Mis-guided mis-understandings

I am dismayed that we even need to have this debate and discussion within the PCA. The fact that our cutting-edge missiologists have led so many so far astray so easily is shocking to me. I would think that the Scriptures, the Confession, the church and the history of persecution would have strengthened us against such poisonous nonsense. We cheapen the sacrifice of bold martyrs and we mock their testimony before a hostile world when we embrace such a diluted, compromised, non-Christian “gospel” for the mission field. We take a Biblical theology of the church militant and flush it away flippantly and irresponsibly with such mis-guided mis-understandings.   

– Jason A. Van Bemmel; 

Insider Movements: Making a Mockery of Martyrs and Missions

HT: Aquila Report

Underneath all the missiological mumbo-jumo

Read Matt. 10:32-33 

This just in: the Bible answers the question about how converts in hostile countries are to bear witness to Christ: Publicly. That, at least, is what Jesus said in the first Gospel. 

Underneath all the missiological mumbo-jumbo and artful dodges—often asserted by Western theoreticians ensconced by comfortable tenure, grants, and libraries—we ought not forget that our Lord answers this question in red letters. To acknowledge Christ means to be unashamed of him. Jesus thought that would be good for us in every generation and in every culture, even if persecution occurred. Calvin said that, “there is no believer whom the Son of God does not require to be his witness.”

– David Hall; A Place For Truth; “Update on the Insider Movement

In a consistent manner

As recent events have shown, churches contain perverts.  Churches contain perverts who are Christians.  Churches contain perverts who are Christians who do real harm to others and to themselves in their sin. And pastors are called to confront such people, to protect the flock, and to ensure that civil authorities deal with them.  But they are also called to pastor such perverts, to call them to repentance, to faith, and to lives that reflect their status in Christ.   How is that done?  Our theology of the Christian life needs to be able to address all Christians in their sin in a consistent manner. 

When a man comes to your office and tells you he’s just violated a little girl and left her bleeding and half dead in a gutter, yes, you immediately phone the police.  He has got to be punished by the civil authorities and taken out of society for the protection of the innocent.  But then, when you visit him in prison as his pastor and he tells you he feels this compulsion that will make him commit the same crime if he is ever released, does your advice simply amount to encouraging him to reflect in deeper ways on the love of God and simply remember he is a magnificent ruin?  I do hope not.  And do you have more resources for him than simply telling him to reflect in deeper ways on his justification?  I do hope so.  The New Testament seems to offer a few. 

Of course, we need to make sure that we do not allow the extremity of such a situation to lead us to fall into the error of teaching salvation by works. We should all know and make it clear that no-one goes to heaven just because he has ceased to indulge in internet pornography or to rape little girls or to kick his wife’s teeth down her throat.  But is ‘Don’t think that not being a violent psychopath will save you’ all that the New Testament has to say to such a church member?  I do not believe it is.

– Dr. Carl Trueman; A Few Practical Questions

Everything is (not) fine.

From Cameron Cole at Rooted Ministry:

When we do not preach the Gospel, this is what we say: Everything is fine.  

We say that our problem with sin is not that severe; we can fix our problems with a little effort. We say that death is not a real thing; we can kick that can down the road. We say that the world is generally fine; it’s not in need of radical rescue. We say that our need for God’s redeeming love and power is not that great.  

Well, I have an offer for anyone who thinks “everything is fine,” given what I have witnessed in the last three months. I have a free plane ticket for you to tell my friends or me that everything is fine. Look my student’s parents in the eye and tell them that death is not real. Sit down with my addict friend and tell him just to try a little harder. Tell the wife of my friend with cancer that the things in the world are generally good. 

Any takers?

This why its imperative preaching goes deeper than “Jesus, man.”

Seriously enough to disagree about them

Throughout the history of American revivalism (and its historical precedents), the clever and successful evangelist proclaims traditional churches ineffective or apostate. There are the usual declamations against “clericalism”—in other words, a trained and ordained ministry. And then, eventually, the movement becomes a sect and the leader becomes a lord.

Even in “Young, Restless, Reformed” circles, crucial teachings in Scripture are put on the back burner or even silenced by the line, “It’s not a gospel issue.” But in the Great Commission our Lord called the apostles not only to preach the gospel but to baptize and to “teach them everything that I have commanded you.” And that “everything” includes what he taught through the apostles concerning the ordained ministry.There are many things that may not be “gospel issues” that we are nevertheless commanded in Scripture to embrace and practice. Furthermore, how can one say that baptism and the public offices are not gospel issues, when Christ applies his gospel to us in Word and Sacrament? 

I miss the good old days when paedobaptists and Baptists used to hold baptism and the Supper as well as the offices seriously enough to disagree about them. Today it seems that they have become silly trifles. If that’s what unity in the gospel means, then it is a far cry from the gospel according to Jesus.

– Dr. Michael Horton; The Ministry IS A Gospel Issue 

Church Invite Through Presbyterian Proverbs

I spell Presbyterian with a capital “J-O-H-N-K-N-O-X.”  The link at the bottom only strengthens my stubborn spelling.
For anyone in the northwest corner of North Carolina, I’d like to extend an invitation to the church to whom I belong, Redeemer Yadkin Valley (PCA).  You will hear, see, taste, and sing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If further away, use the NAPARC Local Congregation Finder to find the closest church nearest you.
Those who already call a confessional Presbyterian and/or Reformed church home can attest to the proverbs below and the full list (see citation).

Grace walks softly.  Loud and flashy don’t awaken it and they seldom describe it. Mix simple worship, solid preaching and the sacraments – let grace appear in its own time and its own way. 

Catholic converts cleaveth unto the church but Evangelicals are a church unto themselves.  Former Catholics respect the church and its government while broad Evangelicals take years to “get it,” if they ever get it at all. 

A clearly preached gospel gives more hope than anything else you can say or do.

– from Presbyterian Proverbs