Monday, March 05, 2007

Proclamation of the Gospel and Doctrine (Part 1)

Over the past years I have discovered that doctrinal precision is important. I had Dr. Millard Erickson as my systematic professor, who when asked about why we cannot just do missions and evangelism and not be concerned with doctrine, stated that the United Methodist church was at the same place 80 years ago on missions and evangelism as the SBC is today, and today the UMC doesn't have even a fraction of its passion for mission and evangelism left. What happened? Dr. Erickson believes that this slide in the proclamation of the Gospel can be traced back to the lack of concern for doctrine and defining what we believe not only in essentials but in secondary issues as well.

For example, A couple years back, seminary President Albert Mohler’s decision to ask for the resignation of Diana R. Garland as dean of the seminary's Carver School of Church Social Work. (see http://www.cbmw.org/journal/editions/1-1.pdf) This followed a conflict over Mohler's refusal to hire David Sherwood of Gordon College, who supports the ordination of women to pastoral ministry. Garland's complaints reflected her concern that academic freedom was endangered by these decisions. In an interview with Christianity Today she said, "There is no room for diversity, even on personal viewpoints that are not related to the confessional stance of the institution." Mohler also told CT, "I will not accept that a person can teach in good conscience what one does not hold as conviction." The question we must ask our selves is “should pastors and church leaders have positions on these kinds of issues to insure the growth and help of the church. My answer is yes. There are other issues one could consider as well in boundary statements of churches such as a persons stand on abortion, homosexuality, etc. that are not necessarily essentials but necessary to a Philosophy of Ministry.

More later on this in part 2.

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