What I Read Online – 10/01/2011 (a.m.)

    • Only the gospel occupies that central place. The gospel is not merely an initiation for new converts but the foundation for everyone. The gospel—in all its depth, riches, and fullness—must be repeatedly proclaimed to believer and unbeliever, churched and unchurched alike.
    • First, if we as individuals and churches are becoming more like Christ, there should grow in us a spirit of deep compassion for the needs of hurting people.
    • Two, proclamation must remain the church’s priority. It may not be your priority. You may be a doctor or nurse and your job is to help sick people get better. That’s wonderful. Praise God for relief workers and doctors and farmers and well-diggers and reformers. But as the church thinks about his mission, I believe it must find ways to make proclamation its priority.
    • We see from Jesus’ example that “priority” does not necessitate a strict chronological sequence.
    • So what does “priority” mean? It means proclamation is what pushes us along. Jesus healed because he cared for people, but what propelled him from town to town was his desire to preach.
    • So I would say the Great Commission is what the church is sent into the world to accomplish while the command “do good to all people” is what we do as we have opportunity. The church’s mission is not best described as “serving others as disciples of Christ” but “making disciples of Christ as servants of others.”
    • Three, when our churches support “mercy ministry” or “relief work” or “humanitarian aid” or “city renewal” there should always be the overarching goal that Christ might be known, understood, believed upon, and followed.
    • But as churches think of mission work, mission organization, and its mission in general, there should also be a larger purpose aimed at and prayer for besides making the world a better place.
    • The only obedience that God accepts is that which comes from the work of the Spirit within the believer. It is, therefore, both the fruit of the Spirit and the work of the Christian. To position one of these aspects of biblical obedience over against the other is the error of those who believe that sanctification hardly, if at all, necessitates the efforts of one who is converted. But that work—and it is work—is the effort of the believer spurred on, and assisted, by the Holy Spirit.
    • [Commenter at Challies]: “Doesn’t basic civil discourse allow people to define themselves”?

      No. That’s pretty much what the postmodern rules of engagement say. But Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 1:16). In other words, we need to determine whether someone is a heretic or not by examining what [s]he actually teaches, not by what that person claims of himself when [s]he is under fire.

    • As for me, I’m still trying to work out why a conversation between a few well-known guys, a couple of whom at least seem rather confused about the Trinity, is going to be a great conversation about the…. Trinity.

      Meanwhile, for anyone interested, Paul Levy, Derek Thomas, Gabe Fluhrer and myself are planning a live podcast on the impact of developments in quantum theory since 1980 on the design of sub atomic accelerators.  To be honest, we know little about the topic and, frankly, find it all a bit perplexing; but it should be a great and insightful conversation for you to listen to — you know, four regular guys just hanging out, having a laugh, sharing the occasional inside joke, breaking down boundaries etc.  Cheques should be made payable to the `Derek Thomas Holiday in Bayreuth Ministries International’  No credit cards accepted.

    • Pastor John’s newest book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, is now available. Earlier this year Crossway traveled with Pastor John to his hometown of Greenville, SC to revisit the world in which he grew up. This 18-minute documentary takes us through his experience of racism in the 1960’s American South:
    • I do not know, exactly. What is clear is that whatever Jakes believes about the Trinity, he has shown a continual reluctance to affirm a standard, time-proven creedal statement of trinitarian orthodoxy and that he has often used the language of modalism. This gives us valid cause for concern. This has not happened just once, but repeatedly and over many years. He has been given many opportunities to subscribe to an orthodox understanding of the Trinity and to this point he has not done so. He has not been asked to subscribe to a passing statement created by modern-day theologians, but a statement that Christians have held to for over 1,600 years. Nathan Busentiz documents some of the history of Jakes’ refusal to do so in this blog post (scroll down to point #3). He clearly offers enough evidence that we do well to question what Jakes truly believes and to be suspicious that he willfully holds to heretical theology.
    • So I for one am really glad that Thabiti Anyabwile, a wise and godly pastor-and Council member of The Gospel Coalition-has expressed so clearly what many of us have been thinking for a while now. And hats off to The Gospel Coalition for providing a forum for this healthy conversation. (See Thabiti Anywabwile, “Multi-Site Churches are From the Devil”). It’s well worth the read, regardless of where you stand on the question.
    • One of the many things I appreciate about Pastor Anyabwile is that he is actually a Baptist-a Calvinistic Baptist, to be sure, but a Baptist. He is convinced that Scripture teaches congregational church government (i.e., the independence of local churches) as well as a “gathered church” model of membership that doesn’t admit covenant children through baptism. Personally, I wish he were not a Baptist or a congregationalist, but you know where he stands-it’s not within a movement but within a concrete ecclesiastical tradition. He didn’t invent these ideas, but is persuaded that they’re biblical. Furthermore, despite the age-old debates of significance between us, he and I would agree more with each other than either of us probably would with those in our own traditions who wanted to “go multi-site.”
    • So I share Thabiti Anyabwile’s concerns about the multi-site model. I especially concur with his statement that you can’t have elders in a particular church without a pastor (and deacons). If you do, it’s basically (though imprecisely a “papal” model), where the local church’s main under-shepherd is not the local pastor (or teaching elder) but a minister who is known and loved by the congregation only as an exalted icon.
    • Christ gave the keys to the church, to be administered by lawfully called and ordained servants, for the express purpose of both preserving the corporate body and its individual members against the ravaging effects of false teaching and practice, as well as false accusations. Members and officers must have access to due process in church courts.
    • If this interpretation is correct, the New Testament knows nothing of multi-site congregations, but only of congregations in the fullest sense (led by pastors, elders, and deacons). These congregations are not independent, but they are also not hierarchically governed even by one pastor on-site, but by pastors and elders together. And each of these local churches is accountable not hierarchically to the pastor-bishop of another church, but mutually and covenantally to each other.
    • There are many other important issues that Thabiti Anyabwile and others raise with respect to technology. As analysis of media culture remind us, the technologies we use also use us and we dare not be naïve about how they change who we are, individually and corporately. According to marketing analyst Michael Sack, younger generations no longer trust video images, given their association with relentless marketing, sound-bites, and spin. They only trust news that is personally delivered, he says.
    • Martin Luther said “The church is not a pen-house, but a mouth-house,”
    • Slick video feeds create excitement and interest, but the personal proclamation of the Word by ordained ambassadors is the means Christ has ordained for delivering himself and all of his benefits.
    • A proper understanding of this doctrine is essential for the well-being of the church. In order to help further your understanding of the Trinity, we are offering one of R.C. Sproul’s newest Crucial Questions booklets, What Is the Trinity?, as a free epub and PDF download now through the end of October.
    • You may also freely download Dr. Sproul’s series The Mystery of the Trinity through October 31. 
    • What on earth goes through one’s mind? Am I being completely naive? Don’t get me wrong, I like my name to be in lights, but to annoint yourself President of your own organisation, which you’ve named after yourself, takes a certain something. I would do it but my friends and family would never let me get away with it.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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