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Archive for August 22nd, 2014

suspicious-fry

Purpose: To establish why Biblically we must be cautious and exercise diligent discernment in sending someone to seminary.

Operating Principle: We need to proceed with caution when we are affirming that someone is called to the ministry and therefore be cautious with those whom we send to seminary

Proof:

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands,and do not share in the sins of others.  Keep yourself pure.” (2 Timothy 5:22)

This laying of hands relates to empowerment of ministry in light of 2 Timothy 1:5-7: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Notice that rationale is given in 2 Timothy 5:24-25: “The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

The purpose of not being hasty is so that we may know what their sinful tendency is (24) and also tendency of good deeds are (v.25)

Picture: We must not put someone who is still learning to ride with a Tricycle to a school to learn to ride a school bus. We need to work on him being able to ride a bicycle and drive a car first before we put him in bus driving school because even while in driving school he will be a danger to himself and to others!

Practice

  • We need to watch two things: Doctrines and character: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
  • Given 1 Timothy 5:24-25 we are not just waiting to see the good side of a potential seminarian; we all sin and we want to see what he is like when his bad side come out; in other words, our true character comes out when we sin and we want to know about that side of him. But only time will tell…so we need to be cautious and give it time to evaluate someone’s character.
  • If there is doubt, we go slow rather than hasty.

 

  1. Caution #1: We must be cautious in sending someone to seminary since it is setting someone to be a teacher
    1. Point: Seminarians are already viewed not just a potential spiritual leader/teacher but already one in development.
    2. Picture: A person doesn’t go to` seminary and then becomes a teacher like how they put cars together in a factory; rather they are one already, and are being refined and improved in seminary. Think of it more along the lines of a coach working with an athlete that already has the “stuff.”
    3. Proof:
      1. Be warned: “Not many ought to be teachers…because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1)
        • Note we must be slow since we ought to love our brother that they not get judge by the Lord more strictly if they are not ready.
        • Note also that many ought not to be teacher which urges further support for slowing down.
      2. The need to slow down is even more important if his doctrine is not solid which then goes against 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent topresent yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
      3. Keep in mind that some seminary students already are pastoring part time at a church already.
      4. Let us not kid ourselves: Seminarians are already seen as able to teach even in our own church, lest why is it a Seminarian can come to our church and in a short time already is given the responsibility in leading a Bible Study group?

 

  • Caution #2: Knowledge puffs up
    1. Point: We need to proceed with caution with seminary especially if we don’t know someone whether that person is prideful since this person enrolling in Seminary will further fuel their pride with knowledge. This need for caution is especially more so if we already know someone is prideful.
    2. Proof: Knowledge puffs ups: “Now concerningthings sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have  Knowledge [a]makes arrogant, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)
    3. Practice
      1. Is this person teachable with the knowledge he has now?
      2. How does this person receive correction of his knowledge? Is he humble about it, ignore it or become resistant?  This is a problem if the person is going to go to seminary and it is better that the individual does not go to Seminary.

 

  • Caution #3: While there is a place for growth, we must remember in light of the above that a person in seminary training for the ministry is not the place for those still taking “baby steps”
    • Point: This is not to say we don’t help people who need assistance with baby steps; we should help all believers! But we need to say he’s not ready for seminary at this time and help him simply just a member without the burdening responsibility of seminary and the expectation that comes with being a seminarian, etc.
    • Proof:
      • 1 Timothy 3:6: “andnot a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation [a]incurred by the devil.
        • Contextually this is talking about the qualification of an Elder.
        • This verse does apply to Seminarians since earlier we have established how Seminarians as a group can be called upon to pastor already.
        • In the Greek we see that the word “new convert” is a neophyte; he is new or young. Here this young is not just in reference to age but young theologically since there is nothing about being young in age alone that necessitate they will definitely fall into condemnation more than those who are old in age.  There are also those who are old in age who can be new convert and prideful as well, so this is talking about young in the faith and I would include a subset of it are those who are spiritually immature.
        • Note again that the concern in this qualification is driven by love since we do not want a Seminarian or a candidate to training to be an elder to “not becomeconceited and fall into the condemnation [a]incurred by the devil.
      • Practice
        1. Age in of itself is not an issue but this: Is the candidate for seminary a seasoned saint?
        2. Have we seen the seminary candidate being tested? If not, are we warranted to send them on the dangerous road of seminary training for the ministry?
          • Note 1 Timothy 3:10à “These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.
          • While 1 Timothy 3:10 is primarily addressing the qualification deacons, note the word “also” that put elders also in the same group of those who must be first tested.

Conclusion

We must be slow and practice biblical discernment when we send someone to seminary.

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