Soon after I graduated from seminary one of my first ministries was as an assistant pastor of First Baptist Church in Medford, Oregon. During those three years I attended a number of ordination exams. In our denomination, ordination exams are about the same as the baseballs at Fenway Park, all of them are pretty much alike. But there was one that I do remember.
A young man was being examined for ministry, and as I remember, he was a graduate of a Bible college. The pastors in the area had come to put him through his paces, the standard stuff—call to ministry, conversion, and then they got into the doctrinal section. That was pretty standard, too. What did he believe about Scripture? What did he believe about Jesus Christ? What did he believe about the Holy Spirit? Did he think it was all right for people to speak in tongues? Then there were always the questions on eschatology. Are you premillennial, are you amillennial, or are you postmillennial? If you got it right, you said premillennial, and then they moved on to a second set of questions. Are you pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib? After a while the chairman decided that it was enough, the suffering was over and asked for any final questions.
A pastor stood up and said, “I’ve got two more questions.” Folks were a little uneasy, but he began, “Young man, I’ve got two questions. The first question is: Do you love people?” I guess I remember it because I remembered my reaction. You know they say there are no stupid questions. This gets about as close as you could get. Do you love people? What do you expect him to say? No, I hate people but I love the money and the ministry.
As the years have passed I realized that ...
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Haddon Robinson was a preacher and teacher of preachers all over the world. His last teaching position was as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.