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.
I grew up in a generation that didn’t have car seats. We either sat still in the back seat or our father would blindly flail his arms our way, trying to smack a kid or two while repeating, “Don’t make me pull this car over!” When our kids were growing up, they had something we called a car seat, but it looked more like a plastic box with a small mattress tucked inside and a NASCAR racing harness attached.