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;
HT: Aquila Report
Maybe I should have led with these before critiquing the Emergent Industrial Complex. Don Miller’s post was not a complete strike out. He may not have earned a hit, but he did put some contact to the bat in two areas below.
Pastor Todd Pruitt on Reformation 21:
“Miller writes some very helpful comments about the goodness of work as a means of enjoying God. Unfortunately he sees this as an alternative to worshiping with the body of Christ on the Lord’s Day. The Reformed faith would be a great benefit for Miller in this for its robust doctrines of creation and vocation. It is the Reformers who reasserted the goodness of work as a means by which we glorify and enjoy God. But this is never to be seen as a replacement to our responsibility to gather with God’s people.”
“You know what I like about Donald Miller? I like his certainty. I like the fact that, in spite of his book after book after book after movie about how much [sic] one can doubt what one is taught, he is certain he’s right.
The reason? At least you can engage someone like that by what he actually believes rather than always swirling down the toilet of PostModernity and their so-called epistemic humility.”
Housewife Theologian Aimee Byrd in an additional article on Reformation 21
has some great thoughts on why it is important that we connect with God according to the way He has willed. She reasons from Scripture, the authoritative source of truth for faith and practice:
“Interestingly, God has determined that all of us share in a particular so-called learning style when it comes to spiritual growth. He has prescribed a means to bless his people in Christ, the preached Word and the sacraments. And so we have Jesus declaring in the Great Commission how he will grow his kingdom:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
And we see this very thing in Acts 2:42:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
You see, learning my own way isn’t good enough. I need to be changed. And it is the power of God’s Word that does that in the means that he has prescribed. To echo Todd again, “What is more, in Christ we do not have to find ways to connect with God. God has connected to us through Christ!” Let us not refuse the Father’s generosity to bless us in the Son, who is much more than a learning style. He is worthy of our corporate worship, which is an eschatological event. It is a privilege to partake in the covenantal renewal ceremony, where we get a taste of the future breaking into the present. Like Miller, we all get caught up in our week of accomplishing and we slip into our default mode of thinking we are the ones who create meaning. But we are summoned to gather on Sunday, to be interrupted by our own thinking, stripped by the law of God, and clothed by his gospel grace. Only after this receiving Christ through his preached Word and the sacraments are we then sent out as salt and light.
Miller reasons that he connects with God elsewhere through his own means. God has condescended to connect with his people. I would say that it is imperative that we connect with God the way he has called us to in Christ”
Reading Miller’s post produced a range of emotions to be worked through before hitting “publish”. Ultimately, I wrote from sadness and deep grief.
Again, Pastor Todd Pruitt:
“…this article breaks my heart, because this is exactly the kind of logic that people latch on to and use as an excuse to separate themselves from the Body to the desolation of their spiritual lives. This is why pastors, preachers, and teachers in the Church can no longer avoid deep, biblical teaching on the Church. If she [the church] is to be healthy and functioning, our people must know what the Church is and why it exists beyond our own need to “connect” once a week.”
Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria!
Bold font denotes my personal emphasis to any quotation.
I’m happy to clarify and answer any questions in the comments. I reserve the right to delete and moderate as I see fit.
In the Great Commission, Jesus gives instruction based on His authority to call his Kingdom to Himself:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What is taught and commanded regarding the Supper?
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
The Apostle Paul weighs in on the importance:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
To offer the Supper is a means of preaching the Gospel, and we are exhorted to do so.
Brothers, sisters — let us come to the table today with repentant hearts and childlike faith.
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40:16-17 ESV)