Committees should investigate the candidate’s beliefs, point by point, without any hesitation to ask for clarification or to require a “yes or no” answer on any point. After all, your church is at stake, and no honest minister will be offended at your desire to know what he believes.
It could be easily assumed that in the process of searching for and calling a pastor, both the church and the prospective pastor desire a good match in matters of doctrine. This assumption has caused many regrettable mismatches and more than a few church splits. Many ministers do not offer information about personal doctrinal stances that may not be shared by the congregation considering them for the pastorate. One area in which a potential pastor may be less than forthcoming lies in the issue of Calvinism.
Stearns was by all accounts an inspirational preacher capable of captivating his audience. The response of his congregations wherever he preached was expressive emotion. None of Stearns’ sermons are available and have disappeared. He was much an impromptu preacher which may account for some of the failure to uncover any sermons in printed form.
I am continually frustrated that Christians, even pastors and theologians, seem to have an overwhelming inability to discern the times. The Christian world is continually making false assumptions about reality, then making decisions based upon those assumptions. A continued downward spiral is the only result.
To my right was Roy Fish, Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To my left was a seasoned veteran of evangelism. Both of these well-dressed men seemed enthusiastic about the event. Both of them had previously been asked to serve in this same capacity many times. I had not. Why was I so disinterested?