The Pastoral Epistles have long been regarded as wise instruction for the benefit of the church. But in the last two centuries these texts have often been sidelined in the academy due to suspicions of pseudepigraphal (false) authorship and seemingly negative sentiments towards women. On the other hand, the 21st century has seen numerous detailed commentaries that are a harbinger of renewed interest.[Read more…]
My greatest privilege as a biblical scholar is being called upon by a local church to come preach a sermon (or a series of them) to fill the pulpit, or as part of my home church’s preaching rota. My greatest frustration is finding the time necessary to adequately prepare those sermons.[Read more…]
By Mike Aubrey
Controversies and debates concerning the question of women in ministry continue unabated. Entering the fracas, you will quickly discover that both sides have a tendency to declare absolute victory in the scholarly discussion. As the argument goes, some book/blog/sermon is “the final word.” on the matter. Yet journals, as opposed to those other media, are where the critical questions of method, argument, and reason are laid out within the scholarly standard of peer-review. If you want to understand the debate as it’s being argued in the academic stratosphere, read the journals.[Read more…]
If you were to ask most seminarians what their calling is, they would probably respond with something like, “I am called to preach.” For most seminarians this is true; however, I have had some recent experiences that leads me to question what it means to be “called to preach.”
I am not saying this is inherently wrong, but I have discovered (and have been found guilty myself) that because most of us are “called to preach”, we fail to see the other opportunities for ministry that come available. For example, I have been in a two month interview process with a church regarding a children’s ministry. When I was first approached about this ministry, I thought “no way! I am called to preach. I am not called to baby sit.” However, as I had more and more opportunities to preach from the pulpit for churches looking for a pastor, I have realized that God wanted me to look more closely at the children’s ministry.
Something funny began to happen the closer I looked. For the first time since my first time in the pulpit, I began to feel a little uncomfortable preaching. Next, I discovered I had a heart for the children (especially in the particular neighborhood of the church) and wanted to reach out to them and their families for the gospel. As I began to pray more for the children’s ministry, God poured such a deep love into my heart that the children’s ministry began to consume my every thought. The next thing I knew, I turned down an opportunity to preach at a churchlooking for a pastor because “God was taking me in another direction” is what I told the man on the phone.
I wish I could say that I came to this understanding of ministry and seminary life during a quiet time or time of communion with God, but that would be lying. No, it took an off-hand comment by one of my wife’s girlfriend’s as we were leaving her houseafter dropping our children off for the evening so we could interview with the church for the children’s ministry. She told me that she and her husband had been looking all over the Louisville area for a children’s ministry to no avail (I know of a couple good ones, but they have only become a major focus of the church in recent months). She said everyone tells them that “they are called to preach” and that children’s ministrywould be like taking a step backward from their goals. (OK, that one kicked me right in the gut because thatwas my initial thoughtwhen I receieved the email about the position–I hadserved as youth pastor for a couple years aboutthree years ago.) I don’t know why, but it struck a chord in me that I did not know was there to be struck. Between her house and the church (10 minutes), I was moved deeply to seek after this position with a passion that I can only explain as a gift from God.
I guess what I am trying to say is that while you are attending seminary, do not put on the blinders of being called to preach. When I was ordained, I was ordained not to the preaching ministry, but the gospel ministry. The gospel should be what drives our motives behind all we do. Sure, you will get more glory in the pulpit, a demon I am sure we will all have to fight, but do not deprive yourself from blessings because you are only “called to preach.”
We interrupt this Two Cent Tuesday for a video clip from E.R.
Why do I go to seminary? Because I want to be that “real chaplain (minister) who believes in a real God and a real hell.”
This is intense: