Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where to go?

Why are you a member at Memorial Baptist Church? If you aren't then why are you a member wherever you are a member at? We should take church membership seriously and take seriously where we covenant in membership. Don Whitney, author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Spiritual Disciplines for the Church provides some helpful guidance if you are trying to decide what church to join. I believe if you commit to think thoroughly and consult the principles of a healthy church from the New Testament the Holy Spirit will lead you to where He wills for you to unite in covenant church membership. Of course you need to consider where you have your membership now as well. Are you in covenant with people who are being led Biblically, where the Scripture is central in all matters of worship and practice, and where the gospel is clearly articulated? You'll never find a perfect church but you do need to be part of a church that is rightly seeking to reflect Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Hodge-Podge

  • Justin Taylor gives a good primer on the doctrine of Definite Atonement (aka Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption) HERE.
  • Desiring God is spotlighting some "best of" sermon from John Piper. Here is a sub-series on Romans 12:1-2 from Piper's greater Romans series. THESE are must-listen-to's!
  • You know I love using the "Two Ways to Live" tool for personal evangelism. If you'd like to stock up HERE is a good price.
  • Do you struggle with procrastination? HERE are some practical tips to overcome that.
  • Should mothers work outside the home? That's a great question and John Piper helps us to think Biblically and practically about it. Watch below...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Video Monday- David Platt

David Platt is the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills. His is a Southern Baptist congregation in Alabama. The Lord is using him as a leader not only among his flock but also among our convention of churches. Below is an excerpt (actually part one of four) of his 2009 message at the SBC Pastors Conference and below that is an insightful interview.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Label #5: EVANGELICAL

Over at the Theological Word of the Day website there is a helpful definition of the next label I’d like to address. Their definition of “Evangelical” is one who would “identify with historic Protestantism and are committed to 1) the necessity of conversion to Christ, 2) the authority of Scripture, 3) the spread of the Gospel message, 4) a belief in the Five Solas of the Reformation, 5) a belief in the Nicene Creed and Chalcedonian statement of faith.” We should at least be willing to be labeled Evangelicals.

The label has come to be synonymous with the Fundamentalism and political activism of people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. I’m not willing to be cast into that camp nor am I willing to concede the label to such a narrowly defined group of ideologues. Larry Eskridge of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals summarizes this label in four convictions. Evangelicals have a conviction for the need for personal conversion or being “born again”. They have a conviction to spread or share the gospel with other people. They have a conviction for the authority of the written Word of God- the Bible. Finally they have a conviction on the historicity of the literal death and resurrection of Jesus. Based on these convictions I’m happy to be labeled an Evangelical Christian and will lead my church as an Evangelical church.

This is a broad label but is distinguishes us from Roman Catholicism (though there are some Evangelical Catholics) and from liberal Protestantism. So what’s the point of even embracing these convictions as a label? The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is a cross-denominational association of pastors and church leaders who purpose is “to call the Church, amidst a dying culture, to repent of its worldliness, to recover and confess the truth of God’s Word as did the reformers, and to see that truth embodied in doctrine, worship, and life.” The label, like the mission of the A.C.E. draws a necessary line in the sand regarding Biblical conviction and proclamation.

Friday, June 18, 2010

How to read a non-fiction book?

I've not finished my "labels" series of posts so hang with me. Here is a quick post though on reading. I read an interview with Mark Dever this week on the Gospel Coalition reviews page and in the interview he presents a very helpful plan for reading a non-fiction book. Obviously there are books you read lightly to get the general ideas conveyed. There are some you can read a good book review and get all the content you need. There are others you want to read more thoroughly and Dever's plan is helpful here.

  1. Read the Table of Contents
  2. Read the Preface and any other prefatory material
  3. Read the Introduction and the Conclusion (this may be first and last paragraph or first and last chapter)
  4. Read the chapter titles to get an idea of where the author is going and what he's trying to do
  5. Read the rest of the book

You can check out the whole interview HERE.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Hodge-Podge


  • John Wooden (October 14, 1910- June 4, 2010) was a great basketball coach and a classic quote. HERE are a few "Woodenisms"

  • Who doesn't love a good "top ten" list? HERE are a few to ponder.

  • So my son isn't so innocent after all? I really didn't need THIS article to tell me what Romans 3 makes so clear. Albert Mohler discusses it HERE.

  • THIS I'm all for. I'm not a green freak but this is going in the "remember when I die, honey" file.

  • I'll blog on this issue later but you might want to read about what it going on in the Southern Baptist Convention NOW and pray for those at the SBC this week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Label #4: CONSERVATIVE

In lieu of Video Monday I'll try to get more caught up on my "labels" series. This morning I want to wear the badge of conservative. The antithesis to this label is commonly considered the "liberal" label but more explanation is needed when using these labels in a theological sense. I'm not using these labels to describe political affiliation or bent (though I happen to be pretty conservative in my political views as well). By very simple definition a liberal is one who is open-minded. In Biblical scholarship this represents itself in a view toward the Bible that value reason over revelation and ethics over doctrine. For example liberal scholars would reject the historicity and divine origins of Matthew's gospel but would search for the ethical implications or lessons in what the Jesus character says. They would embrace the "golden rule" while rejecting the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was historical and is the living Son of God. Classic liberals are men such as Friedrich Schleiermacher and Immanuel Kant. Their ancestors are people like Brian McLaren and Bart Ehrman. Schools of though such as the "Emergent Church", social gospel, liberation theology, the Jesus Seminar, and Biblical feminism have grown out of classical liberalism .

Of course not all non-conservatives are classic liberals. It is popular today to include the category of "moderate evangelical". Moderates typically affirm the inerrancy of the original autographs but not the copies which they believe contain errors. They are more open-minded that "conservative evangelicals" and account more for cultural adaptation.

That brings me back to conservatism. I believe the Bible to be as the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) says, "The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not on the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God its Author (Who is Truth itself). Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God." This is non-negotiable. It is historical. It is authoritative. It is God-breathed (in the original autographs who content and meaning have been preserved in its copies). Thus it is not subject to shifts in the culture or in popular perspectives. I also believe the Bible to be understandable where God has unveiled the mysteries of His revelation (Isaiah 55:11; John 14:26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). For these reasons I am a conservative.

This is not to say I am necessarily a fundamentalist. I am not overly dogmatic on all secondary issues or tertiary issues and allow for reason and rationalism to play a role in interpretation and application. I'm certainly not unconcerned about the ethics of Scripture, just not at the expense of doctrine (and doctrine is not subordinate to ethics). I am a conservative pastor who is leading my flock to be conservative thinkers as it concerns Biblical interpretation. So for example, if the text teaches that men are to be the leaders of their home and to fill the leadership offices of the church (which it does) then regardless of cultural influences we should submit to and trust the authority of God's Word.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What to do with the young men in the church?

In the church I grew up in the "youth group" of my teenage years had around the time of my high school graduation a half dozen young men (including myself) sense a "call to ministry". In 2010 other than myself I know of two others from that group that areactually serving in vocational ministry at a church. One of those felt this "call to ministry" more recently as an adult. So what happened? There was no scandal they just simply did not follow througha and this probably for the better if they were never truly "called to the ministry" in the first place. Here is an excerpt from an article by Anthony Bradley of World Magazine that brought me back to those brothers and sheds some light.

"I have several friends from my seminary days who are now not only out of vocational ministry altogether but also working in vocations that are completely disconnected from the church. Many are finally, at nearly 40 years old, working in vocations that they originally set out to do before they were misdirected by the whispers of church people who confuse spiritual maturity and vibrancy in young men with a “call to ministry.” This trend actually reveals the sad state of an American evangelical gynocentric church: Spiritually interested young men are the exception rather than the expectation."

You can read the rest of the article HERE. By the way, the term "gynocentric" refers to a system or culture where the perceptions, needs, and desires of women have primacy and where those of a man are ignored.

------------

Monday, June 7, 2010

Video Monday- Brian Regan

Okay so this one isn't a preacher, just a really funny guy. I thought a little humor might be in order for the start of a new week. My wife and I really enjoy Brian Regan. He's funny and he's clean, which is a rare combo. Enjoy!





Saturday, June 5, 2010

Label #3: CONFESSIONAL

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been exceptionally swamped so blogging takes the back seat. I want to continue my series on labels. These labels I'm listing are labels I embrace and want to explain. Since the danger exists for labels to be inaccurately defined and inappropriately used I want to "redeem the terminology" and say why I'll take this label... and why I lead my church to take this label. The third on my list is the "confessional" label.

Being a confessional Christian and a confessional church means that I/ we want to make clear my/ our beliefs about certain things and order my life/ our church life according to these convictions. I'll also accept the term "creedal" but this often more misunderstood that "confessional" though they are really interchangeable. This label does not mean that our church elevates a statement of beliefs or creed to the level of Scripture. The confessions or creeds themselves are not inspired, infallible, or authoritative. They are simply concise expressions of my/ our understanding of what Scripture teaches.

The historic confessions I most identify with and teach my congregation are the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) also called the Second London Confession, the Philadelphia Confession (1742) which is the BCF with a couple significant additions, the New Hampshire Confession (1833) which is the historic confessional statement of my church, and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). In addition the Apostles Creed (2nd-3rd century), Nicene Creed (381), and the Chalcedonian Creed (451) affirm and articulate core doctrines that are taught in Scripture.

The confessions I listed above represent certain non-negotiables for me and for membership in my church. Now I do not make every membership candidate read every one of these documents but the essential doctrines they all espouse must be affirmed by any person wishing to covenant with our church in membership. Any denial of these doctrines in word or behavior would necessitate church discipline to be taken. In this way we are confessional.

While I am at it there are some other documents that my beliefs and the beliefs I am leading Memorial to understand are clear Scriptural teaching. These documents are the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. So there you go, I've given you nine links to follow and read. That should give you plenty to do in your spare time next week. Enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to comment and leave your email address (or Facebook me).
There was an error in this gadget