MANDATORY COLLEGE DEGREE for all PENTECOSTAL MINISTERS

Posted by Troy Day in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

This may seem a bit radical for my fellowship (Assemblies of God), but I would like to go on the record as saying that ordination ought to be the aim of every pastor and not because of education, credentials, or prestige, but because it offers a testimony of faithfulness (at some level). To be ordained (in my tradition) requires one to be in ministry for a minimum of 2 years and a few extra courses (if one didn’t go through one of our official schools). https://rickwadholmjr.wordpress.com/?p=2433

MANDATORY COLLEGE DEGREE for all PENTECOSTAL MINISTERS

The recent exposure of Rick Joyner’s fake doctoral degree has sparked the old discussion about accrediting all ordained ministers.

Pentecostal denominations in the US are gradually moving to require a mandatory degree prior to ordaining all active ministers. C Peter Wagner describes this as the first sign of a movement going nominal and powerless. Many in the Assemblies of God agree that ordination ought to be testimony of faithfulness and not because of education, credentials, or prestige. What are the feelings in your church organization?

Ricky Grimsley [02/13/2016 6:59 AM]
I wish i had taken the time to get a degree but most seminaries would kick me out these days. Lol

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 7:15 AM]
http://deceptionbytes.com/rick-joyners-doctorate-is-fake/

Jimmy Humphrey [02/13/2016 7:55 AM]
C. Peter Wagner is a hypocrite anyway. His “movement” with John Wimber was conducted through their signs and wonders class at Fuller Theological Seminary.

I don’t believe pastors have to have a bachelors degree in theology to pastor. But they should definitely have the equivalent in knowledge. After all, by appointing somebody as a pastor you are saying they are an older and matured Christian, and with that comes a body of knowledge that includes “the faith” once and all handed down to the saints, and that such a person in capable of communicating that faith to the next generation.

If they don’t have a bachelors degree, one should definitely make sure they have a well lined bookshelf that includes that knowledge. They should have read books on hermeneutics, systematic and biblical theology (and know the differences), and academic level commentaries.

At the end of the day, they should be scholarly in their disposition. If they aren’t, they don’t have what it takes to pastor.

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 8:09 AM]
I think the mention from C. Peter Wagner was from a discussion couple of weeks ago on a paper in the 1980s he did while still in Fuller with AG. Paper was pretty accurate on the outcome of the denomination. Unfortunately, Peter is not doing very well with his health. And as a given NAR rejects theologians and theological education as well as most ultra Charismatics out there like #iHOP and many of the Kansas/Tulsa following

Tim Renneberg [02/13/2016 8:15 AM]
I agree with the AG’s position… my own fellowship (PAOC) has a similar, if not identical stance with ordination. One can apply for initial credentials in their last year of one of our Bible Colleges… (only activated when in a recognized ministry). After 2 years, and a rather rigorous interview process complete with references will one become ordained. If one’s schooling was from outside the PAOC, additional courses are required (Pentecostal Distinctives, Pentecostal History and 1 or 2 more)

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 8:22 AM]
I’ve been wondering if other denominations have moved toward mandatory degreeing. Tim Renneberg do you have a link to an official PAOC document amending a mandatory degree in ministry prior to ordination?

Tim Renneberg [02/13/2016 8:29 AM]
There is no mandatory degree requirement. I think, however, a three year diploma (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for ministerial credentials. There is another credential one can apply for if they don’t have the educational requirements, but that credential does not lead to ordination.

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 8:31 AM]
Tim Renneberg you lost me there 🙂 Is there an actual document that we can consult. AG rejected degreeing in 2015, right?

Tim Renneberg [02/13/2016 8:34 AM]
There is an actual document… whether it is available online or not is the question. I’m on my phone, not my laptop.

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 8:36 AM]
Would this be close enough to you position? A list of courses and other educational requirements necessary to obtain Assemblies of God credentials. http://www.agncn.org/education-requirements-for-credentials/

Tim Renneberg [02/13/2016 8:41 AM]
Follow the link to educational requirements for credentials http://eod.paoc.org/downloads-docs-media/downloads-documents/ Yes… that is similar

Willie Jones [02/13/2016 10:12 AM]
it should be that way

John Kissinger [02/13/2016 10:29 AM]
But why now? It hasnt been required for 100 years of global Pentecostalism? Jimmy Humphrey this also has been there for 100 years and never required a degree BUT why here and now?

Terry Wiles [02/13/2016 11:04 AM]
AoG Ordination recognition, for many decades, was based on evidence of “divine calling” and they heavily relied on a term “congregational proclamational” which declared their intention that ordination was primarily a recognition for those with a recognized pulpit ministry involving preaching the Word.

This excluded non pulpit ministries from ordination. But that has changed.

There is a booklet called “Ordination” that was commissioned by former General Supt. Thomas Zimmerman that is a classic dealing with the process and purpose of Ordination from their perspective which makes a clear contrast between liturgical and non liturgical ordinations.

From a distance it does seem that today Ordination is more about Degree than calling and about Position than gifting. But that may not
Be a fair observation.

I thank God for their pursuit of Excellence in Education while at the same time cling strongly to the affirmation of “calling” as being an equal criteria for the certificate of Ordination.

Troy Day [02/13/2016 11:28 AM]
I agree with Terry Wiles Prof. Wadholm has done a great job exposing this. Ordination should be based on calling, not on merits lest we become Catholic again!

Ilya Okhotnikov [02/13/2016 11:35 AM]
Education is a shortcut to experience. www.PTSeminary.edu equals 10 years of pastoral experience to 4-year undergraduate degree.

Troy Day [02/13/2016 11:47 AM]
IMO experience can replace education, but education can never replace experience

Jimmy Humphrey [02/13/2016 11:48 AM]
There are a lot of people out there who have experience… but its’ bad experience. We need people who have both, education and experience. One must be a “practitioner”

Troy Day [02/13/2016 11:59 AM]
Bad experience is not necessarily a bad education 🙂

Ilya Okhotnikov [02/13/2016 1:34 PM]
An individual capacity to make sense of a bad experience and turn it into a good lesson is a skill acquired–humans are born with abilities, but skills come as we put ourselves into self-reflective process. There is much to say about education. in general: edu is good, if it serves the purpose.

Glen Gattenby [02/13/2016 4:07 PM]
Dedrres are not for everyone . It is important to be Theologically, Biblically stable as well as a Christian world view but degrees should not be a status symbol . When out look at the Bible some of God’s servants were educated and some came from other kinds of backgrounds. That being said we should not say the who hold degrees do not follow the Spirit. God calls all kinds of people.

Dennis [02/15/2016 4:55 PM]
Praise God sir/Madam
My name is Dennis N. Orina am from Kenya but working in Qatar .kindly do you have online genuine theology course because i want to upgrade my bible studies under Bible school..kindly assist and God bless us all.Shalom

40 Comments

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Joseph D. Absher

    Have fun trying explain that to one Peter, James and john

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Karen Lucas

    Peter, James and John likely went through training in the Torah as children and then spent three years being lectured and mentored by Jesus before they began their public ministry. I would say that was a significant amount of training. It is also widely believed that Paul studied extensively before entering public ministry. He spent three years in Arabia before he even returned to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles.

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    Peter, James and John’s Torah education may qualified as an accredited … Sunday School bur hardly a MANDATORY COLLEGE DEGREE. Pauls case on the other side was different yet none of them was asked by Jesus if he had an accredited college degree before being set to the ministry

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Karen Lucas

    I would put Torah education more on par with catechesis than typical Sunday School training. And come on, it was Jesus! Who are you going to get any better seminary training under? Maybe you haven’t had to endure the negative outcomes of being under the authority of as many half-baked pastors / Christian leaders as I have. Whatever it may look like…I’m convinced we can do better. I have gone through Bible College and ministerial credentialing through my denomination. I’ve been involved in ministry for 20 years and all of that has been useful…especially what I learned about hermeneutics. However, I am just now in seminary and it is astounding to me how much I am learning that is of tremendous benefit for pastoral ministry and/or Christian education. If I had been given these tools, especially regarding congregational leadership and pastoral care, 20 years ago, who knows what a difference it could have made. Sure there are exceptions but I think serious training should be the rule. Some would argue that it is the most important vocation a person could take up. Early on Pentecostals didn’t have seminaries that were doctrinally prepared to train ministers but we have them now and they are good. Why shouldn’t we be using them? Most of our earliest leaders (Pentecostal) were seminary trained or at least got around to it as soon as they could.

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    Either way has little to do with a mandatory accredited degree and WHY is it then that our Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal denominations mandate college degree from ministerial candidates? BTW Once upon a time Sunday School was the catechesis of the Pentecostal church #lestWeforget

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Karen Lucas

    But it isn’t anymore (the catechesis). Christian education / discipleship has suffering tremendously over the last 20 years and things are not looking better. We have to raise the standards or we will have more and more “Hatmakers” coming along who will just go along with whatever feels / seems right (read loving) and socially relevant and then they will call it orthodox. We need to return to understanding who we are and where we come from and what orthodox even means and why it’s relevant.

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Karen Lucas

    Regarding college degrees — Not too many years ago, the minister was expected to be the most knowledgeable person in town. He was the last generalist. He was trusted and sought out for advice for this very reason because he was expected to know a little bit about everything. People needed him to know a little bit about everything so that he could be a good resource and counselor. I have to have to say it but Pentecostals, Charismatics and Evangelicals have changed that. We can pray for you under an anointing but we are not necessarily the most well-educated bunch. For that very reason, some people intentionally avoid us when they are seeking counsel. Why can’t we be both Spirit-filled and well educated? IPHC allows ordination through the traditional route (schooling) or through denomination certified training but the courses take several years to complete. I believe this is the least that should be expected of an ordained minister. #StudyToShowThyselfApproved

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Varnel Watson

      Is not too long ago like the Reformation or pre-humanism?

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Karen Lucas

      Lol…I’d say within the last century.

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Varnel Watson

      Strongly doubt that while disregarding such western thinking

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Karen Lucas

      Ok? Not sure what you mean by that. I can tell you that I spend a lot of time with historical documents and that what even Pentecostals were cranking out on a weekly basis for laity to read in denominational publications as recently as the 40’s and 50’s would put what we Pentecostals and charismatic currently put out to shame. Earlier than that, it was even better. Now to find anything similar, we have to go to scholarly sources. It was more balanced back then. They had testimony pages but also good theological teaching. And, they’d quote from, Whitefield, Simpson, Wesley, etc…

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Varnel Watson

      Karen Lucas 100 years ago Azusa street revival participants were among the most knowledgeable in the community? Dont think so! Thank God we never relaied too much on degrees in Pentecostalism

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Karen Lucas

      Seymour was educated. Bartleman was educated. Lucy Farrow was highly educated.

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Karen Lucas

      It was at Parham’s bible college that students were encouraged to study scripture in detail to determine if there was any biblical evidence of Holy Spirit infilling. This led to the development of the doctrine of tongues. Upon hearing G. B. Cashwell peach this doctrine, J. H. King locked himself away for fasting, prayer and a Greek study of the scriptures in question before accepting the doctrine. These are just a few examples. The notion that early leaders were uneducated is false. Many laypeople attending may have been but most leaders were not and earlier ministers had to be endorsed. Most brought credentials with them from other denominations.

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Eva Benevento

    One of the most intelligent, learned, gifted, and knowledgable pastors I know was a high school dropout. The point being that although his case is quite rare, having a diploma is not always the mark of a capable minister. I wish all ministerial leaders were well educated, but I think we also have to make space for the exception. At the end of the day, we are talking about people, not products. I think a good mentorship model serves the Church well.

    • Reply November 4, 2016

      Karen Lucas

      Exceptions were mentioned above, Eva Benevento.

  • Reply November 4, 2016

    Karen Lucas

  • Reply November 5, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    Karen What does gen. population stats have to do with mandated mandatory college degrees as prerequisite to ordination? Sure glad Charles Page finally made the PEW stats 🙂 Timothy Carter

  • Reply November 5, 2016

    Karen Lucas

    I think it’s worth thinking about. Clergy often come from the pews.

  • Reply November 5, 2016

    Timothy Carter

    I agree that anyone serious about their call in ministry should earn ministry credentials by submitting to the regulations and guidelines set by a reputable Christian body.

  • Reply November 5, 2016

    Timothy Carter

    Have you ever been to Cleveland, TN? Many ministers are already educated beyond their intelligence. LOL

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Varnel Watson

      I’d like to meet a person who is beyond his/her own intelligence. I’d also wanna know how this is possible

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Timothy Carter

      “Educated beyond one’s intelligence” essentially means, that you have degree(s) that are not required for the job you are performing. For instance, college graduates working at a fast food restaurant would be overeducated for that job. Then others are so educated that they can’t function outside of the class room.

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Joseph D. Absher

      My dad said this after 30+ years in the air force. I think he was referring to people with positions of authority and responsibility given based on education and not actual functional abilities. Just my take. The look on his tired face said it all

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Joseph D. Absher

      Yes, God willing I’ll be back… Are they still crazy for Jesus down there. I hear it’s becoming big or something. Gotta, just gotta see the family of Mary Jane Howle she was a real saint you know of her??

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Timothy Carter

      Joseph D. Absher I got this from my Dad. He was in the Marines. He used this statement as a way of saying that their education has made them stupid.

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Joseph D. Absher

      “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” – USMC Not much for theology but long on truth.

  • Reply November 6, 2016

    Jerome Herrick Weymouth

    What the oneness demanding the trinitiarians go to their schools?

  • Reply October 28, 2019

    Varnel Watson

    What is your take on this? Chris Friend

  • Reply October 28, 2019

    George Hartwell

    The educational model of the Pentecostal churches must allow more dialogue and encourage people to think for themselves else people get stuck with ineffective head knowledge. Try a college where everyone walks with the professor like Jesus. LOL. 🙂

    • Reply October 28, 2019

      Varnel Watson

      hello and welcome to the 21st century We’ve been waiting for you George Hartwell The Bible college sunday school model has failed us in Pentecostal education The world has moved on and we are behind What is your suggestion for YOUNG ministers? Joseph Steven Girdler

    • Reply October 29, 2019

      Joseph Steven Girdler

      Troy Day , I 1) encourage higher education -when at all possible- Bible College, Master’s, doctoral degree studies and research, 2) and/but am personally seeing in the AG, nationally, approved-for-credentialing “District Schools of Ministry” working well and developing next-Gen and bi-vocational church staff and pastoral leaders.

    • Reply October 29, 2019

      Varnel Watson

      Joseph Steven Girdler I cant agree more that training is needed but should it be mandatory for all?

    • Reply October 29, 2019

      George Hartwell

      In terms of training for prayer counseling ministry in university-level courses it is usually secular models of counseling all the way with a sprinkling of Jesus on top. I am in the midst of writing a book outlining a Christian prayer model of counseling that fits within professional models and is backed by evidence as to effectiveness. Look for “Heal My Inner Child” hopefully out within 12 months.

    • Reply October 30, 2019

      Joseph Steven Girdler

      Troy Day , while college or graduate school education should not be the pinnacle for God-called preachers of the Word, I do believe it imperative to have biblically literate pastor-leaders & five-fold (Eph 4:11) leaders in our pulpits and discipling Individuals. Thus, yes, I fully endorse theological and scriptural education.

  • Reply October 29, 2019

    Ana-Maria Plus Michael

    The question is WHAT DEGREE. Bible school degree or a research degree? BA in religions may be something entirely different from BA in Bible & Theology at a spiritually vivid seminary.

    I’m myself an educator. Anti-intellectualism is a plague. But to force ministers to become researchers is ridiculous. It will only reinforce anti-intellectualism among independent churches.

  • Reply October 29, 2019

    Ron Raylene Raney

    it is God who calls,

  • Reply October 29, 2019

    Varnel Watson

    GOD calls ministers to show themselves approved

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