Book Review - Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley (part 1)

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Image of Deep and   Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend
by Andy Stanley
Zondervan 2012
Hardcover 352

A couple of pastor friends of mine encouraged me to read Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley when I had no intentions of every buying it or reading it. The tagline of the title is: “Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend.” So, automatically, I was already skeptical because I don’t want to create a church that anyone would love to just “attend.” I’ve been beating the missional drum with our church about being the church rather than merely attending the church. So, my first impression by just reading the cover was “Creating Churches that Attract Customers, Not Disciples.” But in spite of my skepticism, I took their advice and got the book.

It’s easy reading since Andy Stanley is a very conversational communicator. He writes like he’s having a conversation with you. He preaches that way too. It certainly has appeal and makes for easy reading. The book is broken up into five sections, the first one being a personal account of his life as the son of Charles Stanley. He also for the first time, opens up with candor and honesty about the rift in his relationship over his dad’s divorce in the 90’s. All of this information is setting up the background for the launch of North Point Church which has become THE church that the un-churched love to attend.

The Second section deals more with how North Point was formed as a church plant. Section three deals with some of the foundational principles of making disciples that he calls “going deep.” Section four is the part that gets fun … Stanley deals with methodology that they use and why. Section five is a challenge to churches to become “deep and wide.”

Note: I read this book on Kindle, so my page numbers will be Kindle location numbers.

So, here we go…
In the introduction, Andy says:

Every church should be a church that the irreligious people would love to attend because the church is the local expression of the presence of Jesus. We are His body and since people who were nothing like Jesus like Jesus, people who are nothing like Jesus should like us as well. There should be something about us that causes them to gather at the periphery and stare. (Loc. 57)

Well, this is true in a superficial way. They “liked” Jesus but most did not love Him nor worship Him. If our goal is to be liked by those who are unlike Jesus, we’re already off mission. If there is something different about us that causes them to observe us, that’s quite another thing. Whether they like us or not will be partly by our graciousness and all because of the Spirit’s work in their life.

Consumerism

We grade ourselves on how attractive we are to our target audience…we are unapologetically attractional. In our search for common ground with unchurched people, we’ve discovered that, like us, they are consumers.  So we leverage their consumer instincts. By the way, if your church has heating and air conditioning, you do too…it’s hard to overlook that Jesus attracted large crowds everywhere he went. He was constantly playing to the consumer instincts of His crowds. (Loc. 88, 102)

From the beginning, I already have major disagreements. We are not being attractional because we have heat and air conditioning. Nobody comes to our church because we have the best heater in town. This is a lame tactic of deflecting anticipated criticism. To say that Jesus played on their consumer instincts is outrageous. Jesus turned crowds away constantly when he called for discipleship as well. You cannot build a church on consumers. Listen to Alan Hirsch who flatly denies this mentality, in this helpful video clip.

Not called to pastoral ministry

In Chapter 1, Andy talks about his struggle with a call to ministry and how he never felt God call him to preach while many of his other friends were.

One afternoon as my dad and I were driving somewhere, I asked him, “Dad, does a person have to be called into ministry or can he just volunteer?’ He thought for a minute. ‘I guess it’s ok to just volunteer.’” (Loc. 213)

This was very revealing about Charles Stanley as well. Dr. Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon would not have given that answer if they were his father. Lloyd-Jones said: 

It was Mr. Spurgeon, I believe, who used to say to young men – “If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.” I would certainly say that without any hesitation whatsoever. I would say that the only man who is called to preach is the man who cannot do anything else, in the sense that he is not satisfied with anything else. This call to preach is so put upon him, and such pressure comes to bear upon him that he says, “I can do nothing else, I must preach. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preachers and Preaching [Zondervan, 1971], p. 105)

So, what we have is a self-styled, self-commissioned preacher whom God did not call into pastoral ministry. On Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast on October 8th this last year, he mentioned that when he was at Willow Creek back in the 90’s, he realized that he didn’t have any of the stuff of a traditional pastor: being a shepherd, counselor, patient, kind, etc… . but he knew after hearing Hybles talk about leadership that he was a leader! Well, that’s probably true. He is a good leader, but he is not a God-called pastor. So everything that he says in his book from this point on should be taken with this truth about him in consideration. There will be some practical things you can take away from him, but don’t get your ecclesiology from a business man. By the way, don’t pull out “Here am I, send me” from Isaiah 6:8. He was already called to be a prophet by chapter 6. All of God’s prophets and Apostles were hand picked by God and most of them were reluctant to answer the call, not eager go volunteer.

Family feud

Andy describes growing up at First Baptist of Atlanta as a church made for churched people. He was troubled by what he saw when a gay pride parade purposefully paraded by the front of the church which made all the FBC people angry. Down the street, however was a Methodist church that put up signs welcoming them into their church. He saw the grace of one church and the hypocrisy of his own.

He says:

Churches designed for saved people are full of hypocrites. You pretty much have to be a hypocrite to participate. Transparency and honesty are dangerous in a church created for church people … It’s hard to extend grace toward people who don’t seem to need it. And it’s hard to admit you need it when you aren’t sure you will receive it. (Loc. 764)

I do understand and sympathize with the hypocrisy that breeds in “church culture.” I grew up with a front row seat to watch hypocrisy, legalism and exclusiveness. However, church isn’t designed for saved people, the church IS saved people. The design for the church is in Scripture and God designed that the church be the people of God on mission to bring the gospel to the lost. Stanley’s whole idea of mission is for the church people to bring the lost into the church as the evangelism strategy.

As he continues, he gives many details about his father and mother’s divorce. Before the divorce, he states that his mom had not been attending church for years (Loc. 362). Biblically, Charles Stanley should not have been senior pastor during those years. The church should have stopped holding up his celebrity status at the expense of his marriage. Anyway, Andy confronted his dad and advised him to let the church decide his future, but Charles saw his son as an opportunist trying to steal his ministry. I think anyone with any discernment should recognize that Charles Stanley’s own sin was blinding him and his pride was the source of the breach in his relationship with his wife and son. Andy did the right thing and left the church. Eventually, their relationship healed slowly and Andy started a new church where he could do things differently to reach a different segment of the population than his father’s church was reaching.

Starting over

In Chapter 3, Andy does a good job of describing what the church actually is and shows us that he has done some homework in church history.

The ekklesia was simply a gathering or an assembly of people called out for a specific purpose. Ekklesia never referred to a specific place, only a specific people…when Jesus used the term, his disciples understood him to say “I am going to build my own assembly of people and the foundation for this new assembly will be ME!” (Loc. 599)

He goes on to explain the rise of the Catholic church and how the ekklesia (Assembly of God’s people) became the kirche (Church House). “A kirche is a location. An ekklesia is a purposeful gathering of people. You can lock the doors of a kirche. Not so with the ekklesia of Jesus” (Loc. 627).

He goes on to explain how William Tyndale translated “church” rightly as “congregation” but the new word didn’t stick because people were still thinking of church as a location and not a people. I agree with everything in this chapter. At the end, he asks some great questions:

Are we moving or simply meeting? Are we making a measurable difference in our local communities or simply conducting services? Are we organized around a mission or are we organized around an antiquated ministry model inherited from a previous generation? Are we allocating resources as if Jesus is the hope of the world or are the squeaky wheels of church culture driving our budget decisions. are we the ekklesia or have we settled for kirche? (Loc. 698)

Although I agree with his observations about the church in chapter 3, he treats the ekklesia as if it is only a weekly meeting and that the majority of mission is done at that meeting.

Going Deep: crafting the North Point values

In Chapter 5, there are some more biblical references to being a church that is good at giving grace and truth and not one without the other. Of course, I don’t think you can give real grace without truth, but it is possible to give people truth without grace. He goes on to explain how the Jews and Gentiles had to learn to get along in the early church and the conclusion of the Jerusalem council was:

Acts 15:19, 28-29 NIV “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God…It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.”

Therefore, churches shouldn’t do anything that makes it unnecessarily difficult for people who are turning to God.  (Loc. 981)

I agree that we need not make any traditions or extra-biblical preferences of ours an unnecessary barrier for people who are unbelievers. Sure, I believe in the sovereignty of God and that no amount of human barriers can keep the elect from coming to faith, but they may prevent them from coming to faith at your church!

According to Andy Stanley, the following five catalysts accomplish the purpose of developing people’s faith in Christ rather than merely increasing people’s knowledge. (Loc. 1124)

  • Practical Teaching - topical preaching with “here’s what to do next tacked on the end of every message” because “people are more concerned about what works than what’s true.” (Loc. 1210)
  • Private Disciplines - private devotional commitment to Christ. “The way you talk about the Bible on the weekend will determine their interest in the Bible during the week.” - (Loc. 1323)
  • Personal Ministry - Getting people involved in service. Take people where they are and use what they have to offer. They will appreciate being allowed to contribute. They will grow attached to that which they serve.
  • Providential Relationships - Can’t control who meets who, but you can facilitate environments that are conducive to the development of these types of relationships. Determine to create a model that is relationship-centric. (Loc. 1460)
  • Pivotal Circumstances - Big life events shape people’s thinking. Inform them how they should think before the events occur so their faith is strengthened by whatever happens. The interpretation of an event will determine which direction you will go.

All of these five points are great. I still think you can do expository preaching with practical application. Letting the Word set the agenda rather than your perception of what people need from week to week is the safer way to go. We still have to pick what books or chapters we’re going to preach, so there does need to be a sensitivity as to what God would lead you to preach, what is timely and what is needed.

Going Wide: why they love to attend

At the beginning of chapter 8-9, Andy recounts a terrible church visit as an example of what he assumes most of us are doing to repel people. Then he explains how to create “irresistible environments” which begins with the parking lot. “It’s up to us to shape the way people view our local churches. We can’t leave this to chance.” (Loc. 1754)

Leaders need to define excellence and hold that standard until it becomes the culture of the church. Some common sense stuff that we need to be aware of is asking yourself stuff like:

Is the Setting Appealing? Is it inviting and comfortable for people? An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. Organized communicates that you take what you do seriously. Disorganized is unappealing. Safe environments, especially for kids, is important and appealing as well. We often need fresh eyes to come in and see what’s wrong that we have gotten used to seeing so much that we’re blind to it.

Is the Presentation Engaging? He appeals to Jesus’ parables which used lots of contemporary illustrations and familiar terms. He also talks about how many of our Sunday School Teachers, or small group leaders are great at presenting stuff, but are sometimes not that great at preparing the content. He suggests matching people who are gifted in these areas together so that if you have someone who’s better at leading the group, but not as great at studying, then give the group leader some material to present from a guy who enjoys studying and writing lessons. “You need a system that allows engaging presenters to present, skilled content creators to create content, and relationally savvy group leaders to facilitate groups” (Loc. 1999).

Is the Content Helpful? “We assume it’s true, but is it helpful?” (Loc. 2055) I have to interject. NEVER ASSUME TRUTH! Look, nobody is going to hand someone a Greek Lexicon for a Bible class. That wouldn’t be helpful, but never assume that the lesson materials are true. The truthfulness of something should never be assumed or taken for granted. That’s how heresy creeps in.

His point however is that application is what makes the difference.

Knowledge alone makes Christians haughty. Application makes us holy. If you want a church full of biblically educated believers, just teach what the Bible says. If you want to make a difference in your community…give people handles, next steps and specific applications. (Loc.2083)

Content that doesn’t address a felt need is perceived as irrelevant. Notice I said perceived.  It may be the most relevant information an audience has ever heard. But if an audience doesn’t understand how content interfaces with their lives, it’s just not all that interesting. (Loc.2128)

I have to agree about application. Sometimes the Holy Spirit applies the teaching in a way that you could not have imagined, but connecting the dots for people is important. At least for people who are not so bright like me!

~more to come in part 2~

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James K's picture
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Since 8/29/10 19:10:56
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I strongly disagree with Andy

I strongly disagree with Andy Stanley on many issues.  This book is just another defense of a weak mindset about what true Christianity is.  The perversion of reality is so pervasive in his sermons.

With that said William, where is that one verse about needing to be called into ministry?  I don't care what Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones said.  Is that a NT requirement?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

TylerR's picture
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Parables

Stanley observed:

Is the Presentation Engaging? He appeals to Jesus’ parables which used lots of contemporary illustrations and familiar terms.

Jesus began His ministry by making plain spoken proclamations (Mk 1:14-15). He later switched to parables only in response to growing hostility from the religious establishment (Mk 3:22-30). The parables acted as sort of a filter, screening out people who were tagging along merely for the show. The parables did not function as a window for greater truth to a general audience, but more as a door barring the way to false followers.

Mk 4:10 - And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 

Mk 4:11 - And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mk 4:12 -That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them

An appeal to "an engaging presentation" by citing Jesus' use of parables is not true to the text. Christ's words in Mk 4:12, to be very transparent, still give me trouble - even though I uphold unconditional, single election. The grace of God in salvation is truly amazing.

This whole book appears to be very illuminating - in a negative way! Appreciate the review. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Since 4/3/13 14:27:22
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"He was constantly playing to

"He was constantly playing to the consumer instincts of His crowds."

Is this true?

After the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus turned to the following Jewish crowd and said, "Eat my flesh, drink my blood."

That went over well! Smile

It seems like Jesus did a good job of attracting crowds and an even better job of repelling crowds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WilliamD's picture
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James K wrote: With that said

James K wrote:

With that said William, where is that one verse about needing to be called into ministry?  I don't care what Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones said.  Is that a NT requirement?

Hi James, 

Obviously there is no "thou shalt..." commandments concerning the call of God on a preacher. We do see that Jesus called His apostles by hand-picking them:

Luke 6:13 He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles..

Jesus personally picked out Paul...

Acts 22:14-15   "Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.  'For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.'

The Old Testament prophets were all hand picked by God and chosen for their ministry. 

Whatever the prophecy and presbytery is referring to in regards to Timothy, his ministry was something he received as a gift, not something he took to himself. 

1 Timothy 4:14  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

 

So, this isn't some kind of hill to die on, but there doesn't seem to be a volunteer preacher anywhere in Scripture. So, I agree with Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon in their strong opinion. They didn't form that opinion out of thin air. 

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Since 6/2/09 09:32:33
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Volunteers vs. Draftees

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." 1 Timothy 3:1

For what it's worth, the same Greek word is translated as "coveted after" in 1 Timothy 6:10.

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Robert Byers wrote: "This is

Robert Byers wrote:

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." 1 Timothy 3:1

For what it's worth, the same Greek word is translated as "coveted after" in 1 Timothy 6:10.

 

That's the first sign that you know you're being called.  The qualifications and affirmation of the church should weed out the rest of the guys who just covet the office. 

TylerR's picture
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"The Call"

I have heard some folks elsewhere say that God doesn't "call" a Pastor. I don't buy it. I actually believe God has a specific plan for everybody's life - Eph 2:10 supports this. For some men, that plan is to be a preacher. You can't do anything else and be at peace with God.

I tried to run away from that calling. I liked my job in te military, and I was content to be a faithful Christian and ignore God's call. It took 7 years for me to finally give in - and it was the happiest time of my life when I finally made the decision to get out of the military.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Since 6/2/09 13:04:13
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I have read a little bit

I have read a little bit about this book, and perhaps will read it one day, but I want to address two points here.

We are not being attractional because we have heat and air conditioning. Nobody comes to our church because we have the best heater in town. This is a lame tactic of deflecting anticipated criticism.

While I haven't read the whole passage, I think he actually more right than not on this particular point. The fact is that in our modern society people likely will not come to a church without these modern conveniences. If you doubt it, just turn your heat off in the winter or your AC off in the summer and see what the people say. It is a bit of consumerism. That's not to excuse being attractional in Stanley's way, though I doubt that most here struggle with being too attractional.

In Chapter 1, Andy talks about his struggle with a call to ministry and how he never felt God call him to preach while many of his other friends were.

One afternoon as my dad and I were driving somewhere, I asked him, “Dad, does a person have to be called into ministry or can he just volunteer?’ He thought for a minute. ‘I guess it’s ok to just volunteer”. (Loc. 213)

This is actually pretty good advice. If someone is not sure they are called to ministry, they should get involved by volunteering. God may use that to confirm a call or to confirm a man is not called. But get busy doing something. If someone were to come to me and say, "I am not sure I am called to ministry," I would tell them that's okay, just volunteer to serve somewhere. Seek to use and develop your gifts and see what happens.

This is particularly true for a person like Andy who grew up in the shadow of a famous pastor father. The pressure to follow in his father's footsteps was like huge, and he probably did not want to assume he was called, and perhaps did not even want to be. But he was willing to volunteer.

So I would say Charles' advice to his son was sound advice, and it would be a good thing to tell a young man exploring his gifting and calling.

BTW, if he isn't volunteering before he is called, there's probably something wrong.

 

James K's picture
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Since 8/29/10 19:10:56
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Tyler, you have strong

Tyler and William, you have strong feelings about something the Bible doesn't talk about.  There is no authority in what you are saying.  What is that special call?  Did you hear a voice?  Was it your gut?

None of those verses prove your point.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

TylerR's picture
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Eph 2:10

James - I cited Eph 2:10 as support that each saved person is saved for a specific purpose; "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God's program is marching steadily forward, and each Christian has a specific and important part to play in this plan. I believe this is a tremendous truth. No Christian is insignificant or inferior to another. Each person has particular gifts, talents and abilities - none of which are the result of an accident!

You are asking me to prove I am called to the ministry. I may as well ask you how I know you're actually saved. I simply know I'm called into the ministry. I am also certain you simply know you are saved. It is difficult to explain to another person and provide objective proof. I hope you see my Scriptural point from Eph 2:10.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Since 5/22/09 14:27:02
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How far?

I actually believe God has a specific plan for everybody's life...

Humorous story: one of my good high school friends (pastor's daughter, actually) once shared a note she had received from a fellow classmate asking her on a date, accompanied by a box of Andes mints. She hated mints. To top it off, the note actually said that the guy believed it was God's will that they be together.

My friend communicated to my classmate that unfortunately, God had not left the same impression with her. But hey, I got a box of Andes mints out of it, so I was happy...

Now, more seriously, how far do you take that sense of calling, Tyler? You said it was for everyone. How will they determine that, exactly? Do you believe this also to be true about things like spouses- and that therefore, someone can actually miss God's special choice for them and live the rest of their lives in misery (not to mention throwing of the other person's life you sabotaged because of your incompetence)? When people in my church comes asking me for advice in switching job fields (not necessarily for a ministry reason), HOW WILL I KNOW WHICH ONE THEY'RE CALLED TO?

I think there is some sense of calling for ministry. But I don't think Andy Stanley's story necessarily contradicts that. There is nothing in Scripture that says we should seek out some kind of subjective confirmation experience. Rather, I think Larry is right when he says that those who are called should already be volunteering. The believers you are working with and around will recognize the work of God in your life. I know I am called to be a pastor- and that is confirmed, regardless of any subjective experience I may have had, or any training I received, or recognitions I earned,  because this church has called me to serve in that role, and prior to that, a church recognized that as I served among them and ordained me to gospel ministry.

You can talk about subjective experiences all you want. I know men who I believe are called of God who speak of them. They still needed to have God's people confirm that call in order for that to be legitimate. I know of at least one man who has been under my ministry who was convinced God had called him to pastoral ministry, who I was very certain was not (I wouldn't have even felt confident putting him in charge of a children's SS class) - he lacked a general sense of competence in life. After I left that church, he was so persuaded in his own mind  that he even went so far as to leave the congregation where I had been, bought a degree from a diploma mill online, and attempted to start a church with himself as pastor. It failed. Miserably.

I can buy that God is sovereign and has a plan for the lives of His own. At the same time, I don't think it is something we are always going to have some kind of supernatural revelation or "gut instinct" or "levitating liver" about. We will be confirmed as we pursue opportunities and follow God's revealed will that we see in His Word. If it isn't  commanded or forbidden in Scripture, either explicitly or by application of principle, then we have some degree of freedom to pursue it without fear of defying Him.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Slippery

Greg:

We can all agree on the issues you pointed out. This is indeed a slippery subject. I was merely relating my own experiences.

I can buy that God is sovereign and has a plan for the lives of His own. At the same time, I don't think it is something we are always going to have some kind of supernatural revelation or "gut instinct" or "levitating liver" about. We will be confirmed as we pursue opportunities and follow God's revealed will that we see in His Word.

I believe you're correct here. In my case, I was already doing the work of the ministry before I decided to finally take the next step to get out of the military and go to school. I was already a Deacon. I was already teaching Sunday School. I was already teaching AWANA. I was already teaching Youth Group, etc.

We are to use our talents and abilities for the Lord, as much as we are able. Insofar as we are doing that, out of a pure heart, we can be said to be doing God's will for our life. I would never say that God will directly intervene in history to direct us in certain paths. He works indirectly, often in ways we don't even recognize until much later.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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A Bit of Humor . . .

I thought this fit nicely with the issue of God's will for our lives . . .

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

Greg Linscott's picture
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Since 5/22/09 14:27:02
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Still...

I'm glad you agree. It just doesn't seem to correspond with your insistence earlier of calling, especially to pastoral ministry.

I understand the Lloyd-Jones quoting Spurgeon. I would still in the end say that their quotes are subjective, and that at some point any person who feels any compulsion to serve in that role will need to have confirmation outside of  and apart from that sensation. In that way, I think the stress that some people put on an experiential "call" to ministry (whether their own personal story or the pressure to get others to commit to responding to the call by things like walking an aisle) is Scripturally unwarranted and can even be dangerous. Confirmation comes in hindsight.

If my classmate was sincere in describing his sense of subjectivity when he asked out my friend, I hope that he now recognizes that God had different plans than he felt at the time (especially since both he and my friend are married to other people).

Indulge me in another personal anecdote. Prior to coming to Minnesota to pastor, I felt a strong compulsion to serve in a church in Maine. When my ministry there ended, I could not understand why God was closing the door. It was so hard to leave. I was not resisting Minnesota when the door opened, but I cannot say that I felt the same way about it that I did for Maine when I first came here. The first couple of years were pleasant enough, and I enjoyed getting established here and seeing the ministry flesh out. I never dreamed that God had an Asian tribal people that he was going to bring for us to work with all the way here in Minnesota. Who would have known that the pastor here would be half Asian himself (my mother is a Filipina)? One of the earliest Christian biographies I ever read as a boy (and still re-read often) is To The Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson- the life story of pioneer missionary Adoniram Judson. My Karen friends can trace their spiritual heritage to Ko Tha Byu, who came to Christ through Judson's ministry there. I love thinking about that now- but I had no idea at the time what was ahead.

Okay, one more- still being written. Just about three years ago, my wife and I began exploring what it would take to pursue adoption. The avenues we explored all seemed too imposing for where we were financially, but we applied, and prayed. One day, our children took a circular out of the local paper (they didn't know what we'd been doing, or that we were even interested) and posted it on the refrigerator. It was a meeting recruiting foster parents for our local county agency. We went.

Now, here we are today- a family of nine. There's a lot of details I could share beyond that- both in leading up and what has happened since our latest three came into our lives. It's been overall a glorious thing (though I'm not going to lie- having 7 kids isn't always a picnic). Who knows where it's going? Well, I know One Who does... and I look forward to seeing what he will do in the lives of those three precious additions that wouldn't have happened if they'd remained in their broken origins. 

But with that last one- we had no supernatural sense of compulsion. God didn't chase us and break us down after we ran. We saw an opportunity and pursued it. Blessings are still coming from that- in our family, in our church, in our community... things we're seeing in hindsight.
 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Blog, Not an Essay

Greg, you wrote:

I'm glad you agree. It just doesn't seem to correspond with your insistence earlier of calling, especially to pastoral ministry.

Give me a pass on this one, Greg. I'm not writing an essay. You asked for clarification, I gave it. I eschew Stanley's feeling that he felt absolutely no particular calling to ministry. I also eschew the idea that I sit around on my couch, waiting for a cosmic revelation from God. I doubt any serious, rational Christian would espouse either view. The truth is somewhere in between. Perhaps these thoughts are not deep enough for some folks, but when anybody writes a dissertation on the matter - I'll read it.

Until then, my friends, I'm off to bed . . .

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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TylerR wrote: James - I cited

TylerR wrote:

James - I cited Eph 2:10 as support that each saved person is saved for a specific purpose; "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God's program is marching steadily forward, and each Christian has a specific and important part to play in this plan. I believe this is a tremendous truth. No Christian is insignificant or inferior to another. Each person has particular gifts, talents and abilities - none of which are the result of an accident!

You are asking me to prove I am called to the ministry. I may as well ask you how I know you're actually saved. I simply know I'm called into the ministry. I am also certain you simply know you are saved. It is difficult to explain to another person and provide objective proof. I hope you see my Scriptural point from Eph 2:10.

No Tyler, I don't.  Eph 2:10 doesn't offer any more proof of a call than Ps 2:3 does.  If you rely on some subjective mood swing to believe in a call, so be it.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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One more time...

I eschew Stanley's feeling that he felt absolutely no particular calling to ministry.

But hasn't that been the whole point of this discussion? Take Stanley out of it. If someone doesn't testify to some subjective "calling" experience, but does at least have an evident interest and willingness to volunteer- what is it about that that is Scripturally deficient, assuming other recognize his giftedness as he serves in church settings? People have talked in this thread about "desiring the office." What is it about Stanley's anecdote that would lead you to believe he lacked a desire if he wanted to volunteer? If anything, I take his story to mean that he had no dramatic "road to Damascus" moment- and if you have been raised in Baptist churches in the South, you hear plenty of anecdotes of a subjective, dramatic "call to preach" that would explain why he might have felt deficient because he could truthfully relate no such story. I am not defending everything about the man and his ministry techniques, here- just that if you're going to find fault, this seems a pretty weak point on which to do so. I know plenty of active pastors in Fundamental Baptist churches whose stories wouldn't be much different than his- they expressed willingness and God opened doors.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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A Few Thoughts

James - What can I say? You have your mind made up. Ciao . . .

Greg:

This depends on how you define "call." As I have said before, (1) I deny this is a cosmic, direct revelation from God, and (2) His will for any of our lives may not become clear until much later, after we're already in ministry or another field. I also wholeheartedly agree with this quite from WilliamD:

I would say that the only man who is called to preach is the man who cannot do anything else, in the sense that he is not satisfied with anything else. This call to preach is so put upon him, and such pressure comes to bear upon him that he says, “I can do nothing else, I must preach.

I took Stanley's position to be that he felt no real sense that preaching was something he should do. That is what I took issue with. So to your question:

What is it about Stanley's anecdote that would lead you to believe he lacked a desire if he wanted to volunteer?

I reply - I didn't re-read Stanley's position and didn't recall he stated he wanted to volunteer. It appears Stanley thought he should wait for a cosmic revelation. This is incorrect.  

Honestly, Greg, you are a fearsome interrogator. I give up now and flee for the exits . . .

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Fearsome Interregator

I speak to your in your own context, Tyler...
 

Where are your rebel friends now?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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My Understanding of the Pastoral Call

I've changed my view, first assuming that what I consider the "traditional" view of a subjective call was true, because everyone talked about it, and expected people to have it.

In my years of study I have found no such connection to the calling of pastors. (I do not equate the overt calls of prophets in the OT to the selection of pastors.) In fact, I feel as though the subjective view has allowed unqualified men to pursue ministry apart from actual qualification.

Do I believe that God puts men in leadership positions? Yes, and without question. I cite Ephesians 4:11-12 as my evidence:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints..."

It appears that these men are specific, chosen men for specific roles, functions, and deductively, locations and local assemblies.

To me, the rest is a process of discipleship beyond the desire:

  1. We are to pass on the truth to faithful men (2 Tim 2:2), so we should be encouraging men to be such.
  2. ALL men should be discipled (limiting discussion to men here because I believe only men can be pastors) .
  3. Qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are characteristics that are indications of maturity for ALL men, whether pursuing a leadership position or not. God simply requires this maturity before a man can serve as a pastor.
  4. The ability to handle the word of God is good for ALL to some degree or another (Heb 5:12 - 6:3), those ready to pastor much have demonstrated the ability to teach (i.e. mastery of content and ability to communicate that content). This would assume that that are already actively involved in learning and teaching.
  5. The teaching of a desire in 1 Tim 3:1 is actually seen as inadequate, requiring one to meet the qualifications. The desire is not listed as a qualification itself. It is not wrong to desire the position, but it certainly is not presented as a requirement.

My views of single versus multiple pastors has changed also over my years of reading and studying the Word. I don't think it is wrong to have just one pastor. I just think it is not where we are to stay, because of 1 Tim 2:2. We are to be constantly training men towards leadership. Further, it appears that you will likely have several pastors with several different levels of capability and availability (1 Tim 5:17-17), some which are compensated, and some who are not. I think we harm our churches by holding to the single pastor requirement (and/or pastors must be paid requirement).

My two cents on "the call" with or without Andy Stanley. Thanks.

(By the way, what keeps me in ministry - the desire - is my understanding of my responsibility before God - Acts 20:28ff and 1 Pet 5:1-7. Giving up pastoring is like giving up parenting. You cannot.)

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Picnics

Greg Linscott wrote:

Now, here we are today- a family of nine. There's a lot of details I could share beyond that- both in leading up and what has happened since our latest three came into our lives. It's been overall a glorious thing (though I'm not going to lie- having 7 kids isn't always a picnic).

Surely you jest. We've had a continual party with our 15. And now the ongoing addition of grandchildren to add to the party (3 more on their way this year, with only 6 of our 15 married).

Picnic on!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Bro. Subra

Your post sounds like the path to understanding my dh and I have traveled over the last few years. After nearly 30 years of ministry, we have seen some interesting fruit develop from different views of the office of pastor, and we've found that a subjective call that ignores qualifications results in a variety of harmful doctrinal aberrations.

Blogging at Susan Raber Online

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"Continual Party"

Well, Subra, our "continual party" this morning consisted of waking up to the one year old in a crib of his own sick, with mom away for the weekend at the state ladies retreat. Smile

It comes with the territory- and we had a lot in our territory this year. Jennifer counted here recently that we had gone over 7 weeks straight with at least one family member having some kind of seasonal symptom (runny nose, cold, flu, that kind of thing)... that's an unbroken chain of days... We're glad to do it, I'm just observing that it's not always leisurely, as picnics are often conceived to be...

But I suppose you knew that already... Smile

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Subjective Call

Susan wrote:

we've found that a subjective call that ignores qualifications results in a variety of harmful doctrinal aberrations

I agree, and I hope this is not the impression I was giving. In much the same manner of a discussion on God's eternal decree, we will often not see God working in a particular situation until much later, in retrospect. My own life is replete with such examples, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I believe God has arranged events to turn out precisely as He wants them to, in a manner we cannot understand (e.g Gen 50:20). God uses His children as He sees fit, and certainly does have a plan for them. The alternative is to suggest some sort of deism, where God is completely uninvolved in lives, or worse, is unaware of what will happen to us (open theism).

A man certainly is called to the ministry, but in probably most cases he is already involved in the local church anyway. He is already working and laboring for the Lord in some capacity. Words fail me when I attempt to explain how someone knows they should go into ministry. It is neither an arbitrary decision nor a cosmic revelation - "Tyler! Thou shalt go to Seminary!!!!!"

I suppose it can best be described as a burning conviction. We have all experienced sermons where the Holy Spirit really worked on our hearts, and it really "spoke to us." (No, Greg, I'm not charasmatic. Please don't ask . . .). I think "burning conviction" is the best explanation I have. I admit it is unsatisfactory, but there it is.  

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Keswick

I suppose it can best be described as a burning conviction. We have all experienced sermons where the Holy Spirit really worked on our hearts, and it really "spoke to us." (No, Greg, I'm not charasmatic. Please don't ask . . .). I think "burning conviction" is the best explanation I have. I admit it is unsatisfactory, but there it is.

I wouldn't necessarily conclude that, T. I would say that it could be influence of some Keswick theology shaping your conclusions...

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/why-let-go-and-let-god-bad-idea/

http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2008/Naselli.pdf

 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Greg

I am afraid I must give up. I am certainly not Keswick, and have had to deal with this theology in ministry. You simply do not want to accept anything I have to say and impugn my theology at the same time. It is particularly insulting to be accused of holding to a theology I have spent time combating in ministry. The fact that you felt compelled to include helpful links for my edification only makes it worse.

Continue to pontificate and interrogate from the cheap seats if you wish. I am simply trying my best to articulate something that is very hard to articulate.

Your remarks are beneath you, Greg. I'm done with this conversation.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Tyler, Slow down a little,

Tyler,

Slow down a little, just a conversation going on here. Personally, I thought Keswick when I read your post about burning convictions and having the Lord speak to you as well. Consider it might just be misunderstanding on our part or even poor communication on your part.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Not intended to be a low blow?

Why is raising a Keswick influence considered a low blow? Naselli, in one of the articles I linked to, includes someone like Charles Ryrie as one who has been influenced by that system of theology- I was taught Ryrie's model of sanctification at FBBC. I am merely observing that the level of subjectivity that you are arguing for is typical of that system of thought. Anther proponent of similar reasoning who might stop short of Charismaticism would be Henry Blackaby (see http://www.9marks.org/books/book-review-experiencing-god-henry-blackaby). These are people who are not considered complete flakes. I'm sorry if you felt I was insulting you.

I'm sorry if this is offending you- I'm certainly not intending to. I understand it is hard to articulate. You seem to want to affirm both the need for a subjective call experience (though not a "cosmic" one) and the calling objectively confirmed through service and observation by others in a local church setting. I am not necessarily dismissing that some have testified to subjective experiences- but I am not insisting that such experiences are necessary to constitute a Divine calling.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

James K's picture
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Tyler, if you can't

Tyler, if you can't demonstrate something from scripture, and you can't articulate it without leading others to conclude something you "fought" against, maybe rethink your position?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Greg

I grow weary of parsing every word so as to avoid the appearance of holding to improper theology (what I consider improper). I knew my words would be interpreted badly, but I was just trying to explain something I can't really explain. At least I gave it a shot. Apparently it didn't clear up much.

I know I am called to ministry.

You seem to want to affirm both the need for a subjective call experience (though not a "cosmic" one) and the calling objectively confirmed through service and observation by others in a local church setting. I am not necessarily dismissing that some have testified to subjective experiences- but I am not insisting that such experiences are necessary to constitute a Divine calling.

This is a very good summary of my position. I have not personally spoken to anybody who has not articulated some kind of subjective experience. Some undoubtedly have not, however, especially in light of this little discussion thread! In that respect, the thread has broadened my horizons on this matter. I suppose this discussion is profitable, even though it enraged me for a minute or two!

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

TylerR's picture
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James

You have done nothing but issue one liners criticizing my view. Please provide something longer than two lines and lay out your own position. Say what you will about my meager attempt to offer something on this matter, but at least I have tried. Your words have cut me deep, James . . .

 

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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A Valid Question

I don't know you or James, but I think James asks a fair question - Biblical validity to your argument. Is that not fair? Is that criticism? I would not consider it so for someone to ask Biblical arguments from a position I held (nor to consider changing if I wrestled with something to support it). Please consider what Greg and James are writing without taking it personal. This is intended to sharpen each of us (and it always has that effect upon me).

I would not say that some don't subjectively identify with their placement as pastor. I would simply suggest that the Bible doesn't require a burning (or the cosmic stuff). I don't think anyone is undermining what you feel. I personally would not say that the feeling itself is enough to prove one's calling. Though it certainly can accompany one's calling (who's to argue that?), it is not a Biblical requirement for pastoral ministry.

Hang in there. We're on your side, Tyler.

Kevin

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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As the renowned Canadian theologian once said...

Kevin Subra wrote:

Hang in there. We're on your side, Tyler.

"Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Kevin

I'll combine comments from two earlier posts and try to make this clearer.

1. God has foreordained those whom He saves to good works.

I cited Eph 2:10 as support that each saved person is saved for a specific purpose; "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God's program is marching steadily forward, and each Christian has a specific and important part to play in this plan. I believe this is a tremendous truth. No Christian is insignificant or inferior to another. Each person has particular gifts, talents and abilities - none of which are the result of an accident!

2. God is sovereign and has a specific plan in mind for His children

I believe God has arranged events to turn out precisely as He wants them to, in a manner we cannot understand (e.g Gen 50:20). God uses His children as He sees fit, and certainly does have a plan for them. The alternative is to suggest some sort of deism, where God is completely uninvolved in lives, or worse, is unaware of what will happen to us (open theism).

A man certainly is called to the ministry, but in probably most cases he is already involved in the local church anyway. He is already working and laboring for the Lord in some capacity. Words fail me when I attempt to explain how someone knows they should go into ministry. It is neither an arbitrary decision nor a cosmic revelation - "Tyler! Thou shalt go to Seminary!!!!!"

3. Therefore, God has indeed placed some men in Pastoral ministry. God has also placed some men in mechanics shops, doctors offices, garbage trucks and CEO's corner offices.

This is the crux of the matter to me:

1. God either has a specific plan for our lives that works itself out according to His decree

2. God does not have a specific plan for our lives, and we simply do what we sincerely feel is best.

My position is rooted in God's eternal decree. This does not deny that men freely choose to go into ministry or do a whole host of other things; merely that in so doing, we are following God's plan for our lives in a manner we cannot understand. This can lead us to a really big rabbit trail if we choose to go that route, but there it is.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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1. God either has a specific

1. God either has a specific plan for our lives that works itself out according to His decree

2. God does not have a specific plan for our lives, and we simply do what we sincerely feel is best.

What if God has a specific that works itself out as we simply do what we sincerely feel is best? I think you have created a false dichotomy that doesn't properly reckon with (1) the end of special revelation and (2) the role of sanctified desires in our lives.

It seems better to lean on the biblical model of qualifications (including gifting) and desires (cf. 1 Tim 3) in primary consideration of a call to ministry.

 

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coming in late - inner burning makes me do it

That and, this passage:

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

The word compulsion is can be an external or an internal compulsion. Jude writes about seemingly an internal compulsion in Jude 3: "I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith". Rm 13.5 talks about the necessity of being in subjection to civil laws "for conscience sake", an internal compulsion.

While I am not one to advocate a "burning bush" or a "Damascus road" for every preacher (or necessarily any preacher), the Bible does speak of internal leading, even a compulsion, of the Holy Spirit.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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Larry

I absolutely uphold the Pastoral qualifications from 1 Tim 3 and Titus.

What if God has a specific that works itself out as we simply do what we sincerely feel is best?

I have to ask you to clarify here. Are you saying that the impetus to go into ministry is from us, and God merely blesses our efforts as we go along? My point was that God is either (1) in sovereign control with a plan for our lives, or (2) He is not in sovereign control and we do what we want. The linchpin is God's sovereign control. This is the ground for my saying God calls men into ministry.

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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I absolutely uphold the

I absolutely uphold the Pastoral qualifications from 1 Tim 3 and Titus.

I appreciate that, but that wasn't my point. My point was about the call and how we know it. It seems to me that the primary biblical indication of a call to ministry is qualifications and desire. It's not some something special. It is the work of God both inwardly and outwardly, in the individual and in the church.

I have to ask you to clarify here. Are you saying that the impetus to go into ministry is from us, and God merely blesses our efforts as we go along? My point was that God is either (1) in sovereign control with a plan for our lives, or (2) He is not in sovereign control and we do what we want. The linchpin is God's sovereign control. This is the ground for my saying God calls men into ministry.

My point is that your numbers 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive. God is in sovereign and because he is, we can delight ourselves in him and live by the desires he has placed in us. I believe God calls men into ministry (and sometimes out of ministry). But the way that we know that is not through some mystical something, but through desires and qualifications.

If someone says to me, "I am pursuing God, loving him, serving, etc. and I don't want to be in ministry," then I say, "Don't." If someone says, "I want to be in ministry" but their lives are a wreck, then I say, "Don't." Or if they can't teach and lead, I say, "Don't."

But I would caution strongly against relying solely or primarily on some mystical something that you call a "call." Better to rely on qualification and desires as verified and confirmed by a local church.

 

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Ah, but wait!

It seems to me that the primary biblical indication of a call to ministry is qualifications and desire

Where does the desire come from, Larry?

It is the work of God both inwardly and outwardly, in the individual and in the churh.

I agree. I did not say otherwise.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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I wrote my previous response

I wrote my previous response prior to your adding the last paragraph. So I added to my previous response while you wrote your response to my response.

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Paul was called out as an

Paul was called out as an apostle.  That calling has special revelation from Jesus himself.  Using that to as a prooftext for people needing a calling would be weak (if that was your point).

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Not my point

That wasn't my point, James. You did, however, go over two lines . . .

Please provide something longer than two lines and lay out your own position.

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Tyler, you believe God must

Tyler, you believe God must call a person to ministry.  What does that calling look or sound like?  That is what I am trying to get you to answer.  You are playing a victim here rather than address this.

Eph 2:10 would be true for all believers.  The good works we are to perform are not limited to a specific area of employment.

Anecdote: I know a preacher who for years was having an affair.  He is still preaching today because he knows with certainty he was called.  He then appealed to Rom 11 as proof that the gifts and calling of God are without changing of mind.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Tyle, my previous post wasn't

Tyle, my previous post wasn't directed at you.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James

You wrote:

Eph 2:10 would be true for all believers.  The good works we are to perform are not limited to a specific area of employment.

I agree and have said as much in this thread.

What does that calling look or sound like?

I have related my view. You oppose it. What else can I say?

Me - I suppose it can best be described as a burning conviction. We have all experienced sermons where the Holy Spirit really worked on our hearts.

Am I really in the minority when I say there is a subjective aspect which is confirmed by objective experiences in some fashion? I don't know what else to say. We're now repeating ourselves . . .

You are playing a victim here rather than address this.

I am not trying to "play the victim." I am honestly astonished at how far my view seems to be in the minority. Apparently, about 1054 people have read this thread and only two of us are writing in defense of an inner compulsion of some kind to the ministry. I really hadn't suspected I was so much in the minority. I am reeling a bit here.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Tyler, it has been helpful

Tyler, it has been helpful for me to understand that there are what we might call "two wills" of God.

  1. His secret will, or will of decree. This is his will in which he is sovereign over every single detail of all of history. This will is never thwarted. Whatever has happened or will happens, in this sense, is God's will because he has decreed it to be so. It is secret because he does not reveal it to us in advance (except for what he has revealed in Scripture) and because he does not necessarily reveal to us the reasons for what has happened in the past. In this sense, a pastor is "called" to be a pastor...because he is a pastor. But if we are viewing it through this lens, anyone can say he is called to be whatever he is (doctor, accountant, etc.), because it is God's will that he would be so.
  2. His revealed will, or will of desire. This is what God "wants," or desires, to happen as he has revealed to us in Scripture. This will is often thwarted by human disobedience. We see this sense of God's will in Jesus' model prayer for us when he tells us to pray to our Father, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This cannot refer to his secret or decretive will, because that will is always done on earth. It must refer to his revealed will, which is always done in heaven, but often not done on earth by sinful people, which is why we should we pray for it to happen.

Deuteronomy 29:29 summarizes this for us:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

To summarize and apply this point, I believe I am "called" to be a pastor according to #1, because God directed my life to the point where I am currently serving as one of the pastors of a church (based on their call). But because #1 is not revealed to us, I do not subscribe to the idea of a subjective, inner "call" to the ministry, which would be #2. Rather, as others have pointed out, there needs to be a personal desire for ministry, qualifications for ministry, and a recognition by others of these facts so that a church calls me to the pastorate.

------------------------------
Pastor of Adult Ministries

Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Religion
Liberty University Online

Greg Linscott's picture
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SI vs. Real World

Am I really in the minority when I say there is a subjective aspect which is confirmed by objective experiences in some fashion?

Well- maybe among the active posters at SI, anyway. I wouldn't necessarily say that would be the case in the "real world." I know of a lot of people who have argued for the subjective sense- and I come across a fair amount of people who argue for that subjective sense in more than just a call to ministry. There was a thread a little while back discussing discerning the will of God- Anne Sokol and Chip Van Emmerik were involved, as I recall, and Anne would have taken more of a subjective side as you do in this discussion.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Greg Long

You wrote:

there needs to be a personal desire for ministry, qualifications for ministry, and a recognition by others of these facts so that a church calls me to the pastorate.

To me, personal desire = call. I suppose the very term "call" conjures up the idea of a divine revelation. Maybe we should junk the term as profoundly unhelpful. I have a fervent desire to preach and teach in the ministry. This is what I would define as the subjective "call" to preach.

Perhaps we're simply talking past each other?

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

Greg Long's picture
Offline
Since 6/2/09 20:00:32
957 posts
What if your 20-year-old

What if your 20-year-old buddy comes up to you and says, "I feel called to be a pastor," but you know he has mountains of debt because of unwise credit-card purchases, is addicted to pornography, and beats up anyone who looks at him askance?

 

------------------------------
Pastor of Adult Ministries

Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Religion
Liberty University Online

Kevin Subra's picture
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Since 6/2/09 14:27:55
186 posts
Paul vs Pastors (To Don J)

Paul had an audible, visible calling as an apostle. I do not see where this can be connected to pastoral passages. Also, the basis for his compulsion might be "the necessity" itself.

Conscience is not the same, I would think, as an internal, wholly subjective leading.

Just my perspective.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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