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What I Read Online – 10/31/2013 (a.m.)

31 Oct
    • It’s no accident that October 31 is both Halloween and the day remembered for the start of the Reformation. Both key off November 1, All Saints’ Day — or All Hallows’ Day (Hallows from the Latin for saints or holy ones).
    • More specifically, saying you’re called to ministry presumes you think these two things about yourself: (1) you are, or soon will be, qualified to be an elder; (2) you are, or soon will be, sufficiently gifted in ministry that a church should pay you to do it.
    • But this reveals one potential problem with calling language right off the bat: if I say I’m called, who are you to contradict?
    • But the problem is, not everyone who claims to be called to ministry is godly or humble. And the language itself encourages us to view the matter as almost a private revelation, rather than a personal desire subject to public scrutiny.
    • It should also cause you to seek counsel, not just from friends and family, but from your church, especially your church’s leaders. Don’t be content with vague approval and happy wishes. Ask your church leaders tough questions about your strengths and weaknesses, your gifts and blind spots. Ask them if, in principle, they would ever hire you—and if not, why not?
    • Viewing “calling” as entailing a double presumption doesn’t just mean putting on the brakes—though many of us probably should. It also means that if you’ve got a strong ministry track record, godly counselors in your corner, and deep, meaningful affirmation from a church or churches, you should have a greater confidence in pursuing vocational ministry. If your own humility causes you to question your gifts and qualification, take your church’s affirmation seriously—again, provided the affirmation itself is serious. To brothers whose gifts and character are evident yet who’ve not yet found an open door for full-time ministry, I’d simply say, press on and be patient.  
    • The first is that you should view all ministry, especially vocational ministry, as a gift, not a given.
    • Second, submit your desires to the Lord.
    • Third, submit your desires to the church
    • Consequently—and I say this as a broadly Reformed, complementarian, charismatic, missional pastor—A Call to Resurgence is somewhat frustrating to read.
    • At the center of the book, however, is an unresolved tension that threatens to scuttle the whole volume. On the one hand, Driscoll insists that, in order to pursue “resurgence,” the various tribes in contemporary evangelicalism need to unite around the gospel, choose our battles wisely, and allow all sorts of disagreement over non-essential matters (116). The tribes that he, John Piper, Bill Hybels, Steven Furtick, John MacArthur, Joel Osteen, Stanley Hauerwas, Scot McKnight, Andy Stanley, T. D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, and Albert Mohler represent all agree on the non-negotiables of evangelicalism (95-96 and following)—an observation I suspect will astonish some of these leaders!—and we should understand each others tribal preferences without making everything a divisive issue (117-123). On the other hand, in the next chapter he draws what he calls the “border issues for biblically faithful and culturally missional Christianity” in such a way as to privilege Reformed, complementarian, continuationist, missionals—that is, people like him (and, as it happens, me)—and defines evangelicalism in a way that excludes huge numbers of professing evangelicals (122-136). So, for instance, the “border issues for biblically faithful and culturally missional Christianity” include believing in biblical inerrancy (125), an originally perfect world (127), an Augustinian view of original sin (128), the centrality of penal substitutionary atonement (130-131), a Reformed view of justification (132), the idea that all Christians are missionaries (133), and the conferring of spiritual gifts at regeneration (135). I’m not certain how many of the tribal leaders he mentions in chapter three could affirm all of those views, but I suspect it would be a small minority. I know I couldn’t.
    • Mark Driscoll has been a huge encouragement and provocation to me personally, and I have benefited enormously from his bombastic and courageous approach to biblical truth, church leadership, and personal mission. I also agree with an awful lot of what he is saying in A Call to Resurgence, not least the importance of contending for the truth while working hard to pursue unity in the gospel. But in my view, the flaws in the central chapters of the book—which I read as critical given what he is trying to do—are significant enough to spoil it. Maybe read A Call to Spiritual Reformation instead.
    • Luther’s study of Scripture soon led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous in the sight of God.
    • The sixth mark of the effective personal evangelist is prayer.
    • Al Mohler says that “no serious defender of Scripture can be without this vital volume that amounts to the most massive arsenal of documentation for the inerrancy of Scripture ever assembled in a single book.” John Frame writes, “I know of no body of literature that can be of more help to people wrestling with this vital question.” They are referring to the big new book, Thy Word Is Still Truth: Essential Writings on the Doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to Today, edited by Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin and published by P&R.
    • An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

       

      A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”

       

      A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”

       

      A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.

       

      An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.

       

      A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

    • Their video, The Story of Ian & Larissa, documents the wedding – in which Larissa sits at the altar to be beside Ian, helping him stand when it is time to say their vows:

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

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Posted by on 31/10/2013 in Current Issues

 

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