Authority

Leadership in the PCA: protecting power structures while tossing a bone to younger men...

The third key issue (first here and second here) identified by the Cooperative Ministries Committee of the PCA at this year's General Assembly was "The rising generation of leaders in the PCA:

The rising generation of leaders in the PCA – particularly, seeking to find new avenues of including younger people in denominational leadership.

Are the fathers of the PCA really ready to grant younger men access to the reins of power? Here's a case study based on the Board of Trustees of the denomination's Covenant Theological Seminary...


Aimee Semple McPherson: conflicted celebrity evangelist...

Itinerant evangelists have proclaimed the good news in crusades and tent revivals, in fields and stadiums, in tabernacles and classrooms. Over the last 150 years, Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), Billy Sunday (1862-1935), Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944) and Billy Graham (1918-present) have been household names in their eras. Each used different methods and had vastly different personalities, and was able to tap into deep undercurrents of American piety. My intent in this post is not to compare these four, but to consider a recent (1993) and major biography (400+ pages), Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister by Edith Blumhofer .

For much of the 1920s and 1930s, Aimee was front-page news. She was a relentless evangelist, a missionary to China, a megachurch pastor, the founder of a denomination, and a leader in helping to provide for the physical needs of those who fell on hard times during the Great Depression.

Yet her life was full of contradictions. Adored by thousands … 


A heads up for those who work with missionaries

Missionaries are not known for being self-critical so here is a brief attempt at such. Perhaps it will help pastors and churches and missionary agencies give better care to them. It might also help missionaries look at themselves in the mirror.

1. Lots of missionaries work with minimal supervision either from their missionary group or home church. That means the missionary is often not used to dealing with an authority structure and being brought to account. When someone confronts him, about his work or his marriage or his personal life, he is genuinely...


Is the pope an Apostle?

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. - 2 Corinthians 12:12

Well, we must grant one thing, the Vatican does know how to put on a spectacle! As a local radio host and friend who is Roman Catholic posted on Facebook upon the selection of Francis I as pontiff: "I just cracked open some Champagne. Let's see you Protestants top that!" 

But now that the show is over and the crowds have gone home, we have an important two-fold question to ask ourselves, "Is the office of the papacy from God and is the Roman Catholic pope what Catholicism claims he is?" If you are uncertain of the claim of Roman Catholicism concerning the papacy, here it is in part:


The tragedy of complementarianism....

Carl Trueman is a complementarian. Really.

He recently assured us of this, despite previously suggesting on his blog that disagreement over the Biblically-ordained roles of men and women is no basis for separation in ministry and despite holding the opinion that many complementarians embrace complementarianism "less because of the Bible and more because they apparently watched Conan the Barbarian a few too many times in their early teenage years."

Unfortunately, he's accurate in claiming to be complementarian. Professor Trueman is straight down the middle of that broad and squishy theological avenue.


Washington D.C.'s rebellion against the authority of God and man...

Is President Obama's nationalized health care a violation of our U.S. Constitution?

Of course. You have to have a law degree not to know that. The Tenth Amendment reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." And in United States vs. Darby, SCOTUS yawned:

The (Tenth) amendment states but a truism that all is retained which has not been surrendered. There is nothing in the history of its adoption to suggest that it was more than declaratory of the relationship between the national and state governments as it had been established by the Constitution before the amendment or that its purpose was other than to allay fears that the new national government might seek to exercise powers not granted, and that the states might not be able to exercise fully their reserved powers.....

So now Obamacare brings one-fifth of of our economy inside the Beltway. If such a monstrous grab of authority and power is no violation of the Tenth Amendment, nothing is or could be. To argue our national rulers can usurp authority over one-fifth of our economy because they have the authority to tax the people is the sort of lunacy...


Authority and submission in the bedroom...

Under son Joseph's post, "Humble is as stupid does...," "Anne" asks the question:

Can you provide Scripture that says authority and submission, 'conquering' and 'surrendering', are to be carried out in the bedroom? Because neither Song of Songs nor 1Corinthians 7, not even Ephesians 5 in its entirety suggests such a thing.

P.S: Failure to respond will be taken as a failure to provide appropriate scripture.

To which I respond:

Dear Anne,

Concerning physical marital intimacy, function follows form...


Bus monitors, bullies, authority, and money...

Yesterday I was reminded of just how rich Americans are. Our conception of money is like that of a Roman general returning to Rome after sacking and pillaging enemy countries. We throw it down on those less fortunate than us in an attempt to make them like us. Or maybe it's an attempt to make us like us. 

By now you've probably already read about the 67 year-old bus monitor who was being harassed by Jr-high students while they video-taped their exploits. When you're in Jr-high it's easy to make fun of people who are old and fat. It's entertaining, too--and not just for 7th graders. Millions of people around the world have been entertained by the video. However, apparently it's one of those guilty pleasures, where you watch and laugh and then say, "Shame on you!" while you hide your smile.

Somebody came up with the bright idea of trying to raise $5000 dollars to send this poor bullied woman on a world-class vacation, and now, with the amount raised in excess of...


The bogeyman of authoritarianism...

This quote is from the Reformed World article I've posted here on Baylyblog which gives the history of the ordination of woman officers within Reformed denominations around the world.

The article's author is absolutely certain woman officers in the church is a good thing, but she realizes many still consider it a weakness that women don't have the natural weight of authority a man has. Her solution?

A Reformed congregation for whom the priesthood of all believers is an article of faith should not consider it a disqualification that a woman pastor is not and has no desire to be the traditional authoritarian stereotype, but rather as an opportunity held out to it.

To which an older Presbyterian pastor with many years of pastoral ministry behind him responded to me privately...


The Reformers were pamphleteers...

Again and again within the PCA, men sound the trumpet against the approaching enemy and immediately are shouted down by other men who say the blowing of the trumpet violated proper "process." Their claim is that sounding the alarm is not to trust the courts of the church where schismatics and heretics ought properly (and only) to be dealt with. They shush the buglers and their clear note.

This is to punish men for the very act of courageous obedience by which they serve our Lord and His Bride, and it's the same sort of punishment and condemnation Calvin, Luther, and Knox suffered. So buck up, men! You have a great patrimony! Calvin, Luther, and Knox blew their bugles, also, sounding the alarm house to house, city to city, day and night with tears.

Now to the details. When the Lord commanded Ezekiel to be faithful in his calling as a prophet, he called him a "watchman." Pastors today are watchmen, also, as indicated by...


"Doulos" and the NASB: "...voluntary submission to deity..."

Reading of the ESV translation committee's new concern that the word "slave" (translation of the Greek doulos) has "irredeemably negative associations and connotations," I wondered how my preferred translation, the New American Standard Bible, handled the same word (and the prefixed version, sundoulos, which generally they translate by adding "fellow," as in "fellow slave."). The NASB mostly renders it "slave," but at a number of places, it has "bond-servant,"—a fact which stood out to me when I began preaching through the book of James last year. James 1:1: "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,...".

Here's the frequency of each of the NASB's various translations of doulos...


Klout...

With the senior year men of Clearnote and Reformed Evangelical Pastors Colleges this morning, we were discussing Iain Murray's Evangelicalism Divided.

This is one of the most important books for any officer of Christ's Church to read today. In it Murray exhaustively documents the history of the herding instincts of men like John Stott and Jim Packer who chose to acknowledge as "Christians" and to make common cause with fellow British Anglican churchmen who denied the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Birth, and the substitutionary Atonement (for instance). Then Murray exhaustively documents the rotten fruit of their terrible compromises.

We discussed why Martyn Lloyd-Jones refused to go along with such betrayal of the Church, warning against it when men like Stott and Packer were such promoters? One student said he thought Stott and Packer wanted to protect their clout whereas Lloyd-Jones was willing to lose his.

Which took me back to the Wired piece on Klout I read last night. It's a web business that rates men on the basis of how many they influence or lead--hence the name "Klout." The author, Seth Stevenson, starts out by reporting that the perfect Klout score is 100. Justin Bieber's Klout is 100 and President Obama's 91. Influence and leadership, you know.

Officers of Christ's Church are constantly choosing whether to keep or lose their Klout...


Some helpful questions...

(TB: Under another post, a Christian sister we've come to respect has asked a series of questions I make a stab at answering below. For the context of her questions please look at comment number thirteen under the above post. First her comment in full, followed by my responses quoting part of each numbered item in what she wrote.)

I mean this as an honest comment/question, not a baiting or critical one. 

First, I was taught to believe that a wife must submit to her husband and a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church. A wife is not a doormat, nor is a husband is a tyrant. Furthermore, a couple will work out a balance of this principle in their marriage that is Biblical and fits their personalities and won't look the same for every couple. I assume you would generally agree with that.


Do the French have a secret in their mothering and fathering...

If you're a mother or father, read this article. And note the last couple of paragraphs carefully. Over and over again, I tell mothers and fathers of undisciplined children that their rebuke and discipline of their sons and daughters lacks conviction. Firmness. Acting as if they mean what they say rather than that they're mourning having to put up boundaries, as they say. Then I tell them to watch the Dog Whisperer and note how much of Cesar Milan's success is simply a function of his being completely integrated as he looks at the dog. He doesn't apologize for his authority, but exercises it.

If you're a mother or father, again I tell you: read this article. You have no authority because you have chosen to have no authority and your precious little one's got your number.

And while we're on the subject, the principles in the linked article are applicable to elders and the souls under their care, also. Pastors and elders who don't want authority aren't respected--just as they wish. And that may seem to be no big deal until you realize the authority we're trading away is not ours.

It is God's. Fathers and mothers of the home and church have been delegated authority and will be judged by their use of it in the training and protection of the souls God has entrusted to them. (TB, w/thanks to Lucas)


Joseph Maraachli and the state's usurpation of parental authority...

Joseph Maracchli was the subject of an intense right-to-life battle in Canada last spring. Sadly, a couple months ago he died at his parents’ home in Windsor, Ontario. He was 20 months old. Andrew Henry wrote about Joseph on Baylyblog back in March. You may review the details here.

The number of similar cases will explode in coming months and years and there are important lesssons Christian fathers and mothers should learn. God has given parents the natural affection and compassion for their own children that no doctor can truly have no matter how highly trained or respected he may be.

This is not to say that parents are incapable of being neglectful of their children, but it's the exception rather than the rule. God’s good gift to children is parents who are loving and tender toward them.

The ever-increasing power and authority of government in our lives can only produce bad fruit, and the belief that a well-paid and benevolent bureaucracy can make better decisions than parents is wicked...


Another (yawn) minced confession at the PCA's Redeemer Presbyterian Church...

RedeemerWedding"To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence." - G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men

Here we have a wedding ceremony of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan.

Presiding over the service on the congregation's right wearing a suit is a male pastor (Scott Sauls) who formerly held his credentials in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church--a Reformed denomination that approves of female pastors and elders.

Presiding over the service on the congregation's left wearing a minister's robe is a female pastor.

Wedding ceremonies not being sacramental among us Protestants, one might argue it doesn't matter much if female pastors co-officiate with male pastors...


"For the wrath of man shall praise you..."

Here's the manuscript for the sermon I preached the Lord's Day following 9/11 ten years ago, and then again yesterday on its tenth anniversary. I should add that the manuscript usually serves only as my loose outline for the preaching of God's Word.


Tilting at windmills...

Over on a conservative Reformed blog, a couple men have been arguing that the church today is being threatened by some who are taking father-rule (they call it "patriarchy") too, too far. No one really wanted to be specific, but when pressed by the esteemed brothers Craig French and RCJr., the following list of practices was submitted as proof of this grave threat.

We are told that the men who pose this threat within the Church are those "suggesting..."


From our Water-Finds-Its-Level Department...

Well-known feminist Carolyn Custis James will be in Fort Collins preaching to the women and men of Campus Crusade for Christ International this coming week. The occasion is Cru's National Staff Conference and this is one more indication of the necessity of Christians doing the hard work of removing Cru from their church and individual mission giving.

Egalitarian feminism is another Gospel. Let Ms. magazine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and nonChristians for Biblical Equality and the National Organization of Women support Custis James, her husband Frank, and Cru. It's wrong for believers to use the tithes and offerings of the People of God to support those who turn the Scripture on its head, making a big show of their respect for God and His Word while promoting rebellion against them. (TB)


2011 ClearNote Conference Audio is Available

If you missed the 2011 ClearNote Summer Conference this past weekend, you missed something special. You can still listen to the sermon recordings, though: just click here.