Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Third Annual A-Z Challenge

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging programming to bring you this very important 
public service announcement! 


is back!

For the month of April, I will be taking a break from our normal blogging format and will be joining in with over 1,483 other bloggers in the third annual A-Z challenge.

This is your invitation to follow 
along as I blog each letter of our Alphabet!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part V)

A PRAYER BEFORE BIBLE STUDY

O God of truth,
I thank thee for the holy Scriptures,
their precepts, promises, directions, light.
In them may I learn more of Christ,
be enabled to retain his truth
and have grace to follow it.

Help me to lift up the gates of my soul
that he may come in
and show me himself when I search
the Scriptures,
for I have no lines to fathom its depths,
no wings to soar to its heights.

By his aid may I be enabled to explore
all its truths,
love them with all my heart,
embrace them with all my power,
engraft them into my life.

Bless to my soul all grains of truth garnered
from thy Word;
may they take deep root,
be refreshed by heavenly dew,
be ripened by heavenly rays,
be harvested to my joy and thy praise.

Help me to gain profit by what I read,
as treasure beyond all treasure,
a fountain which can replenish my dry heart,
its waters flowing through me as a perennial river
on-drawn by thy Holy Spirit.

Enable me to distil from its pages faithful prayer
that grasps the arm of thy omnipotence,
achieves wonders, obtains blessings,
and draws down streams of mercy.

From it show me how my words have often been
unfaithful to thee,
injurious to my fellow-men,
empty of grace, full of folly,
dishonouring to my calling.

Then write thy own words upon my heart
and inscribe them on my lips;
So shall all glory be to thee
in my reading of thy Word!

(From the Valley of Vision, ed. by Arthur Bennet, published by The Banner of Truth Trust, p. 190)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part IV)

WHY I DON'T USE A READING PLAN


Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!


 --Charles Haddon Spurgeon 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part III)

SIX FAITHFUL FRIENDS WHICH ENHANCE BIBLE STUDY
When studying the bible it is always good to have an abundance of tools at hand. It is equally good to have a number of faithful friends. Let me introduced you to at six (6) of the most faithful and helpful friends I have at hand to help me study the bible.

I have six faithful friends,
they taught me all I knew
their names are How and What and Why
When and Where and Who

When studying a passage make a list of things that you don’t understand in order to investigate them. This list could include things such as unfamiliar names like Lo-ruhamah or Lo-Ammi found in Hosea. Your list could include places that you have little or no knowledge of such as Tyre or Sidom recorded in places like Mark. You might want to learn more about Syro-Phoenician people. Always keep at least two dictionaries at hand when you are engaged in bible study; an English dictionary and a Bible dictionary in order to look up words that you do not know.

Here is an example of how you might call on my six (6) special friends in order to make your bible study for fulfilling. These six (6) friends are called interrogative questions. Using these six (6) interrogative questions, you could ask the following questions about Mark 1:40-45.

 How was leprosy viewed in Jesus’ day?  

What is leprosy?  

What did Jesus do to heal the leper?  

What does the word “compassion” mean in Mark 1:41?  

Why was Jesus moved with compassion (ponder His eternal nature)?  

Why did Jesus charge the leprous man not to tell anyone that he was healed?  

When did the leper come to Jesus (hint:  see Mark 1:32-39 and note v. 38)?  

Where did Jesus send the leper after he was healed?  

Who was impacted as a result of the leper’s disobedience (see Mark 2:1-2)?


Asking questions will help you dig deeper and understand the passage more clearly. Don't settle for skimming, merely reading, or leaving a passage without understanding. Ask enough questions of the text, the author, and even of God through His Holy Spirit to answer your questions. This will give you a deep understanding of each passage.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part II)

TIPS FOR PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY




Building on yesterday’s post, let me share with you some practical tips that may help you with your personal study of the bible. Most of us need some guidelines now and then in order to have a beneficial bible study. Use these tips as guidelines and enjoy a rich study of the God’s Word.








1.     Pray prior to beginning your study. 
  •  Ask God to open your eyes to the spiritual truths contained in the scripture. 
  •  Approach God boldly and with confidence, yet remain humble and aware of your need to learn and be fed 
  • Ask God to remove any distractions from your study 

2.     Read the passage you plan to study several times.
  • For Bible Study, it is always best to stick to a single paragraph at a time.
  • Make sure you are using a good translation and not a paraphrase. 
  • Start by browsing the whole book to see the whole picture of what is going on.
  • Then carefully read the chapter of your passage, then, reread it very carefully and slowly in a good translation.
  • Then zero in on the paragraph you have chosen for this study   

3.     Think about the passage you have read and ask these questions.

        a.     What does the passage say? (Summarize & paraphrase)

        b.     What is the main idea of the passage?

        c.      What spiritual truths are taught by this passage?

        d.     What can I learn from this passage?

        e.     What in this passage applies to me personally?

        f.      What specific attitude or action do I need to think or do?

4.     Learn to “listen” to what you are reading.

        a.     Remember, the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word

        b.     Take time to be still in God’s presence – don’t rush

        c.      Reflect on what you have read and studied

5      Pray that God would help you to apply the answers  
  •  When you come to a verse that speaks to a particular need in your life or illuminates sin in your life, stop talk to God about it.
  •  Ask God to enable you to act on what you learned so that you become a doer of the word and not simply a “hearer.” 
  • God speaks to you through His word and you speak to God                through praying to Him 

6.     Write down your answers, impressions, or thoughts on this passage. 
  • This helps you to think and pray through them. 
  • Refer back to the previous study or other studies to see how you are progressing 
  • Highlight areas that you see difficult to put into practice. Ask God for help through His Spirit and ask a close and trusted friend to help you put these things into practice. 
  • Use the things you have written down as a prayer “list,” asking                                                                                                God to develop in you new attitudes and begin new actions. 

7.     Be creative and use variety in your bible study
  • Avoid becoming routine, dry, and/or ritualistic 
  • At different times use different translations to study from 
  • There are a number of ways to study the bible 
                1.     Study a chapter or paragraph at a time
               
                2.     Study a bible character

                3.     Study a theme or topic through the bible

                4.     Study a doctrine

Monday, March 26, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part I)

Basic Tools For Effective bible Study


My wife and I got hooked on a "reality" TV show of all things. The show is called Gold Rush and it is on the Discovery Channel. It features in a documentary form six (6) men from Sandy, OR as "rookie" gold-miners digging for gold in the Klondike. I noticed from the first two seasons that a major problem with this outfit is improper tools. Their heavy mining equipment is either too old, or has been"run hard and put away wet," or may not be the right equipment for the job.

In life, the proper tools or equipment is essential to do well and to achieve any measure of success. The Apostle Paul told his young protege, Timothy"

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (I Timothy 2:15, ESV)

In order to study the bible well and spiritually profitable one must have the right tools. Here is a list of the bare minimum tools one must have to effectively interpret the Scriptures accurately from a grammatical, historical, and contextual context. Other than the bible you only need one each of the following reference tools. Although there is nothing set in stone concerning how many translations of the bible you use for study, I think you should have the top five (5) versions and at least one paraphrase. (see 1c)

1.       Bible

          a.         bible with no para graphic notations or divisions
            b.         Main translation that you are very confident and comfortable with
            c.         KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV – Paraphrase NLT

2.       Concordance

          a.       Young’s Analytical
            b.         Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
            c.         Concordance for the Bible Version you use

3.       Dictionary

          a.         English - Webster’s English Dictionary
            b.         Bible -  The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Davis Dictionary of the Bible
            c.         Theological – Baker’s Dictionary of Practical Theology, Evangelical  Dictionary of Theology
            d.         Greek/Hebrew -  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

4.       Encyclopedias

          a.         The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 volumes)
            b.         The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) (4 volumes)

5.       Cultural Helps

          a.         Manners and Custom’s of the Bible
            b.         The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
            c.         New Testament Times: Understanding the World of the First Century

6.       Atlas

          a.         Baker’s Bible Atlas
            b.         Moody’s Atlas of Bible Lands
            c.         Bible Maps and Charts 

7.       Theology/Doctrine

          a.         Systematic Theology by Grudem
            b.         Institutes of Christian Religion by Calvin
            c.         Christian Theology  by Erickson

8.       Commentaries

          a.         One Volume – The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, MacArthur Bible Commentary
            b.         Multi Volume – MacArthur’s; Hendricksen’s
            c.         Single Volume – Wuest; Newell, Lenski, Leupold, Pink, Heibert, etc.

9.       Bible Study Software

          a.         Online Bible (free)  www.onlinebible.net
            b.         e-Sword (free)  http://www.e-sword.net/
            c.         Bible Works (for PC-not free)  www.bibleworks.com
            d.         Libronix Digital Library System www.logos.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Coming to Christ



A. W. Pink (1886-1952)“Coming to Christ” is not the easy matter so many imagine it, nor so simple a thing as most preachers represent it to be. Instead of its so being, the incarnate Son of God positively declares that such an act is utterly impossible to a fallen and depraved creature unless and until Divine power is brought to bear upon him. A most pride-humbling, flesh-withering, man-abasing word is this. “Coming to Christ” is a far, far different thing from raising your hand to be prayed for by some Protestant “priest,” coming forward and taking some cheap-jack evangelist’s hand, signing some “decision” card, uniting with some “church,” or any other of the “many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) of man. Before any one can or will “come to Christ” the understanding must be supernaturally enlightened, the heart must be supernaturally changed, the stubborn will must be supernaturally broken.
A. W. Pink  (1886 – 1952)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes? (Gregg's Version)


"Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" is the title of a song written by Troy Seals and Max D. Barnes and recorded by American country music singer George Jones. It was recorded for his 1985 album Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes, from which it was released in late 1985 as the first single. The song peaked at number three on the Hot Country Singles chart in mid-1985.

I wonder when men like James Boice, John Stott, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul and men like them are gone, who will we have?  That left me wondering and asking the question,

Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?
(Version 2)
Gregg Metcalf
February 21, 2012

You know the Church is full of preachers
But just a few are gifted
To teach the Scriptures so we could know
Imagine your life without all these great men
Like that John MacArthur who teaches on the radio

No there’ll never be another
Like R. C. Sproul
Stephen Lawson John Stott or George W Truett
James Boice or Martin Lloyd Jones
Lord I wonder who’s gonna fill their shoes

Chorus:

Who’s gonna fill their shoes
Who’s gonna stand up and preach
Who’s gonna explain all the words
Every Sunday morning
Who’s gonna give their heart and soul
To teach me and you
Lord I wonder
Who’s gonna fill their shoes

God bless the men in school
Master’s College and SBC
Not much coming up the ranks behind them
They made the word come alive
I want to hear them all preach again

You know the heart of good preaching
Still beats in Charles Spurgeon
You can tell it when He preached to a crowd
Ole Whitefield Luther and Wesley
Why I can hear em right here with me
In this little church where I grew up

Chorus:

Who’s gonna fill their shoes
Who’s gonna stand up and preach
Who’s gonna explain all the words
Every Sunday morning
Who’s gonna give their heart and soul
To teach me and you
Lord I wonder
Who’s gonna fill their shoes

Friday, March 23, 2012

When Churches Say Uncle! (Part V)


MISPLACED DEPENDENCE

The greatest danger of most church growth methods lies in the fact that they are depended on for increased growth.  “Church Growth” is an ever-growing movement within fundamental/evangelical Christianity that emphasizes the great commission in combination with sociological awareness of those targeted. As previously mentioned the term “seeker-sensitive” is attached to those who are “un-churched” and “unconverted.”

First, just a brief mention and development of the Church Growth movement. Donald McGavran, a missionary to India published how theological discussions interacted with various sociological factors that would render or hinder receptivity to the gospel. In 1965 he developed the School of World Mission at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Second, this School became the headquarters for almost all Church Growth studies. McGavran published several books, works, articles, and surveys concerning this subject.

There are two main elements of Church Growth methods. The first is a passion for the carrying out the great commission. The second is a “willingness” to research and then apply the results of research towards the attracting of new members.

The "seeker sensitive" label is associated with some mega churches in the United States where Christian messages are often imparted by means of elaborate spectacles with elements drawn from secular popular culture, such as rock music, and mixed martial arts which may appeal to teenagers and other groups less drawn to traditional "stuffy" forms of worship.

In other words, through research discoveries are made as to what people want the church to be and to offer. Most of the time this includes the rejection of the authority of leadership, the centrality, sufficiency, and authority of the word of God, church discipline, biblical discipleship, and a strong emphasis on doctrine. These things are replaced with almost anything that will attract people. What is the trouble you ask with attracting people? There are at least four (4) things wrong with this methodology:

First – it abandons God’s method and substitutes a man-made system for growing the church. As we are going about our everyday life we are to make disciples who are added to the church. We don’t have to look for a method that circumvents biblical discipleship.

Second – it redirects the focus of the mission of the church in attracting members rather than adding members through conversions

I have already discussed this in previous posts, however, let it suffice to say, that nowhere in the Scripture is approval to “do whatever works” in order to attract people to the corporate gathering of the body. Most of the time churches are only gathering or collecting up disgruntled members, consumerist members, undisciplined members, or those who are uncommitted members. God gave the method in Matthew 28:18-20. We see it complied with in Acts 2:42-46. We see the results of complying with God’s methods in Acts 2:47; 5:14; 6:1. We don’t have to “attract” people to church with methods that appeal to their base or cultural desires. We just have to be obedient to God and His methodology and He will “add” members to the church as He sees fit.

Third – it is subject to the law of diminished returns. In other words, methods must continue to become “bigger, better, and/or more spectacular” in order to attract more people. When you attempt to survey or determine what people want in a church and you use that in an attempt to attract them, the “shininess” wears off of them. Therefore you must continue to develop methods that first “out-do” the other church, but second, continue to attract.

Fourth – what you get people with you must continue to use to keep people. If you survey a target group and determine that they don’t like biblical authority, doctrinal teaching, or an emphasis on holiness and you abandon these things, you can’t introduce them later. I could go into many so called mega-churches built on church growth methods and empty them in a very few short weeks by simply teaching expositional messages that call for holiness and commitment.

There is nothing wrong with having a passion to carry out the great commission. There is nothing wrong with wisely removing hindrances such as foolishness, divisiveness, unbiblical, offensive, and/or unnecessary things from a gospel presentation. The trouble lies in rejecting the process of making disciples by preaching the gospel, baptizing, and teaching/training new converts in favor of “lights, smoke, mirrors, and other man-made methods.

Many fundamental/ evangelical churches may need to change some things to facilitate biblical discipleship. Whether we use pews or chairs or adopt cultural dress verses suit and ties is not the issue. These things do not encourage nor discourage evangelism. We must be committed to the sufficiency and authority of the word of God and make disciples.

The End.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Churches Say Uncle! (Part IV)


MISSIONAL MISCONCEPTIONS

Missional; this is a word that has gained popularity in the last 10 years. Almost no fundamental/evangelical church today would say that it is not evangelistic or missional. Such popularity is underscored by the following quote:

“It has become increasingly difficult to open a ministry book or attend a church conference and not be accosted by the word missional. A quick search on Google uncovers the presence of "missional communities," "missional leaders," "missional worship," even "missional seating," and "missional coffee." Today, everyone wants to be missional. Can you think of a single pastor who is proudly anti-missional?” (Quoted from Leadership Journal, Fall of 2008 Issue)

What does this word mean? The following paragraph gives us a clear meaning of this word:

A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a "sent one" who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei—the sending of God—is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because we are the "sent" people of God, the church is the instrument of God's mission in the world. As things stand, many people see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church; a means by which the church is grown. Although we frequently say "the church has a mission," according to missional theology a more correct statement would be "the mission has a church." (Quoted from Leadership Journal, Fall of 2008)

SUNDAY MORNING GATHERING

The Sunday morning corporate gathering and worship service of the local church is not the primary hour of evangelism. The body gathers together primarily for exaltation of our Sovereign God and for edification of the Saints. It is no crime to include the gospel in the message and presentation of the Word of God. Even Paul made it clear, although somewhat far-fetched, that the corporate gathering must be orderly and decent. His reasoning for this was of course that God deserved no less, but perhaps someone who was unconverted might attend the gathering and quite possible fall under conviction and become converted.  Many so called Conservative, Southern, and Independent Baptist churches along with many bible or community churches are so weak and anemic. The reason lies in the fact that most sermons on Sunday morning are topical, evangelistic, and doctrinally weak.

I would agree that any pastor/preacher would be amiss not to, as Spurgeon described it, “Make a bee-line for the cross at some point.”  The point is we don’t gather on Sunday morning for the primary purpose of being missional. This is what happens when the Sovereign has been properly exalted and the Saints properly edified.

SUNDAY MORNING SCATTERING

When the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is carefully examined, one discovers the true method of church growth.

First, the main verb of this section is not “go.” The main verb of this paragraph is “make disciples.” So forget these sentimental, tear-jerking, sappy pleas to “go.” To be obedient to the imperative or the main verb, each one of us, yes each and every believer is to be busy making disciples.

Second, this main verb is supported by three (3) participles. In other words we have three (3) supporting verbs that tell us exactly how Christ wants us to make disciples or to accomplish the great commission.

Going – as you are going about your everyday life of living, make disciples. This means at work, at school, at the grocery store, in the park, over a meal, at your favorite restaurant, at a Seahawks/Mariners game, or in your living room. In other words, disciples are made, not primarily on Sunday mornings, but at anytime and anywhere.

Baptizing – Once an individual has been converted by the Holy Spirit of God by applying the completed and effective works of Christ to the heart, a disciple is baptized. One is not an obedient disciple is one refuses to submit to water baptism.

Teaching – In every opportunity a disciple is then taught all that Jesus taught the original twelve (12) disciples turned apostles.

I think that the Apostle Paul summarized this commission extremely well when he told his most trusted assistant, Timothy:

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:1-2, ESV)

Tomorrow I will conclude this little series with the real problem of church growth ministries and methods.

To be continued…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Churches Say Uncle! (Part III)


False Assumption

The second challenge with the church growth movement is their belief that there are people seeking God. Bill Hybels and the Willow Creek phenomenon in Chicago are often thought to have created the Seeker-Sensitive Movement that plagues evangelicalism today. Hybels and his ilk certainly refined the idea and ran with it but they did not “invent” it.

When Henry Ward Beecher in the late 19th century began preaching a “loving” and “accepting” gospel, he in essence was preaching what he thought people wanted and would respond to. He began to fill his buildings with what he thought people wanted to hear and would hear rather than what the bible actually taught.

Norman Vincent Peale

Peale came along in the 1930’s and introduced “the church” to secular humanist psychology. He popularized the “power of positive thinking” psycho-babble developed by Charles Fillmore.  Peale attracted thousands of people who were seeking a “spiritual experience” coupled with mysticism and the occult. He taught than one could turn one’s wishes into realities by the power of the unconscious mind. Needless to say Peale was both a heretic and a false teacher. He is mentioned here for two reasons. First, he presented a message that people wanted to hear. Second, he heavily influenced Dr. Robert Schuller of the former Crystal Cathedral fame.

Robert Schuller

In 1955 Schuller went to Garden Grove, California where he founded the Garden Grove Community Church, the forerunner to the Crystal Cathedral. Having been heavily influenced by Peale and his power of positive thinking he set out to find what people wanted in a church. He surveyed large areas of Garden Grove and surrounding areas asking people why they didn’t attend church and what they wanted in a church. He then gave it to them.  Schuller also was a false teacher preaching a false gospel. Schuller has been a friend, mentor, and a heavy influence on Rick Warren of Saddle Back Community Church and Purpose Driven fame.

The church growth movement is built on the false assumption that the unconverted are actively seeking after the God of the Bible. As a result many in the church growth movement advocate making the church and the services as “use-friendly” and seeker-sensitive as possible. The change that this philosophy has brought into the church is disastrous. It has been disastrous to the spiritual health and well-being of the individual churches.

In order to make both the church and the services seeker-sensitive congregations have removed any intimidating item from a “church” building including crosses, pulpits, religious art, stained-glass windows to clothing. These things do not keep people from attending the corporate gathering of the body of Christ. D├ęcor or methodologies are not the answer.

The Bible makes it very clear that people are not seeking God. There are no seekers. Therefore the church growth/seeker-sensitive movement is seeking to be sensitive to a non-existent entity. Romans 3:9-18 describes the condition and attitude of every living human being. The scripture is adamant that no one is seeking after God.

“as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10-11, ESV)

No one, no living human being prior to conversion seeks after God. They may seek after relief from guilt, a spiritual experience, a better mind-set, spiritualism, mystic experience, happiness, inward peace, satisfaction, acceptance, and many other things. They are not seeking the God of the bible.

Scripture refutes this notion of individuals seeking after God in at least three (3) ways:

First – (Unconverted man) has no fear of God (Romans 18)

Second – Unconverted man held court, assessed the evidence of God and determined to reject, suppress, and did not honor (value) God as God (Romans 3:21)

Third – Unconverted men hate the light and love their darkness (John 3:19) Since God is light, men in their unconverted state, hate God. They are God-haters. Unconverted men do not seek after God. We think that we can remove our neckties and jackets, wear jeans with holes in them that the unconverted will see our sensitivity toward them and they will come seeking. Removing the pulpit will not make the service any more appealing to the unconverted. It merely sends the message that the word of God is no longer thought of as sufficient or authoritative.

“And this is the judgment: the light [Christ] has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:19-20, ESV)

When individual, local churches subscribe to church growth methods they have in essence cried Uncle. They have usually abandoned things like fervent, passionate, Spirit-filled prayer meetings, they have abandoned expositional teaching and preaching of the word, they have abandoned biblical fellowship with all the members of the body, and the regular meals together which include the Lord’s supper. More importantly they have abandoned the only means by which true biblical churches flourish by and that is discipleship. Church growth methods center on programs, personalities, and promotions rather than faithful obedience to the great commission.

The only church growth plan in the New Testament is found in Matthew 28:18-20. As each individual member of the body of Christ goes about their normal daily life they are to be making disciples. Those disciples once made are to be baptized and then taught everything that Jesus had taught.  

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Churches Say Uncle! (Part II)


Broken Foundations

Let me say at the outset that I do not for a minute believe churches call a session for the express purpose of crying out “Uncle.” Quite the contrary, for the most part they don’t even realize that they have even done so. As a matter of fact sometimes they find that they are sucked into the church growth movement because they are convinced there is no other way to “grow” or save their church. While other churches are actually born into this error having begun by church growth methodology.

As promised in yesterday’s post, I want to give the underlying foundational errors of the church growth movement. Let me say this, the offspring of the church growth movement is known as “The Seeker-Sensitive” Movement. The foundational errors of this movement are three-fold; first, it denies the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures, and secondly, it is built on the false assumption that the unconverted is actively seeking after the God of the Bible, and third, the purpose of the Sunday morning worship service is to reach the lost. These are three false assumptions that have lent themselves to the harm of the church;



THE DENIAL OF THE AUTHORITY AND SUFFICENCY OF SCRIPTURE

This is a very serious error. Yet no one in the church growth movement will admit that they have denied the authority or sufficiency of scripture. As a matter of fact, almost all will argue their reasoning and justification by use of the Scriptures. So, in what way do they do this? Or really, how does this denial take place?

Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 16:18:

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus alone is the architect, builder, owner and Lord of the church. He gave the blueprints for his church, he gave or instilled the power into the followers of Christ as instruments in the building of the church, and he gave the great commission for the building of His church. Therefore, if we are going to see any “growth” in our churches we must use his blueprints, tap into his power, and obediently follow the great commission.

Today, churches as a whole have abandoned the idea of the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures since they either add to them or abandon them. The great commission gives us the blue print to use in order to build the church – as we are going, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them everything that Christ taught the disciples. Nothing more and nothing less will do. Changing the gospel, redefining sin or repentance, casual dress, rock-star music, or seeker sensitive growth plans will not grow the church. Let me say quickly, at least not spiritually. These methods have sometimes been successful to build “mega-church” messes that profess to be a church.

When you abandon the God-given blue print for church growth which is to make disciples you have abandoned God’s plan for the church and substituted a cheap methodology you have denied the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

To be continued…

Monday, March 19, 2012

When Churches Say "Uncle!" (Part I)


Going Down For the Count

When I was a kid, which seems so very long ago, I was a scrapper. By that I mean I loved to mix it up with the boys in my neighborhood and elementary classes. We would imitate WWF Wrestling, pretend we knew “Karate,” or fought as cowboy and Indians. When one of the gang came across boxing gloves we would “duke” it out in fun. Of course it was always fun until someone got hurt.

When things got a little too physical for us, and by that I mean we were getting hurt, we had a signal for the other fellow to quit. I am sure it was the same signal that you probably used when you use to rough house since I think it was used universally. That signal we so often had to default to was, “Uncle.” This was the universal plea for mercy. But it meant more than just have mercy, it meant, at least to us kids, QUIT! Stop, let me go, I have had enough. Of course sometimes someone jumped us and repeatedly called for us to "Say Uncle."

No one really knows were the expression came from. It has been seen in print as early as 1912. It might have come from an old Irish word, anacol, which means among a few things mercy and sounds like “Uncle.” There is even a folk lore legend that goes like this:

A gentleman was boasting that his parrot would repeat anything he told him. For example, he told him several times, before some friends, to say “Uncle,” but the parrot would not repeat it. In anger he seized the bird, and half-twisting his neck, said: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar!” and threw him into the fowl pen, in which he had ten prize fowls. Shortly afterward, thinking he had killed the parrot, he went to the pen. To his surprise he found nine of the fowls dead on the floor with their necks wrung, and the parrot standing on the tenth twisting his neck and screaming: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar! say uncle.’”

Regardless of where it came from and how it developed, almost every American boy, and some girls at some time and place have cried out, “Uncle.” I quit, I give up, let me go!

There is a sure tale-tell sign when churches have given up and are quitting God. Maybe, since Christ is actually the head of the church, I should have said when they have given up on Christ. It is easy to see when churches have cried Uncle.

Churches cry Uncle when they turn from trusting both Christ and what He said in the Scriptures about the church to church growth theology and methodology. Church growth theology screams one thing very loud and clear, we don’t trust Christ to build His church so we will do it our way. Adoption of church growth methodology is a sure sign the church has cried Uncle!

What does church growth methodology say so clearly? We will go into that in part two in tomorrow’s post, Lord willing. Please stop by.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Who Do You Run With?



Let those be thy choicest companions who have made Christ their chief companion.

Thomas Brooks
1608 - 1680
____________________________________________________ 
Happy Birthday to my darling  3rd daughter, the brand new Mrs. Sharon A. (Metcalf) Jones of Perioa, IL. Happy Birthday my dear SAM3!