Posts Tagged ‘Church & Ministry’
As a pastor, few things warmed my heart more than church members telling me they prayed for me daily. Their simple act of prayer both encouraged and reassured me. It encouraged me to know they were standing in the gap for me spiritually, and it reassured me to know they loved my family, the church, and me enough to do so.
Now that I a member of a local church, God has been impressing upon my heart the importance of praying regularly for my pastors. They are men called by God to serve his flock, and they regularly bless my family and me. The least I can do is pray for them faithfully. There are many Biblical reasons why we should pray for our pastors, but let us consider just these four. Read more
Discouragement is not an emotion with which I am very familiar, but over the past several weeks I have felt it acutely. My sadness has been induced by the steady drip of ministerial sex scandals and the destruction they have wrought.
In fact, I have found myself not wanting to check social media, dreading to learn about the next scandal. Most prominently, the Ashley Madison expose has shaken church after church, ministry after ministry, and family after family. And, as Russell Moore has written, it is likely just the beginning.
Aspects of all of this are truly baffling, and we find ourselves asking, “How could he…?”. Yet, upon sober reflection, we are reminded of how dangerous our sin nature truly is; and that Total Depravity is not just a theological point, but a malignancy within each one of us. Therefore, we must intentionally guard our hearts, and one way of doing that is to meditate on the catastrophic ruin that accompanies sexual sin. Read more
It was a conversation unlike almost any other conversation I had ever had. The more we talked the more I felt my blood pressure going up. IN fact, in hindsight, I am quite sure the hair on the back of my neck was standing up straight. It was myself and a few of my colleagues here, and we were visiting with a leading historian in one of the nation’s most prestigious divinity schools. The conversation began generic and innocent enough, but it began to drift toward the topic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This professor was kind enough, and he attested to believing in the resurrection of Christ, but he was baffled over the fact that myself and my colleagues thought one had to believe in a literal, bodily resurrection to be saved. The more we talked, the more agitated I became and the more confused he seemed to be, but we kept pressing the conversation in a more and more pointed way until it became clear what the fundamental distinction was between what we were supposing and what he was arguing. The question before us was, “What is Christianity after all?” Is it a sentiment or a feeling? Is it a set of songs and religious artifacts? Is it a series of meaningful moments or is it something more substantial than that? Read more
While on vacation a number of years ago, I visited a church for Sunday worship but left questioning whether I had worshipped at all. I took in the full complement of announcements, shook hands with several greeters, viewed a skit, and enjoyed something of a concert. Though a rote prayer was offered, there was no congregational singing, Scripture reading, or sermon. I left puzzled, frustrated, and with a sense of loss. I felt like I had visited a restaurant but was not served a meal.
What should a church do during its time of corporate worship? Or, perhaps better asked, why do churches do what they do during worship? These questions are necessary enough, but ask them in the typical church and they will elicit puzzled looks and confused answers.
Associated Baptist Press recently reported that Rodney Kennedy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, sprinkled an infant. The event was newsworthy because, by definition, a Baptist church does not baptize infants. To practice the latter is to forfeit being the former. Or at least it used to.
But one need not look to a CBF Baptist church to find believer’s baptism being renegotiated. At least a few conservative Baptist churches have adopted—or have flirted with adopting—some form of dual baptism.
While I have been blessed by the writings of many who practice pedobaptism, as one who is wholeheartedly Baptist, sprinkling infants—especially in erstwhile Baptist congregations—concerns me. Read more