St. Patrick and the Importance of Good Theology in Missions: Scott Hildreth
One of my missionary heroes is Patrick of Ireland. He’s the only missionary with his own holiday—what could be better than that? Although I am not sure he would be pleased with all the parades, green beer, and other excesses, Patrick is a missionary rock star.
Few know much about Patrick’s story. He was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave. After he escaped and made his way back home, he was praying and, according to legend, he heard a voice speaking in an Irish accent begging him to come back and preach to them. He followed God’s call and returned to Ireland as a missionary. According to tradition, Patrick’s ministry resulted in thousands coming to faith and hundreds of churches being planted.
One of St. Patrick’s trademarks is the shamrock. He is said to have used this three-leaf clover as an illustration to explain the Trinity. As cute as this analogy is, many have pointed out that it’s theologically problematic. It fails to explain that each member of the Trinity is fully God and each person is distinct from one another. If you want a humorous explanation of this problem, you can see it in this satirical video.
Now some may ask, “What’s the big deal? You just said that Patrick was a hero, and now you are saying that his primary teaching may have been theologically problematic.”
Is theology really that important? Can evangelistic results overcome bad theology? …Read More.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We are generally longest when we have least to say. A man with a great deal of well–prepared matter will probably not exceed forty minutes; when he has less to say he will go on for fifty minutes, and when he has absolutely nothing he will need an hour to say it.”1
Now, to be clear: that’s Spurgeon, not Bible. In fact, you’ll search in vain for a biblically decreed word count for sermons. Nonetheless, I do think a few myths abound concerning the length of them, in particular among those who take theology seriously. I’ll address four below. …Read More.
Why is it that many of the most intelligent people –– those who crush the SAT, have a GPA over 4.0, and excel in so many areas –– don’t necessarily become the most effective or successful people in life? Why is it that some who were told they weren’t talented enough (Michael Jordan famously in early high school, and so on), or smart enough, or skilled enough, often become leaders in their fields?
I see this in ministry. Some of the more average students academically I’ve taught have gone on to have remarkable ministries, while some of the most gifted when starting seminary flamed out before earning their degree. It’s not always the case, but it’s too common to miss. I see it in doctoral students: why do some start, move through seminars, and knock out their dissertation, while so many hit the wall after classes and either take forever or never finish their work?
It’s because of something you can’t measure in an SAT or a GRE. It’s something beyond people skills, emotional intelligence, and natural talent. It’s something scholar Angela Duckworth calls GRIT. …Read More.