Charles Bridges & Christian Ministry

Not too long ago a friend asked me if I had ever read Charles Bridges work The Christian Ministry; with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency as he and some Bridges bookother men in his local church are going to be reading through it together. I have indeed read this tome, and wrote an overview/review of it while at student at The Master’s Seminary. What follows is a very broad overview of Bridges’ work along with the observations I made upon its first reading and I thought that not only my friend but our readers here at Parking Space 23 might find it useful.… Continue reading

Without Clarity, Conviction Crumbles

NPR coolAt the risk of losing whatever few cool points I have left, I’ll admit that recently I was listening to an NPR podcast. The hosts were offering cultural commentary on the phenomenon known as “upspeak.” I had never heard the term but I realized that I’m familiar with it. This is speech that ends with a rising inflection, as if a grammar fairy stole the period at the end of your sentence and replaced it with a question mark. They were noting the popularity of upspeak among the younger generation, particularly popular with younger females. I’m not offended by upspeak, but I am left wondering if you are making a statement or asking a question.?… Continue reading

The Problem with Elders…

Probably one of the most significant developments in evangelical churches since the 1970’s has been the reëmergence of “elders” or “elder-rule” in local churches. Before that time “elders” were something “Presbyterians had” or perhaps you had friends who were Plymouth Brethren who also had elders. Most churches, especially in America, followed a more Congregational and Baptistic tradition of a single elder, that is the pastor, supported by a board of deacons; with members exercising their input by congregational voting.[1]

With the emphasis on “elders” the key passages of 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9, where the qualifications for elders are detailed, are naturally foundational starting points in discussions of church leadership.… Continue reading

Continuity: Old Testament Truth in New Testament Clothing

One of the benefits of getting older consists of gaining perspective, being able to put the past into its proper place in order to better understand the present. Fifty-four years of studying the Bible also has its benefits—primarily in more clearly understanding the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. As I was reading through the Bible this past year, Isaiah 62:5 (“as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you”)[1] called to mind the picture in Revelation 21:2 when John beheld the New Jerusalem descending from heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The association led me to contemplate God’s own joy with that city—especially with its inhabitants.… Continue reading

Look to Youth Ministry, pt. 2

Two weeks ago, I began a series to help you know if you are in a good church. There are man-looking-through-binocularsmany ways you could approach knowing if you attend a good church, but I find the most compelling way is to look where no one wants to look: the youth ministry. What goes on in youth ministry is what goes on in “big church.”

We have already looked at a good youth ministry (and therefore a good church) will have Bible Teaching and have Biblically-Driven Music. Today I want to consider two more:

3. Maturity of Leadership

There are a lot of bad youth leaders serving in youth ministry.… Continue reading