October 17, 2017

Praise the Lord! He paid off my credit card! Again!

bball.jpgPresumption. Actually, the sin of presumption. I want to write about it, but I’m afraid that either I don’t know what I am talking about or I am going to make hundreds of sweet, wonderful Christian people start praying that I get a fever and die.

Oh well….what is life if we don’t live dangerously. I think presumption is rapidly rising on the list of common evangelical sins. But since you may have never used the word in your life, you probably can’t figure out why it bothers me.

First of all, what is presumption anyway? Let’s visit those experts at cataloging sin….the fathers of the Roman Catholic Church. And there is a good start in the “Summa.” Aquinas says that presumption is a sin, because it presumes on the mercy of God. He calls it a sin of “excessive hope.”

I answer that, As stated above …with regard to despair, every appetitive movement that is conformed to a false intellect, is evil in itself and sinful. Now presumption is an appetitive movement, since it denotes an inordinate hope. Moreover it is conformed to a false intellect, just as despair is: for just as it is false that God does not pardon the repentant, or that He does not turn sinners to repentance, so is it false that He grants forgiveness to those who persevere in their sins, and that He gives glory to those who cease from good works: and it is to this estimate that the movement of presumption is conformed.

My problem in talking about presumption is that most of what is written about it concerns persevering in sin, presuming on the forgiveness of God. But Aquinas mentions the kind of presumption that interests me: the kind that abandons what is good and right, in the hope that God will “give glory,” i.e. reward, anyway.

Protestants have written about presumption too, using Biblical examples like Saul to warn of those who go beyond what it right or commanded, presuming that God is committed to their success. Good ol’ Webster makes my concern fairly plain: “…The act of venturing beyond due bounds; forward, venturesome, overconfident, or arrogant opinion or conduct; unreasonable confidence.”

So what concerns me enough to spend the valuable time of Internet Monk readers? It’s right there in front of you, but one more brief observation before I get down to specifics.

A few months ago, when there was a lot of writing about Islamist terror on the web, and someone made the observation that the terrorists seem to draw their foot soldiers from a certain kind of Muslim: the kind of semi-westernized type of educated young men who were most torn between the theology and vision of Islam and the secular worldview of the west. The comment that got my attention was this: the answer to doubt was to do something that forced Allah to prove he was real. Those acts of terrorism were ways to exorcise the agony of personal doubt, and a route to certainty that God is real.

I consider this to be a rather astonishing insight into all kinds of religious presumption. It doesn’t come from an abundance of faith, but from a persistence of doubt.

Hmmmmm.

Here’s what I am seeing and hearing. I am seeing and hearing more and more evangelicals presumptuously announcing what God is going to do. I don’t mean “gift of prophecy” type announcements, but certainties of what God is going to do, no matter what they do. That is why I am interested in the comment from Aquinas: “….glory to those who cease from good works.”

Examples?

Well, a simple example is the friend with cancer who simply refuses treatment because he believes God will cure him. The fact that God has him sitting in a doctor’s office where effective medicine is available doesn’t register. No, God will heal him if he does nothing.

Or the fellow who announces that he has been called to preach, has no education and is going to a small church at best, but refuses to be bi-vocational or to let his wife work outside the home. God has promised to take care of him. I don’t doubt it. There’s good scripture to encourage his confidence. But there is no scripture to encourage his refusal to work or to allow his wife to make a contribution to the economic welfare of the family. The faith may be sincere, but the presumption is real.

Then we have the Christian young person who goes into debt for school….and clothes….and a car….and more. Thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, yet their confidence is “God will take care of me.” Even if you are simply an irresponsible, materialistic American? Where does it say that he prefers the money go to you rather than someone with a real problem?

Young people aren’t the only ones to play that game. Prosperity gospel churches are full of people with two SUVs, a boat and a third mortgage, giving testimony to how their sacrificial gift is going to move the Holy Spirit to financially bless them to pay off their debts. Faith? What kind of game are we playing here?

God is taking care of students who refuse to study, churches who don’t do missions in their neighborhood because of 6 figure salaries and “Christian” colleges that waste truckfuls of money on things too dumb to describe. God is going to come through for irresponsible girls dating selfish, dangerously immature boys. He’s committed to rescuing people with $20k on the credit cards and nothing in savings. He is going to make your kids turn out great because you took them to the megachurch, even if you have little to do with them personally. He’s paying off new cars and vacation loans. God is financing lots of CDs and not a little jewelry.

God is paying off some pretty amazing church buildings in America. I heard one preacher say the Italian marble tile in the foyer was part of God’s vision for the church, so He will pick up the tab. A church I know well engaged in so much God-rap about new property and a new building that you felt like an atheist if you didn’t go along. “God wants this new building” is the most popular sermon every year, and how do they know that….exactly?

Remember II Thessalonians 3:10 ? For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Why not?

Maybe because God intends, normally, for those who can work, to work and feed themselves. They could not work, and stand outside declaring their faith that God was going to take care of them anyway, but I don’t think that is the way it works. Normally.

Normally. God is a good of miracles. He is a good of grace. He makes incredible promises, but none of them are meant to create in us a kind of presumption that abstains from good works we can do, obedience we should pursue or stewardship we owe to God. No, God’s provisions are there to let us sleep at night, whether we can work a full day, or we are unable to work at all. God will provide.

God isn’t obliged to sign on to all our plans for comfort, fame and all that STUFF Americans have to have to be happy. We are conspicuous consumers, and evangelicals are presumptuous consumers. Our ideas of God’s will show that we have not studied the Lord’s Prayer enough to know that our daily bread is the bread for God’s Kingdom agenda, not our comfort agenda.

God isn’t obliged to support all our plans to do things for Him. I wonder how many Christians realize God isn’t automatically co-signing for a business that is designed to “glorify him?” Or even an educational plan that takes a lot of money, but doesn’t leave a person with any skills for the mission field? When did God say that he was so approving of the financial needs of Americans that he would hand us wads of cash while Christians in other places go without food, clothing and shelter?

Are we nuts?

I rejoice in God’s goodness, but it is amazing how that goodness gets turned into something else once it meets the corruptions of the human heart and mind. The gifts and kindness of God become our opportunity to believe God is approving every purchase and plan.

Are we banishing doubt and testing God? Are we just being immature? Are we addicted to things and feelings that ought to be dead in our new life?

I can’t answer for you; only for me. I’m going to watch more closely for the sin of presumption in my life and ministry. God is faithful, and His faithfulness should always make me work harder at the good I can do, and not become the opportunity for me to abuse and pervert the gifts and kindnesses of a loving Father.

Comments

  1. i.e.

    Aslan is not a tame lion.

    What makes you think he’s gonna jump thru your hoop?

  2. Eric Lancaster says:

    Oh no…I guess I ain’t gettin’ that Cadillac Escalade from Dell just cause I bought a new computer…

    Eric 😉

  3. In regards to the young person going into debt for school, that scares me. I have a lot of debt. I came here thinking it was no big deal, like you said… God will take care of it. Why? Not because I am at some fancy University looking to grab a degree into some high-paying fancy job… no, I’m at a Bible College. I actually thought God was calling me into ministry, but I was betrayed and shown a fool by the very people who claim to be elite Christians, yes, those who think they are gifted in teaching the future teachers. I’m not called to full-time “professionalism” ministry, yet I’m still here finishing my degree in nothing with truckloads of debt. Imagine that. A school specializing in training for ministry leaves their graduating students in a state where they might as well buy a Mercedes-Benz with a High School degree. Hypocrisy. I was duped and now I’m going to finish off the rest of whatever life I have paying it off because I agree with you… and I’m lost at what to do now. Scared for the future, confused, and sad. I don’t even have any skills or talent for the mission field. Just a bank account in the negatives due to loans which are somehow “OK” (as opposed to other loans) and nothing else to give to the hurting world.

    Only grace can help me now. Only mercy and grace.

  4. Two corrections in an overall excellent post.

    From someone who has been in several Word of Faith (WOF) churches..namely me….
    First, I have personally heard over and over from the main WOF teachers that if you are sick you probably should go to the doctor and keep going until you are healed. For some reason, their followers don’t either hear this or wish to. And of course, there cetainly are other teachers who do teach people not to go to doctors which is tragic.
    The bottom line is this: if you are healed, then of course the healed don’t go to doctors. However, one should go for tests to be sure they really are healed, not just because they “feel” they are.

    Second, I have never been to any WOF church where the members are wealthy with big cars and lots of money. Frankly, the people in the majority of these churches ae the poorest around and remain so while in many cases (but not all) the pastor is the wealthy one, and excuse my lingo, pimpin’ off the folks.

  5. Diane…

    Thanks for the post, but I didn’t mention WOF.

    Prosperity oriented churches are of several denominational types, and many indy versions as well. Many are full of upper middle class types as described, in my experience at least. I wasn’t exclusively on the WOFs, though the ones here in KY are obsessed with $$ and are generously endowed with upper middle class folks as described.

    Saying a church is “full of” isn’t saying the sort of people mentioned are the only ones there. I agree that they are full of the poor as well.

    I also didn’t mention WOF with the illustration of the sick guy. He is in my church, and I don’t preach that view 🙂 This sort of thinking is everywhere.

  6. Good article. I am reminded of what Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:6 to 10: But godliness with contentment is great gain For we bought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    Perhaps I could amend the final line and say that many people have pierced themselves with debt and excessive spending

  7. Amen, bro’
    it is sad, but it is true.
    People imagine that GoD’s first purpose is for us to be happy, healthy and wealthy.
    I have a question though, who’s faulth is it? why do people believe all this non-sense? Why are people so ready to believe what their pastors or TV evangelist tells them even if it’s against what Bible clearly states?
    Peolpe look at their pastor and believe every word he says, and they don’t investigate for themselves
    We should all be like the Bereans
    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ”
    Paul, the great apostle is talking to them, and they still double check every word he said.
    It’s alawys lack of knowledge that leads to people believe strange things.
    John 8:31,32
    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    it is the truth that sets us free:
    – the truth that God asks his children to be responsible persons on this Earth,
    – the truth that our final home is not here, but in heaven
    – the truth that God asks his childrens to be holy, to be like Jesus ( now that’s a high standard )
    Thanks God for this site, and for all the people that still want to hear His voice, to read His word, to trust Him.
    I think it’s time for a new Reformation, put God once again in the center of our lifes.
    like puritans use to say: Those who have God and everything else have less than those who have God only.

  8. Excellent post. I’ve been told by many a preacher to “believe God for x” where x can be a job, a girlfriend, the gift of tongues, healing, or any other thing that he thinks God should give me. It gets old pretty quick.

  9. Ryan McKeever says:

    What are you people deaf?! Did you not hear Jared’s Post! For all that is holy, would not some one speak encouragement to him! Furthermore, would someone please for God’s sake address the truth of American christian education for what it is! A lie and a burden! (Breath) Whew. If you are able to read this Jared, hang in there. I am in the same boat you are, except I’m heading off to seminary with no gaurantees in sight only God’s leading. Let me explain my situation to everbody else. God found me in prison literally I was working as a correctional officer, but as I grew in the faith of our Lord, I believed the discipleship I was receiving in the church was far from adequate, and furthermore I believed God was calling(i.e. God was initiating) me to explicitly attend a CHRISTIAN university of higher education. I responded in faith, believing this was what he wanted. However, My family situation was not like that of most other college students. My father died two years before I enrolled, and I was caring for a thirteen year old sister he left behind. My chronically depressed mother moved home and I had to choose between keeping stability in the home or finding a job. I still walked away from this “christian university” with no less than $25,000. Furthermore, as Jared said, my degree prepared me to be nothing more than a walking stigma. Good for nothing in the church and useless to society, the best work I have had is working a part time job doing night security and part time work at toys r us. WOW, thats some calling boys! And don’t pull that protestant b.s. line God can use any situation, that’s more akin to the presumption. Yes, God is so mighty and so powerful that in the midst of an apethetic religious evangelical community and a oppressive retail capitalist environment I have learned about the life of Christ, but I give no thanks to the church and certainly no thanks to higher education. I learned more about true ministry suffering and sacrificing for family than I ever did at the university. After I graduated, I was given the cold shoulder by the university and was treated like someone with a chronic disease. Even if I wanted to pay off my debts, the “christian community” was actively apathetic in seeing me through to finding employment that would have payed a liveable wage. I resound with Jared’s sentiments, I recieved a baccalaureate in religious studies, I did not take out loans to buy clothes, cars, or audio equipment; NO, I took loans just to simply survive in this damned society. I took loans just to pay for tuition. I took out loans so that my little sister might make it through high school. And I resent the fact that the very institution, the very community that claims to have the authority to dole out these massive burdens, has absolutely NO responsiblity to me or ANY student in a vocational bearing. If this is the way it is, I say to hell with “christian” higher education, deciet and lies all. Religious faculty should be fired, and these schools should only exist for disciplines that American society cares about: Physical health, computer science and business. I cannot imagine the turmoil and frustration of actually graduating from a bible school, and looking out on the prospects. This is nothing more than a oppressive pagan system baptized by so called ‘leaders’ of christian society. [pause] Thankfully, God has called me to another educational community, one that for now seems to care about the debt I am assuming. But I am frustrated with the fact that the church, rather than supporting the next generation of pastors, is leaving them to hang out in the wind. I have not learned a damn thing about pastoring at toys ‘r’ us. I have not learned a damn thing about pastoring being a night lock up monitor. Oh sure I could make allegorical stretches of the imagination, but that would be partcipating in delusion at best. No, the church seems hell bent on building bigger barns, rather showing those who want to be examples to flock that God suppoorts them in their decision. Mark my words, and this is a prophetic challenge to the church of America, continue in this manner and the church will be swept away. For instead of making sure the shepherds of God’s flock had the neccessary provisions to hold out through their watch, the church wanted fur coats, and in doing so let the wolves in the front gate. Church leadership will at best be filled with incompetent people who care, at worst liars and thieves will plunder. Whichever, the body is deteriorating and rapidly becoming undone. Why the heck did we have the reformation in the first place?
    It is shameful that a young christian person should show the honesty to share their deepest suffering and none of the other ‘mature’ posters had any inclination to offer encouragement or condolence in the manner of our suffering Lord, Christ Jesus. If my crassness offends, I would ask your forgiveness, I just think Jared opened up a topic I have heard no one adress…ever…in a remotely redemptive manner. It time to get this dirty laundry out of the closet. Maybe the next essay could deal with “Christian Educational Administrations and how they are participating in the enslavement and oppression of the generation that is following them” (P.S. I’ll understand if you ban me forever for my cantankerous attitude)

    For Jared’s eyes only, and if you’re not Jared and your reading this, I hope your eyeballs melt out, no really, I mean that, If you’re not Jared, I hope your eyballs melt out. Well ok, if you’re a student in Jared’s shoes you can read this too. The rest a you can bump into dressers for all I care…..

    I meant what I said, hang in there. I don’t know what type of church you attend, but try to find a smaller one(35-200 members); you might have a better chance of securing the spiritual and emotional support that you will need in the aftermath of your graduation. You might not find a paid position, but you may find that people have a tendency to be more attentive and caring in a smaller congregation than in a megachurch (unless of course the megachurch has a phenomenal small group foundation). Second, come to grips with having to work a secular job, and if you need take a Sunday off every once in a while, do so. sometimes the reality of life and the God talk on Sunday militate to the point of bitter insanity. Also, Don’t be afraid to be angry with God about it, he wants to hear your frustrations. He’ll still be God even if you yell at him or even curse at him:). The most important thing I can encourage you in is, keep that line of communication open with him, he will guide you in the midst of your turmoil. And don’t be afraid to hold God accountable to his promises. If he has placed this burden on your heart to be a faithful servant to rightly communicate his word to his people, faith may mean urgently and persistently dogging him to show you how he is fulfilling HIS calling. Also, do whatever you can to not be distracted from God’s calling. The world is deceitful and does not want to hear the truth God is calling you to share. The world does not want to know the self-less love of Christ. You will be detoured, obstacles will be placed in your way, for even those in churches now do not want to hear the hard truth that redemption and renewal can only come through sacrifice. I would challenge you in one thing though, you said you don’t have skills or talent for the mission field. My friend, if you claim Jesus Christ as your Lord, he has already bestowed upon you gifts, and talents and most importantly the will to discipline yourself for the good of others. My suggestion is to as quickly as you can find some one you trust as a spirtual guide, ask them what they see in you, ask them how they see God working, and then trust God that he is revealing who he is making you to them. Also, sit down with your denominational leadership, sometimes, God does stick true ‘bishops'(see the early church definition 🙂 ) in positions of imortance and power. What you have described shows to me you are already living in the eternal life of Christ. Isaiah 52:13-53:5 tells us that God’s messiah, our savior would enter into grief, loss and suffering…and take our grief, pain and frustration on his own person. The true faith of Christ is trust in the midst of confusion, true love is charity in the midst pain, and hope true hope is believing in a loving God as we are confronted with an anxiety ridden future. As my favorite author Thomas a’Kempis said “Christ willed to suffer” and as we follow him we can expect no less. I have no doubt that as you proceed in faith God will make you a light to the nations, and as you faithfully bring your debt burden into his kingdom the stewardship he will bless you with will astonish the pagan kings around you.
    May God bless you in continued faithfulness,
    Knowing always the blessing of perseverence,
    From a brother in Christ Our Lord
    Ryan McKeever

  10. You raise a lot of fascinating and important issues that need to be addressed in a seperate piece on Christian ed.

    Let me just say a few things:

    I believe college is really important for a lot of people. Same with grad school. Especially for specific vocations.

    I am not sure the ordinary pastoral ministry is one of them.

    Or to be clearer, I don’t think it is worth acquiring huge debt to be pastorally trained at most schools.

    So many schools today are a money game. The financial aid package arrives, and there is $5k of loans. And next semester. And so on. All youdo is sign. And pay the rest of your life.

    Almost every week, Ryan, I talk to students who are 1) not being called or affirmed in ministry by a congregation but are 2) heading off to school to be ministerially trained, often at huge cost. Many of these young people are not going to be ministers. Ever. They are looking for something they think they will find at a school, and many of those schools are more than happy to take them in.

    I would advise:

    1) Be affirmed in your call by a church that will stand by you.
    2) That may not mean giving you $$, but at least telling you the truth about whether you are cut our for ministry. And if you are, helping you as possible.
    3) I want to really affirm churches like Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist that are starting ministry schools within the church. This makes abundant sense.
    4) I think we need new models for education (like the Founders Study Center/an online training option) to face the reality that acquiring a huge debt is not automatically God’s will.

    Good thoughts. And as to “ignoring” Jared, I don’t see the comment threads as a support group. It is a place where folks have the option of commenting or not….nothing wrong if they don’t.

    Good post.

  11. Michael-

    Nice post.

    For better or worse, economic reality (in America) leads to the conclusion that those who do justify boatloads of debt, etc. by their presumption will never learn through hardship that they were wrong.

    On a related note, I wonder if there is a link between rampant wealth and debt accumulation by many Christians and politics –namely, the system of primarily public asssistance in this country. I’ll leave that for other, more talented folk to address.

    JG

  12. Ryan McKeever says:

    Thanks for having a cooler head than I :). Maybe response is not neccessary, but then when was apathy neccessary for life? And what is apathy at it’s heart than the overlooking of the needs of our brothers and sisters presented right before our eyes? Sorry, I won’t push any farther than that.
    I do agree with you, theological education needs to be seriously revamped. From my limited experience most denominations require a masters of divinity degree before one can take a congregation or ordination. The situation kind of puts those called to be an example of Christ in a bind, especially if they lack the means. I have yet to see a the problem seriously adressed anywhere. The Church and the university/seminary are becoming dichotomous enitities, from themselves and from each other, leaving the student somewhere in a very lonely middle. Thank you for your listening ear, hopefully I shant be so hasty next time and reply in love, not anger.
    Gratefully yours,
    Ryan

  13. I want to say thanks to Ryan because I’ve never heard anyone really lend a listening ear to my rants about this and I appreciate the encouragement, higher Christian Education doesn’t work. It’s pretty ironic… I work security as well, but even more so ironic is that it’s for this school.

    Good points, Michael. I wish someone were there to have told me those things before I signed my life away. Sadly prior to my attending this school I was convinced I was being led into ministry. Even by the small church I attended. Now I’m so discouraged with the behavior here (through seeing it firsthand through working security… the lying, cheating, stealing, sexual immorality) that I find more equivalent to my junior high experience, that I now have a hard time even attending church. There’s nothing I can do about it now except find that secular job and work my tail off for 30 years to pay off an education I had no idea was so pointless, at least not until it was too late. I can’t transfer elsewhere or I will lose all that money to the tune of maybe one or two courses which will actually transfer elsewhere. I would love to have the money now to go to a different school and get proper vocational training for something else, but aside from divine intervention, that won’t happen.

    If it was the Lord’s will that make this poor decision to fall into a lifetime of paying off these loans, and I learn a few character traits along the way that draw me closer to Him, so be it. I will from this day forth speak out against Christian Higher Education for “professional ministry” (a phrase this place actually uses.) It has taken me the giving up of any future in ministry to realize how badly the church is corrupt today. The only meaning this education really holds for me is this realization. A poor paradox, isn’t it?

    I’ve always been afraid to really speak out about my situation for fear of getting laughed at. I’ve heard it enough from other satirical Christian websites who make fun of the whole Bible College thing and those like me who get sucked into that lie. Frankly I agree with them. However if my so-called brothers and sisters are going to laugh every time I turn my back as I struggle daily with this, then what is the point? Here is where I actually meet others with a mind who see most of “church” for what it is today, and if I walked into a church and told them I’m a Bible College student, I would either get a few hand shakes and smiles, or the complete cold shoulder by individuals such as myself who realize I made a bad choice. Which is the lesser evil? Either way I get screwed out of any genuine fellowship. I feel like an outcast at the churches I attend. If Jesus were to bump into me as I walked down the street, I don’t think I would be worthy of so much as a wink from him. But do any of us? Aside from His mediation? So what makes us worthy? What motivates us to lift one another up and be encouraging?

    I didn’t comment looking for support or encouragement though, honestly. I know it’s pretty hard to look at text on a monitor and really envision the person behind them. I realize this is the internet and it’s faux pas to truly seek any genuine encouragement, although I’m hard-pressed to find it in any church today, just maybe a few blank stares and complete misunderstandings. “How could you say those things about a Bible school!?” I suppose I was just trying to say thanks to Michael for being one of the few to realize this sin and how it applies to this situation.

    I suppose I should just deal with it and perhaps sometime in the future I will find a church which sees me less than a saint but more than a pile of dirt. We’ll see. Our Lord can’t come sooner.

  14. “higher Christian Education doesn’t work”
    it is really sad to hear this.
    What is more sad than this I think is that so many young people that want to make a difference find themselves in debt and despair.
    The church will suffer the consequences, who are going to be our next teachers? our next pastors?
    But, maybe it was never intended to be this way. Look at Paul and Timothy, how I envy Timothy …
    But this is what church should be all about, mature christians raising the next generation of pastors and teachers.
    “Money are a curse” – that’s what one of my friends that now goes to a Bible college told me. He too has to work a lot to cover the cost of his school.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.
    To him, to Jared and to all that have gone or are going thru this experience: God bless you all, I envy your courage.
    maybe michael a next appropriate post will be on “the calling”.

  15. Michael,

    Thank you for responding to my comment. I appreciate the input about your area.
    However, where I live, and I have been tracking church life in almost all evangelical sectors here in California for about 35 years, this isn’t true. The classic Pentecostals for the most part have rejected prosperity teaching as well as many Third Wave Charismatics and of course the classic non C/P evangelical denominations.

  16. Diane….with all due respect….who are these people on TBN?

    Is this the “Tulsa” crowd?

  17. To Jared and Ryan (if, indeed, anyone is still reading this thread):

    Greetings from another Bible School student who is deeply in debt. My debt is slightly more than my father makes in a year of working, and I know many who have twice as much debt. I have been fortunate at my school; I made a good choice, and feel that my education has been worth it (seriously: I got a Classical education, with Biblical foundations, and it was worth every cent I borrowed). But it is tough. Hang in there.

  18. interesting remarks, and I agree that the church is severly lacking on its encouragement, especially to those who are called to the ministry.
    I for one am under the impression that Bible college is not the end all be all to going into the ministry. I went to a secular public college and I am very thankful for the education I received there. Especially the contact I had with atheist and agnostic professors who enjoyed my position and defense of it.
    I am called to be a pastor, yet right now I am working a full time job and am a part time youth minister. I hope to start at a local seminary in the fall. (It’s goal is to be affordable).
    God does NOT call us to go into debt to get ministry training. I think someone would be hard pressed to find that in scripture.
    When god calls, he provides. I am not negating stepping out on faith, but God does not call us to be stupid.

    For those who are in serious debt and disgruntled with the church’s handling of it, hang in there. I would suggest getting Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover to getting out of debt. I am sorry for the negative experiences in the church, but there are some good apples in the bunch.

  19. Well said, sir.
    This is exactly where I am but couldn’t put a name (or phrase) to my situation.
    I do something and “presume” the Lord will bless my efforts. Now I have business debt that grew for a lack of knowledge. (HOS 6:4). I don’t even know how to ask for the Lord’s help at this point.
    I know He loves me. I’m just growing up (and close to God) the hard way.