How we approach church matters, and by church, I mean local church ministry. The church is the pillar of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and it is not to be taken lightly. Or to put it another way it must not be approached in a willy-nilly manner; we need to think through how we do things and why we do them that way. In other words, we need to have a philosophy of ministry. A good philosophy of ministry is really a philosophy of ministries, plural. It is simply not enough to say we do everything for the glory of God (although certainly that should be our driving purpose), we need philosophies that govern our use of the pulpit, how we bring new members into the body, how we use music in worship, how we reach out to our community with the gospel etc.… Continue reading
I try never to get in online arguments. I don’t think they are a good witness, I don’t think they are productive and I don’t think they change anyone’s mind. In other words, I think they are counterproductive. (I readily admit that I am not perfect in this, but I’m trying. I’ve committed Proverbs 26:17 to memory and to heart.) So many times I won’t engage in debate, but make a general statement that is directed at no one in particular that I believe to biblical wisdom.
This is what I was doing when I tweeted what I thought was an exceedingly non-controversial statement “Fulfilling the great commission and mocking the lost are mutually exclusive activities.” But apparently, I was wrong, according to the internet, Stephen was stoned for mocking unbelievers, Paul mocked unbelievers during his Aeropagus address, and Jesus was a regular mocker of unbelievers during his earthly ministry. … Continue reading
Barring illness or travel you will find me in the same place the first Wednesday of every month at noon; a corner table in a local Mexican restaurant having lunch with a group of local pastors (and one semi-retired missions worker), having fellowship and talking through some of the difficult issues of ministry. We meet together because we are like minded. We share core beliefs about the authority of scripture, the exclusivity of Christ, gospel urgency and the sovereignty of God in salvation. We have tremendous unity.
But the group is not uniform. There is a pastor of a “capital R” Reformed church (you can tell who he is by the Banner of Truth shirt and beard he sports), there is a GARB pastor (The General Association of Regular Baptists tend to focus more on eschatology than I would, and a little closer to Fundamentalism than I am), a couple of TMS grads (who have some differences too), and of course the semi-retired missions worker who is decidedly non-concerned about non-essential issues (and he might define that a little more broadly than I would).… Continue reading
One of the burning questions that many people long to ask about pastoral ministry is what does a pastor do all week. In the broader culture, there seems to be a belief that pastors have it easy because they only work a few hours on Sunday mornings. While I suppose for some that may be true (which would explain this, if you see it on a pastor’s shelf run!), but for faithful pastors, who truly love Christ and the people He has entrusted to them, nothing could be further than the truth. Although I rolled my eyes when I was repeatedly told in seminary that I would be busier in ministry than I ever was training for the ministry, I am, and truth be told I don’t know a single pastor that puts in less than 55 hours a week and most put in far more.… Continue reading
Today I am wrapping up the series on the constitution of man I began February 1. You can read the first instalment here and part 2 here. While it may seem an unimportant topic, it is essential to have a right understanding of the constitutional makeup of man if you are to have a scriptural view of man. This topic impacts other important areas of the christian life and worldview often in unexpected ways. This post focuses on the dichotomy view of man, which I believe is the biblically correct view.
Although certainly not universally held, the predominant view throughout church history has been the dichotomist view. … Continue reading