The church must repent of addressing "secondary, peripheral issues" rather than "central issues of historic confessional Christianity..."

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(Tim) Our parents lived in Cambridge on Mass. Ave when they were first married. Dad was I-V's first staff worker there in New England (it was all his terrritory) and he and Mud (Mother) attended Park Street Church when Ockenga was in his prime. David, Nathan, and I bought our M.Divs at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and while living on Boston's North Shore, were on the most intimate terms with the city's best and brightest.

So I was interested to see the kind of vision being cast for the ministry

of the PCA there, now. Turns out the PCA has a congregation there called Citylife Church. The man leading Citylife's work is "Reverend Doctor Stephen Um" and, from the church's web site, here's how Dr. Um describes himself and summarizes his own philosophy of ministry on his congregation's web site:

First, Dr. Um describes...


Having received most of his higher education from


near the Boston area, Dr. Um has acquired a unique

awareness for

the various intellectual and cultural issues confronting


He is a graduate of Phillips Academy

[check out those pledge totals; high school has gotten expensive since I attended] at Andover, and Boston University where he read Sociology and

Philosophy. After

receiving a call to ministry, he entered Seminary at


Theological Seminary where he received an M. Div. and a


degree (Th.M.) in Biblical Theology. He received his Ph.D.


New Testament studies at St. Mary's College (University of


Andrews) in Scotland. Furthermore, since the beginning of


Dr. Um has been teaching New Testament studies as a

faculty member

of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has a burden to


the vision of kingdom expansion through church planting to


church planters studying in our nation's seminaries.

For the past 16 years, Dr. Um and his wife (who has received a degree in



and Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) have been

involved in

several Presbyterian Churches throughout the Northeastern part of the


They began their ministry by serving at a church in Hartford, CT for a


of years before planting a multi-cultural college church at Brown



Providence, RI. From there, they moved down to New York City for five

years where

they sensed God's call to plant a young professional ministry.

He is now the Senior Minister of Citylife Church in Boston, and the

author of

The Theme of Temple Christology in John's Gospel, The Library of

New Testament Studies 2006, T & T Clark International (formerly the

Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series). Dr. Um

is a member of the Board of Directors for The Gospel Coalition,

for which he serves as the Secretary. Citylife Church in center city

Boston is an ethnically diverse group of professional and creative


Dr. Um and his wife have three children, Noël, Adeline, and Charlotte.

Next, Dr. Um describes his philosophy of ministry:

What is the greatest, most crying need in the American church


"I believe the greatest need for today's

American church is for its individual

members to make a radical commitment to the centrality of the Gospel


Christ's finished work for every aspect of their life and mission. We

need to

have the eyes of our hearts enlightened (Eph 1.18) in order to savor


supremacy of Christ in all things and to move away from anything that

chokes or

blinds our ability to value his worth and glory. Jesus perfectly lived


life that we should have lived by transferring his righteousness to his


so that our religious piety or social morality would be exposed for

what it is,

a form of self-salvation. The church needs to be aware of her tendency


focus on secondary, peripheral issues, that is addressing


symptoms, rather than on central issues of historic confessional


namely justification by faith alone on Jesus perfect record which gives

us a

vital relationship with a Holy God. The crying need in our churches is


prophetic voices to expose the limitations of all other cultural


(e.g. traditional, modern, or postmodern) while offering an ultimate

satisfaction and substitutionary redemption which frees us from all

kinds of

enslavement. The confidence and humility which Christ's righteousness


will enable us to embrace this incarnational responsibility to be

secure with

ourselves while loving God and others. This commitment to a


gospel will cause the church to be missional and counter cultural, and

therefore more relevant and theologically sensitive in deconstructing


philosophical paradigms while illuminating both religious and secular

people to

engage in an organic relationship with the person of Jesus."

- Reverend Doctor Stephen Um

Reverend Doctor Stephen Um is explicitly targeting "an ethnically diverse group of professional and creative

urbanites." Sadly, I fear he will only confirm Boston's best and brightest in their conviction that world history has been awaiting their arrival and that the Gospel is extraneous to their burden of actual bloody sins.