Category Archives: Ministry

Albert Mohler Blog: “Keeping the Evangel in Evangelism: Why Evangelicalism Can’t Abandon the Old, Old Story”

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. reflects on the centrality and urgency of evangelism in a post-Christian world. Mohler writes:

“Historical evangelicalism has always valued both theological principle and vigorous evangelism. Indeed, we cannot be authentically and faithfully evangelical without holding both of these features in tandem. The unity between evangelical theology and evangelism is not forced or fabricated. Our theological convictions should irrevocably give birth to our evangelistic fervor.”

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April 17, 2018 Tuesday Berean Blast!

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

Apr 16, 2018 09:50 am | Marsha West

 

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is nothing of the sort. It’s a sham. Just a way Bethel Church leaders have devised to get their hooks into people, especially undiscerning young people. If you’re unfamiliar with Bethel Church in Redding CA, the senior pastor is the notorious  “Apostle” Bill Johnson.  For reasons that will become clear, Bethel’s considered […]

The post Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism appeared first on Berean Research.


You Can’t Love Jesus with a Heart Full of Hate: 7 Reasons to Love and Forgive Your Enemies

Apr 14, 2018 09:15 am | Marsha West

 

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley offers 7 reasons God gives us in His Word to love and forgive our enemies. Here’s one example: You Can’t Love Jesus With A Heart Full Of Unforgiveness. The reason she gives is that “Your enemy – that person you hate and refuse to forgive because he hurt you […]

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I’m old enough to remember when “evangelical” was a bad word

Apr 13, 2018 10:05 am | Marsha West

 

According to Jesse Johnson “evangelical suffers from an ambiguity largely owning to its diversity. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is different than the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, yet members of both would sign the Manhattan Declaration. If you believe the gospel and the fundamentals (inerrancy, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, personal conversion, etc.), does that make you evangelical? There is […]

The post I’m old enough to remember when “evangelical” was a bad word appeared first on Berean Research.


How To Do Online Discernment Ministry, part 1

Apr 12, 2018 09:20 am | Marsha West

 

No matter if you are in your pew listening to a sermon, choosing a book at the Christian bookstore, or reading some essays online, you need discernment to determine if what you are absorbing aligns with God’s word or is a lie designed to incrementally steer you away from the narrow path. In this 2 […]

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Hybels steps down from Willow Creek following allegations of misconduct

Apr 10, 2018 10:26 pm | Berean Admin

 

From the Chicago Tribune: Forty-two years after founding one of the nation’s most influential evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Bill Hybels told his congregation Tuesday night that he would step down from the helm of Willow Creek Community Church six months ahead of schedule. His departure comes less than a month after a Chicago Tribune investigation […]

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Francis Chan: “God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders”

Apr 10, 2018 04:02 pm | Marsha West

 

During a recent speaking engagement,* popular preacher and author Francis Chan told the group that God will destroy anyone who questions or criticizes the teachings of Christian leaders. Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church has the story which includes a must watch video of Bethel’s guest speaker so that we can see for ourselves that […]

The post Francis Chan: “God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders” appeared first on Berean Research.


 

God Determines How We Do Church — Pulpit & Pen

Today’s modern American Evangelical church is often an example of how we should NOT be “doing” church. Church leaders, Pastors, and Elders have often transformed how the church is done to capitulate to society. Sacrificing what should be done for what is popular and crowd-pleasing. Paul Washer addresses the topic of how Christians should be…

via God Determines How We Do Church — Pulpit & Pen

All the Messages and Panels from T4G posted in order

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264621513

The messages from T4G are already posted on the T4G website. All the plenary sessions and the panels posted in order below. Lig Duncan’s is one you’ll want to listen to, so I featured it above.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264308282

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264315328

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264326037

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264350899

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264356256

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264437032

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264476858

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264542072

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264542226

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264621513

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264633726

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264641696

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264674255

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264678728

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264688416

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Pulpit & Pen: The SBC Should Not Want Black Leadership

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy  leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leadership. The very idea is doctrinally bothersome, theologically incoherent, ethnically untenable, and morally perverse.

After the MLK50 veneration conference, hosted by The Social Gospel Coalition and the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Southern Baptists are calling for the white-guilted apologies offered to the world on behalf of past Southern Baptist sins to be proven by appointing black leaders to two openings at Southern Baptist entities. Both the International Mission Board (IMB), upon the resignation of David Platt, and the Presidency/CEO of the Executive Board of the SBC, upon the resignation of Frank Page, have openings which some feel should be filled based not upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin.

I’m offering a few thoughts on the subject of filling race-based denominational appointment vacancies for barter here in the Marketplace of Ideas.

First, I understand the manufactured excitement that comes from a conference like MLK50, which was organized and hosted by radical Cultural Marxists and mission-drifting Critical Race Theorists. Neither The Gospel Coalition nor the ERLC are primarily religious organizations; they are political organizations funded by leftist billionaires and unsuspecting small-time donors whose chief ambition is to radically revolutionize the way evangelical Christians think about race and to change the political alliance between conservatism and Christianity. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) was founded by Tim Keller, a Marxist who self-professes to be influenced by the Frankfurt School of Social Theory, as written about in detail in E.S. William’s book, The New Calvinists. Daily on the cyber-pages of TGC, the ideas of intersectionality, globalism, and social justice are regularly promoted. They do so in the name of Jesus and the Gospel, which I find especially repugnant. Under the guise of being theologically astute, under the faux-imagery of Gospel-promotion, TGC promotes Affirmative Action, open borders and amnesty, reparations, and even lent their blog for explicit endorsements of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Russell Moore at the ERLC works for the George Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table, calls border walls a “golden calf” (likening it to idolatry), and is a former Democratic staffer who never left the Democratic party. It should only be expected that any bastardized offspring of these two organizations should bear the DNA of progressivism. Any conference hosted by the two organizations – especially that designed to venerate a Communist whoremonger who denied the deity of Christ and His resurrection, should certainly be expected to create an army of Useful Idiots eager to atone for sins they didn’t commit and vicariously apologize for sins of others. This is, after all, the goal of intersectionality.

Second, for the life of me, I cannot understand how four thousand people could gather in the name of Martin Luther King and Jesus (which is as absurd as gathering in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus) and overlook the message of King. In a disgraceful treatment of King’s actual legacy – as shameful as walking across his grave – MLK50 used his decaying, rotting corpse as a means to a political end that King himself would have opposed. Although King was funded by and sympathetic to economic Marxism, he promoted the notion of “color-blindness,” which both the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition have told us in recent days is “racist.” King, in spite of all of his theological and moral failings, taught that the difference between black and white was little more than color. MLK50 taught that racial differences were not only non-superficial but to assume them superficial is in itself racist. The greatest irony of all is that MLK50 would likely have been opposed by Martin Luther King, as much as Al Sharpton would be making King roll over in the grave, if corpses could respond to sacrilege. King wrote in his famous I Have a Dream speech:

“I have a dream, my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” and the desire to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…And when this happens…and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

King, of course, was paraphrasing Scripture he didn’t believe inerrant, but did look to it for a degree of inspiration. King was echoing the words of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” King was echoing the words of Colossians 3:11, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”  King was echoing the words of 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Of course, the Scripture speaks of integrated harmony for those who are in Christ, but King’s paraphrase was not far off base. There are only two races on the planet; there is the race of Adam, in which all die, and there is a race of Christ, in which all will live. We are not baptized as black men, white men, or red men. We are baptized as men, and we are made alive in the representative of men, Jesus Christ. The very notion promoted by MLK50 and now being lauded in the Southern Baptist blogosphere is as repugnant to King as it is to the Apostle Paul who wrote those three passages.

Third, and this is the point of my contention, calling for vacancies in the SBC to be filled as proof of our repentance is morally obtuse. It is not wise, it is not thoughtful, and it is not original. It is racist. The echo-chamber and SBC pep-rally known as SBC Voices posted an article by Alan Cross entitled Why We Can’t Wait: The SBC’s Continual Need to Pursue Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Leadership. With all the short-lived but fiery enthusiasm of a youth group drop-out fresh out of church summer camp, Cross opined his thoughts after coming back from MLK50. And what did Cross come away with? Cross, proving that computers are not the only data processors that can be programmed, came away with the notion that to best live out the ethos of Martin Luther King, we need to promote people to denominational office NOT based upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin. This is not genius; this is mentally deficient, morally deluded, and intellectually vapid. Cross writes:

Over the past 3 years since 2015, progress has been made. There have been more appointments, resolutions have been passed addressing white supremacy, and a heightened awareness has been raised of the need for Southern Baptists of all backgrounds to work together, serve together, and submit to one another as we all submit to and follow Jesus. We have seen progress with appointments and more of an open door for participation. I am grateful for this and what has come before. But, while good, this work is only seen as progress relative to the abysmal situation that preceded it.

Cross defeats his own argument in the course of giving it. The SBC nominated and elected Fred Luter as its first black president (largely based on the color of his skin). H.B. Charles was elected the first black president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference. Dwight McKissic – a Bernie Sander’s supporting racist who puts dead babies at the bottom of the list of his ethical priorities – strong-armed SBC leadership into condemning the “alt-right,” after holding up his own denomination in scorn to the national media as purportedly racist for not following through on his race-baiting, politically-motivated propaganda tactics. Just today it was reported that a Georgia church was unilaterally kicked out of its convention for not allowing a little black girl to use the restroom. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a Malcom X read-in this year (good grief). Southern Baptist institutions like Ouachita Baptist University have a department of Social Justice, ostensibly funded by Clinton financier and globalist, James Riady. Cross needs to understand – as do all 45 of SBC Voices readers – that it will never be enough. The goal is not equality. Blacks and Whites are equal under both United States law and Southern Baptist polity. This is an undeniable fact. What racism remains is thoroughly repudiated and regularly expunged, and in a denomination with a tent as wide as the SBC, finding a church with truly “institutional racism” is rarer than finding Southern Baptist churches who handle snakes (that is not hyperbole). Neither is it unrealistic to say that being black in the Southern Baptist Convention (or any theologically conservative evangelical organization) is a matter of extreme privilege and puts one at the front of the line to share the spotlight. The reason it will never be good enough is because the goal is political. The goal is to change our worldview, our ideological positions, and even our theology.

Fourth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism is woefully unbiblical. It is anti-gospel. Is racism not a sin? Is righteousness legislated? Is morality induced by executive fiat? Could that change hearts and minds? The answer to these questions is that racism is a sin, righteousness cannot be legislated, morality cannot be mandated by executive decision, and that hearts and minds aren’t changed by twisting arms to put men or women of color in charge our entities. Instead, appointing a person of minority status to a denominational position would be a worthless symbolic overture we’ve already done before, and done it again and again.

Fifth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism grossly overlooks the real reason for the deficiency of minority leadership. Here are some inconvenient facts. Black churches are disproportionally rife with liberation theology. They are disproportionally tainted by Word-Faith, charismatic, and prosperity theology that is starkly at odds with traditional Southern Baptist values and doctrine. Black churches are disproportionally rife with many of the same family and cultural plagues of out-of-wedlock births, higher abortion rates, and fatherless homes as is the black community at large. Nothing in the groveling, pleading, bleeding commie-hearts on display at MLK50 even made a tangential effort to address the reason why there seem to be so few quality black leaders in the SBC; it is not racism. It is because there is, in reality, so few quality black leaders in the SBC. To propose filling agency positions with people merely based upon the color of one’s skin is not good for the denomination and it is not good for the black community because it doesn’t address the real reasons for those deficiencies which start with character and not with color.

By the way, for the sake of the weeping and gnashing of teeth I can already hear, there are plenty of quality and qualified men of color who could run our convention entities (in the same way there are many – I presume – “good” Southern Baptist churches comprised of primarily of black people). The argument, of course, is that raising race to the preeminent qualification for appointment is as racist as it is unhelpful.

Sixth and finally, none of this conversation – that started by MLK50 or that is being finished in the blogosphere – has been stained with the blood of Jesus. None of it. Throwing in the word “gospel” once in a while doesn’t make something saturated with the Good News. The Gospel mandates that forgiveness is given upon repentance, and with forgiveness must come restoration. The “white community” has apologized – profusely – and it needs to be said in the most pastoral way possible that making forgiveness contingent upon giving denominational appointments, scholarships or reparations is sinful on the part of the black person withholding forgiveness. Repentance does not have to be “proven,” it has to be confessed, and not to give forgiveness when it is requested is as wicked as the sin of slavery.

In conclusion, when Paul told the Colossians, the Galatians and the Corinthians that there were no slaves or free men, male or female, or Jews or Greeks, he was not implying that these “classes” or categories did not exist. In fact, Paul reaffirms these classes in Colossians and Corinthians when he orders slaves to obey their masters, for masters to be kind to their slaves, for wives to submit to husbands and husbands to love their wives. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that one man is black and another is white, that Caitlyn Jenner is actually a man and if you have an XX chromosome you’re a woman. Neither was Paul arguing that there weren’t people born Jews or born Greeks. Paul’s point is that there is ultimate equality in the singular baptism that we receive in Christ, because Christ wasn’t an atonement for classes of people, but for the whole swath of believing humanity.

What should make us weep is that MLK50 and the Critical Race Theory imposed upon this generation of evangelicals through TGC and ERLC has set back a Biblical perspective of race to at least the days of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Following the ultimate prohibition of the Jim Crow laws and granting of equal rights in the Civil Rights Movement, there was a time and place (believe it or not) that the “races” (as terrible a term as that is) had far more harmony than today. What we must understand is that the Cultural Marxists who operate the ERLC and TGC are intentionally sowing discord and division between the races to accomplish their ultimate political purposes.

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy  leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.

The post The SBC Should Not Want Black Leadership appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

The Dividing Line Webcast: White Supremacy, MLK Jr.’s Theology, Imputed Guilt by Race, Kyle Howard, Racialism

Spent the first hour going over developments over the past few days, including discussions of the Washington Rally with the National Council of Churches, the MLK50 Conference, Martin Luther King’s own professed theology, Thabiti Anyabwile’s imputation of guilt to our grandparents, and finally Kyle J. Howard’s public statement that he would not feel “safe” meeting with me alone “as a black man.” Then we opened the phones with all sorts of calls—none of which were on the topic of the first hour!

Weekly Watchman for 04/06/2018

Finding the Right Church, and Other Great Topics!

If your church has been veering away from traditional biblical doctrines and teachings, and you feel led to consider another church, what questions should you ask those pastors before becoming a member?

This is one of the questions one of our listeners posed this week. Other questions include:

Is God capable of hatred?
How can I defend hyper-feminism and the increasing demonization of men?
Are Christians required to tithe?
Our son’s youth pastor advised the kids to abstain from sex, but if they choose not to, they should take precautions. What?!
Can a person be “trapped” or born in the wrong body?
How do we refute the arguments of those who believe gender is fluid and can be (“assigned”) chosen?
What if my pastor doesn’t teach the Old Testament or prophecy?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christian Alternatives to Public Education

It is pretty clear what Christian parents can expect if they send their children to government-run schools. Whatever basic Christian worldview their children have will be challenged and probably mocked, that is, if other kids find out they’re Christians. There’s also a very good chance that by the time they head off to college their children will want nothing to do with the Christian faith.

There are alternatives. Why send your children to reputable Christian schools or take a step of faith and homeschool? But many parents are intimidated by what they perceive to be a tremendous commitment of time or money needed for homeschooling their children.

We discuss a new Christian Home School Organization to offer assistance to parents who choose to home school their children. We talk with Andrew Pudewa, director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, who is very involved in the advancement of quality homeschooling. He will be speaking at the Wisconsin Homeschool conference April 20-21 in Milwaukee.

In our first segment, we check in with Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Council to discuss the recent election of a liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. We also address disturbing trends we see in government, as well as a dangerous ordinance in Milwaukee that will prevent Christian churches and counselors from helping young people who are confused about their sexuality or gender identification.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Cesspool of American Pop Culture

In previous generations, children could just enjoy being young and relatively carefree. They were able to actually go outside and play and put off until later the responsibilities and pressures of adulthood. But today’s children have not only become addicted to social media, but also political pawns of the left, helping advance the culture of sin and depravity. Hollywood and government schools are submerging young minds into a world view that directly opposes God and His Word.  In the coming years, as this younger generation becomes adults and leaders in society, we will see the damage that was done.

Tina Griffin, Counter Culture Mom, joins us to expose some of he darkness and look at ways parents can be educated about pop culture and protect our children from a world looking to destroy them spiritually.

And in our final segments, we address the continued censoring of Christian messages on Facebook, and a report of a child being sexually assaulted in a bathroom of a Target Department Store.  Target was one of the first department store chains to allow people to go into the bathroom or changing room of their choice, depending on what gender they “felt like” on any particular day.  Are these stories being covered up at the risk of our children being sexually manipulated and attacked?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Living in Prophetic Times

Why don’t we talk about prophecy more than we do? Nearly one third of the Bible is prophecy. Today’s guest says we are living in the most prophetic times since Jesus Christ Himself lived on earth. Things seem to be falling into place as the world rushes toward a one world government and evil continues to grow, God, His Word, and His people are hated more and more each day.

What are some of the specific biblical prophesies we might be witnessing in our life times? And what does the Bible teach about Elohim and the Nephilim in the Old Testament? Pastor and best-selling author, Carl Gallups joins us to discuss his latest book, Gods and Thrones.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Confronting the Destructive Lies of Transgenderism with Truth and Compassion

The times in which we live as disciples of Jesus Christ grow more and more bizarre just as the Bible told us they would. Ten years ago, which of us would have ever thought a defining issue in society and even in some churches would be whether God really made humans male or female?

But we are witnessing a growing number of people, including professing Christians wondering if gender might be fluid. How do we respond to this crisis about identity? The Bible teaches us to speak the truth with love and compassion for the lost. But how do we respond when no matter how compassionate and loving we are, some react with accusations of bigotry?

Dr. Ryan Anderson wrote a groundbreaking book on the subject titled When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement. He joins us to help us understand this groundbreaking issue and how Christians should respond.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Grace Community Church Venue CANCELED for Gospel Coalition Conference

A graphic from TGC website for its West Coast conference, which has yet to be updated with the change of venue.

Developing: Grace Community Church (GCC), home congregation of Pastor John MacArthur, has canceled the church property and facilities as a venue for the West Coast Gospel Coalition Conference.

John MacArthur and leadership at GCC have faced increasing criticism in recent days from many who are critical of the problematic theological trajectory of The Gospel Coalition. Phil Johnson, director of MacArthur’s Grace to You Ministry, announced via his social media platforms prior to Resurrection weekend that the elders at GCC were united in their concern about the conference plans, as promoted by The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website.

Sources have reported certain concerns regarding TGC conference speakers not personally approved by Dr. MacArthur or GCC leadership, and certain doctrinal or worldview differences between the two organizations. These concerns do not include Kevin DeYoung or Alistair Begg, who were the two primary conference speakers other than Dr. MacArthur himself.

Phil Johnson announced that GCC would not be allowing TGC to use its facility for their West Coast Conference approximately an hour ago, via Twitter. Johnson also claims, in the social media thread, that a more thorough statement will be forthcoming.

Sources also reveal that GCC leadership was concerned almost as soon as the public pronouncement of the conference by TGC was made, long before any criticism of GCC was made public. As Johnson said in his pre-Easter tweet, patience was requested over Resurrection weekend to allow communication between the church and TGC and to settle the matter in an amicable way.

We are pleased that Grace Community Church and the always-admirable Dr. John MacArthur will not be taking part in the Gospel Coalition’s West Coast Conference.

The post Grace Community Church Venue CANCELED for Gospel Coalition Conferenceappeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

6 Questions I’m Hearing Again from Young People Raised in Evangelical Churches

I heard these questions from young people in the 1980s, but they tended to die down (at least among young people in my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, who were then in the midst of our conservative resurgence). With no desire to use this post to enter into theological debates, I want to review some of the same questions I’m beginning to hear again—often, among college students raised in Christian homes.

  1. “How do I know the Bible is true?” Few young people I know are willing to accept their parent’s faith at face value. They respect the Bible, but that doesn’t mean they always accept it as truth.
  2. “If God is love, won’t He accept love in any relationship?” Some young folks accept the Bible’s description of God as love, but they turn to other sources to define that love. They thus broaden their definition beyond biblical parameters.
  3. “Does it really matter whether I go to church?” “If my faith is between me and God,” some say, “I don’t really need to be part of a church.” A spirit of individualism overshadows any sense of needing other believers as witnesses and encouragers.
  4. “Might there be more than one way to God?” Often raised among followers of other world faiths, many young people struggle understanding why God would judge their friends and classmates.
  5. “Who cares what denomination the church is?” The question is an honest one for a generation raised in local churches that often themselves exhibited little denominational connection or loyalty.
  6. “How do I know if this whole ‘religion thing’ isn’t just manmade?” They hear that thinking from others at times, and few believers have taken the time to try to answer that question.

Maybe these questions aren’t so new after all. Perhaps they’re simply a reminder of an important truth for church leaders: just because we tried to answer the questions in one generation doesn’t mean they won’t come around again. And, if we aren’t willing to hear and tackle the questions, we’ll lose another generation.

Source: 6 Questions I’m Hearing Again from Young People Raised in Evangelical Churches

18 Questions about Faith and Mental Illness

How should we understand the effects of the Fall on the mind and brain? We know our bodies age and die. We know all of our organs are susceptible to disease and deterioration. We have “norms” for the frequency, duration, onset, and prognosis of these effects of the Fall; what are the equivalent expectations for the mind and brain?

When engaging a difficult and highly personal subject, it is better to start with good questions than a list of answers. The better our questions are, the more responsibly we will utilize the answers of which we are confidant, the more humbly we will approach areas of uncertainty, and the more we will honor one another in the process of learning.

As I’ve read, counseled, and thought about the subject of mental illness, here are some of the questions that have emerged.

The purpose of these questions is to expand our thinking about mental illness. We all bring a “theory of mental illness” to this discussion. This theory, whether we can articulate it or not, shapes the questions we ask. Exposing ourselves to important questions from other perspectives is the first step in becoming more holistic in our approach.

Don’t allow these questions to overwhelm you. All of these questions existed before you read them. Speaking them didn’t create them. Actually, an appropriate response to this list would be the generation of more questions. Take a moment to write down the additional questions you have.

  1. Is mental illness a flaw in character or chemistry? Is this the best way to frame the question? What do we lose when we fall into the trap of either-or thinking?
  2. Why do we think of genetic influences as if they negate the role of the will or personal choice? Substance abuse can have a clear genetic predisposition, but every addiction program – even those most committed to a disease model – appeal to the will as a key component to sobriety.
  3. In the modern psychological proverb, “The genes load the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger,” where is the person? How do we best understand the interplay of predisposition (genetics), influences (environment), and the individual making choices (person)?
  4. What percent of those who struggle with “normal sorrow” are labeled as clinically depressed? What percentage of those who think their sorrow is normal are actually clinically depressed? How do we communicate effectively when the same word – depression – has both a clinical and popular usage?
  5. Would we want to eradicate all anxiety and depression if we were medically capable of doing so? What would we lose, that was good about life and relationships, if these unpleasant emotions were eradicated from human experience? Would that be heaven-on-earth or have unintended consequences that are greater than our current dilemma?
  6. Can we have a “weak” brain—one given to problematic emotions or difficulty discerning reality—and a “strong” soul—one with a deep and genuine love for God? If we say “yes” to this question in areas like intelligence (e.g., low IQ and strong faith), would there be any reason to say “no” about those things described as mental illness? C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity says, “Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst of this raw material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us; all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises (p. 91-92).”

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Albert Mohler Blog: “All Other Ground is Sinking Sand: A Portrait of Theological Disaster”

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. writes about the CBF’s recent decision on hiring LGBT individuals in ministry positions. Mohler writes:

“The report, “Honoring Autonomy & Reflecting the Fellowship,” has infuriated LGBTQ proponents and alienated more conservative churches. Its recommendations offer a ridiculous and unstable policy. The report and related news reports reveal that the proposed policy will allow for the hiring of openly-LGBT CBF personnel in some positions, but not in positions of leadership or missionary field assignment. The new policy, if adopted, would create a dual morality — one for an estimated 80% of CBF staff and the other for supervisory staff and field personnel. The two moralities, contradictory by definition, would supposedly co-exist within one structure.”

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Get Ready, Youth Group Leaders: Teens Twice as Likely to Identify as Atheist or LGBT

This generation is more sensitive to LGBT issues overall, with 37 percent saying their gender and sexuality is “very important” to their sense of self, compared to 28 percent of their Gen X parents.

Imagine Generation Z—the 70 million kids born between 1999 and 2015—and you probably picture them staring at their devices. A bunch of app-savvy, tech-addicted teens who never knew a time before smartphones.

Half of Protestant youth pastors consider technology and social media the defining factor of this latest generation, but a new study released today by Barna Group sheds new light on striking social and demographic trends: Teenagers in Gen Z are at least twice as likely as American adults to identify as LGBT or as atheist.

These are important markers of identity among the youngest segment of America, and pose new ministry challenges for the church.

While the latest Gallup poll reported only 4.1 percent of Americans—and 7.3 percent of millennials—identify as LGBT, Barna found that 12 percent of Gen Z teens described their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual, with 7 percent identifying as bisexual.

This generation is more sensitive to LGBT issues overall, with 37 percent saying their gender and sexuality is “very important” to their sense of self, compared to 28 percent of their Gen X parents.

Additionally, about a third of teens know someone who is transgender, and the majority (69%) say it’s acceptable to be born one gender and to feel like another.

Though teens exploring sexual identity have long been a part American churches and youth groups, they haven’t always been this open about their identity and willing to address it so transparently.

“It is a new challenge for student ministry leaders, because there is more discussion in the public square regarding LGBT issues,” Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources, told CT.

“In the past, it was possible for difficult issues like this to be brushed aside or go unaddressed entirely. But that approach cripples the purpose of student ministry,” he said. “Now, student ministry leaders are forced to teach what the Bible says on these issues, as well as equip teenagers to respond biblically.”

Today’s teens need that direction from church leaders as they grow more likely to identify as atheist and less likely to identify as Christian than their parents and older peers.

Among Gen Z members between 13 and 18 years old, 13 percent consider themselves atheists, compared to just 6 percent of adults overall.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of Gen Z identifies as Christian, compared to 68 percent of adults. Only 1 in 11 teens is considered by Barna to be an “engaged Christian,” a category the research organization uses for those whose beliefs and practices are shaped by their faith (i.e., not “Christian in name only”).

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The post Get Ready, Youth Group Leaders: Teens Twice as Likely to Identify as Atheist or LGBT appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Speaking up for discernment ministries

(Amy Spreeman – Berean Research) Is it just me, or are discernment ministries getting raked over the coals?  And is it deserved?

Early last summer I stepped back from my daily blogging and posting activities. Not by choice, but medical necessity. Eight months and three surgeries later, I’ve been slowly dipping a toe back in, and catching up on the news. Only to find that there’s been more than news to catch up on.

I wish I could say that I have been completely and mercifully unaware of a lot of the infighting and bickering played out like a Spanish soap opera on social media. I’ve attempted to steer clear of the carnage, and keep this site and my own personal opinions from sidetracking the task at hand: Pointing Christians to the truth, equipping them, and helping them steer clear of danger. As we state on our Home Page, biblical discernment comes from reading and meditating on the breathed-out Word of God, and not a news site. (See our White Paper, What Is Discernment?)  View article →

Source: Speaking up for discernment ministries

Don’t “Share Your Faith”

Code: B180129

Our postmodern culture gnashes its teeth at biblical evangelism. Their commitment to subjectivity and relativism cannot accommodate a religion that is exclusive, narrow, and declares non-negotiable truth. And that shouldn’t surprise us—Jesus told us to expect to be hated in the same way that He was (John 15:18).

Moreover, Scripture also warns against appeasing (James 4:4) or imbibing (Romans 12:2) the world’s values. But that’s easier said than done. We are called to separatism without monasticism—being in the world but not of the world. We can’t live our lives and engage our mission field without coming into contact with pagan culture.

For most of us it’s difficult to avoid marinating in the postmodern thinking of our friends, families, and colleagues. And we see signs of this even in the realm of evangelism.

The phrase “share your faith” is now deeply embedded in the evangelical vernacular. Most of us use it as a synonym for our evangelistic encounters, myself included. But those three words reek of postmodern subjectivity—a point not lost on John MacArthur:

It’s not your faith and you can’t share it. . . . That is a not-so-very subtle overture to the post-modern mentality that says my faith is my faith and I certainly would be happy to share it with you.

That’s not at all what we want to do. We want to explain the faith, the Christian faith, truth. And our greatest example for that is the Lord Jesus, who throughout His ministry presented the truth. . . . Jesus was relentlessly committed to the truth. He spoke the absolute truth into every situation. And either people accepted the truth, and rejected error, or they held tightly to their error and began to hate Jesus— because they saw what He was doing as an attack on them. And it was.

We don’t share it, we announce it. And it’s not your faith, it’s the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). It is God’s gospel.

I rejoice that the Christian gospel rests on objective historical facts that transcend my own experiences or validation—God’s creation, man’s fall, and Christ’s redemption. I’ve watched in agony as Christians have vainly tried to duel with other religions and worldviews on the basis of personal experience. Those encounters rapidly degenerate into an endless subjective standoff. The experiential evangelist is powerless to refute someone’s experience with his own.

The truth of the biblical gospel crashes through all of those man-made barriers with God’s own written testimony. It doesn’t hinge on our personal skills or powers of persuasion. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Imposters Abound

Yet there remains no shortage of people willing to substitute “the power of God” with their own ideas and agendas. The prosperity gospel attempts to entice people into God’s kingdom through the offer of material riches. The gospel of Roman Catholicism offers salvation through religious hoops and human effort. The gospel of seeker-sensitivity hinges on their ability to attract people that don’t exist—seekers (Romans 3:11).

Meanwhile, proponents of the social gospel advocate charitable works and social causes as the redemptive answer for a world overrun with sin. While writing this article, I was alerted to a recent tweet posted by the political arm of an influential denomination. It simply said: “We are fulfilling the Great Commission when we welcome people from other nations to our country.” That is a blatant lie told by people who should know better! The Great Commission is a command to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28), not to roll out a welcome mat at border checkpoints.

Works of compassion are meant to adorn the gospel, not replace it. When other adjectives encroach on the gospel (i.e., social gospel, prosperity gospel, etc.), it’s often an indication that it is no gospel at all.

Measuring Success

Our worth as evangelists can only be measured by our faithfulness to the message we have been called to preach. We find ourselves in good biblical company when most people reject the message we proclaim. Noah, Jeremiah, and even the Lord Jesus Himself, had relatively few converts by the end of their earthly ministries. Yet they all excelled in the sole metric of success for evangelists—they never deviated from the message they were called to preach.

That remains our benchmark for evangelistic success as far as God is concerned. He has called us to preach the gospel, both “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to present God’s holiness, prosecute sinners, proclaim Christ, and plead with all men to repent and believe the gospel. God will draw His elect (John 6:44), and Christ will continue to build His church (Matthew 16:18).

Preaching is our job and converting is God’s. Woe unto us if we ever confuse that simple point.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180129
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Shepherd My Sheep: How to Lead Biblically

 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” — John 21:16

Scripture calls everyone to lead in one way or another. Mankind was created to have dominion over, subdue, and take charge of God’s creation (Gen 1). Parents are to lead their children (Deut 6), husbands are to lead their wives (1 Peter 3), older women are to counsel and lead younger women (Titus 2), and pastors are to lead their churches (1 Tim 3; Titus 1). Whether you are a seminary student or a stay-at-home mom, everyone is exhorted to lead biblically, to fulfill their God-ordained responsibility of leadership.

In secular society, highly-regarded leaders are generally zealous, passionate, and ambitious. They are visionaries with the ability to inspire and motivate others. They have clear, well-defined goals, and they know how to make those goals a reality. Such qualities are all useful, but these descriptions leave out the most crucial component of biblical leadership—service.Whether you are a seminary student or a stay-at-home mom, everyone is exhorted to lead biblically

Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to appreciate “those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and to esteem them highly in love because of their work” (1 Thess 5:12–13). Elsewhere, Paul adds that the Corinthians were to be in subjection to those who “have devoted themselves for service to the saints” (1 Cor 16:15-16).

Notice the theme here: work, labor, service. It’s because of their service that they are to be followed. The idea of a leader being a servant is more of a gloss in our modern vocabulary. We do lip service to the concept by using terms like public and civil servants without fully exemplifying the underlying meaning. In the gospels, Jesus constantly highlights this issue: leadership is humility displayed through service. On three different occasions, He repeats that, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9, 10; Luke 22). Good leaders must first become good servants! That’s the point Jesus is making when He says to Peter, “Shepherd My sheep.”

In this scene, Jesus gives three qualifications for leadership:

Love God
Jesus is not talking about a love for others in this passage. Love for people in general is undeniably important for ministry leadership, but that is not His focus here. In His conversation with Peter, Jesus asks him three times, “Do you love Me?” The motive and foundation of biblical leadership is a love for God. It must be first and foremost in a leader’s life. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”(Matt 22:37). Everything flows out of an over-arching love for God. It is the driving force of service for God and His Kingdom. Relationships with people can bring trials, struggles, and unfulfilled expectations. But love for God blunts the sting of the disappointments.

Be an Example
If love for God is the heart and soul of biblical leadership, then example is the conduit. Each time Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love Me?” He immediately exhorts Peter to prove it. “If you love Me, shepherd My sheep.” Peter would have to earn the right to be followed by being an example. And, remarkably, that he does!

  • He took the initiative in gathering believers and selecting a replacement for Judas (Acts 1)
  • He reiterated the gospel boldly in the face of certain persecution, and called others to obey God rather than men (Acts 2–5)
  • He left his comfort zone to evangelize cross-culturally (Acts 10), fully aware that criticism would inevitably follow (Acts 11)
  • He defended God’s holiness (Acts 5, 15)
  • He accepted correction when confronted by Paul (Gal 2; 2 Peter 3:15-16)

Holiness is a powerful and crucial partner in the proclamation of the gospel.Peter was a model of servant leadership. He proved his love for Christ by obeying His commandments (John 14:15). His life not only declared the gospel but also exemplified the gospel. As it was with Peter, so it is with us. Holiness is a powerful and crucial partner in the proclamation of the gospel. A life of holiness makes the gospel visible, not just audible. An old Puritan saying puts it this way: “Your preaching can pound nails into the boards of men’s hearts, but it is your life that will pound them deep.”

Die to Self
The mentality of a servant leader must be dying to self. Jesus continues His conversation with Peter by saying, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.’ Now this He said signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow me’” (John 21:18–19). Beginning with “truly, truly,” Jesus emphatically announces Peter’s new ministry trajectory—unexpected dangers, far-reaching responsibilities, and certain martyrdom. Peter would need to sacrifice himself to God’s plan.

True leadership in ministry requires dying to self, doing what God has ordained. The command is a present imperative. “Keep on following Me.” In other words, “if you truly love Me, you must keep on following Me.” When Jesus began His ministry, He called Peter to follow Him, to “become a fisher of men” (Mark 1:17). Here, Jesus expands that summons—a call to sacrifice, self-denial, and unreserved faithfulness and loyalty. About a century ago, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson aptly noted, “Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” That is what Jesus asks of anyone who would follow Him, to humbly say yes to God’s sovereign providence.

Biblical leadership hinges on a servanthood that is motivated by love for God, lived out through humble example, and saturated with a mentality of self-sacrifice. The question this text calls us to answer is, “What kind of leader will you be?”

The post Shepherd My Sheep: How to Lead Biblically appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

The Mechanistic Church

Many wrongly view the local church as a social society that exists to meet their needs or desires. On the contrary, the church exists to bring glory to God, to spread and defend the Gospel, to build up and equip the saints unto mutual edification in love and to carry out the good works for which Christ has redeemed a people (Eph. 2:10; 4:11-16). To this end, the Christian life and Christian ministry requires personal commitment, sacrifice and diligence. There is always a real danger that believers will grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). When church members cease “giving all diligence” to living out the Christian life (2 Peter 1:5-7), they sometimes start looking for the local church to live the Christian life for them. They adopt a mechanistic view of the role of the church in their lives. When they do not feel as though the church is “working” for them, they grow discontent. Discontentment then often fosters and fuels division. Likewise, when pastors or elders grow discontent in waiting on the Lord to bless His appointed means of grace, they can slide into mechanistic ministry mode–trusting in programs or external accommodations to do the work of ministry for them. This is one of the most difficult issues to expose, since those who begin to do these things are usually not aware that they have begun to do so. It is a subtle and deceitfully sinful mode of operation.

To be sure, we should all have the deepest love for the local church, because the local church is God’s sphere of special, redemptive blessings (Eph. 3:10). We should long to see believers give the better part of their lives to the growth, provision and nourishment of the local church. That being said, God never meant for the church–in its organization, leadership and structure–to live the Christian life for its members. Likewise, God never intended for programs and ministry accommodations to do the work of ministry for its leadership.

Burk Parsons has made the important observation that often “the local church programs its people with so many activities that people have no time left to spend with their families and friends to enjoy life together and rest together—let alone take care of widows and orphans.” It is also sadly the case that the local church has programmed its people with so many activities that many of the congregants have convinced themselves that they are serving the Lord, when in fact they are merely living as ecclesiastical consumers. Whether it is singing in the choir, volunteering in a church food bank, participating in a home fellowship group or serving on a ministry team, individuals can convince themselves that they are living a faithful Christian life because they are participating in one of these or similar programs. It is altogether possible to be involved in activities in a local church without “making every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

I am certainly not against church programs. However, when members of a local church grow discontent because the local church to which they belong is not large enough to have a size-specific or context-specific programs, it often reveals a defect in their own hearts more than it reveals a defect in that particular local church or its leadership. When members of a local church begin to complain because they want some provision or program that God has not commanded in His word, they are manifesting spiritual unhealthiness in their own hearts. Leadership can also fall prey to this pernicious phenomenon in the realm of ministry. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit and God’s ordained means of grace to convert and sanctify the people of God, the ordained and staff leadership of a local church can begin to look to music, programs, facility accommodations, etc. to do the work of ministry. Here the old adage holds true: “What you win them with you win them to.” If you win people to the crucified and risen Christ, who reveals Himself through the means of grace (i.e. the word, sacraments and prayer), you win them to the Lord Jesus. If you win them with music, programs, advertisement or buildings, you will always have to do better music, have better programs and develop better buildings. God never intended for these things (which in and of themselves are not unlawful or unuseful) to work in the hearts and lives of individuals. They have their place in a local church, but they must never be in the driver’s seat of the Christian life or Christian ministry.

The New Testament gives us more than enough commands to carry out among the members of whatever congregation we have committed ourselves. For instance, we are called to “bear with the failings of the weak” (Rom. 15:1), to “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Rom. 12:10), to “lay something aside, on the first day of the week, as we may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:1), to “serve one another through love” (Gal. 5:13), to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), to “share all good things with the one who teaches” (Gal. 6:6), to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10), to “bear with one another in love, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering” (Eph. 4:2), to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32), to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16), to “increase and abound in love to one another and to all” (1 Thess. 3:12), to “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13), to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24), to “obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account” (Heb. 13:7), to “visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27), to “confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16), to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22), to “have compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Pet. 3:8), to “be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9), to “minister to one another, as each one has received a gift” (1 Peter 4:10), and to “love one another” (1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 1:5). These are merely a few of the hundreds of apostolic imperatives that God has given to the members of His church. All of them require prayerful and purposeful pursuit. They involve personal commitment, sacrifice and diligence.

If you are a member of a congregation that is faithful to the sound preaching of the Gospel, the right administration of the sacraments, prayer, the singing of God’s truth and the faithful practice of church discipline, you have every reason to be thankful and to give yourself diligently to developing your Christian life. God has appointed the means of grace for the growth of His people. They will not, in and of themselves, live the Christian life for us either. We must be diligent to “make our calling and election sure” by working out what God is working in (Phil 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:10). We must not grow weary in well doing. We must resist the urge to look to either practices or programs, procedures and policies, to live the Christian life for us or to do the work of ministry for us. Our God has given us the enormous privilege and responsibility of diligently living out, on a daily basis, the spiritual life that He has given to us in Christ.

The post The Mechanistic Church appeared first on Feeding on Christ.

Moody blues

(World Magazine – Paul Butler & Marvin Olasky) Financial errors, insider dealings, and theological concerns force a change at an evangelical powerhouse

The story sounds like something out of a movie.

In 2017, a talk show host on the Moody Radio Network blows the whistle on the leadership of one of American evangelicalism’s flagship institutions, the Moody Bible Institute (MBI). On Jan. 9, 2018, she escalates the pressure with a hard-hitting headline on her blog: “A Luxury Suite, Questionable Loan to Officer, & Gambling: The Disturbing Truth About Leadership at MBI.” Moody within hours fires her and sends a man to her house to seize her laptop—but she is on her way to Mexico, with the computer.

The next day, though, Moody’s board of trustees meets and decides it’s time for “a new season of leadership.” President Paul Nyquist and COO Steve Mogck resign. Provost Junias Venugopal retires. And whistleblower Julie Roys reports the board’s action. She tells WORLD she’s “grieved over what’s happened” to MBI, glad about the resignations and retirement, but convinced that “unless there are changes at the board level, the Institute will be in the exact same place 5-10 years from now.”

So, even though the saga is not over, the Moody board’s action is still a man-bites-dog story within the usually slow-moving world of higher education. As the news spread, Christian leaders asked questions: What are MBI’s problems? What forced the hand of the board, and where does Moody go from here? Is the drama likely to be repeated at other institutions as financial and theological pressures grow? WORLD had been investigating MBI during the weeks before the board decision, and we have some findings to report.

COLLEGES LIVE OR DIE ON STUDENT ENROLLMENT. From 2012 to 2017, the number of students applying to MBI fell from 1,316 to 947—a 28 percent drop. MBI for more than a century has emphasized theological education for students who desire to enter full-time vocational ministry: “Those are the students we still give priority to,” said James Spencer, vice president and dean of Moody’s undergraduate school. Today, though, many young Christians look to secular careers and speak of ministering informally within their professions.

Professors are a college’s front line. Facing the enrollment downturn, President Nyquist last December announced a layoff of “about 10 percent of Moody Global Ministries personnel.” But the faculty was disproportionately hard-hit: 34 of MBI’s 112 full-time faculty members, almost one-third, learned their contracts would not be renewed. (MBI does not give professors tenure.) “Education is certainly about the faculty,” Spencer acknowledged, so Nyquist’s attempt to minimize the extent of the body count by saying “10 percent” did not go over well. View article →

Source: Moody blues

Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

Should there be equality in the roles of men and women as many Christians believe?  Or has God gifted women to fulfill only the roles He has specifically designed for them…. which does not include women becoming pastors, nor is it a woman’s role to teach men.

In this piece over at Junction City, Gabriel Hughes discusses the role of women in the Church. He writes:

In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The context here is church leadership, an instruction that continues into chapter 3. A woman is not permitted to be a pastor in a church (elder, bishop, overseer, etc.). Only a man can be a pastor.

This instruction is not limited to the time-period in which Paul was writing. It applies to all people in every place at every point in the history of the church. How do we know this? Because Paul goes all the way back to Genesis with his explanation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (verses 13-14).

So the first reason the role of pastor is to be filled by a man is because Adam was formed first, and Eve was formed from Adam as his help-meet. The differences between the sexes and the different roles they are assigned are not a result of the fall. They were established at creation and have applied to all people in all cultures at all times.

The second reason a pastor is to be man is because Adam was not deceived by the serpent, but the woman was deceived and transgressed the law of God. This might seem unfair because Adam certainly sinned as well, and death came to all men because Adam sinned (Romans 5:121 Corinthians 15:21). But Adam wasn’t deceived, and Eve was. So whether we’re talking about a perfect, sinless world, or the fallen, sinful one we currently inhabit, God intends that a man be the one to shepherd the flock of God (pastor means “shepherd;” see also 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak at church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35).

This doesn’t mean a woman is supposed to have duct-tape over her mouth from the moment she walks into church to the moment she walks out. The context is teaching the church, or administering the authority of the word of God over the gathered people of God. The role as overseer is set apart for specifically a man to fill. View article →

Source: Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

Why Repentant Pastors Should Be Forgiven But Not Restored to the Pulpit

It’s important to forgive repentant pastors, but not to restore them to pastoral office for years or perhaps ever (depending on the nature of the sin) because Paul’s qualifications pertain to the character. A pastor is an extraordinary ordinary Christian. A pastor is a teacher and a pattern setter. An example. Therefore, he must be above reproach and trustworthy.

Many Christians struggle with what it means to forgive a pastor who has committed a grievous act. Recently, a Memphis megachurch pastor admitted to a “sexual incident” with a high school student 20 years ago in Texas. I’m not in a place to render judgment over another church’s matters. Yet how should we think about forgiveness of a pastor?

Christians struggle with this question because Christianity centers on the idea of forgiveness. Step one in becoming a Christian is acknowledging that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness.

When the pastor is exposed, some push the message of forgiveness. “Who of us is without sin?” they might say, drawing from Jesus in John 8. Meanwhile, others object: “But how can we trust this guy?”

I side with the second group.

A pastor occupies two offices, or roles: the “office” of pastor and the “office” of church member. The requirements for these offices are different. To be a pastor, you at least need to meet the qualifications Paul gave to his disciple Timothy: “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” (1 Tim. 3:2-3).

“Above reproach” doesn’t mean a pastor is sinless. It means that if everything about his life is brought into the light, people would still trust him and follow him in the way of godliness.

Typically there are two requirements of holding the “office” of church member: that one be baptized and repentant.

Forgiveness ordinarily (not always) involves two things: forswearing resentment (subjectively) and restoring a person to their previous office or role (objectively).

To “forgive” a pastor means we don’t personally hold his sin against him and that we restore him to his office of church member. If he is repentant, he meets the qualification of membership.

That doesn’t mean we should restore him to the office of pastor. Our forgiveness does not mean he magically meets those qualifications. His life, quite simply, is not above reproach.

By analogy, new-installed President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for crimes he might have committed against the United States while president. Ford didn’t explicitly make a distinction between Nixon as president and Nixon as citizen. But the pardon effectively pardoned Nixon as citizen. It prevented him from being indicted and sent to jail. It did not restore him to the presidency.

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The post Why Repentant Pastors Should Be Forgiven But Not Restored to the Pulpitappeared first on The Aquila Report.

Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

“God made men and women different from day one of creation… sorry, day six. He meant for men to fill certain roles and women to fill certain roles. We are one body in Christ made of individual parts, each functioning in their own way. One person is not to infringe upon another or take it upon themselves to do the task given to someone else.”

In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The context here is church leadership, an instruction that continues into chapter 3. A woman is not permitted to be a pastor in a church (elder, bishop, overseer, etc.). Only a man can be a pastor.

This instruction is not limited to the time-period in which Paul was writing. It applies to all people in every place at every point in the history of the church. How do we know this? Because Paul goes all the way back to Genesis with his explanation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (verses 13-14).

So the first reason the role of pastor is to be filled by a man is because Adam was formed first, and Eve was formed from Adam as his help-meet. The differences between the sexes and the different roles they are assigned are not a result of the fall. They were established at creation and have applied to all people in all cultures at all times.

The second reason a pastor is to be man is because Adam was not deceived by the serpent, but the woman was deceived and transgressed the law of God. This might seem unfair because Adam certainly sinned as well, and death came to all men because Adam sinned (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21). But Adam wasn’t deceived, and Eve was. So whether we’re talking about a perfect, sinless world, or the fallen, sinful one we currently inhabit, God intends that a man be the one to shepherd the flock of God (pastor means “shepherd;” see also 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak at church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35).

This doesn’t mean a woman is supposed to have duct-tape over her mouth from the moment she walks into church to the moment she walks out. The context is teaching the church, or administering the authority of the word of God over the gathered people of God. The role as overseer is set apart for specifically a man to fill.

This also doesn’t mean a church that obeys this instruction is oppressing women. Heavens, no! A woman sitting in that church during a gospel sermon is no more oppressed than any man in the congregation. The truth does not oppress those who listen to it — it sets them free (John 8:31). It is a woman’s delight to learn quietly with all submissiveness, and she does this in honor of the Lord.

Women serve an incredibly important role in the church. If a church was all men and no women, that would be a dysfunctional church (see Titus 2:1-8). The church is to be made up of men and women, young and old, complimenting one another in their strengths and weaknesses, working and growing together so that we may be a functioning body of Christ.

But each according to their own purpose. God made men and women different from day one of creation… sorry, day six. He meant for men to fill certain roles and women to fill certain roles. We are one body in Christ made of individual parts, each functioning in their own way. One person is not to infringe upon another or take it upon themselves to do the task given to someone else. We all submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

Bad Arguments for Women Pastors
Over the weekend, a friend got into a discussion over this topic with a feminist, and the feminist retorted with a list of names — women of the Bible who were more than just “helps” but, in her view, were qualified to be pastors. That list was as follows: “Deborah, Hannah, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Jael, Proverbs 31, Wisdom personified as woman in Proverbs 8 (present with God at creation), Phoebe, Lydia, Prisca, Mary, Mary Magdalene, [were] all just there ‘to help’?”

This is a very common tactic when arguing for why women deserve to be pastors: throw out the name of a woman from the Bible. Boom! But that name is always taken out of context. There are no examples of a woman serving as a pastor in the church. None of the apostles were women, for that matter. I can say “period” and leave it at that. The instruction in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is clear.

But for the sake of teaching, I’d like to go through that list of names and explain why they’re actually bad examples. While they are not examples of women pastors, most of them are certainly great examples for being strong women of God.

Deborah
The book of Judges captures a very dark time in Israel’s history. In those days there was no king in Israel, and the people did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25). But God gave them judges to be their leaders, decision-makers, and deliverers.

The pattern of the story of Judges goes like this: the people sinned and worshiped false gods, the Lord sent an enemy to punish and oppress them, the people cried out for mercy, so God sent a judge to conquer their enemies and deliver a semi-repentant Israel. Wash, rinse, repeat. Three of the most famous judges were Samson, Gideon, and a woman named Deborah.

Deborah was a prophetess and a God-fearing woman who judged during a time when there were no God-fearing men. In Judges 4, Deborah confronted Barak, commander of the Lord’s army, who was reluctant to do what God had told him to do: gather his troops and fight the Canaanites. Instead, Barak told Deborah, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” So Deborah mommied him and led him by the hand to get him to obey God.

If you had been reading through Deuteronomy and Joshua, by the time you got to Judges 4, you’d recognize Israel’s digression in faith and obedience. In Deuteronomy 1:15, the tribes of Israel had wise and experienced men as heads over them. In Joshua 24:1, these men met with Joshua to renew their covenant before God. But within a generation, Israel began worshiping the Baals and forgot what the Lord had done for them (Judges 2:10-12).

It got to the point that the men weren’t doing what the leaders of Israel were supposed to do. So God placed a woman over them as though to say, “Sure, I’ll deliver you from your enemies. But to your shame, I’m going to send a woman to do what no man will do.” It was an embarrassment that Deborah was judge, not a high achievement (consider Judges 9:53 where it was to Abimelech’s shame that he was killed by a woman and not a man). In Deborah’s song of victory, she praised the tribes that stepped up to fight and lambasted those who stayed home (Judges 5:14-18).

Isaiah 3:12 says, “My people — infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” It is the judgment of God upon a nation when women occupy the roles that should be filled by men. Barak should have been the judge of Israel, following in the footsteps of Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar before him. But because he was kind of a weenie, God gave Deborah to do what Barak wouldn’t.

So using Deborah as an argument for why it’s okay for a woman to be a pastor really isn’t a good move. It would be to admit, “There are no godly men here, so a woman is going to have to do this job.” When a woman is pastor, the church is immature and disobedient, just like Israel was when Deborah was judge. She is a great example of a God-fearing woman. She is not an example of a pastor.

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