Pragmatic Churches and Pastoral Ministry Students, Introduction to Part One:

For context, be sure and read the introductory article found here.

Last week I posted the introduction to my senior thesis on this blog. In the weeks to come, I will be offering up the rest in bite-sized chunks. I will be dividing it up into six articles. The following is a synopsis of how they will logically progress:

The first set of articles will be devoted to conducting a proper inquiry into the history, the philosophy, and the biblical passages most pertinent to the subject being examined. Because the pragmatic method and worldview long predated its systematization and popularization, the first article will address pragmatism where it has surfaced throughout history. The second article will then be devoted to its systematization and popularization, and the third article will demonstrate how this pragmatism has infiltrated the thinking of the church. In short, the first set of articles will show how, via the influence of pragmatism, evangelical churches in the West have lost their mind.

The second set of articles will demonstrate how churches might learn to think more christianly in just one of the many areas where American churches have lost their mind: their responsibilities in the lives of pastoral ministry students. Article four will speak to the necessity of testing pastoral ministry students before sending them out to shepherd flocks in other sectors of the universal church. The Bible mandates that a pastor be tested in at least three areas: creed, aptitude, and character. Article five will likewise be devoted to demonstrating congregations’ unique qualifications and responsibilities to test them in these same areas. Article six, then, will be devoted to demonstrating pastors’ unique qualifications and responsibilities in testing pastoral ministry students’ creed, aptitude, and character.

I hope you see fit to read these future posts.

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.