Hey folks, I received this interesting correspondence from a P&P reader. I have been meaning to reply to him, but I thought that I would let you all give it a shot.
Here is the letter:
I’m a little confused about something, or someone might be a better way to put it. I have been attending this church for about 6 years and the pastor has been great. He works hard on the teachings, he tackles the hard topics without fear, and he displays his intellectual discoveries with boldness. He equally shows disdain for Theologians and gets quite angry at terms like Calvinism, Arminianism, Vicarious Substitutionary Atonement, or anything other theology term. His feeling is that theologians are out of touch, have no ability to relate the concepts to people, and theologians in general treat the laity as simpletons.
What makes this so confusing is that he attended bible college and got his degree but never attended seminary/graduate school, so where does this attitude come from? I’m pursuing my Th.M and I’ve tried on many occasions to ask him his thoughts on things using the appropriate terminology and he will not talk to me if I use "those terms" . He said that he doesn’t want someone to overhear the conversation and feel like they are too stupid to attend his church. In fact, he said, "most theologians are simply using those terms to purposely make others feel inferior while they compete in theological ‘pissing contests’ "
Has he simple fallen off the map over the years? He’s young too, only mid 40’s I’m guessing, and very intelligent so it’s such a bizarre situation. I guess I’m sharing this to maybe get some feed back from others experiences. I wonder if he feels challenged by my education? Or maybe he doesn’t know as much as he pretends to and fears being discovered (this is doubtful)?
I intent on pursuing my education and I don’t for one sec buy into the idea the higher education makes one "irrelevant and unrelatable" If he could he’d encourage me to leave seminary immediately is the impression I get.
The pastor’s stated problems:
- His feeling is that theologians are out of touch, have no ability to relate the concepts to people, and theologians in general treat the laity as simpletons.
- He does not want others to feel like simpletons when the hear words they don’t know.
What are your thoughts?