There they were, talking theology again. It seemed like every time I went upstairs to the second floor of Lincoln Hall, I would find those four guys discussing theology. Travis Campbell was one of them. You can see him here discussing 10 Undisputed Facts About Jesus. As they would discuss theology, I would stand there and listen as long as possible. But truth be told, most of it was over my head.
They discussed things like predestination, the sovereignty of God, election, and man’s free will, or lack thereof (depending on how you define free will). I had a great deal of respect for the men who were in those debates, many have gone on to fruitful ministries.
Recently I applied to work as the executive director for an organization that does work with the church overseas. I was really hopeful in getting the position because it would have allowed me to teach and instruct those in the ministry, even though this was a non-ordained position.
When I first entered the ministry some 20 years ago, there was a catch phrase that was bouncing around among the churches regarding what they were looking for in a pastor. The word was “winsome.” This really struck me as troublesome on one level, although I could not say why I found it to be so. I should have looked up the word to understand it.
Winsome is defined as “cheerful, pleasant, and appealing.”
On a superficial level, this sounds great. Who doesn’t want a pastor who is “cheerful, pleasant, and appealing?” After all, a man like that could attract large crowds of people, build a ministry so big, that you could use an old basketball arena to house all the people. In fact, when thinking about the quality of being winsome, no one fits the bill better than Joel Osteen out of Houston. He is definitely “cheerful, pleasant, and appealing.”
Heidi and I have a lot of conversations about preaching because it is so near and dear to our hearts. We both have the desire to move into full-time ministry if the way be made clear by the LORD.
Where I struggle in the meantime is sitting under other pastors as they preach. Most preachers just make me want to enter back into the pulpit again. I think this is because I feel that preaching should be filled with Spirit-lead zeal and conviction. Every passage of Scripture is of the most importance and far too many preachers treat passages as if they are just something to talk about for a while.
The church doesn’t really need Christian radio to survive. I know that there are many who tune into Christian radio and listen on a regular basis, but the truth is, Christian radio is not necessary for our spiritual growth in Christ. We especially do not need listener-supported Christian radio stations. If a station has to ask us for money, using the typical ploys of telling us we will be blessed by blessing them, then we should donate our offerings to more legitimate ministries such as the White Horse Inn, or Truth for Life, in which their focus is the preaching and the teaching of God’s word. My focus in this post are the stations that play Christian contemporary music, are doctrinally and theologically inept, and take no real moral positions at all.
What prompted me to say this?
Sam Storms has an excellent piece on what he wished he had known 40 years ago when he entered the ministry. How many of us love this idea? To know… To know… O how wonderful it would have been to know before the crisis arrived, before the disappointment, before the heart ache.
But … we are not omniscient. Most of us struggle to be partially scient. Even when we do know, often act like we don’t.