The paragraph from "Church Planter"
“One of the common errors of young men who surrender to ministry is to simply adopt the model of a church Macthat they have experienced or idolized. A similar mistake is to blindly accept the ministry philosophy and practice of a ministry hero. The man who is experiencing head confirmation is thoughtful about his own philosophy of ministry, his own ministry style, his own theological beliefs, his own unique gifts, abilities, and desires. In short, there is uniqueness to the way he wants to do ministry.”
John MacArthur's take:
Notice that Darrin Patrick himself summarizes and restates the point he is making, and it is about “uniqueness” in “the way he wants to do ministry.” He seems to suggest that everything about one’s ministry (Patrick expressly includes “his own theological beliefs“) needs to be self-styled and individualistic.
Is that really what Patrick is saying?
He could simply have been saying that when a man is called to ministry, everything he considers should be with thoughtfulness.
Is being thoughtful about my own theology mean that I'm being "self-styled and individualistic? No - it means that the more thoughtful I am about my study, the more I work out my salvation, the more time and care I put into it, the more I make the faith of my fathers...my own.
As the White Horse Inn guys say:
Know what you believe...and why.
A while ago, I read an interview with Rob Bell. He - as a pastor - embraced the mystery. He wasn't sure what he believed and he was okay with that.
My thought at the time was something to the effect of - If HE doesn't even know what he believes, why on EARTH would I trust him to teach me what I should believe?
God BLESS His men who are willing to be thoughtful (Patrick's word) about their own theology.
He seems to suggest that everything about one’s ministry...needs to be self-styled and individualistic.
No. I'm going to go further than MacArthur did in his quote.
In short, there is uniqueness to the way he wants to do ministry. Unlike many young men who know much about what they are against and little about what they are for, the man who is experiencing head confirmation things through very carefully and deliberately, what am I for with my life and ministry? What are my specific burdens for the church? How can I best serve the church in these areas?
If you read in context, the uniqueness that Patrick is writing about is not 'make it up as you go along' theology...
Patrick is urging men who feel called to the ministry to thoughtfully discover their own path, their own gifts, their own burdens, their own service...all of these given to them by God.
I doubt that MacArthur would really urge young men to jump into ministry without being thoughtful about their own theology - at least I hope not.
Or is it "preach the way I preach, believe all the minutia that I believe, do it the way I do it" and it'll all be good.