Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Erwin Lutzer: What is biblical Eldership?

December 18, 2008

Erwin Lutzer, a member of the gospel coalition, gives a helpful account of biblical eldership in the Church.

One area he seems to emphasizes is plurality.  While there is much debate on whether a church needs to have multiple elders (Titus 1:5) or only one (1 Timothy 3), it certainly seems the wisest course of action to govern a church with multiple, qualified, sword wielding men who can stand shoulder to shoulder and guard the pen from wolves (and from the occasional sheep who believes their calling in life is to be snipers for Christ).

If you want to read more on the issue, an excellent resource we have found helpful in the area of eldership is Alexander Strauch’s book: Biblical Eldership.


biblical-eldership


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“Timothy” Blogs

November 21, 2008

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We are simply proponents of an idea, that we believe is biblical, and hope to be a tool in the reform of the way ministers are raised up in the Church.  There are many “Timothys” out there who have been practicing the concepts that we advocate for a longer amount of time and with more consistency than us, and we want to promote their success.  We are a few of many “Timothys”, and we are simply serving as a mouthpiece for the many.


Simply put, we want your blog.  We want your voice.  Add your blog to our new “Timothy” blog roll!


If you blog, and you are a “Timothy” who is engaging in mentorship, theological education, pre-eldership ministry and the development of character as preparation for leadership in tomorrow’s Church, we want to promote your blog.

Or, if you are not a “Timothy” per say, but are an ardent supporter of the Paul & Timothy concept (and you blog about it!), we want to promote your blog.

Simply comment in response to this post and we will add you to the new “Timothy” blog roll.  To view our mission page, click here.

Preach The Word :: The Paul and Timothy Guys

What to Do When Your College Goes Liberal: Some Thoughts Regarding the Issue

November 20, 2008

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Approaching storms


On November 11, 2008, Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, launched a website for the purpose of refuting so called “attacks” the school was receiving regarding it’s theology and practice . . . but the attacks weren’t coming from non-believers. Instead, questions and opposition were coming from concerned students and alumni. The reason? Theological drift. Students and former students were becoming increasingly concerned over the fact that the school was drifting from its conservative roots that once steered the school’s course. The College was originally founded by Baptist Fundamentalist William Riley in 1902. Now, a century later, there is only a remnant that remains, wondering exactly why the school has left the foundation from which it was built. The full article can be read here at Christianity Today (November 11, 2008)

While I am concerned about the outcome at Northwestern College, I’m not interested in addressing the issues surrounding it here. I rather want to address a topic that seems to be rampant in our Bible Colleges, Universities and Seminaries, and that is a continual, gradual slide into Liberalism.

This is nothing new. Gresham Machen experience the same disappointment and slandering when his beloved Princeton Seminary fell to Liberal tenets in the early 20th Century. The signs aren’t new either. Below are common occurrences that have historically marked shifts from Bible-saturated, culture-engaging schools to the graveyard of Liberalism and what to do about it.

Evidence a Christian University Slipping Into Liberalism

a. The authority of the Bible is waning.

This is no surprise here. Whenever there are heretics and heresies it can always be traced back to their view of Scripture.

It is incredibly surprising but true that those who affirm the Bible as only source of authority, that biblical authors intended what they meant and we can derive truth from what they wrote, that God is sovereign over salvation, that men should be elders in Churches, that husbands should lead their home, that women should be a helpmate to husbands . . . you are considered an out-dated, culturally-irrelevant, people-hating, close-minded, world-rejecting Fundamentalist who doesn’t understand Jesus’ call to “Kingdom Relationship”. Sad. Who would have thought that one who thinks the Bible actually means what it says would be mocked first by professing believers? But it’s true. This is the first sign, and it always begins here.

b. Substitutionary Atonement is Questioned

Whenever the idea is put forth that God isn’t mad at sinners, that crucifixion was divine child abuse, the Bible itself is being relegated and our salvation is in jeopardy. Richard Niebuhr of Machen’s day summarized it clearly: Liberalism is:

“A God without wrath bringing men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

Without the cross, without substitutionary atonement, there is no forgiveness of sins, no reconciliation with God, no peace with humanity. There’s nothing. The very thing that can save our souls and save us from ourselves is rejected. When the authority and efficiency of Scripture is question, the very next doctrine that will be question is the nature of Christ and the cross. Look for it. Don’t be fooled by loose terminology veiled as relevancy.

c. Universalism is Entertained as a Possibility

It seems very popular now to think the Bible only speaks in metaphors and never in physical terms (regarding an eternal, physical hell). It is also and always will be popular to make the gospel sound as least offensive and as non-confrontational as possible. If that becomes the goal, God actually sending people to a physical hell is out. If the center of God’s attributes is love, then a loving God could not possibly do that. That’s too mean. That’s not the way to win friends and influence people.

That’s why Paul said to discern what the Scripture has taught and what you have learned; hold tightly to sound doctrine “So that you might save both yourself and your hearers” (2 Timothy 4:16). Sin is real; God is offended; hell brings justice. If God does not punish sin, He is not a God worth serving because He is not true to Himself and He ignores justice. Even if a professor propounds an over-glorified position of purgatory (God will soak up all the evil in Himself and empty heaven), then I would question whether it is then possible to eventually go from heaven to hell. If God can’t keep people out of hell, how do I know He will keep me in heaven? Don’t let professors entertain that idea. Snuff it out.

Historically, these are the tell-tale signs of coming heresy. It would not be surprising, then, that Machen composed a list of “Fundamentals” that closely resemble the above:

* Scripture’s Inspiration and Trustworthiness
* Christ’s Virgin Birth
* Christ’s Substitutionary Atonement
* Christ’s Bodily Resurrection (As an Historic Event)
* Christ’s Peformance of Miracles during his earthly Ministry

These five componants are what the Fundamentalists held to with the coming onslaught of Darwinism, Arianism, and relativism in the Church. Come to think of it, looking at this list, I’m not sure I mind being called a Fundalmentalist (it’s almost . . . like . . . biblical).

1. Hold Your Classmates and Professors Accountable to the Word of God

If your professor’s theological zipper is down, call him on it. Hold everything he says to the light of God’s Word. It is common that when a person goes to Bible college, he does not know much about the Bible (hey, that’s why he went, right?). But this can be dangerous because he could easily take as gospel truth whatever is being propounded from the front of the class room. Ask questions in order to understand the position. If something does not sound right, speak up.

A shocking and humbling reality is to realize that even at Christan Universities and Bible Colleges there are broken people who regularly engage in stealing, sexual immorality and drunkeness. Most students could care less about what they are learning; most desire to play video games rather than wrestle with the Word of God; most write their doctrinal statements of the Holy Spirit at midnight the night before it was due, because they decided to play rather than actually wrestle with what they believed about the Holy Spirit.

All that to say: I would encourage you to encourage your classmates. Correct them when necessary. Challenge them and remind them that whether or not they become a “vocational” minister of the Word, people will naturally hold them with high regards merely because they graduated from a Bible College. It is your God-given responsibility to hold accountable those who are part of the flock (Matthew 18; 2 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3; Hebrews 2)

2. Resolve to Encourage Students in your Sphere of Influence

There are many opportunities you have to influence students.  At Multnomah, there are opportunities for students to teach freshmen Bible Study Methods. This is a unique opportunity not only to be in a mentoring relationship with the professor who oversees it, but also to encourage fellow students.  This may be unique to Multnomah, but if you have that opportunity at your school, take it.

Rally a group of fellow enthusiasts around for prayer; hold a Bible study. Host a weekly time of worship and Bible read-through. Promote what you want on the campus. If there is a particular class that you question the theology, gather the students for an extra session and facilitate a discussion centered on the areas of disagreement.

If you can and are able, join student government and rally for the change you see needed. Talk to the academic dean. Express your concerns that the school is not adhering to the word of God. Be a reformer in your own generation, in your own family, in your own school.

3. Reform is Always Needed

Often institutes and universities are started precisely because there was a need for reform. This was the case for Gresham Machen, who founded Westminster Theological Seminary because of Princeton’s ever-increasing slide into liberalism. Multnomah University was started by John G. Mitchell for the same reason. The point is, there will always be need for reform.  As excellent as Multnomah University is, it will inevitably need reform some day, simply because it is run by humans. And it will need competent, Bible-saturated, culturally relevant theologians to rise up and again hold the banner of Christ and the truth of the gospel . . . and next generation will need to then reform us.  It is a process necessary until the coming of our Lord.

Reformation never comes without a cost. For some of you, it may mean you move schools. For professors, it may mean they lose their job, much like Machen, R.A. Torrey and B.B. Warfield. But being right never has been poplular, and it shouldn’t surprise us that it never will be.

For an excellent article on Fundamentalism click here for Piper’s article


You’ll Take Heat for “Putting Your Feet in The Sand”

October 11, 2008

Recently Lifeway bookstores, an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled a magazine GospelToday from the shelves.  The reason?  The cover of the magazine featured female SBC pastors. The SBC pulled the magazine because the women featured on the magazine go against the SBC 2000 decree that only men can serve in the role of reverend or pastor.

 

CNN correspondent, Roland Martin, wrote about the story in a recent online article. In the article, Martin has a tone of chastisement towards the SBC and the bookstores. About halfway through the article it becomes clear where Martin’s motives are stemming from: Martin’s wife had a similar experience with the SBC:

Her crime? Calling herself the Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin…It wasn’t that she did so for the heck of it. She graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; was the first female staff pastor at Houston’s Brookhollow Baptist Church/the Church Without Walls, a Southern Baptist Convention church; and has been leading folks to the Lord all over the country for 20 years.

The SBC has put their feet in the sand and will not be pulled by the influences of a pluralistic society. And for that, we honor them. The SBC is unwilling to waiver from what they see revealed in the Scriptures. Gregg Harris has said before, “often times you don’t realize that you are in a current until you try to put your feet down.” Meaning, you will never feel resistance until you stand for something. We should be fearful if we never do anything or say anything that offends someone in the secular culture.

 

Martin isn’t judging the decision of Lifeway bookstores with biblical-theological principles. Rather, he is making his comments and his judgments from an emotional standpoint.

 

We cannot evaluate the commands of the Bible based on how it makes us feel. We are the ones that are fallen. We are the ones that have evil deceptive hearts. The Bible is the only place where we can see God’s perspective most clearly. That is, the biblical authors see the world with the keenest biblical-theological perspective. We need to learn to love the offense of the truth.

 

It’s a phenomenon discussed in relation to preaching. Too many pastors are afraid to preach the substance of the gospel. But whatever you use to bring non-believers in must be continued or they will leave. If you enticed people to attend your church on Sunday morning through great entertainment, promises of meeting felt-needs, or material prosperity, you will have a very difficult time “switching horses” on them. They did not come in the front door to learn from the Scriptures and worship God.  They were drawn by a good show, promises of success, personal fulfillment, and happiness.  If you expect to keep them coming, they expect you to keep giving them much of the same. 

 

This is the dilemma that many churches now face. So why do these preachers and pastors put themselves in this position?  Because these preachers and pastors do not believe that people will respond to the gospel unless it is presented in a winsome package that connects positively with their felt needs. 

 

D. A. Carson says it like this in The Gagging of God:

 

Evangelical preachers who increasingly reconstruct the “gospel” along the lines of felt needs, knowing that such a presentation will be far better appreciated than one that articulates truth with hard edges (i.e., that insists that certain contrary things are false), or that warns of the wrath to come.  How far can such reconstruction go before what is preached is no longer the gospel in any historical or biblical sense?

 

That means, preachers are afraid of what the gospel says so they attach things to it. They don’t warn of the wrath to come. We must preach the substance of the gospel. We need to love the offense of the truth. The truth hurts.

 

Example: When I am being selfish, I need my wife to tell me. I don’t like it, but I need to hear it. She can’t butter up what I really need to hear.

 

The gospel is not a message about how to get ahead in life, or how to find the key to happiness and success.  Paul stayed focused on what was true and essential and he would not be moved by the pressures around him. Preaching a crucified savior hurts. Telling someone that Jesus was killed because of them hurts.  The good news is grounded in the cross. The good news is that God crushed His Son because of your disbelief and your sin.

 

None of these things pander to our ego.  None of these things are something that we ever would want to hear. None of these things tell us how great we are. They tell us how great God is. They draw us to glorify and love Jesus.

 

We need to come to the text to see what God demands of His people. And then we need the obedience of faith to live out those commands.

 

Put your feet in the sand Timothys. Don’t be tossed to and fro by every wave of doctrine. Learn to defend and articulate the orthodox faith.

Babies!

September 22, 2008

Our close friends (Trevor and Paige) just found out they are having a baby. God is knitting together a baby in Paige’s womb that is being fearfully and wonderfully made.

What a joy babies are. They remind us of how great and mighty God is that He can create life out of nothing.

The whole concept of parenthood blows my mind: we are able to feel how God feels about us by the way we feel about our children.

One of the aspects of human relationships is that they show us how God relates to us. Husbands get to see what it is like to love someone so much that you would lay down your life for them, as our King laid down His life for us.

The world gets to see how Jesus relates to His church when we see how a husband and a wife relate to each other.

As dads, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to have a little fragile creature in our care. We see a little baby that can’t take care of itself; a little baby that needs to be taught how to live; a little baby that needs us to protect it from the evils of the world; a little baby that doesn’t know it’s right hand from the left.

Sometimes there is a propensity for us to move on to the next stage of life. This isn’t the first time I have said this, but: embrace your season of life. Love your families. Enjoy God’s goodness and blessing. Our King is good to us and enjoying Him is sweet.

Thank you, God, for the joy of babies. Thank God for letting us experience joy and happiness. How we long to enter into Your fullness of joy!

How do we find our pastors?

June 24, 2008

In the past few days, the guys over at the 9Marks blog have been discussing how to go about finding a pastor. I commented on one of their posts part of which can be seen here:

 “Authority should only be vested in men in whom the congregation and the other leaders recognize the biblical qualifications for church office, 1 Tim. 3:1-15…A year ago at a SBC pastor’s conference in Texas, Voddie Baucham dropped the hammer on the attending pastors about the way that they had been selected for the office of Elder. He says that for most pastors in the SBC they were never scrutinized in light on the biblical text but rather the guy preached one time and the congregation voted on him. How can you assess whether a man is in good standing within the community through an application? Or through an internet posting? Also, the Bible requires that a pastor have 2 skills, many character qualifications, but only 2 skills. He must be able to teach and he must manage his household well. How can you tell whether a man manages his household well through an application or an interview or even 5 interviews? It seems that the current system of hiring pastors from far away, rather than rising up leaders amongst us, is problematic. Instead of following the text, we are filling slots with men that interview well, have letters like “M.Div” after their name, and can preach a sermon well.”

So young men, those of us that aspire to the office of Elder, how can we throw our hat into the ring of available pastors to be hired? As we look at our lives and we see that our lives are not at the place that Paul is prescribing in the Pastoral Epistles, than we are being deceptive by even applying for the position.

Here is the dilemma, the church today in America is lacking men older ready to step into Eldership, usually because they lack theological competence. They are theologically incompetent for a multitude of reasons, some are honorable, e.g. they entered the work force to take care of their families rather than going to Bible College or Seminary. But they have proven character qualifications, they manage their households well, they aren’t given to much wine etc. So, the church turns to us young bucks who have graduated Bible College or Seminary and have some theological competence. But, just as the older man that has proven character qualifications lacks theological competence, we young guns lack proven character qualifications. How can we show proven fruit in our lives when the tree is barely popping out of the ground?

Trust me fellow aspirers, I am passionate about pastoral ministry, but I exhort you to embrace the season of life that God as you in. Elders are to lead the flock, not Youngsters. Support the men around you that may lack theological competence but are proven men of God. Be sure not to rebuke an older man, but spur them on to love and good works. Push them to “Do Hard Things” and to gain the training they need to lead God’s church.

We aren’t going to move past the current state of inadequate church leadership if we don’t stop the merry-go-round. We must embrace the ministry God has for younger men and not through our hat into the pastoral search race.

 

 

 

 

Discussion Board

May 9, 2008

We have started a discussion board at:

www.bibleschooldiscussion.com

This is a forum devoted to providing prospective and current students with information about the current state of Bible Colleges, Seminaries, and alternative options, and holding such institutions accountable for the doctrines, ethics and practices they promote.

The Aim of this Blog

May 8, 2008

This blog is authored by 4 pre-eldership guys, in the hopes of stirring a vision for the reformation of pre-eldership ministry and mentorship.

It really is quite simple.  We aspire to the office of an elder, refuse to compromise the biblical qualifications for such an office, and have a passion to magnify Christ through the use of our giftings in the Church until we meet such qualifications.  This is a space and a sounding board where we can brainstorm how to bring the greatest glory to Christ in trying to walk such a narrow path…