We Don’t Need Supermen

JP: Worthwhile read that reminds us that the Pastor’s responsibility is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). Perhaps you are familiar with the famous John Kennedy Inaugural Address in which he said: “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”. In that same vein, I beseech every 4BYA reader to “ask not what your church can do for you—ask what you can do for your church“.

We Don’t Need Supermen

David Tripp relates a story of a church member who called the pastor to get him to help a man. Tripp’s comment to the member was, “Isn’t God’s love amazing? God cares about this man and put one of His children in his path. God cares about you and has given you the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands.” Those of us who are not pastors are prone to want the pastor to do everything! We expect him to be in charge of everything from moving tables for the ladies’ meeting to being the chief administrative officer. That is certainly not the pastor’s role.

HT: Chris Anderson who adds these thoughts:

The pastor’s job is to equip the entire body for ministry—what we at TCBC often call “decentralized ministry” and “every member ministry.” The pastor who busies himself by making every visit and meeting every need (or at least trying to) may look impressive and feel important, at least for a time, but he’s failing in his God-given task (see Acts 6:4; Eph 4:11-12; 2 Tim 2:2). He’s making the body dependent upon himself, not on Christ and not on each other, and that failure will eventually yield tragic fruits, whether while he is there or when he departs.

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Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever

JP: Good read (in entirety) from Warren Vanhetloo:

The concluding note in the recommended prayer pattern of the Lord Jesus Christ is worshipful praise: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matt 6:13). Jesus suggests that we begin our prayer time with an expression of honor due God and also that we conclude with further recognition of who He really is and how He is so over-qualified to respond to our petition. There is none like Him. None other in all creation even approaches the greatness of the God to whom we address our pleas.

God is not an earthly Being; He is “in heaven.” He is not now seeing His will totally done in His creation, and so we pray, Thy Kingdom come.” But the presence of great ungodliness in the present world does not indicate deficiency or defeat. Although we pray that His kingdom may come, we at the same time recognize that, even more important, He now totally rules over all creation. He rules over the rebels. He permits His enemies to pursue their lusts, not willing that any should perish but desirous that many, even all, might come to know His Savior. He is a patient and long-suffering King of all.

His supreme rule is not to be doubted or denied. It only seems deficient to our limited vision. His power is similarly supreme, neither to be doubted or denied. We realize that One can have power without having to use that power. God is not controlled by His power, nor does He choose to manifest the fullness of His power through this “grace” period. Although the world seems to many of us to be getting more and more degenerate, we must remind ourselves of the opposition to God prior to the universal flood. All but one man, Noah, had persistently rejected or at least neglected the saving offer of God. The world in our day may get worse and worse, but God is no less powerful.

Nor is His glory diminished by present and persistent opposition. Men cannot tarnish the purity of the Holy One. His glory will be perfectly manifest in that final period we speak of as heaven. His glory is no less now, even though it may appear to be diluted to our eyes. The glories of His handiwork throughout creation are no less brilliant now than before sin entered the world. It is our eyes that are at times flawed, not the beauty of creation. Re-creation has already begun. His grace and glory are displayed in every true believer as we live out the new life He has given us. We have nothing of which to boast; it is all of His grace that we are able to live acceptably in His light. Let’s give Him the glory.

Many Scripture verses speak of the greatness of His kingdom, of His power, and of His glory. We do well to use those Scripture portions in our prayers. Many hymns and choruses proclaim the supremacy, the might, and the glory of the God we worship. Such phrases also find a place in our prayer expression. From the depths of the redeemed heart come genuine exaltations of praise for the greatness of the God who so graciously redeemed us and daily watches over us. We cannot overly exalt the greatness of our God.

Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?

JP: A very good read. Because Kathee was saved out of Roman Catholicism, the error of Roman Catholicism is very clear to her.

John MacArthur: Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?

Introduction:

In today’s spirit of ecumenism, many evangelicals have called for the Protestant Church to lay aside its differences with Rome and pursue unity with the Catholic Church. Is that possible? Is Roman Catholicism simply another facet of the body of Christ that should be brought into union with its Protestant counterpart? Is Roman Catholicism simply another Christian denomination?

While there are many errors in the teaching of the Catholic Church (for example its belief in the transubstantiation of the communion wafer and its view of Mary), two rise to the forefront and call for special attention: its denial of the doctrine of sola Scriptura and its denial of the biblical teaching on justification. To put it simply, because the Roman Catholic Church has refused to submit itself to the authority of God’s Word and to embrace the gospel of justification taught in Scripture, it has set itself apart from the true body of Christ. It is a false and deceptive form of Christianity.

Comment: Image is of Saint Peter’s Square

What Is the Emerging Church?

JP: Worthwhile read from Doug Brown of Faith Baptist. Doug is the brother of Dr Dan Brown of 4th Baptist and Liz and Hanna’s Uncle.

What Is the Emerging Church?

Excerpts:

What Is the Emerging Church?

Leaders and proponents within the emerging church seem to relish the fact that the emerging church eludes defining. Much of their literature is intentionally slippery and vague, often raising more questions than answers. Most resist the label of a “movement” and prefer to use terms such as “conversation,” “journey,” and “narrative” to describe the emerging church.

Part of the difficulty in explaining the emerging church is its wide diversity. It crosses denominational boundaries (since it is both interdenominational and nondenominational) and national boundaries (since it is international). In addition, emerging churches represent a wide assortment of theological positions (ranging from evangelical to liberal) and an even more extensive mixture of methodologies (everything from house churches to alternative worship).

So what is the emerging church? Scot McKnight summarizes: “Emerging catches into one term the global reshaping of how to ‘do church’ in postmodern culture.” Reducing the emergent church to innovative and unconventional methodologies would be a mistake. It goes deeper than just methodology. The emerging church movement marks a philosophical and social shift to make the church relevant to postmodern society.

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How Did the Emerging Church Emerge?

In order to understand the origin of the emerging church, one first has to understand a bit about postmodernism. Western civilization can basically be divided into three eras since the rise of Christianity. First was the era of pre-modernism. Prior to the Enlightenment, people generally believed in God and saw the Bible as revelation and authoritative. Those in the church and academy operated under pre-scientific presuppositions. Truth was viewed as knowable and objective. The Enlightenment changed this worldview and inaugurated the modern era.

Under modernism, human reason became the accepted authority, and the supernaturalism of the Bible was rejected. Truth was, however, still knowable and objective. René Descartes’ conclusion, “I think, therefore I am,” epitomized the modern era. Eventually rationalism led to the rise of empiricism and the scientific method, which resulted in the historical-critical method and the divide between the sacred and secular.

Throughout the twentieth century, postmodernism arose as a result of existential philosophy and a growing dissatisfaction with modernism. Under postmodernism, truth was no longer objective since people’s pre-understanding prohibited them from finding truth. The individual became the authority; one created truth as he or she perceived it. The greatest ideals of postmodernism were pluralism, tolerance, pragmatism, and moral relativism.

The emerging church seeks to revolutionize the church by reaching or accommodating postmodern culture. Emerging leaders view the traditional church (in its many forms) as essentially modern. They credit the decline of the church in Western civilization to its worldly allegiance to modernity. Since we now live in a post-Christian culture, the church must change. Hence, the emerging church is first and foremost a protest movement against the traditional church.

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How Should We Evaluate the Emerging Church?

Leaders within the emerging church movement promote a postmodern hermeneutic that I believe greatly undermines God’s Word. Emerging leaders argue for the “hermeneutics of humility,” which asserts that we cannot know any propositional truth absolutely. Therefore, Christians should exercise humility in interpreting God’s Word and systematic theology because anyone could theoretically be wrong.

This approach sounds noble. But in the end, this postmodern approach to God’s Word can lead to reader-response approaches to the text, polyvalence (multiple meanings), and ultimately uncertainty of anything theological. Two specific examples illustrate the danger of this approach to the Scripture. First, several within the Emergent wing are questioning the substitutionary death of Christ. Second, some also refuse to condemn homosexuality (as well as other sexual sins) as aberrant behavior.