Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sometimes, I can't tell at all what's going on in that head of yours.

It's not very common, but every once in a while I get a church that expresses interest in me as a pastoral candidate. Years ago I had a church interested when a friend passed along my name.

The first thing I do in such a situation is look for a doctrinal statement. After reading the church's, I wrote the following:
"I had a quick question for clarification regarding the doctrinal statement of the church.

It says that one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to 'to regenerate the unbelieving,' but then in Salvation the statement says that, 'all who repent (turn from sin to God) and receive by faith Jesus as personal Savior & Lord, are born again of the Holy Spirit. '

My query is just whether the church views regeneration (being born again) as preceding (as is stated in former) or following (as is stated in the latter) faith."

The following is response from the chair of the search committee:
"Dear Rev. Hartman,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your email. I can certainly see why you would have a question. We believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone. We believe that the true believer, sealed by the Holy Spirit is eternally secure. I appreciate your bringing this to our attention, b/c to tell you the truth I think it is probably a typo., which needs to be fixed. We definitely believe that faith is the prerequisite to salvation.

If you would like to send a resume, it can be forwarded to me at ..."

While I appreciated and agreed with the response, the fact that my issue wasn't even understood told me there was no need to submit a resume.

Labels: , ,


At 06 May, 2009 09:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gunny, my brother! Seriously? How can you brush off a church for not knowing something they need a pastor to teach, if you believe this is an important issue. Rather, you should have gotten their response and said "this is a church that needs someone like me to teach them!" -adam

At 06 May, 2009 11:30, Blogger GUNNY said...

Interesting point, Adam, the church that doesn't know what it doesn't know.

I guess the question would be whether or not it wants to know or is happy not knowing what it perhaps needs to know.

In other words, is it a church truly open to reform?

At 06 May, 2009 12:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, that is right! I think you are right in asking that question. that the church doesnt know if not in itself an indigtment, but rather, is the church open to the question, which you your scenario, it seems they are. but had they responded to you and said "eh, who cares" then yes, you would want to run, not walk.

At 07 May, 2009 14:18, Blogger brandi said...

my question is whether the church is closer to your sisters house or furter. That is how I think you should make your decision. :)

No, really though I do think anonymous Adam had a pretty good point. Perhaps a letter with you concerns about your first concern should be in order. Maybe you are just what they need to educate a congregation that has been uneducated.

See, I am reading your blog.

At 08 May, 2009 12:52, Blogger Mark said...

How does one re-generate the unbeliever? Does it not require that the unbeliever be generated first into a believer before he can be re-generated?

Am I missing something?

At 19 May, 2009 15:46, Blogger GUNNY said...

Good question, Mark, especially linguistically.

Regeneration has to do with being born, with the "re-" related to being born "again" (cf. John 3:1-8).

They're alive physically, but dead spiritually. So, God must make the dead alive.

In fact, only God can regenerate. The dead cannot give life to themselves. It's kind of like the Law of Bio-Genesis in science.

Eph 2:1-5
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins ... But God ... even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (ESV)

Prior to God making them alive, they love the darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20). Unless they are born again, they can't even see the kingdom (John 3:3), let alone see the kingdom, like the kingdom, choose the kingdom, and then be born again.

Hence, the priority put on regeneration preceding faith.

Thou biased, I like our church doctrinal statement on the subject:

"VIII. Regeneration ~ Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who brings to life the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone, apart from which humanity is powerless to positively respond to God."

(our doctrinal statement is essentially the Abstract of Principles, the first Southern Baptist doctrinal statement)


Post a Comment

<< Home

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting