"Forget all the books. Forget all the men whose success you so
desperately want for yourself. Forget Rick Warren. Forget Mark Driscoll.
Forget Tim Keller. Forget Andy Stanley. None of them have anything to
do with you."
(Tim) When I entered the pastorate, Dad's advice was sparse but memorable. Four offhand comments at different times, with no explanation.
"Preach them down, then preach them back up again." (I had a yoked parish of two congregations.)
"Don't use Pardeeville as a stepping stone." (Think William Still. Or better, Doug Wilson still out there in Moscow, Idaho.)
"Go for the men and the women will follow." (Duh. We live in a day when wise men don't assume even the most basic truths.)
"A visiting pastor makes a church-going people."
It's this fourth word of advice I want us to think about...
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla who gave me a heads-up and has done several good posts on the subject) Here's the setup. Mrs. Frank James (who prefers to be known as Carolyn Custis James), was teaching a group of pastors how better to utilize women in positions of authority when one pastor asked her, "If we work with women, won't we be tempted?"
Mrs. James wasn't pleased with the question or what followed. She writes:
What followed (the question was) a laundry list of precautions to safeguard oneself
from moral hazards when working or dealing with women. Women find this kind of thinking offensive, and rightly so.
This low view of women conflicts with the Bible's high redemptive view
So now, a word for church planters and new pastors. When I took my first call, Dad forwarded an article about a youth pastor who had given a young woman a ride home after youth group. Later, he was sued by the young woman's parents for some sort of sexually predatory behavior--which he denied. At the top of the article, Dad had scrawled, "This is a warning. Never give a woman a ride in your car, alone. Never counsel a woman, alone. Have a woman present or keep your door open and stay within sight of your secretary."
When we built our church-house a couple years ago, we put lights (windows) in every door as protection for everyone, everywhere...
(Tim) Almost two decades ago, my wife and I had a houseguest for the
weekend. He was a pastor friend from our days serving together in the
mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) who’d recently moved his credentials
from the PC(USA) to the more evangelical Presbyterian Church in America.
Our congregation had just made the same denominational transfer, so
we’d invited him to fill our pulpit and speak to our congregational
meeting about the culture of the PCA.
After coming into our kitchen and being introduced to Mary Lee, his
first words were, “Bales! How could you stand living in this little
Podunk town all these years?” Pardeeville hadn’t impressed him, and his
disdain for our town didn’t endear him to my wife.
Later that weekend, we talked about his new job. He’d served in a
southern metro area for years, but had left that position to plant a
church funded by the PCA’s church planting organization. Denominational
leaders wanted a flagship church in the northern city he’d moved to, so
they were throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at him to exercise
his entrepreneurial gifts. (Read more over at ClearNote Blog...)
(Tim) Last year, we had an excellent turnout for our first ClearNote Fellowship Conference held each year the weekend following the Fourth of July. This year the conference will be Friday, July 9 through Saturday, July 10. I hope you'll make plans now to come. And bring your whole family.
(Tim) Yesterday, a friend sent me a satirical piece his son and
several friends had written about a bunch of new city church plants with
names like Elevation Church, Dust, The Line, Infusion Church, and
Austin City Life (see Howard Davis' comment, below). He commented, "What is really amazing is their unique
web sites all look alike (and) I bet all their unique worship services
are the same. And... they're all about being in the 'city.'"
reading many city
church web sites, it's clear such churches normally aren't missional if missional means faithfulness to Jesus' Great Commission commands. Most indicate no practice of rebuke, preaching God's Law, or calls to repentance. Instead, they prattle on about being "for the city" and they're positively chipper.
It's all about seeking common ground with
unbelievers. And if they mention God's perfections, it's only those
perfections that would be likely to make unbelievers feel good about
themselves and think God might not be so high and mighty and scary
after all. Christian faith and the Church are presenting as uniting believers
and unbelievers in the same brotherhood and sisterhood of man in and for the city. Convicting the world of sin and righteousness and judgment is out and assuring the world of our goodwill toward them in God's Name is in.
Reading Augustine's City of God
earlier today, I came across this excerpt. Augustine knew something about preaching the Gospel in the city and contextualizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ to urbane men and women world-weary in a decadent
(Tim) What does it mean for a church planter to tell us he's "Gospel-centered?" Well, it means he's reading all the Acts 29 and Redeemer stuff. You can't stand in succession without talking the talk. But assuming "Gospel-centered" is a good thing, what does it actually mean?
Let's have the Apostle Paul define it:
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
If a church planter is Gospel-centered, he's determined to "know nothing among (his flock) except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Now two things, here.
First, the Apostle Paul is specific about the "nothing" he's determined not to know. He doesn't know superiority of speech or wisdom; he doesn't know strength, but weakness; he doesn't know confidence, but fear; he doesn't know how to cop a suave posture, but he trembles...
(Tim) This past weekend, many brothers and sisters and their children joined us for the ClearNote Fellowship Conference. The theme of our worship and preaching was, In the Godly, Fear and Love Embrace. The fellowship, preaching, and worship strengthened us all, greatly.
Then, following morning Lord's Day worship and a feast, we held the ordination service for my son, Joseph Bayly, to the work of planting ClearNote Church, Indianapolis. My brother, David, preached the sermon. Then we laid hands on Joseph and set him apart to the work of an Evangelist.
Soon, links to the sermons will be available and those of you who weren't able to join us will be able to listen to them. If you're wise, you won't miss them.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 7, 2010 - 10:08am
(Tim) From Augustine's City of God, let's sample a few notes rarely struck by pastors marketing their church as "in the city" and "for the city;" but really, rarely struck by almost any shepherd working in the pastorate today in North America.
Take, for instance, the matter of food: how would we compare our declaration of the Order of Creation and the meaning of the Sixth Commandment to the vegans and vegetarians in our own congregations--of which there are as many now as back in the time of Augustine and the Apostle Paul (1Timothy 4:1-4)--to Augustine's own declaration, here?
...some attempt to extend "Thou shalt not kill" even to beasts and cattle, as if it forbade us to take life from any creature. But if so, why not extend it also to the plants, and all that is rooted in and nourished by the earth? For though this class of creatures have no sensation, yet they also are said to live, and consequently they can die; and therefore, if violence be done them, can be killed. So, too, the apostle, when speaking of the seeds of such things as these, says, “That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die;” and in the Psalm it is said, “He killed their vines with hail.”
Must we therefore reckon it a breaking of this commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” to pull a flower? Are we thus insanely to countenance the foolish error of the Manichæans?
Putting aside, then, these ravings, ...when we say, "Thou shalt not kill," we do not understand this of the plants, since they have no sensation, nor of the irrational animals that fly, swim, walk, or creep, since they are dissociated from us by their want of reason, and are therefore by the just appointment of the Creator subjected to us to kill or keep alive for our own uses... (I:20)
Are we similar to Augustine in his work magnifying, making the most of the distinction between the city of God and the city of man? What a contrast he provides here to our effeminate attempts to blur all distinctions--particularly that essential distinction on which eternity hangs, drawing the line of God's election between the slaves of God and the slaves of Satan. In his comments, Pastor Beatty has illustrated typical attempts today to market the Church as not other or peculiar or God-fearing or holy, but "we're just like you, really; and you're just like us." Contrast this...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 17, 2010 - 8:33am
(Tim, with tongue planted) Nearly every one of my friends is sending me a link to this Wall Street Journal piece announcing the earthshaking news that evangelicals are in love with hip and cool and dude and are trying to make their churches hip and cool and dude, also.
I'm floored. Someone quick call PCA and MNA headquarters so they can get a jump on battening down the hatches.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 7:52am
(Tim) From ClearNote Blog: The notable disciple of Spurgeon, Archibald Brown, warns:
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
...In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the 'gospel of amusement'. Their message is, "Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them... Don't touch their filthy things..." Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon. (Read more.)
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 2:54pm
(Tim) Back in 1993, I wrote an article on a conflict over the policy of Westminster School in Atlanta that required board members of this private Christian school to be confessing Christians. The New York Times had done an article on the controversy and I took the piece as a jumping-off point to say a few things about home, public, and Christian schools. Since then, Mary Lee and I have educated our five children (as well as several other children who lived with us through the years) in each of those ways--home, public, and Christian school. This is the final year we have a child at home and Taylor, our youngest, is finishing high school at the school my wife Mary Lee, with a couple others, founded and served as principal--Lighthouse Christian Academy.
It's been years since we've had a child at LCA. When it put up a building, we watched its former commitments decline. It seemed bent on becoming the sort of Christian school that, from the beginning, we'd worked hard to avoid. But this is the ho-hum way of all institutions, Christian or otherwise, and there have been some encouraging changes at LCA the past couple of years--hence Taylor's presence there this year.
But as I point out in the article below, the best antidote to school decline is the founding of a new school. It worked with Yale as a reform of Harvard, Princeton as a reform of Yale, and it's still working with schools like New St. Andrews being a reform of Wheaton, Westmont, Gordon, and Covenant.
Tired and timid souls always laugh at the upstarts...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 25, 2011 - 11:43am
(Tim) Two weeks from now, we'll be holding the ClearNote Fellowship Pastors Conference. It will go from Thursday dinner to Friday afternoon, so it'll be no problem for you to be home for Lord's Day worship. If you're an elder or pastor, or aspire to those offices, we invite you to attend. (Since God has ordered these offices be held only by men, please understand registration is limited to men.)
Our subject is pastoral care. Thursday night, my brother, David, will preach on...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 7, 2011 - 8:59am
(Tim)ClearNote Press today announced a free MP3 recording of Horatio Bonar's Words to Winners of Souls. We're grateful to the men who did the work of recording and puting the file up on the server. We're especially grateful to Jeff Ewer for his reading. The audio is free to anyone who registers and I trust many will find it helpful.
by David and Tim Bayly on March 21, 2011 - 10:06am
(Tim) Pastor Doug Wilson wrote comparing the limitations on risk that missionaries are provided through our present missions support system maximizing the number of supporting churches and individuals to that same limitation of risk provided investors through diversified mutual funds. Doug wisely points out that this system leads to diffusion of responsibility, and that's bad for both missions and their sending churches. I'd add it may also be intentional.
Anyhow, I commented under Doug's post and sent the link on to several friends who are missionaries. In response, I received the following comments from a brother who's a thirty-year missionary to an Eastern African country where he's focused on training church officers. My friend's Dad also gave his life to planting churches in that same country, so there's a lot of missions experience behind his response.
My brother, David, and I have often talked about the tragic condition of missions, today. It would take a book, but as one instance, Operation Mobilization has turned its back on the Word of God, intentionally promoting the leadership of women over men. And this promotion of feminism is rife within Evangelical missions agencies. Sadly, the PCA's Mission to the World is moving in this direction, also. It's more obvious in the European fields, but like all viruses, it will spread.
This betrayal of God's Order of Creation by missions is simply one indication of the rejection of Biblical doctrine that is pervasive within the American church, herself, and therefore exported around the world through our American missionaries. We're not talking about nitpickey details, either. It's central doctrines of Scripture like whether churches even matter at all, whether Jesus is the Only Way, whether the Sacraments are too divisive to be administered, and so on. These commitments are being jettisoned after 2,000 years of universal affirmation by the Church.
But getting at these issues is almost impossible given the view held by most believers that missionaries have piety and have made sacrifices that pastors and elders haven't, and therefore are above questions or review, let alone admonition or accountability.
Not only are many, many missionaries bad, doctrinally, but they're also overwhelmingly committed...
(Tim) On the floor of Ohio Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America, my brother, David, moved that the presbytery overture General Assembly to cut off the gravy train for the denomination's tiny circulation magazine, bYfAITH. The motion which easily passed calls for bYfAITH to be moved toward being self-supporting with all denominational funding to be cut off in 2012. bYfAITHresponded this week with a piece leading one reader to comment: "The article is an excellent example of 'advocacy journalism,' albeit quite subtle, ecclesiastical-style."
Brother David made the motion because the denomination's administrators at the PCA's Atlanta headquarters have been pouring money into this failing venture year after year, all the while complaining that churches have not been faithful in funding their work. Turns out their shortfall each year has been about fifteen per cent of their budget, precisely the amount they have chosen to sink into a tepid, house organ that speaks only for the denomination's power brokers and the hip children they've spawned.
bYfAITH quoted David saying he didn't seek the end of support for bYfAITH because of dislike for bYfAITH. The motion had been written by others and was being taken before Central Indiana Presbtery. David was sent a copy of it, thought it had merit and when another church in Ohio Presbytery called for a study committee to address all AC publications and spending, David suggested the Indiana overture as a better alternative. It seemed like a good way to solve the chronic shortage of financial support the PCA's denominational apparatus suffers. Ohio Presbytery agreed and sent it on to General Assembly where the commissioners will watch as the Bills and Overtures Committee is lobbied by the good-old-boys and buries the overture.
So beyond its complete failure, financially, what's wrong with bYfAITH?
Joseph and David Abu-Sara are leading a church plant in Indianapolis called ClearNote Church of Indianapolis. Listen to some of the sermons, here; I commend their ministry to you and your Indy friends and relatives.
Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:5, 6)
(NOTE: helpful obscenities ahead) Almost always, an absent father, father-hunger, and hatred define The New Yorker profiles of the purveyors of our Godless culture. Here we have a profile of the hip-hop group, Odd Future, and its best rapper, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (alias Earl Sweatshirt) who at the time of the song's release was sixteen years old. From The New Yorker's profile, "Earl Sweatshirt begins one track by sneaking some autobiography into...
Listen to the first minute or two and it's so clear what this video and at least two of these men are about. You'd have to be highly educated to miss it. Then the last minute or two, it surfaces again. As that patriarch of all things Evangelical, the late Vernon Grounds, said some years back, Evangelicals worship "the bitch goddess of success." Followers of Jesus Christ should have nothing to do with multi-site video venues.
And by the way, Mark Dever pulled in his horns after being whupped by the two alpha-males going two-on-one on him with fangs bared. Try to imagine the good doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, agreeing to be part of this exchange. I apologize for posting it, but some things have to be seen if they're going to be properly condemned. (TB, w/thanks)
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2011 - 11:57am
So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men (aner) of Athens...” - Acts 17:22a
Dad gave me a couple pithy exhortations my first year in the pastorate. They weren't original but they carried the weight of his authority and I've passed them on to other pastors. Here are four of them: "Don't use Pardeeville as a stepping stone." "A home-visiting pastor makes a church-going people." "Preach it down; then preach it back up, again." And, "Go for the men and the women will follow."
That last one was deleted from an article on men's ministry I did for Christianity Today's journal, Leadership, back in 1989. Shortly after buying the piece, Leadership's editor left for Focus on the Family. The new editor didn't like the article, so he cut more than half the text and ran it without sending it back to me for approval. Readers won't be surprised Dad's advice "go for the men" didn't make the cut.
Jesus calls twelve men as His Disciples and we're not supposed to notice? Poor Christianity Today. Poor readership. Poor leadership.
I think of Dad's advice all the time. Parachurch organizations and church planters each have their own marketing strategies. Here are a few...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 1, 2011 - 8:07am
There are two views of the pastoral ministry that are diametrically opposed to each other and locked in conflict. The competing views, though, aren't spoken of or written about, and the conflict passes without public notice. Jeff Bezos highlights the conflict in this explanation he gave of Amazon's view of customer relations:
Interviewer: Two years ago, you bought Zappos. Was that an attempt to absorb their so-called culture of happiness and customer service?
Bezos: No, no, no. We like their unique culture, but we don't want that culture at Amazon. We like our culture, too. Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn't want to talk to us. Every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect. I've been saying for many, many years, people should talk to their friends, not their merchants. And so we use all of our customer service information to find the root cause of any customer contact. What went wrong? Why did that person have to call? ...How can we fix it?
That, good reader, is the view of pastoral ministry prevailing in our Reformed churches today. I say this from long and close observation. Most Reformed men run from intimacy...
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...
Pastor David Wegener and his wife Terri have been a great gift to the ministry of Clearnote Church, Bloomington while on home assignment under the Presbyterian Church in America's Mission to the World this past year. Terri has taught women's Bible studes and David has attended session meetings, taught in Clearnote Pastors College, sat on the Pastors Council of Clearnote Fellowship, and preached. So watching them prepare to return to Ndola, Zambia, I've been thinking about when David and I first met at a presbytery meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
David and I served as teaching elders in the same PCA presbytery for almost twenty years, now. Time has flown. God is good.
The rest of this page is a discussion of whether or not Reformed credo and paedobaptists should ever acknowledge one another's existence or worship together.
Looking for a church home in Toledo, Bloomington, or Indianapolis? We'll put up a post about Christ the Word soon, but much of what is said here about Clearnote Church Indianapolis and Clearnote Church, Bloomington is characteristic of Christ the Word, Toledo, also.
It's hard to move and have to find a new church home. All of us have done it and those of us a part of Clearnote Fellowship want to make your work a little easier by telling you why we love our Clearnote churches in Bloomington and Indianapolis. So read on and spend a little time learning about the work God is doing within Clearnote Fellowship.
First, a few words about our doctrine and denominational roots. If this stuff isn't your brand of coffee, click through and start reading about our ministries.
Doctrinal and denominational roots...
The roots of Clearnote Fellowship are deep into the Presbyterian Church in America: I've served as a teaching elder of the PCA in Wisconsin and Indiana for almost twenty years; six of Clearnote Church, Bloomington's elders have been members of PCA churches; son Joseph Bayly who pastors Clearnote Church, Indianapolis was a part of the PCA's campus ministry (RUF) and attended a PCA congregation while studying at Vanderbilt; we have referred many families moving away from Clearnote Church, Bloomington to PCA congregations across the country; and several sons of our church now serve as PCA pastors.
This to say the people of Clearnote Fellowship have decades of experience as members and officers of the PCA, so those of you moving and looking for a PCA church in Bloomington or a PCA church in Indianapolis will find the congregations of Clearnote Fellowship to be spiritual homes where you and your children will thrive. Come and visit our Bloomington or Indianapolis congregations...
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won Others to sin, and made my sin their door?Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun A year or two, but wallowed in a score? When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done, For I have more. - John Donne, "Hymn to God the Father," stanza II.
(NOTE: I hope church officers, Titus 2 women, fathers, and mothers read this.)
Back in the fifties when Dad was eastern regional director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and edited "His," we lived in Philly and Dad led a men's Bible study at Tenth Presbyterian. Years later he told me that one day he'd asked the twelve men who attended how many of them had been sexually molested as boys? Six of them indicated they had and for several it was a man in church leadership (two their church choir director). This was back in the fifties. Since then pornography and sexual perversion have exploded across the Western world.
Brother and sister in Christ, you need to protect your precious children!
The Clearnote churches in Bloomington and Indianapolis have a three-year men's curriculum...
A couple months back, Six Rules for Dining ran in Atlantic Monthly. The article was written by economist Tyler Cowen and had some tips on how to choose where to eat. The article was insightful, but what I found more interesting...
by Jody Killingsworth on October 22, 2012 - 7:03pm
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. - Psalm 89:15
Men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a right to say to himself, "I am doing God's will on earth." All the righteous, all the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy. - The Brothers Karamazov, Book II, Ch. 4
A friend sent me this music video from the band Page CXVI today, commenting "postmodern, hipster, tortured irony at its most ridiculous." Describing it this way showed great restraint. I showed it to my wife and another friend who both were convinced the video is a parody of Red Mountain Music or Bifrost Arts, but so far as I can tell, Ms. Al-Attas is offering her "Joy" in earnest.
It shames me to admit it, but this stuff reminds me of my own dismal outlook when, ministered to by a reformed church, I was first coming back to the Lord...
But flee from these things, you man of God... - 1Timothy 6:11a
Over and over I warn my sheep to run from the Mad Men of Christian marketing and the Bible peddlers they promote. Don't let them scratch your ears. If godliness is a means of profit, we're in the wrong religion. Rome and Apple do it much better.
Of all these men, few can compete with the tag-team of Charles and Andy Stanley. Charles has the pensioner crowd covered while Andy goes for the boomers and their children. Together they're so successful that church planters everywhere breathe the name "Andy Stanley" with the sort of reverence WWF men show when they snarl "Mark Driscoll."
Andy Stanley gives this summary of his entrepreneurial church planting skills:
I tell my staff everything has a season. One day we're not going to be the coolest church. Nothing is forever.
Reading Acts 17 yesterday, verse 21 hit me. Luke provides this parenthetical aside as a summary of the sitz im leben (most of us just say "context") of the Apostle Paul's sermon to the Athenians of the Areopagus:
(Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
What a perfect description of the college towns where Mary Lee and I have made our homes—Boulder, Madison, and Bloomington. Matter of fact, a giggling excitement over fashion is the defining trait of the academy and its environs as Chesterton pointed out a century ago.
But thinking more, I realized this giggling excitement over fashion is also characteristic of major portions of the young, restless, and Reformed crowd...
"...if you want to snare some money from at least one venture capitalist you might want to keep human vices — like lust, gluttony and greed — in mind.
"At a SXSW Interactive panel Friday ...Mayfield Fund managing director Tim Chang said:
The way I evaluate a lot of companies now is I look at the design framework. I look at the design framework of the seven deadly sins. If an app or service does not tap into one or more of the seven deadly sins, either directly or indirectly, it will not be addicting…I always look along those dimensions.. and see what do those trigger."
Maybe he's on to something? The PCA's RUF has gotten some big capitalist to venture a bunch of his millions for one church startup in each of the Big Ten Conference cities. The startup capital is around $750K per church and these startups market themselves to students and academics. I think Tim Chang would approve; in the Big Ten, you don't need to settle for only one or two of the seven deadlies...
I just got a special invitation to hang out a Google+ Hangout with another church planter named Vince Antonucci. The same email was also pushing a book that Vince just wrote:
Vince has started two churches, most recently Verve in Las Vegas. He just released his third book, Renegade: Your Faith Isn’t Meant to be Safe, which challenges you to live radically. to live the life of a renegade - a person who rejects conventional behavior, who refuses to do what others are doing, and who realizes there’s a different beat they can dance to—and it’s better.
What is going on here? I'll never forget watching "Merchants of Cool," the PBS special on how marketers try to make you feel unique and special by...
At Clearnote Church, Bloomington, we're slowly moving through 1Corinthians and this past Lord's Day our sermon text was the Words of Institution of the Holy Supper of our Lord which begin:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you... - 1Corinthians 11:23a
Put these words alongside several other passages of Scripture and we see that pastors and elders are conservation officers. Jesus commanded the Apostles:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you... - Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus is not calling the Apostles to be known for their hipster eyeglass frames. They're not to market themselves by packaging Christian truth so it looks creative or youthful. Christianity is not a giggling excitement over fashion and God hasn't called pastors and elders to do flourishes and embellishments on the Jesus narrative that connect with our neighbor's spirituality pilgrimage.
The Apostles were commanded by their Master to make disciples, passing on to those disciples everything He had commanded them. They were to work hard to assure the conservation of their Lord's doctrines and commands for unborn generations.
But there are always sinful men dumping their heterodoxical toxic waste on the Church; those slashing and burning Her precious truths in an effort to make their ministry pleasing to unbelievers; those who think being conservative in Christian doctrine is to show an embarrassing absence of hope and creativity...
Jake passes on a news piece announcing that Smokey Bear is being updated to make him more appealing to this generation. The article is helpful because it leads us to understand why pastors now preach and write haltingly, suggestively, and wonderingly rather than authoritatively and soberly, proclaiming the Gospel of God's Law, Judgment, and the penal substitutionary Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
(The new ads) give Smokey’s role and persona a makeover. ...Smokey is changing from a teacher or authority figure into a paragon of positive reinforcement...