How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Sanctification

9 11 2006

tire-slash1.jpgI have found that I have personally become quite exercised about some of the various methods and practices that are employed within the popular American evangelical community. Sometimes I have, through introspection, wondered if my offense was based upon my preference and these evangelicals’ divergent view of ministry. In other words, I wondered if my issue was chiefly my offense or God’s.

So in effort to have clean hands, a clear conscience and pure motives I examined this, and tried to understand what in the world contemporary evangelicalism is doing. And you know what? I’m offended. But now more than ever I feel that my offense is rooted in the attack upon God’s method for accomplishing his own end.

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The Gospel is Powerful

22 09 2006

I have been thinking much here recently about the gospel and its power. There are so many facets of the gospel’s power, however, I have been focusing specifically on its power in regeneration, particularly in the realm of evangelism. This is partly because I am teaching a class on evangelism and have become increasingly impressed with the glorious power of God in the gospel.

It is helpful to remember the sinner’s state outside of Christ as being totally depraved, helplessly dead, spiritually toe-tagged, if you will. Ephesians 2 is a great place to see this picture:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Mankind is not afflicted with a case of the spiritual sniffles, but rather is completely and utterly spiritually dead, you may rightly say unresponsive to the things of God.

So what are you, the evangelist, to do? According to God, humanity is completely and helplessly dead (spiritually) and if this was not bad enough we do not want any help!! If your goal is the glory of God and the rebirth of sinners, then will spiritual chew tablets flavored to the tastes of our hearers be sufficient to make alive the dead? What is the remedy for such a miserable and hopeless plight?

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Any Volunteers?

5 09 2006

Does God ask for volunteers for gospel ministry? David Hegg in his helpful book Appointed to Preach, says:

When it comes to putting men into pastoral ministry, the evidence shows that God drafts those He intends to use in leadership. Far from calling for volunteers, God descended upon Moses, upon the prophets, the disciples, Paul, and a host of other men down through history. The idea that God is waiting for men to come to him and sign on as leaders in his kingdom may appeal to our modern sense of nobility, but it just won’t stand up to the evidence of Scripture.” (p. 17)

I really appreciate this picture that Hegg draws here. I remember as a new Christian looking around at the pastors that God had surrounded me with. I remember guys who were apathetic, compromising, and less than zealous in their post.

I visited The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville and Dr. Danny Akin, who was at Southern at this time, articulately said just what I needed to hear: “Many pastors should not be pastors.” He went on to exhort all of the men who were in attendance with a quote from Spurgeon where the Prince of Preachers said: “Do not enter the ministry if you can help it.” Akin rightly continued exhorting those in attendance : “if you can do anything else than do it!”

This was helpful for me in trying to integrate what I was seeing in ministry from what I was reading in Scripture. It is always good to have my leash tugged by the Word of God. God has gone through great lengths to eradicate any confusion as to what kind of man is supposed to lead his flock.

Here is just a brief job description for a pastor:

desire the post (1 Tim. 3.1)

be above reproach, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach (1 Tim. 3.2)

not pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Tim. 3.3)

be a leader in his home (1 Tim. 3.4)

be disciplined (1 Tim. 4.7)

be a good example of a believer for a believer (1 Tim. 4.12)

be committed to public exhortation and teaching (1 Tim. 4.13)

be absorbed in ministry and clearly making progress (1 Tim. 4.15)

be paying close attention to his life and his doctrine (1 Tim. 4.16)

be persevering (1 Tim. 4.16)

be impartial (1 Tim. 5.21)

be continually pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (1 Tim. 6.11)

be fanatical about personal sanctification (1 Tim. 6.14)

be unashamed of Jesus’ gospel (2 Tim. 1.8)

be willing to suffer (2 Tim. 1.8)

be strong in grace (2 Tim. 2.1)

be committed to discipleship (2 Tim. 2.2)

be captivated by the risen Savior (2 Tim. 2.8)

be committed to his flock (2 Tim. 2.14)

be diligent & conscientious in the study (2 Tim. 2.15)

be fleeing from youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2.22)

be pursuing righteousness, love and peace (2 Tim. 2.22)

not be prone to arguing (2 Tim. 2.24)

be kind to all (2 Tim. 2.24)

be able to teach (2 Tim. 2.24)

be patient when wronged (and you will be!) (2 Tim. 2.24)

be committed to gentle correction (2 Tim. 2.25)

be scared to death of offending Jesus (2 Tim. 4.1)

be committed to preaching the word of God (2 Tim. 4.2)

always be ready (2 Tim. 4.2)

be correcting, admonishing, encouraging> all patiently and doctrinally! (2 Tim. 4.2)

be sober (2 Tim. 4.5)

be doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4.5)

be loving the flock of Christ (Acts 20.28)

and the fuel of it all:>> be loving Jesus Christ preeminently! (John 21.15-17; Jam. 1.12)

Any volunteers?

For the sake of the glory of God, the good of the church, and the preservation of your own sanity, if you are not being fitted by God to carry out such a ministry then please do something else!

On the other hand, if you are being shaped by God for such a work, know that God has always and is now drafting, sustaining and fueling men and thanks be to God!

It is so good this way, for it is in such a system the man of God will not rely upon himself to lead the church but upon the church’s very head, the ultimate Senior Pastor, Jesus Christ himself who will forever outrank everyone.

O’ may pastors fear and love Jesus until we see him!

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