Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Definition and Video of Missional

Ed Stetzer writes in Planting Missional Churches, "Missional implies taking the approach of a missionary – being indigenous to to culture, seeking to understand and learn, adapting methods to the mission field – but winding up in the biblical form of a church.”

This is a great video demonstration of missional:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expectations, Fears, and Hopes: Part 4

I'm finally getting around to this post. This is part four in a series of post that I've been thinking about lately in respect to the expectations of pastors. You can read the first three here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

In this post, I want to quickly show that God expects the elders to rule the church. I am probably less congregational that many of my friends (even though I'm in a very congregational church!), but I want to look at Scripture for this. Before I do, however, I do believe the congregation should be involved with many significant issues within the church. When it comes down to it, however, I still believe there is authority, much authority, given to the elders.

To deny that there is some form of ruling aspect given to the elders is hard to do since Paul tells Timothy, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching" (2 Timothy 5:17). Some would argue that the way they rule is through preaching and teaching. That is certainly true and is important. In the last post I stated that the primary calling for the elders is the ministry of the Word. However, I do not think that is the extent of their authority. In Hebrews 13:17 the author tells the saints to "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account." To deny that a great deal of authority have been given to the elders is very difficult when one just reads the New Testament text.

It could be misunderstood here, so I want to be clear about something. One of the reasons many people object to this is that they are in a single elder church and this seems odd dangerous to give one elder this kind of authority. I understand that, which is why I think it's important to have a plurality of elders (who are qualified) as soon as possible. It is also important to stress that these elders are qualified! If they are not, they will mislead the church or take advantage of that leadership and authority. This too will leave a bad taste in the mouth of the congregation and will be unhelpful at best.

Elders who are qualified will take seriously the charge that Peter gives in 1 Peter 5:1-5:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble."

A church with a plurality of humble, godly elders, and a church who submits to them and follows their authority, will honor Christ and live for the glory of God.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Two things happened this morning that are amazing. The first is the fact that I'm a father, and this is the first Father's Day with two children out of the womb. We are presently with my in-laws, so they allowed my wife and I to sleep in a little this morning and they took care of the two kids. When I woke up and walked into the living room my daughter (almost 5 years old) saw me and said, "Daddy, Happy Father's Day" and went and picked up a card that she made just for me. There is nothing better for a daddy than that! Right about the same time, my son (almost 10 months) was playing in the floor with his nana. He saw me and immediately started crawling to me saying over and over again, "Daaiiy" It's so cute hearing him say daddy without the middle 'd' sound. I realized once again how amazingly blessed I am to have been gifted with these two gifts.

Another thing happened this morning. If you know my past (childhood) then you know that I didn't grow up around my father. Without getting into the reasons for that on here, this morning I called him for the first time I can remember to tell him Happy Father's Day. The reason this is a big deal is that it's only because of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are talking again. I am thankful to God for what He's accomplished in my life and the life of my father. This has truly be a great Father's Day already.

And it would not be fair to not mention my father-in-law. When I asked him if I could marry his daughter over 10 years ago, he said only under one condition. That condition was that he would be able to treat me like the son he's never had. He has done that! I am thankful for him in my life as well. And I'm thankful to spend today with him.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jesus Fulfills the Law

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount:
What then is the relationship of the Christian to the law? We can put our answer in this form. The Christian is no longer under the law in the sense that the law is a covenant of works. That is the whole argument in Galatians 3. The Christian is not under the law in that respect; his salvation does not depend upon his keeping of it. He has been delivered from the curse of the law; he is no longer under the law as a covenant relationship between himself and God. But that does not release him from it as a rule of life. Now I think the whole trouble tends to arise because we become confused in our minds as to the relationship between law and grace. Let me put it like this. We tend to have a wrong view of law and to think of it as something that is opposed to grace. But it is not. Law is only opposed to grace in the sense that there was once a covenant of law, and we are now under the covenant of grace. Nor must the law be thought of as being identical with grace. It was never meant to be something in and of itself. The law was never meant to save man, because it could not. Some people tend to think that God said to the nation, 'I am now giving you a law; you keep the law and it will save you.' But that is ridiculous because no man can save himself by keeping the law. No! the law was 'added because of transgressions'. It came in 430 years after the promise was given to Abraham and his seed in order that it might show the true character of God's demands, and that it might show 'the exceeding sinfulness of sin'. The law was given, in a sense, in order to show men that they could never justify themselves before God, and in order that we might be brought to Christ. In Paul's words it was meant to be 'our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.
p. 171

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

J.C. Ryle on the Unity of the Old and New Testaments

In J.C. Ryle's commentary on Matthew, when dealing with Matthew 5:17, he writes:

First, let us beware of despising the Old Testament, for whatever reason. Let us never listen to those who tell us to throw it aside as an obsolete, antiquated, useless book. The religion of the Old Testament is the germ of Christianity. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the bud; the New Testament is the Gospel in full flower. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the blade; the New Testament is the Gospel in full ear. The saints in the Old Testament saw many things through a glass darkly; but they all looked by faith to the same Saviour, and were led by the same Spirit as ourselves. These are no light matters. Much unfaithfulness begins with an ignorant contempt of the Old Testament.

p. 29