Wednesday, October 04, 2006

PASTORING: Whose Fault Might This Be?

The Washington Post has an article up on the woes of winning a pulpit to pad the pocket and pay the pipers.

It seems the Mainline (Episcopal, Lutheren, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) Denominations' decline over the last 100 years has blocked the pulpit pathway for many seminarians.
Many recent seminary graduates across the country ... have a slim chance of fulfilling the calling that pulled them into ministerial training. They want to be preachers, but in many denominations, they say, the jobs aren't there.

In the mainline Protestant churches ... membership and attendance have been slipping; parishes are closing or consolidating; and older ministers don't retire as early as in the past.
I am a biased and conservative evangelical/Baptist preacher; I don't want to snarl or hiss a response to this report, but I am not impressed.

This was foreseen by many; long before I became a believer, I heard rumors of problems for mainline pastoral candidates as a non-believing Congregationalist Sunday Schooler.

Long ago, when the social gospel heresy was the hot ticket to a big mainline church, people like Torrey, McGee, Packer, Lee, Rice, Ironside, Chafer, Talbot, et al were warning the mainliners of a future rife with worry and woe if they departed from the Word of God and His Good News.

Early on, men of the cloth had abdicated their callings for a career ... a "job." Who could reasonable expect the God of all Creation to honor a servant who collects a "paycheck."
The net effect is that many big, long-established religious organizations don't have enough pulpit space for new clergy. Some say it might be years before the employment market picks up.
Perhaps for many it is an "employment" and "market" issue ... the need for a job ... but to the called, it is a calling from the Highest of the high.
Adair Lummis, a professor at the Hartford Seminary's Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut, said studies "suggest that in mainline Protestantism, a growing proportion of seminary graduates can't find jobs."

"Many of them," Lummis said, "are women."
I'm not sure how the above was edited down to close page one of the two-page WaPo article but I almost laughed at the humorous juxtaposition. In my pastoral theology and worldview women don't belong in the pulpit ... this is good news for the Good News!

Oh well, history shows us we are doomed to repeat what we've not learned from ... so what's next? Oh, The Emergents?

Read Full Article

HT: Christian Headlines

Making Chutney

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