Monday, July 18, 2011

Antithesis latest article and some thoughts on modern ordination (Protestant Pope)

Dear Esteemed readers of this blog (yes, both of you!),

Seeing how often Antithesis has hyperlinked my articles and vice versa, I thought I ought to keep this "tradition" going. But I do it, not out of obligation, but with the honest opinion that his latest article is very informative, good and thought-provoking.

Now, by saying so, I run into the following problem - AT might be Daniel Chew, and so I may have unwittingly given Daniel Chew a solid reason to enter the "solid"/"premier" Reformed seminary (his words, not mine!). AT, if you are Daniel in disguise, well....

At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, I offer more thoughts on Daniel's studies in the "solid" and "premier" seminary in USA. One has to make the assumption that Daniel hopes to be "ordained" - to have the prefix "Rev." - Rev. Daniel H Chew.

I hope to show that Daniel's route to ordination is at best, misguided - at worst, pragmatic.

The 'traditional' view of ordination is the local church identifies a man for the ministry (external call), who in turn has been exercise in his spirit, in that direction (internal call). The church/pastor encourages the man to preach (assess his gifts) and also observes him (assess his graces). This "check-and-balance" approach prevents those men who presume their calling, and encourages those who lack confidence in their calling. Once all that has been established, these men may be sent by the church to Bible college (optional, funds permitting), not just to receive instruction (that should be done daily, anyway, if the man is going to preach regularly) but also to instill a discipline and structure in the men, so that they are able to handle the rigours of the pastoral ministry.

After studies, the men are only just beginning - they still have to "earn their stripes", go out and preach to congregations, in the street corners, door-to-door work, visitations, etc. Perhaps then, some church might call him to be their pastor. They will be "ordained", "inducted" or "appointed".

Sadly, today this is largely turn on its head. Uncalled men can enter the ministry through the "back-door". Some Anglicans have done that in the past - middle-class Anglican families sent their sons to prestigious seminaries to pursue a BA/MA, as being a clergyman was deemed a respectable career choice (military and politics fall in the same category). Today, men who have yet to test their gifts and graces can enter the ministry using a similiar "back-door". I suggest the following route that Daniel Chew might take:

Daniel pours in his own money to enter a "solid", "premier" seminary
Daniel will ask his pastor to write an "reference" - which need not be one to demostrate the applicant's gifts and graces - just a reference to show that he can undertake a seminary degree course
Daniel enters seminary, and transfers church membership to a denomination that is linked with the seminary. After all, what better way to gain the "favour" of the church, by showing that he is a "seminary-student"?
Daniel preaches from time to time in various churches in the denomination - never mind the lack of unction from the Spirit, as long as he is a "seminary-student", he must OK, right?
After graduation, Daniel seeks ordination - the denomination tests him using the standard "ordination tests" that some place uses. Perhaps an interview or two, then hey presto! The now "seminary-graduate" is a "REV."!

Rev. Daniel H Chew leaves USA, returns to Singapore, and tells all these poor-ignorant Singaporean Christians why they must believe what HE believes... or else...

See what I mean by getting ordained using the "back-door" method?

1 comment:

Jess Holmes said...

Interesting post on ordination, I learned a lot from this. Thanks!