Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Steps 38-44

When one enters the ordination process in the PCUSA (at least in Pittsburgh Presbytery) you are given the 47 step process to ordination. By next Thursday (unless I am deemed a heretic of sorts) I will have walked through steps 38-44. Tomorrow night (step 38) I read my statement of faith to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and they ask me some questions about it and if they think I am Reformed enough then I have to answer the Constitutional Questions for Ordination:
  1. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
  2. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to you?
  3. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
  4. Will you fulfill you office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
  5. Will you be governed by our church's polity, and will you abide by its discipline?
  6. Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?
  7. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
  8. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?
  9. Will you seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
I struggle deeply with Quetion number 3. I have many problems with many of the Reformed Confessions but I can asnwer in the affirmative becaseu of one line in the Confession of 1967 which states, “No one type of confession is exclusively valid, no one statement is irreformable. Obedience to Jesus Christ alone identifies the one universal church and supplies the continuity of its tradition. This obedience is the ground of the church’s duty and freedom to reform itself in the life and doctrine as new occasions in God’s providence may demand.” (9.03) To me this communicates that all creeds need be to continually evaluated and communities of people must ultimately obey their conscience as it is submitted to Christ. This is part of why I am a part of the Reformed tradition and in particular Presbymergent because on paper we believe that the church ought to be constantly reforming according to the Word of God and the Spirit.

Anyway... I will then repeat the reading of my statement of faith before the entire Presbytery next Thursday afternoon and then they think I am Reformed enough then I have to answer the Constitutional Questions for Ordination in an official manner and then finally my ordination to minister of Word and sacrament is scheduled to happen Sunday, January 27th. Sighhhh...


Brian said...

Ha ha! I'll be waiting next Thursday with a surprise question! We'll see if you can get through Presbytery...

Okay, not really - that'd be a total jerk move.

Alyssa said...

You're almost there, BJ! Soon and very soon...

terrytimm said...

after your latest post you just might be consider a heretic.

Anonymous said...

BJ - I struggled with that exact same question years ago. I finally landed in my simple mind on "reliable expositions" in my heretical mind so that I place them on an equal plane with "other expositions" sitting on my shelf or on my pc. Heretical? Probably. - TM

Sarah Louise said...

I'm sorry, but all I can think of is WOO HOO!

And I'm grateful for your being able to answer #3 b/c of the Confession of 1967. God is bigger than we can imagine.