Today I had the privilege of attending the ordination council of a close friend. I have been to ordination services before and I have had friends who have been ordained; however, this was completely unique among those experiences. Unlike other ordination services I was deeply impressed as this ordination conveyed the sobriety with which one must approach gospel ministry.
Providence Community Church is committed to preserving the purity of the ministry and as such the interview was profoundly thorough. The elders of Providence Community Church, along with a pastor of another local church and a professor from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, conducted the interview. Recognizing that the local church exists beyond the congregation at Providence they invited these other ordained men, from other likeminded local churches, to take part in the interview to maintain the purity of the body of Christ in Lexington as well. Furthermore, they invited the church to attend as the congregation also needs to recognize and endorse this man’s calling to gospel ministry, which is why I was able to be there.
I cannot overemphasize the thoroughness of the interview process. It was thorough, extremely thorough, to the point that it required nearly five hours to complete. It began as he shared his testimony and calling to gospel ministry from there it proceeded to his doctrinal defense. He was required to type a defense of the church’s doctrinal statement in advance, a rather lengthy defense at that, and submit it to the ordained men who would be conducting the interview. The questions ranged from various worldview and missiological implications to his understanding of the filioque clause and kenosis. I even remembered one point where Augustine was quoted in Latin.
The local church benefits from such attention to detail and thoroughness in maintaining a pure ministry. The church also benefits by networking and expecting accountability from other local likeminded churches. Moreover, the kindhearted and deeply theological nature of this interview was a profound benefit to the church as well; it was as if they were able to attend a weekend seminary course in systematic theology. In contrast to pop Christianity where theology is downplayed, and often outright demised, these events have been a refreshing encouragement, which I hope takes root in other churches as well.