College and Worldview – A Reason for Choosing a Christian Campus

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Bert Perry's picture

....is that too often, Christian colleges (as their secular counterparts) are accused, too often credibly, of teaching students what to think instead of how to think.  As a result, our public discourse becomes a shouting match where both parties are simply talking past each other.  If we want to have an impact in the public sphere, we have got to start getting to the point where we have mastered the tools of logic and rhetoric enough to address the arguments of the worldlings coherently.  

Or, put differently, if the comprehension of logic (not "critical thinking"; logic) and rhetoric are not required to advance beyond freshman year, I would argue that the college (secular or Christian) is doing more harm than good.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Every parent understands the valid concerns Don raised in his article. However, I continue to protest in vain this secular tendency to infantize our children as long as possible. An 18-yr old is an adult. If he isn't ready for the real world, then something is wrong.

A Christian university may be a good place for him, but perhaps a state university nearby (or the local community college) is better. I believe this decision cannot really be generalized, it should be settled on a case by case basis. For example, unless something changes, my oldest son wants to be a missionary and he will go to university at Maranatha. My middle son is showing deep interest in engineering - Maranatha is not the place to study this. Etc, etc.

I still maintain the local church is the organization best equipped and Biblically mandated to combat the forces of secularism and ungodly worldviews, not the Christian university.

I offer this gem from the Babylon Bee in the spirit of brotherly love.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

I can understand the "Greenhouse" defense for small children but when mature plants are raised in greenhouses their fruit tends to be bland and dull.

Over the years I've seen quite a few college students who have been trained in "The Village" University who have difficulty with independent living. When faced with a difficult choice, they turn to those who trained them to ask for direction and then proceed, confident in the knowledge that their teachers are infallible. 

Conformity to the thinking of a group puts us in those "Little Boxes" of the folk song. 

Never be afraid of thinking "outside the box" but be fearful of going "outside The Book".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

dgszweda's picture

I have a degree from a Christian University and a secular university.  I have also attended 5 different secular universities.  I would say that my worldview was neither bolstered nor reduced by either university.  The biggest impacts to bolstering my worldview in a Christian light has been my parents growing up as a child, and the current church that I am a member of, by far.  I really still feel it is a child by child choice.  My middle child has been in public school all his life, and I have never met someone with a more fierce Christian worldview and a strong defendant of that despite the influences around him.  He puts me to shame sometimes.  Even at the age of 14, he finds the secular worldview as being very informative for him and he has stated that he feels that it makes him more prepared to understand the thinking of the world.  This article is written through the view of Don's eyes, and I understand where he is coming from, but I also believe the discussion is more nuanced than he is willing to discuss.

Mark_Smith's picture

What college or university REQUIRES a full dose of logic and rhetoric to pass the freshmen year?

[Mod note: edited slightly]

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

What college or university REQUIRES a full dose of logic and rhetoric to pass the freshmen year?

[Mod note: edited slightly]

Go back a century, and the answer would have been nearly ALL of them.  Today, I'm aware of Patrick Henry and New Saint Andrews, and possibly Grove City or Hillsdale.  There are probably a number of others who require this that I'm not aware of.

I concede 100% that my view is a minority view, but as I watch the world go by, it persuades me that we need to resurrect the Trivium in education.  There are just too many places where the "debate", as it were, is something that no logic or rhetoric instructor would have accepted a century ago.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Isn't the basic point that:

  • Bible College is good ... very good! Don's alma mater (BJ) is a good school. Thank the Lord for Bible colleges! 
  • Spiritual formation has many elements
  • As an aside, a Lutheran campus evangelist mentored me! He only took me so far but I still appreciate him (to this day!)
  • Re "You can count me as one who advocates for Christian college education, if at all possible. It is by far the superior route for the Christian young person, in my opinion." I would expect no less from Don, and Don I appreciate you!
  • I personally advocate one on one discipleship under the authority of a father in a family and under the authority of a local church
  • Just as there was a time of no Bible colleges, and Christians were discipled ...
  • There may be a future of no Bible colleges, and Christians will be discipled!
  • The church and family have a job to do - let's rise up and fulfill that role!

I didn't go to Bible college - I have a Christian worldview!

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

I didn't go to Bible college - I have a Christian worldview!

Can I use you as an illustration? I don't think that I am arguing that you can't have a Christian worldview without Bible college.

But let me ask you, at 23 or 24, when you graduated from your secular college, was your worldview as thoroughly Christian as it would have been if you had gone to Bible college? Would you have been more effective in the ministry AT THAT POINT IN TIME if you had the benefit of a Christian college education?

Possibly you would have been, no doubt. But I think on average most people who benefit from Christian college are better prepared for ministry and life than those who haven't had the experience. Note the key words, on average. This is not black and white, or "binary" as KTB would say.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

But let me ask you, at 23 or 24, when you graduated from your secular college, was your worldview as thoroughly Christian as it would have been if you had gone to Bible college? Would you have been more effective in the ministry AT THAT POINT IN TIME if you had the benefit of a Christian college education?

Someone asked me today if I regretted having a radical prostatectomy (on March 2nd) (instead of the alternative of radiation).

I rarely look back. 

I wasn't saved until the age of 20. At the time of HS graduation I had 2 choices: the military or college. I looked into joining the Navy (I friend of mine did). Dad forbade it. I had then 1 option: work + live at home + commute daily to the University of Cincinnati.

I literally knew nothing of Bible colleges until in my early 20's I met someone who went to BIOLA

My family's finances and my own and my own circumstances only had one way. My family gave me $ 275 towards college plus a place to sleep and meals.

Larry Nelson's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Can I use you as an illustration? I don't think that I am arguing that you can't have a Christian worldview without Bible college.

But let me ask you, at 23 or 24, when you graduated from your secular college, was your worldview as thoroughly Christian as it would have been if you had gone to Bible college? Would you have been more effective in the ministry AT THAT POINT IN TIME if you had the benefit of a Christian college education?

Possibly you would have been, no doubt. But I think on average most people who benefit from Christian college are better prepared for ministry and life than those who haven't had the experience. Note the key words, on average. This is not black and white, or "binary" as KTB would say.

 

I'm not disagreeing, per se; but I'm not convinced of this either.  Is there hard evidence to back this up, or is it merely wishful thinking?

My mind goes back to Dr. Bauder's (since you mention him Don: "KTB") controversial assertion from a few years ago:

"[One] reason that Christian schools are in decline is because they do not generally produce a better quality of Christian. Granted, the environment of a Christian school does shield its students from the most brutal influences of the secular school environment, such as rampant drug use and open promiscuity. It also grants Christianity a normative status, so that a student’s faith is not overtly and constantly under attack. Nevertheless, graduates of Christian schools do not seem to be noticeably more spiritually minded than Christian graduates of public schools. The real test is in what happens to Christian school students after they graduate. How many of them are walking with the Lord five years later? The proportions do not seem markedly higher for Christian school alumni than for other Christians of the same age."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/205-the-christian-school 

If what Bauder says above is true of graduates of Christian high schools compared to Christian graduates of secular high schools, then why should we expect different results from graduates of Bible colleges compared to Christian graduates of secular colleges?

Personally, I think of schoolmates of mine (from a Christian school) who went off to Bible colleges who presently are not in church, are not serving the Lord, and who show little (if any) evidence of regeneration.  Of those who now are in church, and are serving the Lord, I'm just not sure there is a discernable difference in their lives compared to other Christians who did not attend Christian higher education.

Using my own (large) church as an example, of those who attended college, we have large numbers of both Bible college graduates and secular college graduates.  Among the Bible colleges represented are Pillsbury, Northland, Faith, Maranatha, and others.  (I don't know of any BJU graduates at the present time.)

Comparing the Bible college graduates to the secular college graduates in my church, I'm just not convinced there are real differences in the areas of sanctification, worldview, heart for ministry, or other measures that may apply.

Jim's picture

Used to have this regret

This church is less than half a mile behind the home of my teen years

Back then behind my house was a large open field - no houses. 

In my early years as a Christian, I wished I had visited that church, heard the Gospel, and would have been saved.

Also I knew Christians but they never witnessed to me, befriended me, invited me.

God had other plans for me

Bert Perry's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Jim wrote:

I didn't go to Bible college - I have a Christian worldview!

Can I use you as an illustration? I don't think that I am arguing that you can't have a Christian worldview without Bible college.

But let me ask you, at 23 or 24, when you graduated from your secular college, was your worldview as thoroughly Christian as it would have been if you had gone to Bible college? Would you have been more effective in the ministry AT THAT POINT IN TIME if you had the benefit of a Christian college education?

Possibly you would have been, no doubt. But I think on average most people who benefit from Christian college are better prepared for ministry and life than those who haven't had the experience. Note the key words, on average. This is not black and white, or "binary" as KTB would say.

My view is that it depends on what one sees as a "Christian" worldview.  I was a member of a church that had both strong ties with Christian colleges, including BJU, and also a very strong campus ministry to a party school, Michigan State.  (I did not live in Cedar Village, where the riots generally happen when the hoops or football team loses, but my dorm complex, Brody, was one of the premier party areas for non-athletes)   There were excellent Christians in both groups, many of whom I'm in touch with to this day.  In terms of conformity to "expected fundagelical behavior", the Christian college kids were stronger.  However, in terms of general toughness when confronted about their faith, the MSU students were far and away more resilient.  It wasn't even close.

So while I'm all in favor of having Christian colleges, my experience suggests to me that most of them need to seriously up their game in terms of academics and exposure to the world--all too often, that "Christian Bubble" that Family Christian Bookstores is selling is too close to reallity.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

Let me say that I'm thankful for Christian schools that instill a Christian worldview in their students AND teach them how to think. Schools that invite questions and are willing to be challenged to defend their positions.

That being said, anyone who thinks that sending a student to a Christian school will protect that student from worldly influences needs to realize that that is an impossibility. I've been deeply involved in Christian schools that sought to control the behavior of students both on and off campus and admit that it is impossible. 

A well-known Christian educator likened his school to a factory that made writing pens. He would say, "Don't expect me to produce Cross pens if you send me plastic and wood for building materials."

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

by about the fraction you list.

Mark, if your point is that colleges don't need to teach logic as a requirement, leading with an appeal to popularity (or lack thereof) fallacy probably isn't your best tactic.  :^)

Seriously, I can envision few things more delicious, at least on a human scale, than a nation with a significant minority of the population clued in to how to recognize at least basic logical fallacies, a sub-population that would vigorously rebuke politicians who rely on them.  It could be a huge contribution to our society by Christian colleges if they did this.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

mmartin's picture

Over recent years I have noticed that many churches and pastors do not teach or emphasize the importance of attending a Bible college much anymore.  Back in the 70's & 80's I remember hearing quite often about the value of attending Bible college.  Now?  Not so much.

Would any of you pastors care to offer your thoughts about this?

I believe Bible or Christian college isn't for everyone and yet there is and will continue to be a need for them.

Personally, I would like to see an increased emphasis on attending Christian college, but with a sense of balance that it isn't for everyone and a not a magic pill for greater Godliness.

BTW, I agree 100% with Ron Bean's assessment that most Christian colleges need to improve their quality of academics.

T Howard's picture

mmartin wrote:

Over recent years I have noticed that many churches and pastors do not teach or emphasize the importance of attending a Bible college much anymore.  Back in the 70's & 80's I remember hearing quite often about the value of attending Bible college.  Now?  Not so much.

Would any of you pastors care to offer your thoughts about this?

  • Our church is located near the largest university in the United States, where in state tuition is roughly $10K / year.
  • Many attending our church are graduates from said university.
  • Our church is a conservative evangelical Bible church, and not a fan of cultural fundamentalism.
  • While our elders have heard of BJU, PCC, Clark Summit, or other Bible colleges, half of our elders not familiar with them or think they are only for people interested in Christian ministry.
  • Our church has active partnerships with student ministries / churches near campus of said largest university.
  • A couple of our students have gone to Cedarville.
TylerR's picture

Editor

A few remarks:

  • I remain astounded that the local church is largely missing from this discussion. There is a bizarre trend among some Christians (ironically, many of them are Baptists) to replace the role of the local church with that of the Christian university. This is wrong. It is un-Biblical. It is surprising. The God-given organization for sanctification and fellowship is the local congregation, not the university.
  • For perhaps the 20th time, I'll remind those who fear for their children's spiritual lives at secular university, that the military is probably the worst option in the world from their point of view. We should at least be consistent in how we apply our principles, shouldn't we? I will continue to point this out until these same fundamentalists begin publicly opposing all appointments to the various service academies (e.g. Annapolis, West Point, etc.) and begin writing and publishing articles in prominent fundamentalist venues entitled something like, "Why Your Child Shouldn't Serve in the Military," or perhaps better, "West Point: The Highway to Hell." Or, even more daring, "Deep-Sixing Your Faith at Annapolis."  
  • This perpetual infantizing of our children really needs to stop. They can take it. Really, they can. Do what Elsa did - "let it go." I've said this before, but at 19 I was serving overseas and running a military police shift of 15 people. I'm not a unique or special guy. You grow up because you're left to make your way in the real world, in the midst of challenging and difficult circumstances. Many other people here can give similar testimony about their own transition from childhood to adulthood, somewhere in the 18-20 timeframe, because of the challenges of everyday life. If we shield our kids from the real world forever, we're not helping them grow up - I believe we're hurting them.

I'm glad people have been blessed by their time at a Christian university. I'm happy we have these universities. For some people, the Christian university is the right place. For other folks, it's entirely possible they won't be able to study what they need to there.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Note here that some are arguing that a person's faith may be compromised or even eliminated through the wrong school--say generally the secular school--how do we square that with the doctrines most of us hold of either eternal security or perserverance of the saints.

Now I don't have a completely good statistical sample here, but my experience is that you can generally tell who is going to thrive in terms of faith going on, and who is not.  You will get some variance in sanctification based on how good the shepherds are, or are not, but all in all, I remember being very impressed by how many of my friends really dug into as they had opportunities.  For some, it was the 1/2" thick books on a subject, for others, it was all 12 volumes of Kittel.  I personally got a nice box of references when my pastor told me what he thought I ought to have--it was a good list.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Bert Perry wrote:

Note here that some are arguing that a person's faith may be compromised or even eliminated through the wrong school--say generally the secular school--how do we square that with the doctrines most of us hold of either eternal security or perserverance of the saints.

 

I've argued this previously: that those who "lose" their faith upon attending or graduating from a college (whether secular or Christian) never really had  faith to lose: 

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."  (John 10:27-29 ESV)

T Howard's picture

TylerR wrote:

  • I remain astounded that the local church is largely missing from this discussion. There is a bizarre trend among some Christians (ironically, many of them are Baptists) to replace the role of the local church with that of the Christian university. This is wrong. It is un-Biblical. It is surprising. The God-given organization for sanctification and fellowship is the local congregation, not the university.

The issue, Tyler, is that most churches aren't equipped to provide a thorough theological education, especially in a one-pastor church. At our church, we have enough scholarship on the elder board (1 DMin from TEDS, 1 DMin from SBTS, 1 ThM from Grace Theological Seminary, and 1 MDiv from Clark Summit) to teach college-level Bible classes, Greek and Hebrew language classes, systematic theology classes, and hermeneutics. However, none of it would be recognized by a college or seminary, and the individual would not have an accredited degree at the end. The best someone could do is test out of first-year Greek and Hebrew. So, most people would prefer to go to an "official" Bible college/university and get an accredited degree.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'm not talking about Bible College or seminary. I'm talking about the Christian university in general. That is a distinction usually missed in this kind of discussion.

My remarks have nothing to do with John Smith who wants to go to Bible College and Seminary, then go into the ministry. My comments have everything to do with James or Susie Smith, who are normal Christians who feel compelled (wrongly, in my opinion) by parents, their Pastor and their friends to go to a Christian university to study engineering and chemistry, respectively. Susie and James don't have to go to Christian university for that. They can, of course, but they won't die or lose their faith if they go to XYZ State University to study the same thing.   

I'm also not suggesting Christians don't go to university. I'm simply saying the local church is the only organization Christ put in place for saints to encourage one another, be encouraged, receive weekly religious instruction, and it is the God-ordained vehicle through which we're supposed to perform our Christian service. If you're worried about your child's spiritual health when they go "out into the world," don't pray for them to find a good university. Pray for them to find a good church.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dgszweda's picture

The problem is that there is no right or wrong answer.  Don drives his argument around the idea that if "A" is good, wouldn't more of "A" be better?  He then creates the entire foundation of his argument around the sentence,

"but one would have to think that college campuses have a profound impact on the thinking of their students "

But this is not really an argument that can be defended.  We could just as easily say that someone like Mark Dever who went to Duke University, proves that going to a secular institution creates great Christian leaders.  The argument goes round and round with no good foundation.  The facts that we do know is that 1) a Christian college is not needed for a healthy church (otherwise Christ would have ordained it) and 2) attendance at Christian colleges, highschools.... are rapidly decreasing. 

I am glad there are choices today, but I think it is a very difficult to defend stance that if you want a better Christian worldview you must attend a Christian college over a secular college.  Don Johnson has no data to back this up, it flies in the face of the institutional ordination that Christ provided, and it smells more like a Christian University promotional segment.

I think the article doesn't give enough credence to the ability of God to direct an individuals spiritual condition in light of the world.  Do we really feel that our children are in such a precarious situation and that God's working is so ineffectual that the local church and the family are not enough to prevent the failing of that child and that we need this other institution to prevent our children from falling to the world?  My hope rests in the fact that despite the world, sin, secular colleges, immoral laws that even though the world will be able to have ultimate control in the demise of Christian colleges and schools, it will not have ultimate control in the demise of the family or the church and that Christ will still reign pre-eminate and His work will still be carried out.

Barry L.'s picture

Because the Christian university, as we know it now, will not be around. Tax exemption, accreditation, grants, professional licenses, etc. will have an LGBT requirement tied to it. Combine it with the high cost, they will enentually die. I can't believe that there are still conservative evangelicals out there who are still in denial about this when it si happening right in front of them.

I do, however, believe that the young lad, jbrazeal, is correct on his first point. Even though good churches can disciple on scriptural matters, many young Christians at these churches that attend secular campuses can feel isolated.  My oldest is studying engineering at the local state university. Before he attended, I suggested he attend a Christian university with a one-two year Bible Institute before he started engineering. It ended up being good for him to develop relationships with other Christians outside our local area. I think that these current evangelical universities need to plan for making themselves more like regional Bible Institutes without concerns of accreditation. They need to lower their costs and encourage young high school grads to take a "Gap Year" to study the Word and fellowship with likeminded young people.

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

TylerR wrote:

  • I remain astounded that the local church is largely missing from this discussion. There is a bizarre trend among some Christians (ironically, many of them are Baptists) to replace the role of the local church with that of the Christian university. This is wrong. It is un-Biblical. It is surprising. The God-given organization for sanctification and fellowship is the local congregation, not the university.

The issue, Tyler, is that most churches aren't equipped to provide a thorough theological education, especially in a one-pastor church. At our church, we have enough scholarship on the elder board (1 DMin from TEDS, 1 DMin from SBTS, 1 ThM from Grace Theological Seminary, and 1 MDiv from Clark Summit) to teach college-level Bible classes, Greek and Hebrew language classes, systematic theology classes, and hermeneutics. However, none of it would be recognized by a college or seminary, and the individual would not have an accredited degree at the end. The best someone could do is test out of first-year Greek and Hebrew. So, most people would prefer to go to an "official" Bible college/university and get an accredited degree.

I am reminded, really, of something I've noted regarding homeschooling.  Often, the objection is made that parents are not capable of training their own children to read, write, and cipher after 13 years of primary and secondary school, and often after four or more years of university training.  To which I answer; if the education we have gotten in 13-17 years is so inadequate that we cannot train our children in the 43 phonics of the English language, then that is precisely why we're taking our children out of the government's schools.  We will bust our tails to figure it out so they won't have to do so.

In the same way, if our pastor's 13 years in primary and secondary school and 4-8 years in college are insufficient training for him to make disciples beyond having them pray the "Sinner's Prayer", that's not a reason to send more kids to the pastor's alma mater.  It is rather an argument that the pastor needs to figure out what went wrong and fix it in the setting he's in--specifically the church he serves.

No argument with the idea that Christian colleges have a place, starting with ministerial training and going on especially to the things like real liberal arts education that the secular world is not doing.  But Tyler is entirely correct to point out that ordinary sanctification and discipleship really ought to be the province of the local church, even one with only one elder/pastor.  Maybe a gut check for Bible colleges might be this; if a plurality or majority of your graduates are working hourly jobs involving manual labor, you've got to consider why you're putting a huge financial burden on them for a degree that's only getting them what they should have been getting in church.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

I appreciate the reminder of the theological implications of the argument. Over 80 years ago the founder of a Christian College published a tract entitled "Three College Shipwrecks" that strongly implied that three Christian young people had had their faith destroyed by attending secular educational institutions. The tragedy those three people experienced would not be in agreement with those of us who hold to eternal security.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

I hang with Central's OT prof - I asked him today:

  • We couldn't be more different ...
  • He raised in a Christian home .... me not
  • He saved early ... me in adulthood
  • He went to a Christian college ... me secular

We are just about the same age (I have him by 2 years)

He said that he felt that our worldviews were basically the same

It's because of Romans 8:29-30

Bert Perry's picture

Ron & Larry, thanks, but to be fair, per jbrazeal's comment, there is the question of whether sanctification will proceed better in a "Christian" or secular environment.  That, in turn, must be interpreted in light of 1 Cor. 15:33, written by Paul to a church in a city with the greatest temple of Aphrodite in the whole region, and we ought to remember as well that the Protestant ethic has generally opposed the monastic impulse as a way of fighting sin.  To use some examples I've given, there is a happy medium somewhere between Cedar Village and the convent where we ought to be.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

In the same way, if our pastor's 13 years in primary and secondary school and 4-8 years in college are insufficient training for him to make disciples beyond having them pray the "Sinner's Prayer", that's not a reason to send more kids to the pastor's alma mater.  It is rather an argument that the pastor needs to figure out what went wrong and fix it in the setting he's in--specifically the church he serves.

Bert, my comment was really speaking to the fact that a single pastor model does not allow the pastor the time (let alone the specialization) he would need to provide systematic theological training beyond his preaching. I agree with Tyler that the church should be the theological training / discipleship center. But, when you're a single pastor of a church of 75 - 125 people, you really don't have the time to implement advanced theological training at your church. Well, not if you're expected to prepare 3+ sermons a week, teach a Sunday school class, visit the sick and elderly, provide biblical counseling to members of your congregation, go "soul winning," serve as church janitor, etc. If you have a good group of biblically qualified elders who can share the shepherding responsibilities, that makes the task a lot more manageable.

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

In the same way, if our pastor's 13 years in primary and secondary school and 4-8 years in college are insufficient training for him to make disciples beyond having them pray the "Sinner's Prayer", that's not a reason to send more kids to the pastor's alma mater.  It is rather an argument that the pastor needs to figure out what went wrong and fix it in the setting he's in--specifically the church he serves.

 

Bert, my comment was really speaking to the fact that a single pastor model does not allow the pastor the time (let alone the specialization) he would need to provide systematic theological training beyond his preaching. I agree with Tyler that the church should be the theological training / discipleship center. But, when you're a single pastor of a church of 75 - 125 people, you really don't have the time to implement advanced theological training at your church. Well, not if you're expected to prepare 3+ sermons a week, visit the sick and elderly, provide biblical counseling to members of your congregation, go "soul winning," serve as church janitor, etc. If you have a good group of biblically qualified elders who can share the shepherding responsibilities, that makes the task a lot more manageable.

<snip>

Well, what do Matthew 28 and 2 Timothy 4 say about the matter?  What's the more important thing for a pastor to be doing, and where do they learn what's important?  Is it cleaning bathrooms and arranging chairs in the auditorium, or something else?  

Is there really not enough time to make disciples, or are many pastors (and not just those in single pastor churches) ignoring their calling?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

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