Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mitch Chase: "The Genesis of Resurrection Hope"

Earlier this month, Mitch Chase-my friend and pastor-provided a link to his JETS article on the resurrection hope, as found in the book of Genesis. To any pastor or teacher who may be reading this: if you ever plan to preach/teach the book of Genesis, you will certainly benefit from reading this article. Based on the teaching of Christ and His Apostle, as well as a close examination of the Genesis text itself, Mitch demonstrates how the gospel message (the good news of death-overcoming life through the Promised One) is found from the beginning of Scripture. Say that you have occasion to preach or teach Genesis expositionally (section-by-section): by pointing to a variety of passages in Genesis that provide valid glimpses of resurrection hope, Mitch helps the pastor/teacher to demonstrate how the text is constantly pointing forward to the One who is "the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25).

Dear friend (whoever may be reading this): do yourself a favor and read "The Genesis of Resurrection Hope" found HERE.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Russell Moore: "Why Not Just Hand the Sermons Over?"

Yesterday, Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, published an article titled "Why Not Just Hand the Sermons Over?" In this article, Dr. Moore argued that officials in Houston-officials who, in our system of government, are supposed to derive their power from the will of the people in accordance with the U.S. Constitution-overstepped the bounds of their authority when they issued subpoenas for sermons concerning matters of sexuality and gender identity. Dr. Moore argued that pastors should not submit to such an erroneous request. The entire article [found HERE] is excellent, but I wanted to particularly draw attention to a couple of quotes that give a hint of the kind of biblical reasoning that Dr. Moore exhibits:

Shrugging this [matter of unjust subpoenas] off is not the equivalent of Jesus standing silently before Pilate.It’s the equivalent of Pilate washing his hands, so as not to bear accountability for our own decisions and precedents set.

The Apostle Paul left Philippi, just as the magistrates wanted him to do, but he didn’t move an inch until the magistrates’ command to do so was revoked (Acts 16:37-39). Peter and John didn’t stay, all the time, in the temple court preaching Jesus. But they didn’t cease while they were under orders to do so (Acts 4:21-23).

Having just taught through Acts at Sayers Classical Academy, I was especially delighted to see the valid application that Dr. Moore made from that book, as demonstrated both by the sentences quoted above and by him mentioning the Apostle Paul's appeal to Caesar versus lower-level unjust authorities.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On the Altar of Self-Will

[The following post is lightly adapted from a blogpost originally published here on 5/26/06.]

One of the best blogposts I've ever read was actually written by a non-blogger. My friend Nathan White posted an article by Dave Stephenson-my former pastor and his current pastor at Grace Bible Church in Canton, GA-on Strange BaptistFire blog.

This is a must-read article, especially for Southern Baptists, as Dave addresses the cause of some besetting sins common to many Southern Baptist churches, namely:
  1. "Ignoring biblical qualifications for leadership"
  2. "Refusing to hold sinful lay-leaders accountable"
  3. "Gossip"
  4. Holding to the traditions of men while laying aside the commands of God.
Dave- formerly a pastor of a Southern Baptist church- argues that the above sins spring from a rejection of the doctrines of grace. He writes,
There is something in particular that is driving people to these expressions of the sinful heart rather than to some other expression of it. That something is the rejection of the doctrines of grace. The false theology of libertarian self-will ultimately must bear fruit; and it bears the fruit of selfishness.
I would wholeheartedly agree with Dave's assessment, but I would like to add that these sins also arise due to a neglect of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Southern Baptists have been battling against liberal philosophies for many long years now in order to proclaim the inerrancy of Scripture- and, by all outward signs, the struggle for inerrancy in the Southern Baptist Convention has been won- but Southern Baptists as a whole have failed to proclaim other facets of a biblical doctrine of Scripture- that the Word of God is authoritive, necessary, sufficient, and clear. In particular, many Southern Baptist churches fail to proclaim Scripture as sufficient: they have lost the idea that in Scripture we have all we need for life and godliness. Neglecting scriptural sufficiency, Southern Baptists don't see that:
  1. We have very specific qualifications laid out for us in God's Word concerning church leaders (see 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)- the Lord Himself chooses who will minister to His flock. Instead of receiving the blessing of God-established leadership, many Southern Baptist churches form committees to decide what kind of professional ministers the majority of the congregation would like to hire. Having this mindset at the beginning of the 'pastoral search' process, it is no wonder that many congregations- and particularly those who have been given some measure of power by the will of the people by being placed on committees- are quick to call for new pastors to be fired if they don't meet their expectations.
  2. We have very specific instructions laid out for us in God's Word concerning church discipline, and especially discipline in regards to church leadership (see Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Tim. 5:19-22). If these instructions were followed, then lay-leaders would be held accountable and sin within the congregation would be handled. In the absence of Biblical church disciplne a vaccuum is left that are all-too-easily filled by gossip, backbiting, and church splits.
  3. Finally, a firm commitment to Scriptural sufficiency leads us to carefully check all things by God's Word (see Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Whether our congregation has engaged in a certain activity for 2 weeks or for 20 years, if we believe that God directs His church by His Word, then we will always be checking the designs for our programs and order of worship by the commands, examples and principles the Lord has given us in the Bible.
A return to the doctrine of Scriptural sufficiency is absolutely crucial if Southern Baptist churches are going to experience real and lasting revival and reformation. Depending on God's revealed will in ordering His church is necessary if Southern Baptist congregations are going to fulfill the our Lord's Great Commission of making disciples of all nations.

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