In this final post (see part 1 and part 2 of this series), I would like to raise three challenges to the dominance of the extrovert and entrepreneurial ideals for pastoral ministry in the American church.
Adam McHugh, plainly and accurately states that the “slant towards extroversion in the larger culture has also infiltrated the church.” (See part 1 of this series for more on how this ‘slant’ came to be.) Not only has this slant permeated how our congregations interact, how our services are planned, and how our programs are organized, but extroversion has also become the assumed, paradigmatic personality for our pastors and leaders. Let’s consider some of the voices alerting us to this reality in our churches.
I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contribute a column at Place for Truth, and I pray the Lord will use my contributions for the furthering of His kingdom.
Given the Alliance’s clear emphasis on the subject (coupled with evangelicalism’s increasing murkiness), I can think of no better theme for my first post than this: “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Two texts are particularly helpful for understanding what Paul means by this.
Christians are frequently reminded to “remember the reason for Christmas,” meaning, of course, that we should turn our attention away from the cultural trappings and to the fact that Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem. But this Christmas, perhaps we should fix our attention a little more closely, not just on the details of Jesus’ birth, but on the miracle of the incarnation. In so doing, we join a great cloud of Christian witnesses, who have reflected deeply on this glorious mystery.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (WCF 1:6a)
Calvin’s and Beza’s thought was so fertile as to spawn many followers. Summaries of Ponet, Daneau, Hotman, and many others are worth consulting at any Inauguration. Another disciple who particularly refined this theory was the Marian exile, Christopher Goodman, whose ideas will be explored briefly below.
The popular Federalist Papers in many ways reflect the continuation of Calvin’s view of man and the state. Alexander Hamilton began The Federalist Papers by asserting that the people of this country have reserved to themselves the important question of whether “societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government” (Federalist #1). While he admitted that the people must cede to that government certain prerogatives (#2), Ham
We may well complain that our generation ranks among the most immoral generations of history and that could well be true. But the more sinister issue is the reason that lies behind this tragedy. It is the fact that ours is probably the most amoral generation of history. It simply does not possess any meaningful framework of morals to guide its conduct. To borrow the overused cliché, ‘It lacks a moral compass’. People behave the way they do because morally and spiritually, as in the days of Jonah’s Nineveh, ‘they cannot tell their right hand from their left’ (Jon 4.11).
The first Psalm sets the stage for the entire Psalter. Its attention on the covenant God and covenant blessing and cursing, as well as its preoccupation with God’s Word as the source for our understanding, focus the entire Psalter. In fact, as scholars like O. Palmer Robertson have contended, Psalms 1 and 2 serve as the “pillar or gates” to the whole edifice of the Psalter. They are the great building blocks that support the whole.
A Stew Pot
One of the more frequently visited proverbs of my childhood came to me from my mother. “A stew pot never boils,” she would say. I felt what it meant long before I actually understood it. Explanation of the phrase came in its fuller version: “A stew pot never boils when watched.”
To guide God’s saints in readying themselves for the reception of His preached Word each Lord’s Day, this earthen vessel shares his own weekly preparation to proclaim it to them as a model to modify and use.
Prepare through Prayer