Thursday, January 24, 2013
Are you called?
Seminarians facing ordination encounter the question of calling, which vicinage councils usually ask about. Being trained, gifted, and ready to do the work doesn't seem enough; yet how does one define and defend a "calling"? A few years ago I ready Gary Friesen's book Decision Making and the Will of God, which is the best study I've seen on the subject, and I'm in the process of reading The Call by Os Guiness. When Friesen came before his vicinage council they weren't pleased that he hadn't received an inner "impression," yet (and I mentioned this to him when he was at GCTS) what might they have said if he said "An angel came to me and told me to be a pastor"? There are two options: special revelation (the Scriptures) and direct revelation (God or an angel appearing to an individual), but nothing about "impressions" in Scripture, which is very subjective. Friesen's council even had trouble defining the "call to the ministry" when he asked for a definition. I decided to give it a try... A calling is a vocation lived out as a willing, committed response to God's summons based on a godly desire to serve, prayerfully verified by others. This may help somewhat, but ultimately we have the God-given wisdom, freedom, and responsibility to decide how to live for Him.