Imagine you're a district president and there's a vacant congregation under your supervision that has asked to call a candidate from the seminary. So you drive your Toyota Prius to their church building in order to talk with them about how this process is going to work. But before you can even finish your opening salutation of "Greetings, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Risen Lord..." they punch you in the nose with the following information:
We don't want one of those black guys. Our last pastor was an African-American and he did a bunch of things that we didn't like. He drove away members and changed many of our congregation's practices. And we don't want that to happen again. So please don't give us another black pastor. Don't give us another African-American guy because we're afraid he'll just do the same things as the other one.
So, if you're the DP, what do you say to this congregation? How do you respond?
Well, if you have the slightest interest in defending your neighbor, you tell this group of people that they have broken the 8th commandment. You tell them that, by assuming that a pastor with the same skin color as the other guy is going to be guilty of the same transgressions, they have told lies about their neighbor and betrayed him. You inform them that, by concluding that anyone who shares the cultural upbringing of the previous pastor will most certainly share his sins, they have slandered their brother in Christ and hurt his reputation. And, if you are interested in being faithful to your call, you tell them that you will not give them a pastor until they repent.
So imagine that.
Then imagine that you're that same district president. You drive that same Toyota Prius to another congregation and start greeting them with your district president greeting and they hit you in the nose with this piece of information:
We don't want one of those Fort Wayne guys. Our last pastor was a Fort Wayne grad and he did a bunch of things that we didn't like. He drove away members and changed many of our congregation's practices. And we don't want that to happen again. So please don't give us another CTS candidate. Don't give us another Fort Wayne guy because we're afraid he'll just do the same things as the other one.
So, if you're the DP, how do you respond?
Well, hopefully you respond exactly the same way you did the first time. Because it's exactly the same thing.
My name is Pastor Hans Fiene. Thanks for reading.