A Brief Plea for Pastoral Literacy

One thing I’ve commented on is the sad lack of education from many IFB pastors.

Part of the problem is this – many IFB pastors quite simply are Ruckman, Hyles or even quasi-Ruckman in theology.

“I should be able to read my King James Bible and learn all I need to know!”


how many times a year are you reading through?

Define propitiation.

LIst me three Bible verses to defend the Trinity.

List three on Bible preservation.

Explain to me doctrinal passages. Have you written your own statement of faith? Have you researched what passages confirm what doctrine?

When you’re reading a parable, to what extent may you derive doctrine from it?

Pleases list the books of the Bible that it is not advisable to derive doctrine from.

Identify any one word in this verse from 1 John… καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐγνώκαμεν αὐτόν, ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν.

David Cloud has criticized the IFB pastors on the whole as being “The great illiterati”. I have to agree. I’m sometimes embarassed listening to IFB pastors and how poor a grasp of Bible doctrine some have. Others stand out as being well educated (Marc Monte). Others stand out as having a really good grasp on Bible doctrine (Jason Cooley).

Should a pastor train up his replacement in the local church? Yes. If you end up with a God called preacher boy in your church, by all means… get him started. The only problem is now we have made Pastoring a 60 hour a week job – and then expect the pastor to also work a day job.

Leaving no time to train up the preacher boy.

Answer – seminary.

I want to make this clear – I am by no means highly educated Biblically. I consider my level of learning BARE MINIMUM for ascending the pulpit. the verse in the 1 john is a piece of cake, and I had to look at it for about 5 seconds. It’s got “And, we, The” as the dominant words! Easy! When you look at a greek verse FROM WHICH YOUR BIBLE WAS TRANSLATED, look for the easy words first! Look for Tou, Ton, Pas Pasa Pan, Ek, Kai! These words are the most common. Learn those and it makes it a lot easier.

Let me list one very famous preacher from Florida. Very well known in the IFB movement, and has a radio show. One of his major issues is trying to tell people their pets do not have a soul. He seems to REALLY delight in it. “Little Fido is not going to heaven!” He just FESTERS to tell people this. And his supporting text is from a book of the Bible you just don’t use as a primary source for deriving doctrine from. Many, many Bible teachers tell you… “Do NOT derive doctrine from Job and Ecclesiastes!” There’s good valid reasons. We derive doctrine from repeated usage. John 3:16 is an important verse – and its theme of salvation available to any who wish it is repeated many times in the Bible. We use that.

If all you’ve got is one verse from Ecclesiastes you use to cite that you won’t find animals in heaven – you’re really in trouble, because Jesus Christ is riding a white horse at the end of Revelation. And the Bible uses the word נֶפֶשׁ “nephesh” many times to refer to animals. The word Nephesh means soul. Really. Look it up.

Remember that “Study to shew thyself approved?” I dare say Many IFB pastors have not.

You may be called to the ministry. you may indeed. And yes, God will permit you to do it prior to your shewing yourself approved. But the poiint is, you had a “Not yet” from the Lord, and you disregarded it. Your ministry will probably never reach its full potential.

Okay, let’s say that someone reading this has grasped that they have not yet been properly Biblically trained. I’m not calling you to step down. I am calling for you to start. I started Seminary in 2010, I think? It’s been six years, and that included two years off.

If you could not answer the questions above and you’re in a pulpit, you have not studied to thew thyself approved. There is a free IFB seminary on line. Enroll. Study. Do at least the four year program.

There’s no excuse for ignorance. If you do not know more than the person in the pew, why are you teaching them?

Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???