A kind friend pointed out that the seminary focuses I dissed in my last post:
- Theological knowledge
- Pastoral skills
- Relational experiences
may not be sufficient for spiritual maturity, but are necessary.
In fact, what I should have said is that the latter require the former:
- The point of theological knowledge IS to enable us to submit in a healthy way to God, the Bible, authorities, and peers.
- The point of pastoral skills IS to help us confront, grieve, and forgive sin.
- The point of relational experience IS to help us grow in grace through the gospel.
They are strongly correlated (which also explains why everybody does them). However, my claim is that the items on the left MUST be subordinate to those on the right (cf. The Agile Manifesto).
As long as those actions promote spiritual maturity, everything is good. But, anything that does not lead to maturity is bad. In fact, not submitting to what we know of God is arguably the definition of sin.
This implies that spiritual maturity is the ability to conquer sin. And that the point of leadership training is to give us the knowledge, skills and experience — of God and people — that enable us to conquer sin. In ourselves, our community, and the world, through the gospel of Christ. Amen!