We all process life through our own personal filters and, after twenty years in pastoral ministry, mine are hopelessly pastoral. So you may smile to hear that reading this news item led me to daydream, just for a moment, about how much easier it was for these leading men of the village to bathe Mr. Kasokong than it is for elders of Christ's church to work to end similarly public scandals within God's Household.
If, as I believe, there are three marks of the Church--the true preaching of the Word of God, the right administration of the Sacraments, and the right (biblical) practice of church discipline--then the following news piece, Woman Can Sue Pastor for Revealing Infidelity, is just one more in a long line of warnings that biblical churches will suffer growing persecution for their faith. This is, of course, to make no judgment about the likely outcome of this case as it goes to trial, nor to assume that this particular pastor and church are following biblical procedures in their practice of this discipline.
But the case is one of many harbingers of things to come and the wicked will not treat lightly those who model here on earth the coming Last Judgment of the Holy God when, eternally, there will be the separation of the sheep and the goats:
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33)
Eight and a half years ago, when our congregation was founded, we took Ken Sande's bylaws and adopted them for our own...
In our local paper, The Herald-Times, a young woman named Arlyn Keith is a Community Columnist. From her picture Ms. Keith seems to be in her mid-twenties and her piece appearing on yesterday's op-ed page is titled, "Rock'n'roll rejects the Bible."
Keith is responding to what she considers the non-news that Jan Wenner's Rolling Stone magazine has refused to run an ad for Today's New International Version, the new Bible put together under the patronage of Rupert Murdoch's News Corps' subsidiary, Zondervan Publishing Company.
Keith yawns as she wonders why Zondervan ever thought readers of Rolling Stone would be their market segment? Acknowledging that this chic Bible has compromised the original text, the better to reach her generation, Keith writes:
I knew that Christian leaders were concerned about the disinterest my generation and those younger than us seem to have with religion, but I just did not ever expect the mountain to come to Mohammed and plead for attention. This latest edition of the Bible aptly named Today's New International Version even features, according to USA Today, a method of translation which is meant to appeal to the 18-34 age group wherein gender terminology in reference to humans is neutral. The "truth" has been made user-friendly and packaged in a politically-correct manner. I am not an avid church-goer myself and am still struggling with my views, but it does seem that some values have been compromised in the process.
Out of the mouths of babes...
After years of hard work trying to convince my family members (owners of Tyndale House Publishers and its own gender-neutered Bible, The New Living Translation), Zondervan's executives (who are presently issuing this latest gender-neutered version called Today's New International Version), and the corporate leaders of the International Bible Society (holder of the copyright on all versions of The New International Version including Today's New International Version) of the false doctrine that is the heart of this work, I despair over their intransigence. And yes, one does begin to wonder what the application of "the love of money (being) the root of all evil" is to this Bible-selling business; or, for that matter, to Wycliffe Bible Translators, mega-churches, missions agencies, seminaries, and my own church's building program?
How lightly we consider our own motives in the light of Scripture's warning, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives" (Proverbs 16:2 NASB95).
No matter how often we explain to them that the secular feminists are correct in their judgment that the Bible is "hopelessly patriarchal," hope springs eternal and these false prophets try once again to clean up God's Word so a modicum of its offense is removed and evangelism moves apace into the twenty-first century.
Over the past couple of years, Christ the Word's Rev. Dr. Andrew Dionne has created a web site called KepttheFaith exposing the assault upon God and His Word these men are carrying out. Church of the Good Shepherd has funded the site and my brother, David, and I have fought this battle arm-in-arm. Go to the site and read and pray. Secularists and seekers such as Keith can treat this matter lightly, easily seeing the charade. But Tyndale House, Zondervan, the International Bible Society, and all the reverend doctors paid to do the bowdlerizing take this matter very seriously seeing their reputations are on the line.
They're right. Were one of them a member of Church of the Good Shepherd, the elders would declare him to be in violation of his membership vow to honor and obey the inerrant Word of God, and call him to repent.
Chesterton nailed it almost a century ago:
It is remarked, "We need a restatement of religion"; and though it has been said thirty-thousand times, it is quite true.
It is also true that those who say it often mean the very opposite of what they say. As I have remarked elsewhere, they very often intend not to restate anything, but to state something else, introducing as many of the old words as possible.
(G. K. Chesterton, The Thing, p. 190, "Some of Our Errors".)
The following questions were posted to the comments section of our sister "World" magazine blog, Stealth Bible: TNIV. Here is my own response.
So what then do you make of (John Doe), one of the most vocal opponents of the TNIV, who taught at (such and such seminary) for years, and only recently moved from there to (another seminary), not out of opposition to (his prior seminary's) handling of these issues, but rather because of (personal reasons)? Did he (and others like him) who teach at schools that permit women to gain "ordination-track" MDiv's demonstrate lack of zeal and sound judgment by continuing on at (his former seminary for so long)?
Should we now shun all schools that allow women to gain ordination-track MDiv's, and those who teach at them, even though they are complementarian? Should complementarians who are looking for teaching positions in the evangelical academy teach only at those schools who won't permit women to earn ordination-track MDivs? I doubt that Dallas Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary can house all of them on their faculties...
Since there are many complementarians who believe it is proper to maintain collegial relations with those who promote the heresy of feminism, let's depersonalize the issue and not limit our discussion to any particular individual. The man you've mentioned is one among many.
The nub of your question is the degree to which I believe there ought to be some separation between those who hold to the biblical doctrine of sexuality and those who reject and attack that doctrine. You raise the question in the context of academic institutions but I think the prior place to consider and resolve this question is the Church of the Living God referred to by the Holy Spirit as "the pillar and support" of God's Truth.
Men who are elders (or whatever they may be called in any given polity) ought to be disciplined for rejecting the plain teaching of Scripture...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 30, 2006 - 6:13am
I've referred before to Doug Wilson's ongoing series of posts dealing with how to adjudicate charges Biblically. All are good.
But, not to take a stray dog by the ears.... Sometimes a series of charges and countercharges can leave you grasping, uncertain where truth lies.
There is seldom a divorce in human marriage or a separation within the Bride of Christ in which there are not elements of sin on both sides. Yet the presence of sinners at either end of a conflict does not mean guilt and innocence cannot be established in the specific issue in contention. It is precisely the job of spiritual leaders to investigate carefully and render judgment at such times.
But when accusations and motives seem murky and you are not in the position of investigator or judge, one good way to know something about the truth of a situation is to examine the tactics of disputants. Tactics reveal truth.
I don't mean we should look to see who speaks in saccharine tones or whose words drip ostentatious piety. I mean we should look at cold hard facts. Cold hard facts are these kinds of things: who went outside the local body first, who spread the dispute before the world? Who is accusing others of offenses against "what is written?" Who is charging others of offenses consisting primarily of tone and attitude? Who took their complaints to the internet? Who tendered apologies? Who refused apologies?
Such things are not conclusive. But they are indicative.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 2, 2006 - 11:12am
In the context of charges and accusations being tossed about willy-nilly against God's servants, it is salutary to be reminded of God's severe sentence upon Moses for appropriating His holiness when he judged the people at Meribah.
Scripture clearly defines when and how we should judge--and when and how we sin by judging. But the flesh tends to run opposite Scripture in both instances. So, as a warning and reminder of God's holiness in the area of judging the following thoughts from Scripture will, I trust, serve to protect us from sin.
Judging is a sin in which man seeks to exercise authority that belongs only to God. We need to remember above all that God is the eternal judge of mankind. Just as God tells us, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," to keep us from vengeance, so Scripture tells us, "For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us," (Isaiah 33:22) to keep us from judging.
God is the judge of mankind. Individual men are never allowed to judge others in the way God judges. (I say "individual men" because in certain circumstances the Church is called to judge as God judges--we'll turn to these in a bit.)
My thirteen-year-old son, Taylor, is a midfielder on a traveling soccer team and we share a love for soccer. Anticipating the World Cup beginning this Friday, we watched an ESPN special on racism among European football fans.
In 2004, Spain's World Cup coach, Luis Aragons, was fined after making racial remarks about Arsenal superstar, Thierry Henry. Things started to come to a head last year when Messina's Ivory Coast defender, Marc Zoro, was reduced to tears by Inter Milan fans hurling racial epithets at him. Having been abused beyond his ability to endure, Zoro picked up the game ball to hand it to a referee, and tried to walk off the field. Some of Inter Milan's quite-sportsmanlike players did their best to silence the abuse. They put their arms around Zoro and convinced him to keep playing. Racial epithets and bananas are thrown at black players on the field, but they're expected to shrug it off and keep playing.
This past March, in the Brazilian league, defender Antonoi Carlos was suspended for 120 days plus four matches after he shouted at a black opponent, calling him "monkey." Then, on April 3, Spiegel Onlineran a story about FC Sachsen Leipzig's star Nigerian midfielder, Adebowale Ogungbure, being tormented after a game by fans who ran up and spit on him, calling him "Dirty N-gger," "Sh-t N-gger," and "Ape" as he walked off the pitch.
Racism threatens to tarnish the World Cup and there's a lot of talk about what FIFA officials are and aren't going to do about it. When the ESPN special was over, neither Taylor nor I had much to say to each other. This aspect of the beautiful game is ugly.
Then, this morning, I followed a link to our blog posted on another blog that is racist to the core, and also obscene, sacrilegious, and blasphemous. In the past, David and I have tried to get these wicked men not to link to us, but to no avail. They told us they'd link to anyone they wanted to and we couldn't stop them. They're right.
[NOTE FROM TIM: This article was posted on Baylyblog back in 2006. Church of the Good Shepherd is now called Clearnote Church, Bloomington.]
The 2006 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) met a few weeks ago and approved a measure that clears the way for practicing homosexuals to be ordained and installed as pastors and elders of the church. Many news organizations covered this event, but no one commented on the most newsworthy aspect of this radical step--namely, that the measure was itself the product of a Task Force that included a number of evangelicals, and that the evangelicals were instrumental in selling this proposal to the church. How does it happen that evangelicals promote the normalization of sodomy and advocate a plan that clears the way for sodomites to shepherd God's flock? There's a lesson here--a very important lesson--particularly for evangelicals who think all that's important is that people "love Jesus" and have prayed the sinner's prayer. Please read on...
Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:5-11)
The late Elizabeth Achtemeier was adjunct professor of Bible and homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and served on the board of Presbyterians Pro-Life, a reform organization within the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA). Particularly because of her courageous opposition to some of the most poisonous aspects of feminism within mainline Presbyterianism, it came as no surprise that Elizabeth was appointed to the PC(USA) General Assembly's blue ribbon Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity as a representative of those on the evangelical end of the denominational spectrum.
When Elizabeth died in the middle of the Task Force's work, her son Mark Achtemeier, a PC(USA) seminary professor teaching systematic theology at Dubuque Theological Seminary, was appointed to take her place and he served on the Task Force through the completion of its work this past year. The Task Force brought a number of recommendations to the (national) General Assembly this year, all of which were carefully crafted to end the divisive battle over the normalization of sodomy.
Up until this time, those seeking to normalize sodomy and to ordain sodomites to the offices of pastor and elder had to contend with PC(USA) denominational standards that forbade such ordinations. If churches defied these standards, they could be brought up on charges, although through the years a variety of technicalities were used to escape accountability. True, the denomination's definitive guidance was a roadblock to those seeking to normalize sodomy, but the practice across the country was a far cry from that definitive guidance. Lesbians and gays were active at all levels of the church as members, leaders, and officers, and there was little accountability for those who flaunted their rebellion against God's Word.
Yet even as they rebelled against Scripture's doctrine of sexuality and got away with only a few slaps on the wrist, the sodomy lobby worked feverishly to change church law so that sexual perversion would no longer be formally condemned and informally overlooked, but positively celebrated. Nothing less would do. Thus for years every level of church government found its time consumed by the battle, and people grew so weary of the controversy that the PUP Task Force was appointed and given a mandate to find a way out of the quagmire.
This year's national General Assembly was D-day, and the Task Force released its recommendations a few months before the Assembly so there would be plenty of time for commissioners to weigh its recommendations before the assembly convened. When those with biblical commitments saw the report and read through its recommendations, they were sickened to see that the Task Force had thrown in the towel and called it quits. Assuming the General Assembly adopted the Task Force recommendations (which it now has), they knew the definitive guidance would become obsolete. Rather, local rule would prevail. True, in theory this meant conservative churches and presbyteries could enforce the definitive guidance if they so chose, but only within their own jurisdiction. Meanwhile, liberal churches and presbyteries would be cut loose to do as they thought best--including ordaining and installing self-affirming active sodomites as pastors and elders. Really, the recommendations amounted to a ceding of the historic Presbyterian principle of connectionalism to the all-American ecclesiastical default of congregationalism.
But as shocking as the parameters of the surrender were, the shock turned into disbelief when the names of those who had signed on to the surrender included a number of evangelicals, including Elizabeth Achtemeier's son, Mark. People were flabbergasted. How could Elizabeth's son betray Scripture and the souls under his protection in this way? Did he care nothing for those tempted by same-sex intimacy? Was he really prepared to join the long line of self-proclaimed prophets who cry "Peace, peace" where there is no peace? As the smoke cleared, there was no denying that Mark Achtemeier had been co-opted by the sodomites...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 21, 2007 - 10:44am
(Tim) A friend sent an E-mail asking if I had a form or liturgy for excommunication that his session might be able to use. We've had several excommunications over the past eleven years, and have been greatly blessed to have adopted as our bylaws those written by Ken Sande and circulated by Peacemakers for adoption by churches affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. Regularly, I recommend those bylaws to other pastors and elders (including churches not affiliated with the PCA). They're superb and provide great protection for the church in this litigious age--particularly the membership covenants these bylaws require every new member to sign.
Among the documents provided by Peacemakers in support of their bylaws is a packet of church discipline forms and letters that can be used as boilerplate text by particular churches in their own disciplinary cases. The following statement was used at Church of the Good Shepherd in a tragic case where a man cast off his wife and refused the ministry of the board of elders calling him to repentance. The names and dates have been changed to protect this man's identity, but I post it here with the hope that it may serve others with the sad responsibility of this same work within their own congregation.
This letter is largely, but not completely, the work of Peacemakers, and I happily acknowledge their excellent resources as the foundation of our own labors here at CGS...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 6, 2007 - 1:05pm
Why, look at us! Check it out! We have women deacons. Unordained, of
course, but women they are and they do everything our male deacons
do--disciple, teach, cast vision. Look at us! Check it out! We have
women serving the elements at the Lord's Table. Women, mind you! Aren't
we forward-looking and progressive? Can't you iPod joggers settle into
this comfy chair? We've made it just for you. No fuddy-duddy patriarchs
holding us down or setting us back. We've captured the center of the
city because we're the only ones that can do it without making asses of
ourselves. Look at us! Check us out! We do art. We write music. We
have important people who are rich in our congregation. And they
respect us because they know we can be trusted to think through the
implications of Scripture for our time and culture without falling into
the many errors of past centuries. You know, errors like fuddy-duddy thinking
about women in leadership.
(Tim) For most of the first ten years of pastoral ministry, I served in a denomination whose polity required each church to elect female elders in proportion to the number of females in the congregation. Also, every pastoral search committee was required to sign an EEO-type contract promising they would give equal consideration to women for their pastoral position. So I’ve had experience working with women elders within the local congregation, as well as female pastors and elders at the presbytery (regional) and general assembly (national) levels. There were some wise and godly women elders within our congregations (I had a yoked parish of two churches), and still today my wife and I are close to several of these sisters in Christ.
And yet, wise and godly women placed in the position of elder are tenaciously focused on the protection of relationships within their congregation. It is both their strength and weakness that they want to deny or postpone any threat to relationships, even when the good of the larger household of faith would be put at risk by inaction or the postponement of discipline...
Yet most I thank thee, not for any deed, But for the sense thy living self did breed That Fatherhood is at the world’s great core.
-George MacDonald (1)
(Tim) Some years back when I first entered the pastorate, I sat in a small-town café listening to the son of a prominent church member summarize his relationship with his father: “Nothing I did ever pleased him.” In his late twenties, the son was a neer-do-well; divorced and not able to hold down a job, his children were shunted back and forth, week-by-week, from one broken home to another.
He came to church only on Christmas and Easter so our breakfast appointment was about the only chance I had. His eyes revealed the last flicker of what once had been the bright flame of father-hunger—that hunger God places in the heart of every son. None of my seminary professors had mentioned this hunger to me and I was at a loss as to how to cure his soul. Not knowing how to respond to this great sadness, I was silent...
…Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed… For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:18,19)
(Tim) When the Lord entered into a covenant with Abraham, He was pleased for that covenant’s fulfillment to be dependent upon Abraham “command(ing) his children and his household… to keep the way of the Lord….” Still today, it pleases God to use means to accomplish his will, and he has declared the Church should be built up, instructed, and guarded by men—not angels. Where those men are missing or their work is soft and effeminate, the Church has suffered the removal of her vital manhood; she has been emasculated. (n. 1)
When we speak of the emasculation of the church, though, we are not saying she has been robbed of her Bridegroom nor that her adoptive Father has cast her out of his household. Christ is “faithful over God’s house as a son” (Hebrews 3:6 RSV), (n. 2) and we have his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. So then, the Church can never be emasculated in any definitive sense, even though her officers may be characterized by a womanly softness and sentimentality.
Such, though, is the church of our time. About twenty years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot Gren say, “The problem with the church today is that it’s filled with emasculated men who don’t know how to say ‘no’ to a woman.” At the time, I was floored by Elliot’s audacity, but now I realize she was guilty of understatement. Christian men today have a problem saying “no” to almost anyone—not just women. Preachers, elders, and Sunday school teachers place an overwhelming emphasis on the positive and have an almost insurmountable aversion to the negative.
In the mid-eighties, my father was asked to represent the pro-life side at a campus-wide dialogue on abortion held at the Stupe, Wheaton College’s student union. He began his presentation with the statement, “I am not here to represent the pro-life, but the anti-abortion side of this issue..."
(Tim) For the record, I'm disappointed Rocky Mountain Presbytery's City Church in Denver was allowed to take the PCA's ball and go home without being disciplined for her rejection of biblical sexuality and polity. A plant of the Presbyterian Church in America, she (and particularly her pastor) should have heard a clear "No" from her presbytery, somewhere or sometime. Instead, she saw her presbytery enmeshed in a bunch of split votes that demonstrated tepid leadership, at best; and trendy postmodern commitments to biblical sexuality, at worst.
What would a pastor or session have to do in order to receive a clear disciplinary "No" from a presbytery of the PCA today in this matter of sexuality?
I can hear some responding, "No one's ordained a woman elder or pastor, yet."
If we think it's possible to avoid declaring the boundaries of biblical sexuality at every point leading up to the eldership, but then to hold firm there, our problems are much deeper than the biblical doctrine of sexuality...
Throughout my adult years, Senator Ted Kennedy has been our nation's most visible proponent of wickedness in high places. Chief among his high crimes has been his ruthless promotion of the altars of Molech upon which many millions of little ones have been sacrificed. And from Chappaquiddick on, his personal life has been notorious.
Yet, even a month ago at the Papal Mass held at Nationals Park, the Roman Catholic church could not bring herself to enforce her own rules of discipline against him or fellow Roman Catholic pro-abortion Senators John Kerry and Christopher Dodd. They all received Communion.
While confessing Christians such as President Bush are issuing statements commending Senator Kennedy as a great statesman, my hero Joe Scheidler has struck the right note in calling us to pray for the Senator's soul:
We're all praying for him. We hope his ailment will bring conversion. We can't wish anyone eternal punishment.
May God have mercy on Senator Kennedy's soul as he faces death and judgment.
(Tim) Divorce is one of the most difficult questions pastors and elders face as we shepherd God's flock. Providing spiritual counsel in cases where husband and wife don't get along is relatively easy. Much harder are those cases in which husbands or wives physically abuse their spouses, fathers or stepfathers sexually abuse their children, husbands or wives commit serious sexual sin (what Jesus refers to as "porneia" in the exception clause of Matthew 19), or husbands demand their wives and children deny the faith. Each of these matters requires the most careful study of Scripture, prayer, and pastoral counsel. Sometimes the result is a session (board of elders) recommendation of divorce.
In the twelve years since Church of the Good Shepherd was founded, our session has made such a recommendation two or three times, each by unanimous consent. Sometimes it's hard to say whether the believing or unbelieving spouse is the one taking the initiative in the divorce. This is why it's impossible to say precisely how many times we've counseled divorce. We don't make the decision--the innocent party does. Yet neither do we abandon that innocent party to their own counsel. Our Westminster Standards are correct..
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Friends, here's one to keep your eyes on. David and I believe the training of pastors is best done in the context of the local church, but if we were asked which seminaries we believe hold true to biblical faith, Westminster Theological Seminary would make the short list.
Now, though, they have a professor who has written things that call his commitment to the authority and plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture into question. After suspending him from teaching, they're investigating the matter formally.
Lots of sheep think the seminary's action is scandalous. You know, criticisms of the "Don't you idiots know that the church has repented of heresy trials?" sort. Well, there you have it: "No heresy any more," say the sheep, "so don't bother guarding us--we don't need your care." How David and I thank God for allowing us to serve congregations who love us precisely because we seek to guard them as the Apostle Paul exhorted the elders of Ephesus to guard their own congregation, warning them: "From among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). Further, our congregations have chosen elders who share in that work with us, rather than seeking to silence this aspect of our (and their) calling. What joy!
This past week, I finished Calvin's letter to Cardinal Sadoleto. Let me end the post with this excerpt:
...the miserable condition into which the Church had fallen was owing to nothing more than to its enervation by luxury and indulgence. For the body of the Church, to cohere well, must be bound together by discipline as with sinews.
(Tim, w/thanks to David) Well actually, I don't know his name, but he caused Sodomite Gene Robinson's sermon in an Anglican church in England to grind to a halt by calling the bad Bishop to "Repent! Repent! Repent! I stand on the Word of God! Repent!" (See link below.)
Why is this wicked Episcopal bishop over in England preaching just now?
Archbishop Rowan Williams is presiding over the once-a-decade Anglican meeting of bishops known as the Lambeth Conference held in Canterbury. He's invited almost all the 800 Anglican bishops worldwide. Only a few were barred from attending. One of them--the most significant one--is Bishop Gene Robinson who the United States Anglican communion known as the Episcopal Church elevated to the bishopric despite his being an unrepentant sodomite. After his elevation, the first person to greet him in the chancel area as a part of the liturgy was his sodomite lover, followed by his ex-wife and two adult daughters.
Trouble is, by far the largest part of the Anglican communion today is in the Southern Hemisphere and, being somewhat backward, African and Central and South American, and even Australian, bishops and archbishops are scandalized by this heresy and threatening or carrying out schism. (Well, actually, not schism; it's impossible to be guilty of schism when you're separating from those who bless sodomy and elevate sodomites into the bishopric. Really, it's church discipline, but from the bottom up which is not the way things ordinarily are supposed to go.)
But back to the Archbishop of Canterbury His Grace Dr. Rowan Williams. He's in an awkward position...
(Tim) Really, this article is precious. What a perfect demonstration of a journalist's muddle-headed misunderstanding compounded by some who are playing to the masses and others who are seeking to limit any possible legal liability.
The Inquirer reports Enn's book, Inspiration and Incarnation, is a problem because it "encourages Bible-believing Christians to accept that the Bible was the work of both humans and God."
Well, first; not to put too fine a point on it, but have you all noticed that we can't call the race by the name God gave it any more? It's not "adam" or "man," but "humans." In this case it's particularly funny because we're talking about the Bible, the book "holy men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
And second, is the journalist really so ignorant as to think that anyone in history, let alone the good souls of Westminster, actually deny the Bible is the work of both God and man?
by David and Tim Bayly on August 18, 2008 - 12:10pm
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)
(Tim) Today, when a church member is lovingly corrected or rebuked, it's normal for him to respond by rejecting the discipline. When the older women encourage a younger woman to stop gossiping, often the younger woman will lie about what the older women said; or worse, accuse them of evil motives in saying it. If youth leaders ask to meet with a father and mother about their teenage son's obsceneties or physical aggression toward other boys in the youth group, the Dad makes excuses for his son, then goes to the elders with the report that the youth leader is lying about his son.
If initial steps to correct a member are stiff-armed, more formal steps will usually fail, also. When the elders ask the member to meet with them, he'll refuse; and if they ask a second time, he'll refuse again and likely leave the church.
But leaving, such souls aren't done with the church--not by a long shot. They have to justify their departure so they slander the church they've left behind. The lies may attack the elders, older women, deacons, pastors, or youth leaders. They may even attack the church's children.
Regardless of where the attack's aimed, it's here the danger occurs for the leaders of the new congregation. These bright new faces will arrive in our congregation with subtle (or not-so-subtle) demands that we listen...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 23, 2008 - 1:22pm
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11) (Tim) Last week, I received this e-mail from a former member of the church where it originated. I've kept the church's name hidden, but think the firm godly response of the pastors and elders to this situation is a model for all those who serve as officers in Christ's Church. Be encouraged, brothers. And pray for the brothers and sisters of this congregation--particularly those who have fallen into sin.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 1, 2008 - 10:39am
God has ordained the Sacraments to divide men...
(Tim) From The Huffington Post, here's some commentary on the congregational applause that greeted Senator McCain's statement at the Rick Warren pow-wow, that life begins at conception:
These are church people. What they say and
what they do often doesn't match....
As loudly as they may have applauded McCain's straight talk about
abortion, a lot of women in that audience have had abortions. A lot of
their mothers, their sisters and their daughters have too.
How do I know?
I know because evangelicals who've studied each other have shown
again and again that evangelical behavior differs very little from that
of the rest of the country.
The writer is correct to say the church is filled with women who have murdered their babies. Even if you don't believe the pollsters, do the simple math and you'll see that the over two-thirds of Americans who claim to be Christians have to account for the murder of millions of the babies murdered since 1973's Roe v. Wade. And although the writer doesn't mention it, the church is also filled with the men who fathered those children and demanded or acceded to their murder.
Acknowledging this, we need to keep some things in mind.
First, regardless of how they identify themselves spiritually or
theologically here on earth (membership in the PCA, for instance), like
unrepentant adulterers and thieves, murderers who refuse to confess
their blood-guilt and ask for God's mercy will not be in heaven. As the
Apostle Paul puts it so bluntly:
Or do you not
know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of
God. (1Corinthians 6:9,10)
Second, as a minister
of the Word and Sacrament, the essence of Pastor Warren's calling is to
be as constant and explicit in making this dogmatic pronouncement as
the Apostle Paul in the Word of God. He cannot fail to discipline those
who, while murdering their unborn children, attend his church and take
the Lord's Supper there.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 17, 2008 - 2:08pm
(Tim) Several years ago, I was talking with one of the patriarchs of the PCA about a series of pieces we'd published here exposing the promotion of false doctrine within one of our largest denominational institutions. Although we've worked together in other battles outside the denomination, any thought of discipline or conflict inside these hallowed grounds of the PCA was beyond the pale to this church father. He expressed his disapproval of what I'd written with the simple statement, "Tim, I'm a loyalist when it comes to (that institution) and the PCA."
What is loyalty?
Was Hezekiah loyal when, informed by Isaiah of the coming Babylonian captivity his people and his own sons would suffer, he responded, "'The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'There will be peace and security in my lifetime?" Was the Apostle Peter loyal when he left the Gentiles and went over to the Jews at church potlucks? Were those giving preferential treatment to rich men within the church loyal in seeking to provide for the church's financial well-being? Was Eli loyal when he allowed his sons to continue to profane the holy things as they held sacred office?--family first, you know.
From loyalty, Monday we called attention to the fact that friends from CBMW days seem to have no problem with a woman, Dr. Diane Langberg, publicly teaching men doctrine at a theology conference their professional association, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, is co-sponsoring. There they all are--John, Al, C.J., Lig, Phil, John--and they're promoting the ministry of a woman teaching men. In fact, beyond promoting, a couple of them (Don and Al) are sharing the pulpit with her.
From loyalty, yesterday we ran a piece on the apparent lack of discipline of faculty members at our denomination's Covenant College, pointing out that one third of them support Barack Obama's presidential bid and half of them decline to acknowledge abortion to be "Very important" in their choice. To put this in perspective, imagine a PCA college in Germany during the Third Reich, keeping in mind that the number of little babies slaughtered now by abortion absolutely dwarfs the number of Christians and Jews Hitler's men slaughtered during the Nazi regime.
Once again, from loyalty to this faith community known as the PCA, we turn to the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 19, 2008 - 12:33pm
NOTE FROM TIM: I've just taken the liberty of changing a couple sentences and adding some quotes to clarify this piece. So if you already read this post in its first day on the blog, please read it again. Having two writers contributing to this piece allowed a couple things through we'd normally have caught. They've now been corrected.
(David and Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Search for "Langberg" on the Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) web site and fifty-seven links are returned offering products produced by Westminster Theological Seminary adjunct professor Diane Langberg. (Here and here are sample pages.)
Check out CBE's directory for a recommended counselor in Pennsylvania and you will find Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA) member Diane Langberg.
Several years ago, controversy erupted within the Presbyterian Church in America over whether or not a certain woman actually preached at Covenant Theological Seminary. The controversy came to a head at the 29th General Assembly when Covenant's president, Dr. Bryan Chapell, explained the chapel address had mostly not been preaching although some parts strayed into "sermonic (and) some applicatory material." Bryan Chapell explained to the Assembly:
That Diane Langberg had been told ahead of time what the standards were for her speaking during the chapel time;
That after she spoke at Covenant Seminary, Diane Langberg received a letter reminding her of the standards, and expressing concern that those standards had not been followed; and
That the administration of Covenant Seminary met with students to explain the situation and to assure the seminary community that what had happened was not according to the standards they were committed to upholding.
Note that the chapel message at the root of the controversy was given by Dr. Diane Langberg. Yet, despite her being at the center of this controversy...
Two years ago, the Christian education arm of the Presbyterian Church in America, Christian Education and Publications (CE&P), held its 2006 International Women in the Church Conference in Atlanta. The three women employed to teach the 4,000 assembled women of the PCA? Joni Eareckson Tada, Paige Benton Brown, and Dr. Diane Langberg.
Again, at Women in the Church's (WIC) 2007 Leadership Training Conference Dr. Diane Langberg was a plenary speaker.
Diane Langberg was principal speaker at Tenth Presbyterian (PCA) Church's 2008 TenthWomen Conference.
And this same Diane Langberg is featured speaker at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals' Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology--together with Al Mohler and Don Carson.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 9, 2008 - 10:49am
(Tim) When I was a child, Dad subscribed to Time for a time. Then came the day they ran an ad for men's cologne pictured in a bottle shaped like a phallus. Dad wrote them strenuously objecting to such degradation.
Since then, our family hasn't been big on news magazines. The only one that's ever entered our home is World, to which we have a lifetime gift subscription kindness of its founder. Truth be told, I'm not at all fond of Time and Newsweek (especially), and Newsweek's current issue provides a good example of my reasons.
The cover story is a puff piece on sodomite marriage. The really disgusting thing, though, is that Newsweek's editors allowed their female (and yes, I believe sex matters here) religion editor, Lisa Miller, to play the schoolmarm to the nation on the true doctrine of Scripture concerning sodomy. The story's title tells it all: "Gay Marriage: Our mutual joy; Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."
Yes, of course; Newsweek's religion editor is going to lecture us on the Bible's teaching on love. And I'm guessing she believes in the slaughter of little babies in their mother's womb, too, and could lecture us on Scripture's doctrine of love there, also. Our chattering class has Goebbels' principle down cold...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2009 - 2:11pm
He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)
(Tim) This afternoon, I was talking with a man who was describing how a young couple had been alienated from their church, in large part because of a bad report they heard from a couple who had left that church to escape the discipline of its elders. And yesterday, I heard a similar report from a couple who had been subjected to their church leadership repeating evil and malicious words against another church, while every indication was that their leaders had never spoken personally to those they were attacking. "Lying lips" and "he who spreads slander" are constants in pastoral ministry, and always have been. Thus the Apostle Paul writes:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
Man leaves church angry and bitter at church's leadership for their correction or rebuke of him. He's accepted into another neighboring church without question. Yet he's not content to have left his former church. From bitterness, he slanders it to anyone who will listen--starting with his new pastor, church board, and members.
But maybe it's not slander at all, right? Churches do abuse people and you can't be too careful guarding against church popes and dictators who oppress the souls under their care. So how do you know when you're listening to slander and when the bad report is actually true?
A few simple tests will make things clear.
First, ask the person badmouthing their former church whether he has been formally disciplined by that church...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 26, 2009 - 6:43am
(Tim) Like it or not, to the American unbeliever today we are all "evangelicals." That is, we all believe in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, honor His Word, and call those lost and without hope in this world to repentance for their promotion and commitment to baby-killing, adultery, child molestation, sodomy, and greed. To them, we are not split into Reformed and Arminian. They can't distinguish between Reformed, Evangelical, and Emergent, let alone Barely-Reformed and Truly-Reformed.
So when Rick Warren prays, he prays for us. When Franklin Graham speaks, he speaks for us. When Tyndale House publishes, they publish for us.
Tragically, this means those who watch HBO's documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard--or interviews Haggard and his family are doing for The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live--will believe they are peering through a periscope into our souls, our marriages, our families, our churches, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Filmed by Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Alexandra, this documentary is what has given rise to this latest shame of ours. Due to be aired by HBO this coming Thursday, January 29th, Haggard taking his story public and appealing for sympathy led to another tragic revelation.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 3, 2009 - 12:26pm
(Tim, w/thanks to David C.) From both outside and inside the
Roman Catholic church, we've watched the exposure of sodomite priests
across North America this past decade or so--priests who have raped
minor boys they vowed to protect as church fathers. We've read the
secular media's investigative reports. As a subscriber, I've also read
the most conservative publications of the Roman Catholic communion
respond to each revelation. Then too, I've followed the matter through
personal letters received from a friend who was a priest, but now is
doing prison time for crimes he claims he's innocent of.
by David and Tim Bayly on April 16, 2009 - 12:54pm
(Tim) In the past month or two, members of three presbyteries have made a concerted effort to get their presbyteries to adopt an identical proposal endorsing unordained women and unordained men serving together "as equal partners" in the diaconate.
Each of the presbyteries was called to endorse the following declarations concerning the propriety of woman deacons serving within the PCA:
Therefore, be it resolved that (Metro New York, Philadelphia, or Northern California) Presbytery;
Acknowledge that ministers or sessions may hold and practice the following views ...while being “in conformity with the general principles of Biblical polity” (3rd ordination vow, BCO 21-5 & 24-6).
1. Only men are ordained as deacons and they conduct the diaconal ministries of the congregation.
2. Only men are ordained as deacons, yet Sessions select and appoint others--men and/or women--to assist the deacons in their work.
3. Only men are ordained as deacons and women are selected and appointed by the Session to serve as deaconesses who assist the male deacons.
4. Only men are ordained as deacons, yet the congregation elects women with the approval of the session to serve as deaconesses who assist the male deacons.
5. Men are ordained as deacons and women are commissioned as deaconesses without ordination, though both the men and the women are elected by the congregation and serve as equal partners in the diaconal ministry.
6. Both men and women serve as equal partners in diaconal ministry and are often described as “deacon” or “deaconess” though no one is ordained to this ministry.
The proposal was eventually displaced by another proposal submitted to Philadelphia Presbytery by Steve Smallman (former member of the RPCES study committee headed by Jim Hurley that overtured Synod in favor of woman deacons) and Phil Ryken (Sr. Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian).
Northern California and Metro New York Presbyteries adopted the proposal.
Although the original proposal called for Metro New York Presbytery to overture General Assembly with these six declarations, Tim Keller (who was a signatory to the proposal) specifically recorded that he did not agree...
(Tim) Conrad Mbewe serves as the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia--one of the more vital reformed witnesses the Lord has raised up in our time. The congregation is known for reaching into the dregs of society in a non-patronizing way, doing frontline evangelism, training pastors at a pastors college they sponsor, planting churches around the country, etc. As I said, the Lord's presence and blessing are obvious to those familiar with the congregation. This is a reformed congregation with a large heart, no censorious spirit, expansive in its witness and hopes, and living in the fear of God.
Maybe that's the thing that most strikes me about Pastor Mbewe and his people: they have not used reformed doctrine as a pathway to cheap grace that silences the fear of God. Everything is not "grace, grace, grace" to them. Their harp of ten thousand strings does not harp on that one string so long.
This is a test. Read through Kabwata's prayer letter noting the parts we must admit would never be written; or, if written, never quite make it past the editor's keyboard of our own churches' newsletters. To help with the task, I've put several in bold italics.
If the letter piques your interest, here's Pastor Mbewe's blog where you'll find a truly Biblical apostolic African voice.
* * *
KABWATA BAPTIST CHURCH PRAYER LETTER
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Dear brothers and sisters,
We open this prayer letter with the words of Scripture, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). That is our testimony as a church as we review the last few months of the year 2008, including the first few months of this year.
MEMBERSHIP The year 2008 was full of tears, as we lost precious church members who graduated from the church militant to the church triumphant. We also wept much over the excommunications that were necessary in order to avert the judgment of God upon the church...
(Tim) We've all been through it many times, with many different families. Struggling to survive, financially, and no high salary on the pastor's conscience keeping him from asking the Lord for His provision, one of the few wealthy families the church has managed to get bonded within her fellowship becomes an increasing problem and it becomes apparent the only answer is formal discipline.
The years past are littered with informal discipline: many pastoral visits to the home, pastoral counseling sessions, post-small group exhortations from fellow believers, deacons, and elders; the wife has had the sweetest and wisest Titus 2 women go aside with her to entreat and exhort her concerning the damage her sin is causing to her own home and the Household of Faith. But all the informal, quiet, gentle ministry has been to little avail.
The family's wealth has complicated matters beyond the simple question of the church's fiscal solvency. The pastor and elders wonder--at first privately, but then openly in elders meetings when harm the family has caused others in the flock is on the agenda--how the congregation and community would be able to understand the discipline of such a beautiful and gifted and (shall we say rich?) family. No one would deny the family's generosity has been used by God to strengthen the fellowship. They have been a blessing in many ways and are loved for it. But also for who they are: hospitable, kind, loving, generous.
Of course, the wealth also has been a key contributor to their failures. There's been a bodaciousness to the sin that's seemed to have its origin in the pride of wealth. But as the private admonitions have failed to produce any substantive change, the family's wealth and resources have continued...
(Tim) Since Metro New York Presbytery chose not to grant three of the four amends sought by those filing a complaint against her previous action by which she endorsed woman deacons and men and women serving together in the diaconate, without sexual distinction, the presbytery has now been taken before the Presbyterian Church in America's highest court, General Assembly's Standing Judicial Commission.
Here is the text of that complaint as it was filed.
Let us pray that God blesses the hard work these men are doing for the purity and peace of Christ's Bride, and her faithful witness to a world that hates biblical sexuality.
* * *
TE Mark Robinson, et. al. vs. Metropolitan New York Presbytery
And now, this 4th day of June, 2009, come TE Mark Robinson and RE James Macbeth and complain against the action of the Metropolitan New York Presbytery (the “Presbytery”) taken on May 8, 2009 in denying certain amends requested in the complaint filed against the Presbytery by the complainants hereto on April 10, 2009.
The complainants allege that the Presbytery erred in denying TE Mark Robinson and RE James Macbeth’s requested amends and in so doing condoned substantial and continuing violations of certain provisions of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America (“PCA”), especially those touching on the office of deacon and diaconal ministry. In support of said complaint the following is set forth...
(Tim) This is copied from the discussion under an earlier post, "If they desire his help...," and it may be helpful for readers to read that post and discussion, first. But the subject matter of the discussion is so important for the good of the Church and our readers' own souls and families that I'm posting this extended response here, on the main page.
* * *
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Jesus; Luke 19:10)
The issue is simple. Shepherds are gifted, called, and ordained to shepherd a particular flock of particular souls. This means going after the one lost sheep. Jesus our Good Shepherd came after us when we were His enemies and didn't welcome His interest and pastoral care. Remember, He died?
And if you've worked with sheep (or goats or cattle), you know that one lost sheep often is perfectly opposed to being brought back to the sheepfold. Sometimes he must be manhandled to get him to safety. This is the reason David, in Psalm 23, says...
"In fact, right now, I’m in a denomination where only men should be
deacons and therefore that’s what I believe….and I mean…. that’s what I
hold to…and that’s what I support and I don’t…... I do very little in
the way of trying to undermine people’s belief on that."
- Tim Keller explaining that everyone watching him and his church and presbytery's actions for years, now, have misunderstood their significance. Completely misunderstood their significance. Things are not at all what they seem. Not at all.
(Tim) The debate between Tim Keller and Lig Duncan at the PCA General Assembly last month was a professional wrestling match with the conflict carefully scripted to produce no pain or
room was packed with 750 commissioners and their wives, but if anyone showed up hoping for the appearance of consciences and convictions, they were disappointed: there there
was none of this, "Here I stand; I can do no other; God help me" sort
Some of the statements documented here should have been
met with raspberries or guffaws.
So, why give the exchange broader distribution?
Well, I'm hopeful those who weren't there will be scandalized. And, seeing the words in black and white, some who were there will realize they should have been scandalized and it's not to their credit they weren't.
This stuff is totally awful and the fact that no one said so is
simply an indication of the hankering after fame and success that sells tabloids and woman church officers, alike...
[NOTE FROM TIM: This article was posted on Baylyblog back in 2009. Church of the Good Shepherd is now Clearnote Church, Bloomington.]
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. (Cyprian, martyred 258 AD; Calvin says the same in his Institutes)
(Tim) A couple years ago, I spoke at a Youth for Christ conference. There were around five hundred youth workers in attendance from a number of eastern African countries including Burundi, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
The conference's main events were led by a man's man. Sitting in the plenary sessions, it was clear he had the admiration and commitment of every man and woman there. They'd follow his God, go where he asked, and imitate him as he followed Christ. It was dynamic, missional, unpretentious, hardworking, and joyful.
Then there was the small group of pastors who watched from the wings. Next to the dynamism of the conference host, this group looked cowed. The host oozed manly leadership while these men oozed diffidence and timidity. As I watched, I noted how perfectly contrasted the church and the parachurch were there that week...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 24, 2009 - 9:15am
(Tim, w/thanks to past and present Redeemer Presbyterian Church members and leaders)
I was sent a PowerPoint slide that was distributed among Redeemer's
pastors and Shepherding Team members explaining to them how Redeemer's
five "Clusters" are to shepherd all those involved in the church's
"Fellowship Groups." What it reveals about the pastoral authority woman exercises over man at Redeemer isn't surprising given Tim Keller's stated
commitment that a woman may do anything an unordained man may do, there.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 24, 2009 - 9:50am
(Tim; For greater clarity, I've split this post into two, so a couple of the comments are missing some of their context)
In another post, I made the statement that Redeemer's session meetings are male-only. Quickly, I received an e-mail correction with this information that, for several years, Redeemer's session has had a woman in attendance at their meetings whose presence and privileges there appear, for all practical purposes, identical to those of Redeemer's assistant pastors. (I'm unaware of any rubric put in place to make some sort of formal distinction between them.)
In the exchange with the e-mail correspondent, I also found out that, during Lord's Day worship, half or more of Redeemer's pastoral prayers (scrupulously called "Prayers of the People") are given by women; half or more of Redeemer's Scripture lessons (maybe scrupulously called "Readings of the People" to distinguish them from pastors) are read by women; and half or more of those serving the Lord's Supper at Redeemer (maybe scrupulously called "waiters" to distinguish them from elders) are women...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 9, 2009 - 8:43am
(Tim: This post contributed by Joshua Congrove) In our age
of cloying, effeminate discourse, it's a rare thing to find a man valiantly
defending a cause with the sword of rhetoric, let alone doing so for the sake
of a godly cause. It was not always so.
A while ago while reading through the letters of Augustine,
Bishop of Hippo, I found this little gem. It's not a long, theological
discourse with the depths of insight of his Confessions or City of God, nor have
scholars taken much note of it. Still, it's a sterling example of the kind of
pastoral faithfulness that marked the long episcopate of Augustine, as well as the
kind of manly defense of God's sheep so lacking, today...
"The Officers of the Standing Judicial Commission have met September 4, 2009 and considered the documents submitted by the complainants and the Stated Clerk of Presbytery. The officers found the case to be administratively out of order since Presbytery adopted Amends No.1, which nullified, rescinded, annulled and or retracted its previous action, and with Amends Nos. 2,3, and 4 being addressed by the Presbytery through further discussions, debates and actions, all of which indicate that the Case was filed prematurely."
Here are a few preliminary thoughts:
1. The officers of the SJC that ruled the complaint was premature constitute only a portion of the SJC and may not represent the views of the SJC as a whole. It remains the prerogative of the full body of the SJC to allow this ruling to stand or to overturn it...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 27, 2009 - 9:41am
Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1)
(Tim) Under "Save your church money...," David Ker, a Bible translator and blogger of Mozambique, commented on the lockdown the Portuguese and Brazilian Bible Societies have put in place denying Portuguese Christians access to Portuguese digital versions of God's Word.
While every other major world language has multiple versions of the
Bible represented online, Portuguese has not one. To paraphrase
Emerson, make the Bible illegal and we all become criminals*.
The spirits of John Wycliff and Brother Andrew
hover over this shameful situation compelling us to act. If the enemy
forces were a state religion like the Church of England or an
oppressive government like China or Iran we would think nothing of
risking our lives to bring the Bible to those who can’t access it
otherwise. But in this case because the bad guys have the words “Bible
Society” in their name we’re supposed to sit on our thumbs...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 30, 2009 - 7:03am
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)
(Tim)The results of Trinity College's 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) are in and they confirm that the souls of Americans are not being lost to false religions, but to the complete rejection of the Church. This confirms my own experience.
Far and away the largest number of souls who have rejected Church of the Good Shepherd's doctrine in the past decade, investigating us but leaving for somewhere else, left because we require a believer be a member in good standing of some evangelical, Bible-believing church to join with us at the Lord's Table.
We fence the Table quite inclusively, really. I use the liturgy of the old Scottish Book of Worship and it's a balm for weak souls trusting in Christ alone for our salvation. But then, at the end, I warn off those who reject Christ's authority, rejecting the authority of elders over their own soul. If they believe they can relate directly to God, bypassing the ministry and authority of His Church, this rebellion disqualifies them from communing with us, I tell them.
Of course, I go on to show them how easily they may correct the matter...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 9, 2009 - 5:54pm
(Tim, w/thanks to our Redeemer Manhattanite correspondent) Pastor Rick Phillips recently did a post critical of a review of Willow Creek written by the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller. Rick was apologetic as he got started:
poor friend Tim Keller suffers the fate of having his every word parsed
over a thousand times... For this reason, I try to avoid such parsing...
But fortunately, truth got the better of Rick and he quickly hit his stride. Check it out.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 5, 2009 - 5:54am
(Tim, w/thanks to DC) Ted Haggard is welcomed into a pulpit. Tragically, note this view of Gospel ministry unbelievers are left with:
"You could make a career out of your reformed fallen Christian life,"
said David Edward Harrell, a retired Auburn University history
professor who studies charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. "What
you can't do is go back and do the same thing. Once you've lost that
clientele, it's lost."
by David and Tim Bayly on February 4, 2010 - 7:39am
O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. -Isaiah 3:12
If we wanted to describe the repudiation of Biblical sexuality spreading across conservative churches and denominations today, we'd have a hard time finding a better text than this curse of God recorded by the prophet Isaiah. Women lead men, those who guide the People of God lead them astray, and pastors confuse the direction of their flocks' paths.
It's everywhere, from Campus Crusade for Christ to Operation Mobilization to Columbia International University to Wheaton College to the Presbyterian Church in America...
A while back, the New Yorker ran an article by Malcolm Gladwell profiling Cesar Millan, the man behind the National Geographic show, Dog Whisperer. Titled "What the Dog Saw," the piece gave readers a spellbinding glimpse into the life of a man expert at disciplining incorrigible dogs. The central thrust of the article was an explanation of Millan's "phrasing," his ability to bring his body movements, hand gestures, tone of voice, and eye contact into perfect harmony so that dogs understand Millan says what he means and means what he says.
In an interview following the publication of his article, Gladwell described Millan's good phrasing:
What we're talking about, when it comes to phrasing, is simply the ability to communicate with clarity. We all think that those around us have the ability to read our minds--and we get frustrated when our intentions are misunderstood. But the truth is that accurate communication is really hard, and only a very small number of people can do it well.
Gladwell's profile contained a number of examples of dog owners who hired Millan to tame their dogs. Here's the story of a dog named Beauty:
"I have forty-seven dogs right now," Cesar...idly scratched a big German shepherd. "My girlfriend here, Beauty. If you were to see the relationship between her and her owner." He shook his head. "A very sick relationship. A 'Fatal Attraction' kind of thing. Beauty sees her (owner) and she starts scratching her and biting her, and the owner is, like, 'I love you, too.'"
Near the end of his article, Gladwell told the story of a Chihuahua named...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2010 - 7:11pm
(Tim) The panel of the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission assigned to hear the complaint related to woman officers in the PCA (originally filed against Metro New York Presbytery) has found the complaint out of order, judicially. Previously, the officers of the Standing Judicial Commission found the complaint out of order, administratively.
But with regard to the original ruling, the full Standing Judicial Commission overruled their officers' judgment. This led to the complaint being assigned to a three-man panel.
With this panel renewing earlier efforts to find the complaint out of order, once again we await possible action of the full SJC at their March meeting.
Let's pray the full SJC overrules this judgment as they did the first, and then brings itself forthrightly to address the unconstitutional practices of woman officers the complaint is seeking to see remedied within our doctrinal fellowship.
(Tim) Since Christless Christianity has come in for some knocks, here, I want to post this excerpt forwarded by Pastor Andrew Dionne having to do with the Christian approach to slavery. Still, the approach commended by Dr. Horton in the second paragraph is not what developed here in these United States as the spirituality-of-the-church, nor the R2-K Normative Withdrawal the Spirituality-of-the-Church has morphed into.
* * *
Surely the abolition of the slave trade was a noble work, yet it is interesting that in Britain it was not the church as an institution that abolished it but Christians who had been shaped by the church’s ministry and held public office in the state. When William Wilberforce came to John Newton for advice on whether he should enter the ministry, Newton encouraged his friend to pursue politics instead. It was as a member of Parliament that Wilberforce loved and served his neighbor, benefiting from the ordinary means of grace that Newton ministered to him. The church preached God’s transcendent law and gospel, and her children pursued their cultural mandate in their secular vocations. Thank God that Newton was a pastor and Wilberforce was not!
I often wonder how American history might have turned out differently if the churches in the South had disciplined members who held slaves...
(In September of 2008, preaching in the midst of a raging controversy
over racism that was dividing his own congregation) Pastor Bulkeley condemned the
neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, saying its leader taught
that Nazism was the "racial order" of God and that Jews should be
eliminated. "This teaching was evil," Bulkeley told his congregation.
"It is heretical. It is from the pit of hell and it's a direct offense
against the gospel. There should be no mistake about that. It is
completely contrary to everything the Bible teaches."
(Tim, w/thanks to Joel B.) Here's an article and sidebar from the Summer 2010 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report telling the story of good church discipline carried out in Friendship Presbyterian Church outside Asheville, North Carolina. The discipline ended up also being adjudicated by the congregation's appellate court, Western Carolina Presbytery (PCA). (And if you don't understand why I'd refer to a PCA presbytery as an appellate court, read Brother David's superb commentary on the state of the PCA post-General Assembly union, here.)
Racism was the sin, and thus the Southern Poverty Law Center this one time stood on the side of the angels. Both the article and the sidebar attempt to provide some of the historic context for the battle against racism throughout the history of the PCA--very much a southern denomination with its roots deeply embedded in "The Recent Unpleasantness."
These articles have both the weaknesses and strengths of their origin outside the PCA. I hope you'll take the time to read them.
First, though, one prefatory remark. Dealing with abortion or racism or feminism is a bloody work...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 13, 2010 - 6:19am
(Tim) This just in from our African correspondent, David Wegener:
Found that article. It's "Splitting Up" by Joseph Adelson, a professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and the author of, "Inventing Adolescence." It ran in Commentary, September 1996, pp. 63-66. I can't find it online unless you subscribe. Here are the first few...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 20, 2010 - 7:24am
"He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:12-15).
(Tim) Last night I read an article about the sea-change in compensation that came during the seventies. Before then, stars--corporate executives, investment bankers, and baseball players, for instance--were paid reasonable amounts of money and couldn't simply tell their employers what they required. Then things changed.
Marvin Miller, a labor organizer, came to baseball's Players Association and told them it wasn't to their benefit simply and cheerfully to receive what baseball clubs' owners offered. But baseball was a gentleman's sport and the players didn't want a man representing them who might make waves. They were comfortable being told what was what, and not knowing what went on behind the screen.
As Miller tells the story, one time in a meeting early in his work with the Players Association, a "player stood up and hesitantly asked a question...