How can I balance family life and ministry? How do I gain control of my time? What if I want to leave the ministry?
Surviving Ministry uses questions, case studies, historical and biblical analysis to inform the public and private ethics of the parish minister. Topics include:
Ronald D. Sisk is pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He received a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Table of Contents
I. The Private Sphere - Problems of the Minister's Personal Christian Life
Chapter 1. Vocation
What should I do when my faith convictions conflict with those of my faith community?
An excerpt from Surviving Ministry
by Ronald D. Sisk
In 1979, at its annual convention in Houston, Texas, the Southern Baptist Convention witnessed the beginning of an organized, systematic, political campaign by fundamentalists to take over the power structure of the convention and thereby to control the direction of its institutions. The mechanism for achieving control was quite simple. All the fundamentalists had to do was to control the election of the convention president for a period of approximately ten years. The president controls the appointment of trustees to all the governing boards of the conventions agencies. The trustees determine the agencies policies.
Trumpeting an extremely narrow definition of biblical inerrancy in combination with a right-wing political agenda, the fundamentalists won. By the late 1980s, they had achieved political control of the entire national structure of the convention, its executive board, its publishing house, its social ethics agency, its seminaries, and its home and foreign mission agencies.
Policies that the conventions left wing (known as moderates) considered anathema began to be enacted across the board. The entire left wing of the denomination, amounting to approximately forty percent of the convention by most estimates, found its people and its opinions unrepresented in the conventions policies and power structure. Once firmly in power, the leaders of the takeover declared that the controversy was over, called on the losers to continue their contributions to the conventions national work, and began to say that everyone should reconcile on the basis of the new power reality.
Baptist polity, of course, with its strong emphasis on the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, gave a good deal of room for dissenting ministers and congregations to continue to hold to their own practices and biblical interpretations. But, from a moderate perspective, the well of national convention life was poisoned. The question we will attempt to answer through this section is How could or should dissenting ministers act when their faith community adopts a stance they find contrary to their personal convictions?