a sorry state of the...

you guessed it, "the church."

i was just surfing today and came upon the website for the american baptist church of the west; before i go on i need to express a "disclaimer" here; "of all the baptist groups on this planet, the "abc" is the one i hold the greatest respect for. in fact, i wanted to plant a church with the "abc of the west" but i took a position to plant a church in chicago before we could "come to a meeting of the minds." of all the places or denominations i can think of, i like this group the most. so, this is not ragging on them, but the sorry state of the church and the "leadership" [or lack thereof] of the church in general. their site just brought out some questions, and as you all know i do love a good question.

as i was playing around on the site, i came upon these three documents that they ask all people who desire to be a pastor in the church to sign. when i read these i was shock, hurt and disapointed in the quality of people thinking they can pastor a church, but then i was struck with a smack in the face by the holy spirit - and that smack was called "forgiveness."

these are the forms:

Self-Disclosure and Release Form
Covenant and Code of Ethics Form
Professional Church Leader Placement Form

now, i will have to admit that i am at different places with this, and this is more "feeling" than thought - but i am in a hard place. at one point i agree that we need to do this, but at another i question the idea of forgiveness and wonder what happens when a person fills in the questions with an honest and forgiving heart in mind - for example, one of the statemets is;

I have never been found guilty or pleaded guilty or no contest to felony charges or had felony criminal charges dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

______ true _____ not true

now, the person answers "true" what do we do? do we reject them? does it matter what the charges were? can a person be a pastor and answer "true" to this question? you see, it deals with forgivness - i understand we need to "watch out" but does that me forgiveness is not in the game? does forgiveness mean we still remember the sin and keep counting it against a person? i wounder, is this kind of question truly one that should be asked by a christian organization?

I know of no facts or circumstances regarding my background that would warrant further review of my fitness for ministry before my being entrusted with the responsibilities of ministry on behalf of a calling body within this Region.

______ true _____ not true
this question seems to imply that that all the questions that came before would bar a person from ministry. i just wonder, at what point do we actually follow the teachings of forgiveness given to us by christ?


Rich said...

Wow... I guess my mind wanders to Paul. He surely recieved forgiveness and was allowed into ministry.

Modern day.. Chuck Colson seems to have made out alright.

I'm with you. A body needs to be careful and protect itself, but at some point when is someone forgiven and then 'released'?

John said...

having gone to an ABC seminary i can atest to their using things like this we were required to undergo a batch of pysc tests to see if we were fit for ministry. and if you answered the questions from a truly spiritual perspective, like the one question that ask if you have heard voices you would be labeled unfit, it is sad that the church relies on such things to determine fitness for ministry doesnt God decide.