Disturbing News for Community of Faith

Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, discussed heresy in her address to the General Convention recently. She clearly denounced the individual faith experience. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2Fkk0zI&h=e13104c7ba58c2920a18771232786170

Homosexuals are being allowed in pulpits as leaders of the flock. Just google the words homosexual ministry and you will see that denomination is not a barrier to this.

We hear of ministers abusing children. Wives murder pastor/husbands citing abusive behavior as the reason.

Where is the leadership? Nothing is more disturbing than the movement of churches moving farther away from the clear teachings of scripture and trying to disguise thier actions as Christian conduct. Christian conduct is nothing short of what scripture teaches and what we see in the news today is far from it.

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He Has Risen

Resurrection of Christ

Easter has become a celebration of many things. Some celebrate the birth of spring. Others believe we are paying homage to the fertility “gods”. Many are simply glad to get a little time off work and eat chocolate or little tasty sugar chickens. Sadly a growing number of people have no idea what Easter is really all about.

Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin lived without sin (the only person to do this) and is the son of God. He was crucified on a cross. On one hand He was killed for His claims to the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand He was killed because He took on the sins of His people. His people are those who trust in His redemptive work accomplished on the cross and that which followed. You see man thought killing Jesus was to stop a blasphemer, but the truth is He was born to die. Man really couldn’t stop the murder of Christ if he wanted to. Jesus died as the only righteous one in the place of sinners. He paid the penalty for sin. He accepted the wrath of a Holy God. God’s wrath is poured out on sin and Christ took that sin (mine and others) on himself on Calvary’s Hill hanging on the cross. What happened next is the miracle we celebrate during the Easter season.

Jesus Christ gave up the ghost (died). He was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed tomb (grave). A great stone was rolled in front of the entry way of the tomb. At the end of three days and nights some of His followers came to anoint His body, but…. His body was not there. Angels asked the ones who were present “why seek ye the living among the dead?” Jesus was alive! Yes, He was raised from the dead! This man had given up the ghost and now had taken His life back up. He has power not only over life but also over death. He is Lord!

Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Empty Pulpits and Troubled Churches. Who Shall Go, Isaiah 6:8

After talking with a dear friend about the lack of called men of God to fill the pulpits of churches I feel compelled to cover the subject. My friend serves as Director of Missions in the Baptist Convention and has a true servants heart.  

 

Will we be able to worship the way we do now in ten years? On the surface the question directs the mind to political issues concerning separation of church and state. That is not the most dangerous quandary facing believers. The problem at hand comes from within the church, not the outside. The dilemma is a lack of men surrendering to the call of God to pastoral ministry.

When we speak of the call to pastoral ministry the need to clarify what that consists of is obvious in the current state of affairs concerning the church. Preachers are easily found. Preaching is a necessity! Pastors preach, but that is not the end of the burden for a pastor. Pastors have a heart for the people they preach to. A man called by God to the pastorate will want to see the people he sounds the trumpet before being transformed by the message. He will also be around to patiently wait for the transformation to take place.

Pastors called by God are not professional preachers. That is not meant to be critical of preachers who handle the pastorate in a professional manner. Carrying out pastoral duties in a professional fashion is admirable and good for the church. The point of the statement deals with the matter of choosing the pastorate as a career. Doing this always leads to catastrophe. If a person is serving as a pastor without the call of God the people are not more than numbers to add or subtract in the ledger. If the balance sheet doesn’t match expectations the pastor becomes discouraged. Then comes the noticeable despondency. Despondency is followed by tensions that lead to harsh words and abrupt actions.

Their are clear guidelines to protect the church against dangers associated with calling a preacher who is not called by God. The answers are found in scripture. Scripture is Gods word. God tells the church exactly what to look for in a man before calling him to serve as the under shepherd of the local flock. The church and the pastor share a burden. The burden is to seek Gods direction in calling and accepting the call to the pastorate in the local church.

We will look at the scriptural guidelines for measuring a preacher later. We will also lay out the responsibilities of the pastor in another post.

For today I ask all readers to join me in praying for God to send called men to the pastorate. This will accomplish great things. Churches will see an overwhelming decline in pastor turnover. Pulpits will no longer sit vacant for long periods of time. Church members will begin to heal from the effects of the civil war that takes place in too many churches and Real Discipleship will take place in the church.

Marriage Can Not be Redefined

People are fighting for the right to marry as same sex couples. The very idea of marriage is a Jewish and Christian union!

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Holy Bible) (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=man+shall+leave+his&t=KJV)

The people fighting for the right to marry as same sex couples are asking for something that originates from a God they choose not to follow. They are asking to be recognized in a union that is ordained and created by God for Gods purposes. Just asking to be recognized as married is a slap in the face to those who view marriage for what it really is; A holy union between one man and one woman. Each are created with distinctly different vessels which function for the same purpose. That purpose is to glorify God. Anything outside the created order will never be recognized by the originator of marriage as anything but sin. An adulterer cannot ask for his mistress to be given marriage benefits. Nor should he be able to. If we could have benefits from our employers given to anyone we desire think of all the woman and children who will be left with nothing. Opening this door for homosexuals will open the door for all other sexual sin performers. Let me close by saying we all have come short of Gods glory, but doing this willfully, openly and knowingly is simply blasphemous toward the one who created the union man hopes to redefine.

Evangelism

The topic Evangelism stirs great emotion in many Christians. Countless books have been written and several strategies have been formed in effort to help believers to share their faith. With this post I do not wish to discredit any books or tear at any strategy. The purpose in this post is simply to once again draw your attention to the call God has given to His Church to evangelise.

What is Evangelism? Evangelism is proclaiming the gospel. This begs the next question. What is the gospel? The gospel is the “good news”. Jesus Christ saves sinners from sin and sins consequences. He paid our debt through His death on the cross. He rose again on the third day and is now seated on the right hand of the throne of God. To put it in the most simple way I remind you the first message Jesus gave after His being Baptised; Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

The Gospel

  1. Jesus Christ = God in the flesh
  2. The Kingdom of Heaven = a separate kingdom from our current dwelling, earth.
  3. Christ is the only way for fallen sinners to access the Kingdom of Heaven

As Christians we often put together outreach events that in their context are OK. I’m afraid too many people allow the outreach to overshadow real evangelism. Real evangelism is the Gospel message preached/taught when the door has been opened through engagement be it an outreach event or simple conversation on the street.

I enjoy using outreach functions to bring people into our range. Once we get them within the sound of our voice it is of the utmost importance to share with them the message of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on behalf of sinners to the glory of the Father. May we not forget to do first things first. Tell the world Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Even when it is uncomfortable.

Statements of Faith, How Important are They?

In scripture we are commanded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19 & Acts 1:8). 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. In Acts Chapter 7 Stephen begins to give a sermon in which he tells word for word the the truth’s from the word of God. In our current age we need to be careful and discerning when yoking together with a body of “believers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). How can we be certain we are with a body who believes, preaches and witnesses the gospel in it’s truth without error?

Statements of faith help to establish the basic belief system of a church and are beneficial when new people come to join a church. If a statement of faith is known the new comer can know if he/she agrees with the basic doctrinal teachings of the church. Can you imagine how much conflict we might avert if people decided they disagree with us before they are yoked together with us.

It is obvious to me statements of faith are important in church life today. With the changing tides of modern Churches it is necessary for us to know what we believe, know why we believe it and be able to share it with confidence. A doctrinal statement or statement of faith is not a replacement of scripture it is simply a summary of scriptural truth’s that we are called to adhere to if we are to be a part of a local assembly. Outdated to some maybe but not to Christ who said, “if you love me keep my commandments”.

Confessions, are they imortant in church life?

I am asking a question today to provoke thought in the Christian community. Are confessions important in church life today? The confessions I speak of are the statements of faith. Examples would be Baptist Faith and Message, Shorter Catachism, Westminster Confession of Faith, the Articles of Religion (Methodist), Mennonite Confession of Faith and many more.

I of course have a strong opinion concerning statements of faith. Before I share my view with you I want to know what you think and why. This is not to provoke controversy, but to open communication concerning a part of church life which has been around for a long time.

Go ahead, let’s get started!