So here’s the deal. I’m a theological mutt. I’m all over the map. I’m Reformed, but not five points. I love the new perspective on Paul. I have a view of baptism and the sacraments that would make R. Scott Clark wet his paints (that’s a good thing). But, I’m also a charismatic. Sam Storms is my homeboy. And I love liturgy. I’ve never been to a covenant renewal service, but from what I hear I think I’d love it.
I’d love to pastor a church someday. My problem is getting ordained. Who in their right mind would ordain a mutt like me? The baptists won’t have me because … I’m not a baptist. The presbyterians won’t have me because I think glossolalia is a ok.
Normally I teeter from hope to despair when I think about getting ordained. But lately I’ve been pretty hopeful. I used to think it’d be pretty hypocritical of me to pastor say a baptist church or a church that had women elders given the strength of my convictions, but now I’m not so sure. Upon reflection every church (outside of strict confessional churches) has quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to their leaders’ theology.
Two examples of this come to mind.
The first is John Piper. John Piper has a view on divorce and remarriage that doesn’t line up with the rest of the elders at his church. From the pulpit, Piper will share his perspective, but from what I understand (and I’m open to correction) his view is not enforced via church discipline. It seems that a plurality of views is respected. This is noteworthy given the stark consequences Jesus and Paul give to adulterers in and outside the church.
Another group that is a little hypocritical on this issue are federal vision people. People of a federal vision persuasion tend to believe in paedocommunion (not only should infants be baptized but they should also be able to partake of the Lord’s supper). Unfortunately, paedocommunion is not really in vogue in big reformed denominations so most FV pastors aren’t allowed to actually administer the sacraments to children. The hypocrisy here comes in when these pastors would express incredulity over a presbyterian pastor shepherding a baptist flock. How could they do that? Baptists wrongly administer the sacraments! Except by the paedocommunionists (sounds like a species of communist) own standards then, his church doesn’t administer the sacraments properly if paedocommunion is not permitted. A double standard is clearly in play.
If it’s ok for Piper’s church to permit divergent viewpoints on divorce and it’s ok for Presbyterians to have multiple viewpoints in leadership on paedocommunion then I don’t see the force of the argument against diversity in church leadership with regards to women in ministry or baptism.
Perhaps such a church would be messy, but I think before critiquing it, most churches would have to first clear the doctrinal 2X4 out of their eyes.
These are just exploratory thoughts though. Any questions or comments? I’m open to being persuaded that this line of reasoning is faulty.