I was born and bred a Southern Baptist. I was saved in an SBC church, committed to ministry in another SBC church, educated in an SBC college, trained for ministry in an SBC seminary (tuition paid, in large part, with SBC dollars). I’ve been a pastor who was involved in SBC work from the association to the state convention to the national denomination. My church consistently gives hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for SBC causes.
When I took my first pastorate, which I am still currently serving, I had stars in my eyes and visions of grandeur. I envisioned filling the pews and having to put out chairs because of all the people that would be coming. I envisioned our student ministry taking off and our children’s department to do the same.
I believe the vast majority of Calvinists seek to be clear about their belief in Calvinism when interviewed by a pastoral search committee. I personally know some Calvinists who seek to make this very clear in the interview process. However, and quite unfortunately, that is not always the case.
A preacher of a previous generation once told me: “If you do not prepare your sermon and your own soul, nothing will come out but hot air.” If you do not deal with the text, God will not deal with your people. Preacher, get in the Word or get out of the pulpit.
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.