Problem: Disinterest in Evangelism – Solution: Passion for Christ
“Mission is not to be the focus of our life and faith…God calls us to a growing commitment to a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, not a growing commitment to a task, even one as admirable as mission…I can’t endorse this phrase anymore ["The church exists for mission like fire exists for burning."]. The church does not exist for mission. It exists for the Lord Jesus Christ…we dare not make something we do the justification of our existence. Lack of interest in mission is not fundamentally caused by an absence of compassion or commitment, nor by lack of information or exhortation. And lack of interest is not remedied by more shocking statistics, more gruesome stories or more emotionally manipulative commands to obedience. It is best remedied by intensifying people’s passion for Christ, so that the passions of his heart become the passions that propel our hearts.” Confession of a Recovering Mission Fanatic by Tim Dearborn
Theological Perfectionism (“Sanctification by Theology Alone”)
“I recall when I was in seminary (Westminster Seminary California, 1992-96) that many of the young men used to sit around and debate the fine points of Van Tillian presuppositional apologetics for hours. They would be incredibly critical of any other form of apologetics, even other Reformed apologists like Francis Schaeffer or R. C. Sproul. The interesting thing was that it was a debate about the theory of apologetics. But the time and effort spent on getting the theory right was not matched by an equal zeal to actually use the theory in evangelizing unbelievers. Why? Because they were more interested (and I am guilty of this myself) of being right than in seeing sinners come to Christ. In other words, theological perfectionism had become an idol…Do I enjoy the polemics of infant baptism a little too much, meanwhile neglecting to remember my own baptism and all that it proclaims to me about my union with Christ in his death and resurrection (Romans 6)? Am I more concerned about critiquing the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, or Zwinglian views of the Lord’s Supper than I am in actually enjoying communion with Christ in the table, in all its mystery?…Millennial views. We get so bogged down in the charts and debates that we ignore the cardinal issue — being spiritually awake and ready for the Master’s return…But while we are arguing over whether there will be a future for national Israel, we fail to reflect on the future hope that we all agree on, the hope of the resurrection and being with the Lord forever. We must not strain out the gnat of Dispensational errors only to swallow the camel of being spiritually asleep…Theological perfectionism promotes spiritual pride…Theological perfectionism always causes disunity and dissension in the body of Christ.” (GG: Beware of the error of “Sanctification by Theology Alone.” Been there, done that. Guilty, repented, forgiven.) The Problems of Theological Perfectionism by Lee Irons
“No New Doctrine” – Is Your Confession of Faith Inerrant?
“I discovered a darker side to the Princetonian tradition. That darker side involved an absolute devotion to the Westminster Confession as the pinnacle of theological achievement that could never be improved upon. Charles Hodge boasted that a new idea never arose at Princeton. Warfield, although a much better theologian than Hodge never wrote a systematic theology because he believed that his mentor’s Systematic Theology could not be improved upon. They adopted a mentality which Briggs labeled orthodoxism. ‘Orthodoxism assumes to know the truth and is unwilling to learn; it is haughty and arrogant, assuming the divine prerogatives of infalВlibility and inerrancy; it hates all truth that is unfamiliar to it, and persecutes it to the uttermost’…the Princetonian pre-commitment to the Westminster Confession…I also discovered that while the Princeton theologians themselves were able to maintain a warm personal piety with their commitment to the system, the graduates of Princeton were not. it is not too much to say that many even among the Old School read only the theological material of the Princetonians. This fact contributed to a cold creedal orthodoxy among a significant contingent of the Old School with its stress on pure doctrine…I also discovered a deep dichotomy between the head and the heart. Charles Hodge, as representative of the Princetonian position, displayed a great antipathy for any emphasis on the subjective nature of Christianity. At one point he stated: ‘The idea that Christianity is a form of feeling, a life, and not a system of doctrines is conВtrary to the faith of all Christians. Christianity always has a creed. A man who believes certain doctrines is a Christian.’…This stress on the objective nature of the Faith has led to the charge that Princeton was rationalВistic in its approach to Christianity. Numerous historians and theologians have contended that the Princetonians compartmentalized faith and life.” Princeton and Propositions by James Sawyer
A Church Making Disciples by the Word
“David Platt has preached for seven hours straight. He can recite Romans 1-8 on the spot. He delivered the most powerful sermon in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that his shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Okay, so the last item was Peter, not Platt…I go to other places, such as house churches in Asia, and they study for 11 or 12 hours, knowing they risk their lives. They’ll dive in deep. We came back and tried to do something similar here. We call it secret church and do it a couple times a year. We gather together for intensive study with no frills, nothing flashy, no entertainment value. The first time, about 1,000 showed up. We studied Old Testament overview from 6 p.m. to midnight, but usually it goes longer, supplemented by times in prayer for the persecuted church. It’s all ages, but the predominant demographic is college students and young singles. It’s grown to the point where we need to offer tickets at $5 for reservations and the cost of a study guide. We’ll do it again in October with 2,500 folks. It’s theological in nature. We’ve done a night on the Atonement, another on the doctrine of God. This time we’re doing spiritual warfare. It’s one of my favorite sights as a pastor to look out at 12:30 a.m. and see a room full of 2,500 people, their Bibles open, soaking it in.” The Word Does the Work
Chrysostom: 4th Century Expository Preacher
“John preached through books of the Bible, verse by verse. The first of many such records we have are 67 sermons on Genesis, verse by verse, from beginning to end. This forces the preacher to tackle all sorts of things he normally could avoid.” Ministry Lessons from Chrysostom
Why Gays Will Ask Your Counsel
“Do you want guys confessing their struggles with pornography as they seek to join the church? Do you want people with real problems (homosexual urges and the fallout from past sexual sin, whether lingering STD’s or guilt from an abortion) joining the church and coming for counsel in their struggle against sin?…You don’t get this from wearing cool clothes, having a trendy name for your church or learning to preach from comedians. If it comes…it will come by the power of the Spirit through the preaching of the Word.” True Authenticity by Jim Hamilton
Ministry Success From Vision or the Gospel?
“Western evangelicalism tends to run through cycles of fads. At the moment, books are pouring off the presses telling us how to plan for success, how вЂњvisionвЂќ consists in clearly articulated вЂњministry goals,вЂќ how the knowledge of detailed profiles of our communities constitutes the key to successful outreach…one may perhaps be excused for marveling how many churches were planted by Paul and Whitefield and Wesley and Stanway and Judson without enjoying these advantages…Ever so subtly, we start to think that success more critically depends on thoughtful sociological analysis than on the gospel…We depend on plans, programs, vision statementsвЂ”but somewhere along the way we have succumbed to the temptation to displace the foolishness of the cross with the wisdom of strategic planning…I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry.” The Cross and Christian Ministry by Don Carson
High Moral Failures in One “Pastor” Churches
“The case for plurality of elders can be argued along four lines: biblical, historical, theological, and pragmatic. At bottom, I would say that the reason the scriptures teach multiple eldership is at least twofold: (1) mutual accountability is necessary if leaders are to avoid falling into sin; and (2) a church takes on the personality of its leader/s: if there is just one leader, the church will inevitably take on that man’s personality, including his quirks and faults. But if more than one person leads the church, there is the greater chance that the church will be balanced…The biblical evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of multiple elders. The few passages which might otherwise be interpreted certainly do not have to be so interpreted and, in fact, most likely should not be. This fact illustrates a fundamental principle of biblical interpretation: do not follow an interpretation which is only possible; instead, base your convictions on what is probable…Churches that have a pastor as an authority above others (thus, in function, a monarchical episcopate) have a disproportionately high number of moral failures at the top level of leadership.” Who Should Run the Church? A Case for the Plurality of Elders by Daniel Wallace
“Free Will” – Free to Do What?
If you (or your friends) are struggling with the question of how God’s will interacts with man’s will, here is some clear thinking. Do We Have a Free Will by Andy Naselli
“Why is it that we heap scorn on “deadbeat” parents who fail to take care of underage children, but excuse adult children who don’t take care of their feeble parents?…One friend recalled having to bathe his grandfather. ‘Being a typical self-absorbed college student, I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect,’ he said. But he quickly became mindful of Christ’s humility and service toward us. This was nothing compared to what Jesus had done for meвЂ”this was nothing compared to what my parents and grandparents had done for me.” Honor Thy Father’ for Grownups by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
12 Bible Reading Plans
Choose from 10 ESV Bible reading plans, The Discipleship Journal Reading Plan, or the Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan Bible Reading Plans by Justin Taylor
Fundamentalism Is Changing
Remember Falwell, Van Impe, Bob Jones, Hyles, King James Only, and the GARBC? “…one underlying thesis of this series is that the fundamentalist movement no longer exists. The unraveling of the movement began in the 1960s and has continued virtually without interruption. At the present, little coherence remains among self?identified fundamentalists.” Fundamentalism: Things Have Changed by Kevin Bauder
United States: A Hindu Nation?
But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity…According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”…So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. We Are All Hindus Now by Newsweek
Compassion for Lost Worshipers
Have you ever seen lost Buddhists or Hindus worship their gods? “There are 16,000 people groups in the world. Over 6,000 are considered unreached. That’s 1/3 of the world’s population…70% of Asians have not heard of Jesus Christ…The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time…Go, send or disobey.” Tears of the Saints
How NOT to Be a Youth Pastor
Sometimes you can learn how to minister the right way by studying bad examples, then doing the opposite. “Preach the Word!” Ignatius the Ultimate Youth Pastor by Justin Taylor