Some More Thoughts on Planting Gospel-Centered Churches – Strategic

R. Scott ClarkOne of my professor’s here at Covenant Seminary has said of some other well known and highly influential theologian that he so admires him simply because he (well known theologian who will remain nameless) is able to articulate something that he (CTS Professor) intuitively and exegetically knows, just so much more clearly and concisely.

I think R. Scott Clark might be my guy for that.

Here’s his second post on 3 Adjectives describing church planting and its need today. I blogged about the first one here.

Check out these quotes below, but read the whole thing here.

Here’s what I mean by strategic: we need to have a godly and wise plan for advancing the kingdom in our area through the planting of churches and that plan should involve the training of pastors, elders, and laity.

Amen!

I believe that one reason why our churches are sometimes lackadaisical about church planting is that it is regarded as but one instrument among many for advancing the kingdom. The thinking seems to be that “Well, we have churches for our families and children, we have Christian schools for our children and others who might attend, and we support other agencies to do kingdom work.” The problem with this paradigm is that, as important as they are, Jesus did not institute Christian schools or the other agencies on which we rely to do “kingdom work.”

Preach preacher!!

Our older, larger, wealthier, more established churches need to strategically recruit, teach, and send out laity to local church planting projects and in, in this way, incrementally plant churches in the great metro areas of North America.

I love that Scott took it where he did. I’ve heard some churches talk in terms of “tithing” their people to local church planting works. I love it! Double Amen brother!!

Training & Developing Elders

Here’s a great post that deals with one approach to training and developing Elders in the church. Check it out at Light and Heat (here). I’m wondering how other people do this?  If you have a plan (or some thoughts) post a comment and tell me/us about it.  You’ll help inform and shape future pastors – and we need all the help we can get!

Some Thoughts on Planting Gospel-Centered Churches – Authenticity

R. Scott ClarkR. Scott Clark just put up a post on the adjective “Authenticity” to describe what is needed in planting churches these days. I liked his thoughts, and look forward to him getting around to his other two (Strategic and Confessional). Here’s what he wrote:

When you receive a telephone call from someone you do not know, what’s the first thing you ask yourself? It’s probably “What do they want?” We live in a time of suspicion. We all exercise a hermeneutic of suspicion. People assume that other people are “working an angle.” People generally assume that others are trying to get something from them. Our congregations must be or become places where, when folks visit, they find a congregation of people who aren’t trying to get something from them, who aren’t trying to manipulate them. Our congregations must be places where people can find folk who only want two things: to glorify God and love their neighbors. This is what I mean by “authentic.” This runs counter to a lot of popular approaches to church planting and “church growth.” There are (and have been since the second “Great Awakening”) lots of methods for getting people to do what you want (walk the aisle or whatever), but those shouldn’t be our methods. Indeed, if methods = manipulation, we ought to be completely shed of them if we want people to trust us and to listen to what we have to say. The question isn’t what we get from people but what we can give them: the good news and love of Christ.

Originally posted here.

Mishandling Scripture in Pulpit = Misguiding People in Pews

A great quote by Sinclar Ferguson on preaching and teaching (check out full quote here):

“If people sit regularly under a ministry where the Scriptures are mishandled, they will have great obstacles to overcome in order rightly to handle it themselves.” 

-Sinclair Ferguson from, Richard Allen Bodey, Inside the Sermon: Thirteen Preachers Discuss Their Methods of Preparing Messages

Great New Resource & Question of Too Much Unproductive Time on the Net

It looks like Peter Enns has a website that looks to focus on Biblical Theology & Biblical Studies and how they interface with everyday life. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time there, but it definitely will be a site I visit regularly in the new year.

Check it out: A Time to Tear Down | A Time to Build Up

As I’ve started to spend increasing amounts of time on the internet, I’m noticing that I probably need to have a plan in place for which sites I visit and how often. I don’t know if anyone else out there can relate, but I’m trying to make the best use of my time, and seminary studies, as well as time with family, seem to be the easiest to put off even though they are the most important to me (Family first, studies second – sorry Professors!).

Does anybody else out there have a system or strategy for how much time they spend on the internet, and how they use their time (or Feed Readers) effectively? I’d love to hear any suggestions.

Scott Clark does it again

R. Scott ClarkI’m really enjoying the thoughts and posts of  R. Scott Clark lately.  I confess that I don’t know much about him (personally or academically), but some of his posts over at Heidelblog have been very helpful to me trying to navigate the theological talk regarding Federal Vision, but more so, helping to understand the differences and similarities between the Old and New Covenant.

His most recent post deals with the sing and the seal of covenant membership, and what really distinguishes the theology and praxis of Presbyterians, Baptists, and Federal Vision folk.

Read it here.

Thoughts on Thursday – Dealing with Human Slavery today

I don’t have stats…I don’t have figures…I don’t even have long, complicated drawn out arguments.I just have a casual observation, and a simple point.  The observation:  human slavery exists today. If you want to question it, just ask yourself what makes movies like Blood Diamond or television shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit so compelling and painful to watch?  They’re based on real stories and circumstances that happen every single day.

The point?  Do something!  If you’re a Christian – pray!  Pray that God’s will would be on earth as it is in heaven.  And don’t over theologize it – just do it.  Its God’s desire that His creation reflect His intended purpose, and human abduction and slavery was not part of  it!  But don’t just pray generally; get somewhat informed.  Sign up for some newsletters, or subscribe to some good blogs feeds that help you get connected (Anthony Bradley does a pretty good job of this).  Visit several websites frequently (Polaris Project, International Justice Mission).

Maybe you can do more than pray and be informed. Perhaps you can actually give some money to some worthwhile cause.  Here’s something you could check out.

Click here

New vs. Old Covenant Pastoring

Hey guys (Anybody and Everybody – but Covenant Men in particular),Ray Ortlund

Tell me what you think about this (from one of my favorite pastors, Dr. Ray Ortlund at Christ is Deeper Still):

“For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord. How much more after my death!” Deuteronomy 31:27

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

Moses ministered the old covenant. Paul ministered the new covenant. The difference is obvious. Moses looked at his people and said, “You sorry bunch of rebels, I’ve had to watch you like a hawk. And the moment I die, I know what’s going to happen. You’re going to run from God so fast . . . .” Paul looked at his people and said, “Sure, you have problems. But I’m not worried about you. In fact, you don’t even need me around any more. God is at work in you, and you’re going to be just fine.”

As a pastor under the new covenant, it is not my job to manage other people’s sanctification for them. They don’t need me to do that, nor am I qualified to do that. They do not need negative scrutiny; they deserve confident encouragement. Should problems be addressed along the way? Sure. But the main thing to communicate is new covenant confidence. God is at work in them.

I, frankly, agree with Dr. Ortlund on this point. The question I have is:

Does this seem to run against the current of some of what we’ve been hearing?

I’m not trying to stir something up (other than a good discussion). I think that maybe more thought and attention is needed to just what is the difference between the Old and the New Covenants.

Agree? Disagree?

Dr. Robert Peterson interviewed on Adoption

Dr. Robert PetersonDan Cruver over at Carolina Hope Adoption Blog has a great short interview with one of my favorite professors from seminary.

He interviews Dr. Robert Peterson, who is Chair of the Systematic Theology department at Covenant Theological Seminary (here) and author of several good books, one of which covers the theological and practical aspects of our adoption into God’s family (Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children, 2001, P&R Publishing).

Adopted by GodWith 2007 being the year of the doctrine of justification, or legal/penal substitution, its important to not overemphasize one aspect of our salvation at the expense (and often, the neglect) of other equally important emphases found in Scripture.

Sure, there’s a time and a season for everything, but in our thoughts and reflections on all that God has done for us, we should maintain a full orbed sense of our salvation, or a view of the whole diamond, even while gazing through one of the many facets of that diamond.

Peterson responds to the question of why the doctrine of adoption is relevant to us on a daily basis, by saying:

It should make a great difference because it is one way that God impresses upon us our new identity in Christ. We are his children and as such we bask in his love, live for him (what else can we do in response to such love!), and eagerly await his Son’s return, when our spiritual resemblance to Christ our older Brother will be complete (1 John 3:1-3; Hebrews 2:11-12). Knowledge of our adoption should fill us with patient hope that God that will raise and redeem our bodies (Romans 8:23-25) and grant us a glorious inheritance (Matthew 25:34; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29).

You should go read the interview to hear Peterson’s reasons for writing his book on adoption in the first place, and truly wonder why more hasn’t been written on the subject (click here).