My former writing partner and current friend – we’ll see how much longer that lasts after this post – wrote a thoughtful list of questions that presumably an elder, pastor, or ecclesial leader should be able to thoughtfully answer as part of his/her application for leadership. The list he put together is particularly interesting in light of the leaked questionnaire HBC is allegedly using. The HBC list can be found here at Julie Roys’ blog post.
The nature of the questions and the framing of issues by these two sets of questions is revealing. Scott has two MA degrees, one in Theology from Wheaton and the other in Philosophy from Trinity. Education is no guarantee for wisdom and godliness, but wisdom feeds on facts and data. Without sufficient knowledge we don’t even know what we don’t know. See, education – to be differentiated from schooling – at its best does not provide answers as much as it helps us ask better questions, a great part of wisdom.
It is an undeniable fact that the history of Evangelicalism in America is pock marked by anti-intellectual impulses and anti-institutional attitudes. There are reasons for this, but over one hundred years later American Evangelical churches are suffocating from a lack of informed, historical, and global (in other words The Churches’) perspectives on questions of praxis and orthodoxy. Put another way, a long standing cultural impulse toward isolationism has left the American Evangelical church often unaware of what it is they are unaware. Herein lies the benefits of the Great Tradition in Christian history from which Scott is borrowing to help him frame these questions. These are not the “right” questions, for others may develop other helpful lists, but it is at least a reasonably informed set of questions. Here is what he came up with.