Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ministerial Requirements

As approved by the USA Synod and sent to our fellowship abroad.  A statement on ministerial requirements.

As Puritans we have avoided demanding our ministers be graduates of secular or accredited schools.  We wish to affirm this position and to offer an explanation why.

All too often, humble and anointed Christian ministers get beat up by fellow Christians and secular society telling them they are unqualified to teach the Bible. Without a seminary degree, they are told, a person is insufficiently trained to handle the Word of God. But we must ask now as Puritans always have, "Since when do accredited universities and theological seminaries determine who should preach and teach God's Word?" Actually, the Bible gives precise and complete ministry qualifications which should be sufficient for anyone who is called to the ministry. Paul tells us to "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a ministry degree, or with an education but if the purpose of the degree is to get the praise of men or add a title to your name, then we must ask about motivation. "Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away" (Job 32:21-22). 

As Puritans we founded America's first university, Harvard.  This wonderful university was taken over by the Anglicans and now look at the secular trash taught at this once great school of Christian faith and service.  This is why our Puritan schools have always and now reject accreditation.  

Jesus instructed his disciples not to be like the Pharisees who loved the best seats in the synagogues and took on titles such as "Rabbi", "Father", and "Master" (Matthew 23:1-12). Jesus taught by example that greatness in the Kingdom of God is based upon servant hood.

Seminaries today that are accredited are required to:
  • Hire non-Christians
  • Hire homosexuals
  • Include in their curriculum Darwinian theory, secular classes such as psychology and sociology, and secular humanistic philosophy
  • Hire only government accrediting agency approved educators and administrators
We simply refuse all this.  It is contrary to our faith and the Word of God.  We shall continue to educate our ministers at our seminaries.  While the degree received is not "accredited" it does show our candidates meet the Gospel standards of ministry.
  • They are called by the Holy Spirit
  • They have moral disposition
  • Honor their father and mother
  • Are good husbands and fathers
  • Control their household and children
  • They have the faith
  • They have a solid foundation of the scriptures
  • They have obedience to God and clerical authority
  • They are a Christian for at least three years before application
  • They believe sound doctrine
  • They are not alcoholics or drug addicts
  • They are heterosexual
  • They are not sexual deviants
  • They are righteous in Christ
  • They are not violent, given to rage, or covetous
  • They have been approved by our vocation committee and ministerial board
 Like the apostles of the New Testament, Puritan ministers are diligent students of the Word and have an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Each day we are learning more what Paul meant when he said, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Timothy 2:4).

We uphold the standards of Christ above those of secular society and men.  We call upon all our bishops in the USA and abroad to form a seminary in their region as soon as is practical to do so.

Bishop Peter Morimoto, President USA Synod

Bishop Peter Morimoto