by Daniel R. Brown
The call of God to the gospel ministry, apart from salvation, is the single greatest qualifying mark for anyone who is a minister of the gospel. For this reason, ordination councils examine a man in three separate areas: his conversion, his call to the ministry, and his convictions on doctrine. The call of God is widely recognized as a first order priority by virtually every book on pastoral theology. These authors, crossing every spectrum of theological position, devote a section or an entire chapter to the subject. Most churches will usually ask a potential pastoral candidate to give expression to his call to the ministry.
Even after this emphasis in both our literature and our practice, the call of God has fallen upon hard times. My experience in ordination councils, as well as discussions with pastors and teachers, indicates that a great deal of confusion and doubt surrounds the discussion of God’s call to the ministry.
I believe there are several causes for this increasing lack of clarity about God’s call to the ministry. First, while an abundance of literature addresses the call of God, authors tend to describe the call in their own terms, so that great variety exists in how the call is defined and described. Second, the call of God is confused with a subjective, existential experience equivalent to someone saying, “God spoke to me.” Third, some are openly antagonistic against the call of God to the ministry (e.g., Friesen, Decision Making and the Will of God). This is not an apologetic against that position, but if a man states that he is definitely not called by God, I am willing to take him at his word. Fourth, the call of God is a part of understanding God’s individual will for one’s life. Those who deny that God has an individual will for the life of each Christian will undoubtedly choke on accepting God’s call to the ministry. Read more about (An Interruption to the Series) The Call of God