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Breaking News Home | All | Religion | Society | Tech | Choice | SA Newsroom
FRONT PAGE  |  6/15/2019
Choice News SUNDAY, FEB 1, 2009  |  23 comments
Rural Churches Grapple with a Pastor Exodus
Carol Porter, 63 and no word mincer, sits in her modest kitchen in Euclid, Minn., and recalls the day her 118-year-old church was burned to the ground. "I was baptized, confirmed and married there," she reports. Her family had moved two lots down from Euclid's First Presbyterian, so she was able to watch through the kitchen window a few years ago as fellow parishioners knocked down the church, buried its fixtures and then put a match to what remained, sending a thousand Sundays of memories up in smoke.

Why are the pastors disappearing? Mainline churches (as well as some Evangelical) prefer their ministers seminary trained. But the starting salary for debt-burdened seminary grads now runs to $35,000 a year. That can break a poor and aging congregation, says Elizabeth Rickert Dowdy, pastor of the Tar Wallet Baptist Church in Cumberland, Va., who recently helped disband her other church: "When you ...


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· Page 1 ·  Found: 23 user comment(s)
News Item2/5/09 2:46 AM
Faithful Remnant  Find all comments by Faithful Remnant
SBGG wrote:
In regard to confirmation question, those in the continental reformered tradition such as the RCUS give this reason:
The RCUS practices covenant “confirmation” as commended by John Calvin (Institutes 4:19:4, 12, 13). This is done in carrying out the biblical responsibility of covenant family and church to bring up children as Christians by “feeding them with the discipline and admonition of God” (literal translation of Eph. 6:4).
Thanks for the input SBGG. Now I know a little bit from the Reformed point of view of it. However, I prefer to not be too creedal about it, only that I believe it is scriptural and beneficial for the believer. The book of Acts says the Apostles went to the various congregations and strengthened or confirmed the believers. So it happens today as well, with a time of Bible study and a public profession of faith and prayers and laying on of hands for strength and receiving the fullness of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Also 1 Tim. 4:14 gives insight to it also...the laying on of hands of the presbytery.
23

News Item2/4/09 7:01 PM
SBGG | S.Cal  Find all comments by SBGG
In regard to confirmation question, those in the continental reformered tradition such as the RCUS give this reason:

The RCUS practices covenant “confirmation” as commended by John Calvin (Institutes 4:19:4, 12, 13). This is done in carrying out the biblical responsibility of covenant family and church to bring up children as Christians by “feeding them with the discipline and admonition of God” (literal translation of Eph. 6:4).

22

News Item2/3/09 11:05 PM
John E. Jones | Port Arthur, Texas  Contact via emailFind all comments by John E. Jones
I am a bi-vocational preacher at a small Baptist Church in a small town. Fifty people in worship is a big Sunday for us. I think there are 2 issues here. First is what people are looking for in the Church and their expectations of pastors. Preachers are called to preach and to teach, and take care of their famalies. Instead many are expected to be babysitters for adults. Many are expected to be CEOs, Administrators, chaufer people to doctor visits, and free counseling for people who don't want to attend services or research their bible for themselves. If you take out all these expectations that are not biblical, then you don't need a bunch of full time Pastors. Second issue, if you do expect someone to pastor full time then they should be compensated well enough to raise their families comfortably.
21

News Item2/2/09 6:46 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
OK FR, thanks for taking the trouble with me; perhaps I came on too strong. Peace.

But I would still like to hear the Presby take on this subject, if only to be better-instructed on all things [allegedly] Reformed. Is it a PCUSA thing? Or, What Would Knox Do (WWKD)? [attempted levity here]

20

News Item2/2/09 6:21 PM
Faithful Remnant  Find all comments by Faithful Remnant
Neil, sorry, I didn't intend a long- winded debate, but just to answer your questions and explain why some churches do this. What does Luke 11:13 have to do with confirmation. Quite a bit at least in my understanding of it. Luke 11:13 "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask..." So it goes in the rite of confirmation that prayer is made to God to strengthen the believer and send the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Presbys have a different take on it. I have never witnessed a Presby confirmation service and was surprised to see this on here anyway. Yes, usually this is preceded by a time of instruction in the faith and then making a public profession of faith. Anyway, no more from me. Just wanted to answer the questions you submitted. See you around the board, but I am not on here as frequently as I was before. Take care and may the peace of Christ be in you and your home.
19

News Item2/2/09 6:11 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
OK, so Luke 11:13 is for "all folks." What then does this have to do with Confirmation, which is not for just anyone, but only for those who are certified as instructed in the faith (or whatever your church does here)?
18

News Item2/2/09 5:50 PM
Faithful Remnant  Find all comments by Faithful Remnant
Thanks Neil for the response. Jesus didn't make a distinction in Luke 11:13, so I believe it applies to all folks and haven't seen a scripture which says this was only for the Apostles. No imitation of Rome on my part. Just what I believe and why.

rogerant wrote:
The Church of Christ hold to the following heretical doctrines.

.
7. They do not consider those outside of their denomination as being saved.
A lot of folks come close to the same conclusion if you don't accept their point of view or interepretation of the Bible....either you are not saved, illiterate or apostate.
17

News Item2/2/09 5:07 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
FR,

The apostles are dead now, so unless you're claiming that modern ministers have the same authority, spiritual gifts, & power to transfer the same, those verses cannot help your case.

And I neither said nor implied anyone was under papal "jurisdiction." I used the slang verb "ape," meaning, to imitate.

16

News Item2/2/09 4:42 PM
Faithful Remnant  Find all comments by Faithful Remnant
Neil wrote:
Confirmation in a Presby church? I don't recall this in the WCF or the Directory for Publick Worship.
Or perhaps this was a PCUSA church aping Rome, as modernists like to do.
Some of us(myself included) resort to the Scriptures for confirmation. It is simply the laying on of hands for stregthening and filling of the Holy Spirit(Some scriptures: Luke 11:13, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:2-6). And I am no modernist nor under the pope's jurisdiction . It is simply what I believe. Someone may have a different approach and that's fine if they embrace a different view.
15

News Item2/2/09 3:02 PM
Barry from Ky. | Northern Ky.  Contact via emailFind all comments by Barry from Ky.
Jim Lincoln, just curious, were you a Methodist at one time? I recently read one of your post that led me to that fact. I usually enjoy your posts by the way.

Of all the people I know, only a handful read the bible, let alone study it for any deeper meaning. I know a Southern Baptist Deacon that said he doesn't really have time to read the bible. How does that work?

14

News Item2/2/09 2:20 PM
Jim Lincoln | Nebraska  Find all comments by Jim Lincoln
Robert, I have no disagreement with that statement, Methodist Churches, even Southern ones would fall down in this area, because the Mother Church has the official position of Scripture, tradition, and the Annual Conventions setting the belief system. The Bible might be in there somewhere. Small groups, have a danger of going of on tangents, such as British Israelism, etc. following local traditions, and ignoring Sola Scriptura as much as Catholics do. This is why --everyone-- in a Christian assembly of any size is to have a firm grasp of the Bible.
13

News Item2/2/09 1:43 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
"I was baptized, confirmed and married there."

Confirmation in a Presby church? I don't recall this in the WCF or the Directory for Publick Worship.

Or perhaps this was a PCUSA church aping Rome, as modernists like to do.

12

News Item2/2/09 12:52 PM
Snow  Find all comments by Snow
"Dead as driftwood". . .tis true, tis true, to the things of God.

Personal experience left me with the impression that anyone who claimed to be Church of Christ was a rebel rouser on Saturday night, and a religious zealot Sunday morning. Sad. Maybe my view is tainted, but based on RA's list of their doctrinal beliefs, I can't be too far off.

11

News Item2/2/09 12:39 PM
rogerant | Saskatoon Canada  Contact via emailFind all comments by rogerant
kenny wrote:
Barry from Ky wrote:
"When I was a young man, the Methodist Church had a very good layman's program. It included indepth study of the bible and presentation. It was exciting. We even got to deliver a message to each other."
The Churches of Christ here in the Atlanta area have a school like this now.
I am sure that the Campbellites do have an inexpensive school there. Most cults don't charge exhorbative amounts of tuition to indoctrinate their victims.

The Church of Christ hold to the following heretical doctrines.

1. They are solid Pelagians
2. They deny the doctrine of total depravity.
3. They deny both prevenient and effificous grace.
4. They deny substitutionary atonement.
5. They deny salvation by faith alone.
6. They require baptism in the Chruch of Christ alone as a prerequisite for salvation.
7. They do not consider those outside of their denomination as being saved.
8. They just like every other cult condemn creeds and confessions.
9. They do not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.
10. They deny the doctrine of imputed righteousness.
11. etc,etc,etc,etc,etc

I married into a family of Campbellites and the lot of them are as dead as driftwood.

10

News Item2/2/09 11:47 AM
Snow  Find all comments by Snow
A direct relationship exists between numbers going into the ministry and dollars to be had.

How many para-church organizations (ministries) do you know where the ones in ministry have a lifestyle that would rival those of the politician? Travel, perks, sporting events, tickets to special events, etc.? We had one couple submit a $75,000 household budget to supporters in their first yr. of ministry as a young married couple. They wanted to entertain new Christians and evangelize the lost with pizza parties, steak cook-outs, in a new house, etc. These people are misguided, even though they may be genuine Christians.

Conversely, less dollars means less people going into ministry for the wrong reasons.

Maybe this will force people to read their Bibles on their own and seek the Holy Spirit to teach them. What a novel idea!

Christians, called by God into ministry, are neither hampered by, nor induced by the god of this world - the almighty dollar. Dollars isn't the issue, neither is seminary. The disciples and those who came after them did just fine knowing Scripture and indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

9

News Item2/2/09 11:43 AM
kenny  Find all comments by kenny
Barry from Ky wrote:

"When I was a young man, the Methodist Church had a very good layman's program. It included indepth study of the bible and presentation. It was exciting. We even got to deliver a message to each other."

The Churches of Christ here in the Atlanta area have a school like this now.

8

News Item2/2/09 10:53 AM
Robert | North Carolina  Find all comments by Robert
Jim Lincoln wrote:
These people need leaders who can meet elder standards, even though they are not seminary trained. Let's hope deserving Christian assemblies will find the men.
Aren't we instructed to find such men among ourselves? Isn't one of the primary duties of the elders to equip and train men for ministry?
7

News Item2/2/09 8:56 AM
Dumbfounded  Find all comments by Dumbfounded
"It's a religious crisis, for sure," says Daniel Wolpert, pastor of First Presbyterian in Crookston, Minn., and a partner with the FTE, which supports young ministers and religious teachers. "And to the extent that these churches are anchoring institutions, it's a crisis of community."
_______________

There is so much in this article that disturbs me, but then it is a "Time" piece, right?

**A religious crisis?????? A community crisis??????????

Whatever did we do without seminaries and their graduates of the 21st century?

**A town without a Starbucks scares would be seminary grads????????

Whatever would they do in a real crisis?

Where are the courageous?

**Debt-burdened grads, starting salary $35 grand?

How can there be ministry without adequate money? What did Jesus and his disciples do?

Terrible CRISIS!

Words fail me............

6

News Item2/2/09 8:31 AM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Neil wrote:
Why not local lay teaching elders instead of debt-burdened, ambitious seminary grads from out of town who are not familiar to the congregation? And inexpensive theological training (since theology does matter) can be had by correspondence, e.g. www.johnbunyan.org/institute.html
Plus, there's tons of material online now which used to be restricted to university libraries. This approach may not be perfect, but as mentioned below, traditional seminaries, which are so vulnerable to subversion by closet apostates, certainly aren't.
Why not indeed! Seems a more biblical approach anyway.

Barry, the early Methodists were to be respected for their zeal and simplicity. The first Christian book I was given, back in 1980, was called 'The Backwoodsmen' (I think) and it was about Methodism in North America, with their camp meetings etc. Very, very exciting.

5

News Item2/2/09 8:04 AM
Barry from Ky. | Northern Ky.  Contact via emailFind all comments by Barry from Ky.
When I was a young man, the Methodist Church had a very good layman's program. It included indepth study of the bible and presentation. It was exciting. We even got to deliver a message to each other.
4
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