10 Questions Pastoral Search Committees Must Ask

TEN QUESTIONS PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEES MUST ASK

The current theological climate presents a tremendous challenge for churches in search of a new pastor. Unfortunately, pastoral search committees are too often unaware of some of today’s most pressing theological issues and so do not know the questions that need to be asked of pastoral candidates to determine where they stand doctrinally.

This list of 10 theological questions is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather is designed to be an aid in the overall pastoral search process. The reason for posing simple yes or no questions is that this makes it more difficult for someone to conceal their true theological commitments by giving more lengthy ambiguous answers to open-ended questions.

Assumed areas of theological agreement

1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God
2. God created the heavens and the earth
3. Miracles are real events and heaven and hell are real places
4. Jesus is both fully God and fully man, and was born of a virgin
5. Christ died for sinners
6. Salvation is by grace through faith
7. Christ’s resurrection and 2nd coming are literal events
8. Mankind will be resurrected and judged

The above areas constitute a baseline of beliefs that must be accepted in order for someone to be identified as “Christian” in at least the broader world religion sense of the word.  However, acceptance of these statements does not guarantee that someone is actually a born-again believer in Jesus Christ (and thus a Christian in the biblical sense of the word) or that someone’s deeper understanding of each statement is actually biblical. Therefore, further questions need to be asked in order to determine more precisely the overall theology of any given pastoral candidate.

Because theology tends to be grouped into “theological packages,” (i.e., the various areas of one’s theology are all interrelated) the following ten questions will normally yield a relatively accurate picture of what someone actually believes, even in areas not directly connected to the questions, but which are equally important.

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10 Questions Pastoral Search Committees Must Ask Prospective Candidates

Each question only requires an initial yes or no answer

1. Is the Bible the inspired, inerrant, infallible, sufficient and authoritative Word of God?
2. Did God create everything in six literal, 24-hour days in the recent past?
3. Should accounts of things like the Fall, the Flood, the Exodus, Jonah in the fish, etc. all be understood literally?
4. Is faith alone in Christ alone the only, exclusive means of salvation for everyone?
5. Does faith precede regeneration in the logical order of salvation?
6. Can born-again believers lose or forfeit their salvation?
7. Did the sign gifts of the Spirit cease by the end of the Apostolic Era?
8. Does national Israel still have a future place in God’s program distinct from the Church?
9. Will Christ return to rule over the earth for 1000 years from a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem?
10. Will the Church be raptured before the seven-year tribulation period?

Notes:
1. The traditionally conservative, dispensational evangelical answer to each question is “yes”
2. Concerning question #5 (5-Point Calvinists believe that regeneration precedes faith)
3. If a candidate refuses to give a simple yes or no answer to any question, then this is likely a sign that they either have no convictions in this area – or they are attempting to conceal what they personally believe.


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