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What I Read Online – 09/25/2013 (a.m.)

25 Sep
    • A twin suicide bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar in northern Pakistan on Sunday has claimed the lives of 85 people and injured over 100 more. Among the dead, according to the Diocese of Peshawar, were several children who attended Sunday School and members of the church choir.
    • All Saints Church was built in 1883 and is one of the oldest churches in Pakistan. The country has some of the strictest anti-blasphemy laws of any Muslim majority country. Reports of persecution for Christians in Pakistan are widespread. Earlier this year, a poor Christian neighbourhood in Lahore was set on fire and ransacked after a mosque reportedly broadcast one of the community’s residents was accused of blaspheming against Muhammad.
    • The question, however, is whether the church has an obligation to care for the poor outside of the church.
    • When Evans quotes from Calvin’s sermon on Acts 6:1-3 to the effect that “it was given to the deacons to offer the cup when the people came to the Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ” he makes the very point I’m trying to make. Yes, the deacons’ care for the poor was deeply spiritual work, but it was directed toward members of the church (i.e., those who partake of the Supper).
    • Of course, none of this means there is some prohibition against caring for the unbelieving poor (see Gal. 6:10). What it does suggest is that the church’s obligation is not to feed the entire world or be the social welfare agency for the city but to care for the poor in her own body.
    • Our church, for example, supports the city rescue mission, a crisis pregnancy center, and a local arts ministry. We run a large ESL program, and we’ve worked in the past to tutor in the public school and help single moms get on their feet. In all these ministries, we hope to make gospel proclamation a priority–either by praying for open doors to talk about Jesus or to adorn the gospel with good works. Being involved in the community and engaged with non-Christians is not the special province of transformationalists. I don’t believe that our diaconate has the responsibility to provide for the needs of the poor in East Lansing, but as we have opportunity we will do good, especially as it enables us to fulfill our primary purpose of gathering and perfecting Christ’s sheep.
    • At the Banner’s 2013 U.S. Ministers’ Conference, Paul Wolfe shared with us one of the most important lessons he has learned in his 12 years of pastoral ministry.
    • Banner of Truth has launched a new series of video shorts by their authors.   You can see the first, featuring Westminster alumnus and PCA pastor, Paul Wolfe, here.    It is brief but contains a remarkable amount of wise thinking about the importance and impact of the preached word.
    • Some years ago I realized that there were some folks in our church who were listening every day to sermons from a pastor in a another city.  There is nothing in and of itself wrong with that, but I soon realized that it was this man and not our own eldership that was truly guiding and pastoring this family. 
    • My question is, do these men have this special esteem and this unique place in your affections.  Your elders are most likely very ordinary men (unless you are a member of a church like Bethlehem Baptist or Grace Community!), whose sermons don’t travel far outside the doors of your church.  Their words are not listened to by thousands, but they do have a unique role in your life and a unique accountability for your soul.   They may not possess the gifts of others, but they, and they alone are your true shepherds.  As much as you love and esteem other men, allow your elders to have a special and God appointed place in your heart.

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

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Posted by on 25/09/2013 in Current Issues

 

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