it does to pastor larger ones. That is one reason these churches have such a rapid turnover.

USN, before you begin your pastorate, read "Seven Churches Not in Revelation," by Gene Mims (Lifeway), and "The Wounded Minister," by Guy Greenfield, Baker Books. Had I read them before I pastored MY family chapel, life would have been a lot easier.

07-07-2003, 07:02 AM
Your point (#2) is very well taken. For my part, I am under a plan to get needed education while on the job. I will not likely do it as quickly as a dedicated full-time seminary student, but I will get the education none the less.

Also - my apologies to the originator of this thread - my earlier response didn't really address his question, so I'll do that now, since it's fresh in my mind:

I was asked several questions concerning the nature of God, including God the Father, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I was also asked about the nature of mankind, and how we might be reconciled to God. I was asked questions on the ordinances of the church, scriptural qualifications of leadership, personal thoughts about ministry and my family, I gave my testimony of conversion, as well as my testimony of being called. I was asked about my faithfulness in attendance and leadership in the past.

Looking back at the questions, they would be not so hard to answer sitting here at my desk. They were considerably more difficult standing in front of my entire congregation during questioning. I will say though, that I wasn't surprised or shocked by any of the questions asked. They were all in line with things I'd already considered in the years leading up to my surrendering to the call.

07-07-2003, 03:38 PM
wow. great info. I am concerned about that comment Major. I am well versed in the Bible by studies I have done. The problem is many churches are doing "honorary ordinations" as I believe Dr Bob would say it... I was told by my pastor that most men who are "licensed to preach" are not prepared for that job. I think that looking and determining if someone is ready should be on an individual basis. An ordination counsel is not going to provide enough information about the man who feels called. Only personal knowledge of the person and experience with his charactor can allow you to guage him. The lack of schooling will be taken care of by the Holy Spirit if he is truly called by God.

Squire Robertsson
07-08-2003, 11:56 AM
Thinking back to my ordination 20 some years ago, I was just out of Bible College. It was no rubber stamp. On the Saturday afternoon examining council besides my church's pastoral staff and senior men were two local pastors and Dr. Cedarholm and the Hollowoods. So, I had to cover pretty much all the salient points in my doctrinal statement. I may not have been the brightest bulb out of the box but at least I (as Frau Doktor Hollowood remarked about another poor lad) leave out The Blood.

I also had to formulate a good statement on my position on Bibliology. But that is a post for another time. (Drs. Cedarholm and Hollowoods and the Pastor from Calvary Baptist were staunch TR folks, but not radical KJVOs.)

[ July 08, 2003, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: Squire Robertsson ]

Squire Robertsson
07-08-2003, 01:27 PM
I got timed out before I could finish editing my post so here is the correct bit:
Originally posted by Squire Robertsson:
.....I may not have been the brightest bulb out of the box but at least I (as Frau Doktor Hollowood remarked about another poor lad) did not leave out The Blood. SNIPItalicized words are missing in the original post.

Dr. Bob
07-08-2003, 01:44 PM
Still a little slow there, Squire? :rolleyes:

Dr. Cedarholm was on my council as well, along with 25 ifb pastors from Wisconsin. Still remember the most salient part of the questioning, when I presented my 5-fold view of salvation. Everything stopped. Every man was ready to pounce. Why?</font> Role of MAN in Salvation - nothing</font> Role of the FATHER in Salvation - choosing me</font> Role of the SON in Salvation - dying for me</font> Role of the SPIRIT in Salvation - regenerating (giving faith/repentance) to me</font> Role of the TRIUNE GODHEAD in Salvation - keeping me</font>
The Moderator of the council was Dr. Rundquist, state director of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches, calmly looked at the men and said, "Are you sure you understand what Brother Bob believes? I don't care what YOU believe, but do you understand what HE believes?"

Then he said, "Move on". Questioning continued with me for 4+ hours, and my wife for 20 minutes. Made my orals in seminary and defense of my Thesis look like child's play.

Ah, memories. March 6, 1973. Over 30 years!