Pragmatic Churches and Pastoral Ministry Students, Introduction

This post begins a series taken from the senior thesis I wrote in my undergraduate studies. For more, check out this page.

The evangelical church in the West has lost its mind. Even in regard to the things that are most crucial for the life of the church, they have ceased to consider the joint testimonies of Scripture and church history. Certainly, Western churches have not ceased to think altogether. Many have, however, begun to think merely in terms of what works. In a results-oriented culture, obedience is valued far less than utility. A command or precept of Scripture is far more likely to be obeyed by Western evangelicals if it immediately and consistently yields a desired result. The act of mining the Scriptures or church history for precepts that are not immediately apparent is seen as unnecessarily laborious and strange. In church life, to question why a thing is or is not done or how it might be done differently often draws immediate suspicion, if not accusation, discouraging any investigation into alternative, more biblical (and / or historical) approaches. Such investigation is all but nonexistent regarding the question of churches’ responsibilities in the lives of pastoral ministry students. Through examination of church history and philosophy, the articles to come show how churches have generally become pragmatic in how they relate to pastoral ministry students and offer, by exegesis of appropriate Bible passages, principles to guide churches to a more biblical approach.

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