Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ETS and Wrights NPP

The Evangelical Theological  Society [ETS] chose the theme of "Justification By Faith" for their 2010 gathering of scholars. Obviously, Wright's New Pauline Perspective was the centerpiece and Wright was the invited guest.

 In his report about the this years ETS meeting, Dr.Craig Blomberg made the following observation concerning the much debated issue. His assessment is more than thought provoking......Selah!

"Church and parachurch groups that make sweeping prohibitions against their members imbibing anything of the new perspective at best simply don’t understand it and at worst are quenching the Spirit’s work in their midst. In fact, the more likely danger for most evangelicals, especially those who most severely criticize the new perspective, is that they will miss the necessary applications of Paul’s warnings to their own proclivities to draw theological boundaries too narrowly between insiders and outsiders, to overly elevate their cultures, nationalities, and tribalisms to a place for inappropriate boasting, and to invoke mandates as to what people must do or believe to be insiders far beyond anything demonstrably biblical, and thus unwittingly mirror precisely a majority of first-century Palestinian Jews (and so-called Jewish Christians), whose views Paul in turn anathematizes!"

[Craig L. Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of fifteen books and more than eighty articles in journals or multi-author works]


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great Quote

  "Truth without love is dogmatism.
  Love without truth is sentimentality.
Speaking the truth in love is Christianity."

- Bob Russell


Friday, November 12, 2010

Are Professional Ministers Really Thieves?

This indicting quote is from Raymond F. Culpepper,  General Overseer of The Church of God, Cleveland Tennessee. He posted a brief article addressing the state of the Church back in March '09.

I underlined the specific point for special empahsis.


"Every year, David B. Barrett of the World Evangelization Research Center in Richmond, Virginia, and Todd M. Johnson of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary publish an update on the status of world Christianity and major religious trends....Overall there is a small but steady growth in giving.... to Christian causes.

Tragically, one finding is that more money is being stolen by 'professional ministers' than given to global missions."



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Average Tenure for A Pastor to Serve A Local Church

"Albert Mohler, in a 2009 episode of his talk show, asked, "Why Do Pastors Leave the Ministry?" noting the troubling trend that evangelical ministers are staying in congregations for shorter windows of time, with an average of about three years in a call."


Saturday, November 6, 2010

How Would John Piper Encourage A Depressed Pastor?

John Piper recently announced an extended sabbatical due to many unhealthy dimensions of his marriage and ministry.As one of my heroes, this brother modeled a seasoned faith as well as mature manliness by confessing such human weakness. Scripture identifies this virtue as grace based humility.

For this reason, he is more than qualified to speak to the issue of ministerial depression since it often accompanies the sifting temptations associated with public confession and feelings of personal failure.

1) I would listen to him first.

I'd ask, "What has it been like? How did you get to this point?" That's a past question. And I would ask, "What's it like now? What are you feeling? What does 'burned-out' mean for you? Is it, 'I'm not sure I believe anymore'? Is it, 'I have no energy to get out of bed tomorrow '? Is it, 'I'm so discouraged. My people are not being changed at all'? What's the nature of it?"

So I would ask questions and listen. That would be my first approach.

2) And then, based on what I heard there, I would probably counsel him to step back and get some perspective.

Ask your church for a leave: a week, a month, three months. And if they love you and value what you do, they might give it to you.

Be honest with them. Don't try to pull the wool over their eyes. Go to your leaders and say, "Here's my situation. Give me counsel." They may then ask you to get some counsel. They may send you to a renewal place. Or they may just give you time.

Make sure you discern the physical, emotional and spiritual components of this.

3 ) Then I would encourage him that great saints go through this.

Elijah seemed to be like that. He seemed to be burned-out when he ran from Jezebel and said, "I've had it. I'm done. I'm not going to do this anymore."

And isn't it interesting that in James 5 we're encouraged to pray by looking at Elijah. James says that Elijah, who was a man of similar nature to us, prayed that it would not rain for three and a half years, and it did not rain for three and a half years. And the whole point of saying that is to say, "You remember Elijah don't you? He was discouraged. He was a man of emotions that were up and down." And James is saying to ordinary folks: "Elijah went through it. You're going to go through it. He prayed. You can pray."

So I would try to encourage him that a feeling of being burned-out happens to saints, so that he doesn't feel picked on.

4) And then I would try to take him to the preciousness of Christ and the preciousness of the ministry.

 I would try to help him dream a dream again, that he can come through this and God can give him a new lease.

I have had numerous pastors testify to me that discovering Christian hedonism has been revolutionary to their ministry. Christian hedonism says that the desire to enjoy the ministry and to enjoy God is a good desire. In fact, it is an essential desire, according to Hebrews 13 where a sad pastor is bad for his church and a happy pastor is good.

Now Christian hedonism can put a weight on you and make you feel guilty if you're sad, or it can release you to say, "You mean this is OK to want to enjoy what I'm doing?" And many pastors have found hope in Christian hedonism. And so I might take him there and try to show him some of those texts.

5) And I would pray with him.

Copyright 2010 John Piper. Website: desiringGod.org