annual conference leadership ministry

Theology, Vocation and The Practice of Ministry – A Work in Progress

I am currently working on preparing my ordination papers to be considered for ordination and full membership in the Kansas West Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. I have made one of the primary documents, Theology, Vocation and The Practice of Ministry, available at so that you might know more about my understanding of theology, vocation and the practice of ministry. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this writing?

Please note that Theology, Vocation and The Practice of Ministry by Andrew Conard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Creative Commons License

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By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

2 replies on “Theology, Vocation and The Practice of Ministry – A Work in Progress”

As you might guess, I would argue that in fact the underlying accuracy of the historical narrative is crucial to its authenticity as the Word of God.

In other words, the Scriptures should lose all of their force as normative descriptors of God, his plan, and his people, if and when the underlying historical narrative is proven to be out of line with historical reality.

If Solomon did not build a temple, if Joshua did not lead a conquest, if Moses did not lead a people out of slavery in Egypt, If a Virgin was not found to be with child, etc etc… the whole structure for the life of faith collapses and becomes utterly incoherent.

This is not to say that some of scripture is intentionally metaphorical and/or poetic and thus does not have to meet this test. For example, it is quite possible to argue (as have theologians for thousands of years) that the Genesis account(s) of creation are primarily Hebrew poetry, and not literal historical representations of what actually happened.

What is crucial, however, is that where the scriptures intend to be literal and historical, any evidence to the contrary is, I think, a death blow to the whole of the faith. In essence it leaves us with a purely speculative epistemology which allows any individual to decide for him/herself what is relevant and what is not…

This of course is directly akin to the most egregious of situations in the Old Testament – Every Person Doing What Is Right in Their Own Eyes… and is the very definition of separation from God (AKA – Hell).

Second question – curious as to why it is that Original Sin is hard to preach on. Billy Abraham suggests that Christian Renewal in the West is dependent on a re-appropriation of this crucial doctrine as a counterbalance to the prevailing sense of narcissistic entitlement that we westerners tend to have (that’s my take on what he is saying not his words exactly). I think he is spot on. How can we preach repentance, salvation, or even faith in God if we don’t clearly articulate the basic problem of our separateness from God.

In the words of an old Caedmon’s Call song:

‘Cause no, there is none righteous
Not one who understands
There is none who seek God
No not one, I said no not one

So I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own

‘Cause we’re all stillborn and dead in our transgressions
We’re shackled up to the sin we hold so dear

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