Giving the first degree

In March one of out students, Pedro Mejía, submitted his Master’s thesis, on pastoral ministry in the New Testament, especially analysing the words translated as bishop/overseer, elder and pastor. He defended the thesis that these words were all different ways to refer to the same individual/role.

As is the custom in Latin America, the thesis was submitted to an oral examination, so one of my first tasks was to gather the panel together. The overall exam lasted just over 2 hours, most of which was taken up by my questioning. I justified my reputation for being the “bad cop” by suggesting that it was a way to add value to the whole process.

My overall impression was that he had provided an adequate defense of a specific Baptist way of interpreting New Testament ministry, without necessarily rebutting alternative perspectives. I was very pleased with how he handled his interrogation, including when I asked for comment on the practice of many British Baptist churches of having elders who work alongside the pastor in the leadership of their churches.

So, congratulations Pastor Pedro, and may others follow your footsteps.

Pastor Pedro, first on the right.