Church Polity

Our dynamic duo brings up a topic that is usually difficult, and—many times—hard to swallow in the local church. Church leaders and congregants alike can also often misunderstand its procedure and purposes. What is church discipline, and what does Scripture teach about it? What’s the purpose of...
Pastors, elders, and godly parents rightly take interest in the education and nurture of their children, and as a result action-minded Christians start schools. Christian schools represent a natural or spontaneous result of faith, and the Lord is pleased with such loving motives and acts...
Theological error and heresy constantly plagued the church during the life of the Apostle Paul, so it is no surprise that his final instructions to Timothy contain essential counsel on the right way to address error and heresy 2 Timothy 2:22-26 belongs to a larger discourse that runs from 2:14-26...
A few weeks ago the session on which I serve was interviewing some young teenage girls for communicant membership in the church. When a child in the congregation I serve approaches me about making their profession of faith before the session I ask them two questions. First, I ask to hear their...
In a 1986 speech President Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I'm here to help.’” A lot of Americans appreciated Reagan’s humorous point because sometimes government does more to harm than to help. Many Americans, however,...
It is never easy to watch someone walk away from their profession of faith in Christ. It is never easy to go through the disciplinary process which may culminate in excommunication. It’s never easy and it is always painful. And when one and likely both of these things happen you can’t help but...
Guns in Church When I was a pastor, ten years ago, I learned that a married couple, both FBI agents, joined my church. We already had two police officers in attendance, but I welcomed the news in a day when church shootings, like school shootings, were in the news. "It makes me feel safer," one...
Christians have a remarkable ability to skew what the Bible’s teaches about the church. As with so many things in life, we tend to perceive and define it with ourselves as the key reference point. But when this happens it distorts both our understanding and our enjoyment of whatever is in view. The...
Just recently I had the opportunity to worship in the church in which I grew up. It is Episcopalian and for the first time in a very long time I found myself following the order of the Book of Common Prayer . It was one of the more recent editions of the Prayer Book; but, nevertheless, the shape...
It is a very human trait, one from which even theologians are not immune: the tendency to make ourselves the default reference point for everything. We do it without realising it, because it is built into our subconscious. But it happens nonetheless. One particular locus of theology where this...