The greatest evidence of whether your pastor is called by God will be witnessed in his convictions about the doctrine of the church. Does he care enough to discipline wayward members? Is he more concerned about what the church looks like than its holiness and catholicity (the church universal)? Is he more concerned about being relational rather than theological, subjective rather than objective?
All Christians need to see the warning signs of a man who has not been truly called by God to the office of pastor. Here are five to consider:
1. No Formal Theological Training
Some churchgoers avoid asking or even caring whether or not their pastors have been properly trained for pastoral ministry. It sometimes happens in churches that anyone who says that he feels called to do ministry does it. We wouldn’t, of course, do this in any other calling. I would be negligent at best if I sent my sick loved one to a self-proclaimed medical doctor who said that he felt called but who also skipped the MCAT and an accredited medical school. But in some churches this hasn’t stopped us. As long as a person feels led, has a big heart, and can motivate the people, he may be given the title of pastor. Here are a series of questions you should ask your pastor:
From which reputable seminary did you receive your Master of Divinity degree?
Which faithful church body confirmed your internal calling?
When were you ordained to the office and hands laid upon you?
Have you learned the word of God in the original languages?
If the pastor took some classes from some Bible college or other religious university and skirted the hard work of obtaining a Divinitatis Magistrvm (Master of Divinity), why would you expect him to labor faithfully every week in the Word to rightly divide the truth to the glory of God and the profit of your soul?
2. No Creed
What your pastor believes is crucial to the well-being of your soul. I Timothy 4:16 commands a pastor to take heed to himself and to the doctrine, for in doing this he will save both himself and those who hear him. So what is your pastor’s doctrine? Since no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation, to which historical and collective expression of what Scripture teaches has he promised to honor?
This is why Protestants produced creeds and confessions. The Holy Spirit has worked powerfully in Christians who have gone before us.