Sorry Peter, you don’t qualify to preach here.


The chairman of the pulpit search committee begins speaking to the other elders and members of the committee.

As you know brothers, we have been praying for a preacher for some months and we have had little success. We know that for our beloved East Jerusalem Church of Christ to prosper we need an able man to preach, do evangelism, visit the elderly, and teach the young people in the temple court twice weekly.

I have good news! God might have answered our prayer, in a big way! Although he is getting older, the beloved Apostle Peter has shown interest in the job. He is no longer able to travel extensively as he once did and thinks he might like working here with us. He should be here soon for an interview. I will begin the questioning and each of you may ask any question in turn after me. Let’s hope we have found our man.

In a few minutes Peter is ushered into the shaded area of the court where the interview will take place. Greetings are given back and forth, one of the elders leads in prayer asking for God’s blessing and for wisdom for all concerned.

The chairman makes some comments and asks the first question.

Of course we heard about your ministry a few years ago and rejoice in the way God has blessed you. I want to begin by asking this question.

Will you describe for us your theological training? And which brotherhood school did you graduate from?

Peter: I have no formal theological training. I only have the experience of working with Jesus and others for the building of the kingdom of God.

Elder 1: Oh? None?

Peter: None.

Elder 2: We want to make sure we remain a sound congregation so will you confirm or deny that you have spoken in tongues? I saw a copy of a manuscript by Luke the physician that said you did.

Peter: I did more than once.

Elder 2: Oh my! Are you Pentecostal?

Peter: Not being a trained theologian or churchman I’m not sure what that means. Let me only say when I was baptized in the Holy Ghost it just happened to God’s glory and the salvation of souls.

Elder 2: Uh…that’s it for me..

Elder 3: I don’t know how to ask this in a subtle way so I’ll just ask, Do you believe in faith healing?

Peter: Of course, don’t you?

Elder 3: I believe God answers prayer… but I’m…I’m not sure. I don’t have any other questions right now.

Elder 1: I have been told that you told the elders some years ago in defense of baptizing Gentiles that you received the Holy Spirit when you believed. I think you are reported to have said that twice. Is that right?

Peter: That’s exactly what I said. How could I not baptize in water those who had received the Holy Spirit just as I and the other disciples did when we believed? The leaders accepted my statement and me and rejoiced that God had granted repentance to the Gentiles.

Elder 1: That leads me to another question. Do you believe God chooses people to come to him, that He gives repentance?

Peter: I do with all my heart. I have written about it and distributed it to some churches.

Elder 1: We believe that the doctrine of election is a dangerous teaching, is that what you are talking about?

Peter: That is precisely what I am talking about.

Elder 1: Does anyone else have a question for brother Peter or are we about done?

Elder 4: I’m always concerned about our young people. If you were to come here to be our minister, what would you do for our youth? Please tell us 2 or 3 things.

Peter: I’ll tell them about the life and work and worth of Jesus. I’ll teach them to live holy lives. I’ll tell them to submit to authority. I’ll teach them to be prepared to suffer if they will follow Jesus. I’ll teach them to beware of false teachers. And I’ll teach them to be looking for the return of Christ and to keep themselves unspotted from the world. That’s about it.

Elder 1: Are there other questions? …Thank you brother Peter for coming and answering our questions. After a season of prayer and consultation we will make our decision. Oh, by the way, we can’t pay much for your sustenance, but there is a room you could sleep in.

Peter: God provides all I need and more. May you be learners about Jesus and be clothed in his righteousness without spot or blemish when He comes. Good day.

Peter is ushered out and the conversation ends with some final comments.

Elder 2: If I didn’t say I’m shocked I would be lying! I don’t see what is so special about him. No education, believes in Holy Ghost baptism and speaking in tongues, believes in faith healing, predestination, salvation by faith… He seems like a “holy roller” to me. And, what’s more, I don’t ever recall anyone talking about when he was baptized. And I refuse to accept anyone who believes a person can receive the Holy Spirit before they are baptized in water. The very idea…!

Elder 4: I agree! And, he has nothing to offer our youth. They don’t want to be preached to, that would drive them away from the faith.

Peter wouldn’t get the job would he? I wonder sometimes how many miles off the mark we are. Our idea (I include Royce) of what is right and good and necessary hardly resembles what is obvious in Scripture.

Not long ago I posted this, “Questions churches should as when hiring a preacher but don’t“. it continues to get lots of readers but few comments. One thing is sure, we can and should do better.

Royce

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