Does my Pastor Have a Demon?


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I think you are referring to a “Dmin” which, while phonetically similar, refers to a “doctor of ministry” degree and not possession by a malevolent spirit. However, depending on who you talk to, there is much difference between a “demon” and a “Dmin”.

Since returning from seminary with a masters degree I have been amazed at how many people in our union, from different churches, all seem to view me or Andrews University with suspicion.

Recently, I performed a wedding in Wichita KS [where I began my ministry] and had one of my former church members, approach me slyly and in hushed tones asked me what I saw being taught “up there in Michigan”.

He was checking in to see if I saw any theological aberration. And he isn’t the first to approach me this way. At a Men’s Retreat last year several people surrounded a friend of mine, also a newly graduated seminarian, and give us a friendly quiz about our education.

One gentleman in my church doesn’t trust our conference because they are “too educated.”

Its amazing how people can be discriminated against for HAVING an education as well as NOT having an education. And as Adventists, don’t we place a significant emphasis on education? Why then do we abandon it after Academy or High School?

Part of the problem, as I see it, is an unhealthy view of what education is supposed to do. For many traditionalists, education is merely indoctrination. We send our pastors to seminary to reinforce what we already know.

Yet for others, and this is maybe where the bad rep comes from, its a chance to turn over everything you have ever been taught and find ways around the beliefs that don’t suit your purpose.

Both of these models are not education.

And yet I see them both. From Adventists whose only connection to the church is in name only; and others who are so scared of being duped into false belief they wont ready anything that doesn’t have the SDA Brand logo on it. Not realizing that some of the craziest theology in the world gets exchanged at our own potlucks in our own lobbies. Brand name has nothing to do with anything anymore.

For those people I have seen who can’t learn to re-evaluate and change a position that is not sustainable after close investigation their only path is irrelevance. And for those people who enter high education and come out with a collage of strange beliefs, in my experience, already had them going in.

I think one continual challenge we have is to teach our people, both in schools and churches, not just information–but how to PROCESS information.

Most of our Bible Studies provide the answers right after they ask the questions–so technically one wouldnt even have to open the Bible to complete one.

How many kids know how to use a concordance, commentary, or parallel Bible? How many kids learn to study scripture like William Miller [one of our church pioneers in the 19th century] versus how many are simply taught what William Miller found?

The problem isn’t that our schools have “strange fire”–you can find strange fire everywhere–the problem is that we don’t teach our people how to identify strange fire…or how to put it out.

So, what are your thoughts? How do we teach people to think? And how do you feel about secondary education?

And as doctorates are replacing the masters degree in most occupations as a necessity, should pastors get demons…er…Dmins?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Does my Pastor Have a Demon?

  1. aprin

    Sadly, I don’t have a specific suggestion for our curriculum in teaching people how to think, but I do agree. I even see it in the Adult Bible Study guide. You could almost go through it without reading the Bible, and then if, during Bible study, someone draws a slightly different conclusion or perspective, I’ve heard the Sabbath school leader say something like, “yes, but that’s not what the lesson points out” or “well, the point we’re supposed to draw from it is this…”

    I guess there needs to be a “methods” section in our religion and Bible study curriculums. At a community college, I took a Logic and Basic Philosophy class, and it went over reasoning methods and logic progression and logical fallacies to avoid. Something like that might be helpful in our own curriculums, and tailored to Bible study methods.

    I don’t know, just a thought I guess. Since you asked 🙂

  2. Martin Weber

    Amy told me about this post, and after reading it I know why.

    Good thoughts. We need not to be taught what to think but how to think–specifically in this context, how to study the Bible.

    Thanks, Seth.
    Martin

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