Reformed Christian Ministry

Carl Trueman has written an insightful post recently entitled "Is the Reformation nearly over? Perhaps, but maybe not for the reason you think", which is about the holistic pastoral concern which was a major in the Reformation and how this mindset is lacking in the multi-site model.

Now, I don't subscribe to the multi-site model, but I enjoyed this article not only for this reason; much more because I find these words equally convicting and challenging applied to myself! 

In the process, the importance of putting in place educated ministers who could articulate the faith and offer pastoral nurture to the people was never far from the centre of concern.


Further, they were too busy training people to go to places where there was no Reformation witness to have found the idea of church planting on the doorstep of faithful churches to be an attractive idea


The problem with the way 'Reformed' is often used today is that it divorces certain things (typically the five, or more often, four points of Calvinism) from the overall Reformation vision of pastoral care, church worship, Christian nurture and all-round approach to ministry.


The Reformation was about more than a doctrinal insight into justification; it was also about abolishing the fetishisation of certain great figures as if they possessed some special magic and about instituting an ideal of educated, personal, local ministry.




God Speaking Through Preaching?

Three quotes to think about:

The Second Helvetic Confession

The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.

John Calvin, Institutes, IV.i.5

It is a singular privilege that He deigns to consecrate to Himself the mouths and tongues of men in order that His voice may resound in them.

Al Mohler, He Is Not Silent, p. 57

I fear that there are many evangelicals today who believe that God spoke but doubt whether he speaks. . . . But if you call yourself a preacher of God's Word, and you think that all of God's speaking was in the past, then resign. I say that with deadly seriousness. . . . If you are not confident that God speaks as you rightly read and explain the Word of God, then you should quit.





"Help! I ’m Looking for Jesus in the OT"

John Starke, Help! I’m Looking for Jesus in the OT – The Gospel Coalition Blog

OT commentaries do not help much in pointing forward to Christ. To where, then, can we look? Keller and Clowney suggest: "Use the Scripture indexes of New Testament commentaries and biblical theologies."

Interesting suggestions, particularly the first; I wouldn't have thought of checking the indexes in reverse direction!






"What are you willing to be fired over"

What are you willing to be fired over?

I've never really been in a situation where "firing" the pastor even seems to be an option, unless it was through church discipline. I suppose it happens more with a congregational model of government than in an elder-led model? 

In any case, a good reminder that not every hill is one to die on, and there are many issues that require patient instruction. Decisions I have to study for some time before I understand should require me to be many times more patient in teaching the congregation. And yet, some issues are indeed "fireable" issues. Doesn't matter who agrees or not--sometimes we have to do it regardless of the consequences, because we fear the Lord.




Panel on Multi-Site Churches

Al Mohler leading a discussion panel: Perspectives on Multi-site Churches

This is something I've thought about with a raised eyebrow. This panel provided some helpful perspective.

Figured out the biggest leading motive in multi-site churches is the desire to reach more people / be "missional", and the belief that this is done better with this model. While this is commendable indeed, I did not like their idea that for one to not do this is a matter of a weak conscience and is a less faithful stewardship of resources / leadership. I also felt Greg Gilbert did a great job defending the non-multi-site view by himself, and that the others avoided his arguments with blanket assertions more than they addressed them.




Teaching Beyond What Is Taught

C. J. Mahaney, in Preserving A Passion for the Gospel, bounces off some thoughts from D. A. Carson. 

Teaching is accomplished not by mere communicated content, but by the excitement and passion of the teacher. What does he emphasize? What does he always come back to?  Those who listen are smart and know how to read between the lines--they will catch whether we believe what we say or not. They will figure out--in time--what our real message is, even if we don't say it as such.

Challenging and insightful. 

C. J.: 

And those we serve should see a difference between our passion for the gospel and our passion for other issues




Coming to church eager, expectant, and early

Eager, Expectant, and Early from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Joshua Harris gives some great advice on coming to church eager, expectant, and early, and also gives some great ideas about how to integrate corporate prayer time into Sunday morning.




How to Pray for Your Pastor

How to Pray for the Pastoral Staff, John Piper.

 It is wise indeed to instruct churches on how to pray for their pastors. On this hangs the strength and effectiveness of the leadership, and in particular their gospel-work, which in turn results in a strengthened church. At issue is no less than the advance of the gospel in the world and the glory of Christ through this. I can recall before entering the ministry being asked to pray for my pastor in a prayer meeting, and not knowing much of what to say. A church that doesn't pray for its pastor will have a weary pastor and will be an ever-weakening church. 

Let us pray for our pastors and elders in particular. Piper offers here a helpful guide on how to do so. 




Keeping the Men in Mentoring - Desiring God

"Keep the Men in Mentoring",

Wow. Good stuff.

My friend Dave was meeting with a consultant who asked him this question: "Dave, why do I have a bigger dream for your church and your city than you do?" I don't know about you, but I don't want anyone to have a bigger dream for my church and my city than me. And I don't want to build a museum. I want to be a part of a movement.




Writing vs. Typing

Why is it that thoughts flow so much more readily from a pen than from a keyboard?

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)