News Letter April 1

April 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* What Is An Evangelical?

* We Serve The Risen Christ

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review - Biblical Theology

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* IgniteUS APP Coming Soon

* This Date in History – Persecution of Jews

* BLOG -  What Is An Evangelical?

W

What Is An Evangelical?

 

What and Who is an Evangelical? What is the Gospel?  What and Who is truly orthodox? As the American Culture swirls in the grip of moral corruption and the decline of precise theological inquiry, these questions plead for an answer that has clarity and theological integrity.

 

About 1900 the evangelical community produced what came to be known as The Fundamentals. I have a four (4) volume set of books by this title in my library. This material was produced to counter the corruption of sound theology being promulgated by those correctly labeled as Liberals. The concerns of the leaders of the Fundamentalist Movement were validated in 1923 by the publication of Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen. Machen’s book has long been a classic defense of the orthodox Christian faith against Liberalism. Published at the height of the Liberal onslaught against orthodox faith, Machen established the traditional teaching of the church on Scripture, God, humanity, salvation, and ecclesiology. The theology  he promoted is not only defensible but orthodox and preferable to those propounded by Liberals

 

In 1978 the Chicago Statement On Biblical Inerrancy was produced. It begins – - The following statement affirms the inerrancy of scripture, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God’s own word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians (??) and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

 

Since the first century the attacks on orthodoxy have focused on The Inerrancy of Scripture and The Substitutionary Atonement of Christ. This onslaught has not changed to this very day. Once the veracity of Scripture is abandoned, those that embrace such a posture are on a slippery slope to apostasy. One need only look at the current condition of what historically have been labeled the ‘mainline denominations’. The links that follow provide examples of this scenario in the present day. I urge my readers to read each of these articles and discern the core theological corruption that each portrays and/or warns against. Forewarned is forearmed.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/belief-jesus-is-only-way-to-heaven-is-insanity-megachurch-pastor-michael-a-walrond-jr-says-221123/

 

https://www.challies.com/articles/what-counts-as-a-gospel-issue/

 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/excalibur-conservative-underground-taylor-university.html

 

http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/article206682209.html

 

Elaine Heath is the Dean at the Duke Divinity School at Duke University. Since 2016 she has promoted what she calls Generous Orthodoxy which is in fact absolute theological corruption. Beware of such Apostasy and the people that promote it!

 

The following link takes the reader to a list of eleven (11) titles that provide a path for your faith that is orthodox. The battle rages and the intensity in this struggle to preserve orthodoxy will only escalate as we go forward. I leave you with the exhortation of the Apostle Paul: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.(1Cor. 15:58)

 

https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/11-classics-every-christian-should-read

 

An additional source that provides insight into this struggle to preserve and serve with orthodox integrity. Evangelicalism Divided – A Record of Crucial Change In The Years 1950 to 2000 by Iain Murray.

 

We Serve The Risen Christ

 

Luke 24:1–9 (ESV) – The Resurrection

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking you to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Book Review – Biblical Theology

 

Book Review. Roark, Nick and Cline Robert. Biblical Theology – How The Church Faithfully Teaches The Gospel. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018, 158 pp. $14.99, ISBN # 978-1-4-335-5606-7, Available April 1, 2018.

 

This title is timely and makes a much-needed contribution to the current confusion in the evangelical community. Questions swirl such as ‘What is an Evangelical?’, and ‘What is The Gospel?’. This title provides clarity on both of these issues. This is one of the titles in the series produced by 9 Marks – Building Healthy Churches.

 

The church of Jesus Christ is a theological organism and ministry that is effective and honors Christ must be ordered and directed by theological constructs. In my ministry as a Consultant I encounter a host of principles that pastors and church leaders apply that have little or no foundation in the text or in sound orthodox theology. This title provides a refreshing corrective to such unorthodox and syncretistic corruption of the Gospel.

 

The authors are both engaged in ministry, Roark as a pastor and Cline as a denominational leader with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

 

In the opening chapter (The Need For Biblical Theology) Roark addresses a salient reality that pastors and preachers face today. People are missing the point. Biblical literacy is in precipitous decline. Words are symbols and when the listener has no proper understanding of what those symbols represent, the message conveyed by those words is lost. Roark offers the following to make his case.

 

When I was in elementary school, one of my classmates gave a book report about a story written by CS Lewis featuring four children, a lion King, a white witch, and a hidden magical land accessed through a wardrobe. I was mesmerized. So I purchased the Chronicles of Narnia for myself and read them with pleasure. But years later after my conversion to Christ, I realized I had been missing the author’s obvious intentions to point his readers to Jesus.

 

The chapter titles are:

1 The Need for Biblical Theology

2 What Is Biblical Theology?

3 What Is The Bible’s Big Story? Part 1

4 What Is The Bible’s Big Story? Part 2

5 Biblical Theology Shapes a Church’s Teaching

6 Biblical Theology Shapes A Church’s Mission

 

A weakness from this reviewer’s personal perspective – end notes rather than footnotes. A strength is the eight pages of Scripture references provided which is beneficial.

 

The appendix section (pp. 119-139) provides numerous correctives to faulty interpretive methods applied by ”Prosperity Preachers’ and other less than Orthodox pseudo theologians.

 

Roark provides a brilliant example in the conclusion that paints a portrait of where we are as a culture in relationship to hearing the message of the Gospel. He tells of a world class violinist, Joshua Bell. He played classical music in the Washington DC Metro Station for 43 minutes at morning rush hour. His instrument is a $3.5 million dollar Stradivarius violin. Yet, only a handful of people stopped to listen that morning.

 

The music played in Biblical Theology is of far greater value than those classical pieces that Bell provided. Yet, very few are listening. Theology was once accorded the status as ‘Queen of the Sciences’. It still is but few are tuned in. This title provides a genuine corrective to the message of the Gospel delivered by sound theology.. May the Sovereign God of the Ages bring the symphony of salvation to the USA and the nations of the world as shaped by the theological substance in this title

 

Reviewed by Pastor Tom Fillinger, CEO of IgniteUS Ministries.  www.igniteus.net. info@igniteus.net or 803 413 3509 (cell).

 

The Title to be reviewed in the April 15th News Letter will be 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me. Foreword by Dr. Al Mohler, Edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson. 15 Contributors and very beneficial.

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

Be sure you go to our Web Site (www.igniteus.net) and listen to the Pod Cast for 03/27.. You will be encouraged to have and be a true friend to others in pastoral ministry.

 

IgniteUS APP Coming Soon – Stay Tuned! I anticipate this will be available by April 15th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1933 :Germany begins the persecution of German Jews by declaring a boycott of Jewish owned businesses

BLOG – What Is An Evangelical?

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “What Is An Evangelical“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

February 15 News Letter

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Actuarial Assessment For Church – Part 2

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support $$  IGTAM

* Book Reviews – Crossway Publications

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Pod Cast – WKUL.com/IgniteUS

* Links to Beneficial Articles

* This Date in History –

* BLOG-5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast

 

Actuarial Assessment For Church Part 2

 

“The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not inadequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music, and those who want to squander the church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to stanch the flow of blood that is spilling from its true wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common.”
–David F. Wells, God in the Wasteland (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), p.30.

 

In the February 1 issue of this News Letter we began a consideration of Actuarial Assessment of the church. In this edition of the News Letter we provide a partial list of  issues causing the decline of the church. We provide a proven process and resources that develop an accurate and clear portrait of the “life expectancy” of the church in which you serve. Facts are Facts. To ignore them is to cast yourself a victim of the issues that are rendering the church impotent. Intentional refusal to confront these issues will lead to  a church closing the doors sooner rather than later. Guaranteed.

 

What do we call people that have a serious life threatening malignancy yet refuse to seek treatment? FOOLISH – - and dead very soon! The number of churches with fewer than 100 in Sunday AM Services went up 9% from 2010 – 2015. There has been a 61 year unbroken decline in participation/attendance in the American church since 1956.

 

Please listen to the wisdom provided by Jim Collins, author of How The Mighty Fall. (All Pastors and Church Leaders would benefit greatly by purchasing and studying this book!) This is a study he completed on “Why some organizations embrace the change necessary to thrive and others die”.

 

I’ve come to see institutional decline like a disease – harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages; easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages. An institution (Church – tcf) can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside, dangerously on the cusp of a precipitous fall..

 

The following is a partial list of causal issues producing rapid and persistent decline in the American Church. If the church you lead has the majority of these issues it is already impotent and headed for hard times soon.

 

A Faulty Metric - Nearly ALL churches determine ministry effectiveness by numbers and activity. How many attend, how much do they give, how many did we baptize? This is due to embracing the wrong PURPOSE. The purpose of every church is Make Disciples! Just reading the bulletin in some churches will produce absolute exhaustion. The proper measure of ministry effectiveness is Transformation. Are people becoming more like Christ in Character and Conduct? Is there an objective process that equips people to measure with accuracy their transformation?

 

Demographic Age – The average composite age of many congregations is 65+. The ideal age of a healthy assembly is 36-42. When a church has an average Demographic Age of 65+ – their days are numbered. They may well close the doors in 3-6 years. Some will hang on for many years, but, they are impotent and ineffective. Yet, the refusal to focus on Transformation increases as the average Demographic Age goes up.

 

Absence of Conversions – Reliable research reveals that fewer than 5% of professing Christians ever share the Gospel with even one person in any given year. I challenge every pastor to systematically discover the reality of this fact in the congregation in which you serve. Pastors must both train their people and monitor their participation in the ministry of evangelism. Life produces life. No reproduction means ? ? ?

 

Community Connection – It is quite common in assessing the ministry of local churches to discover that they have little or no connection with the people and communities in which they exist. No connection results in no Christ-centered relationships and few if any genuine conversions.

 

Impotent Pulpits – “The broader problem is that a great deal of popular preaching and teaching uses the Bible as a pegboard on which to hang a fair bit of Christianized pop psychology or moralizing encouragement, with very little effort to teach the faithful, from the Bible, the massive doctrines of historic confessional Christianity”. (D. A. Carson)

 

Biblical Literacy – It is impossible to obey the Word of God when you have no knowledge of what God’s word says. Recent research on this topic reveals a continuing decline among professing evangelicals regarding a functional proficiency in applying Truth to life and ministry. Catechism 101 is a good place to begin.

 

Leadership DevelopmentLeadership is both caught & taught. When there are no leaders being groomed and prepared, it is not surprising that the church flounders for lack of Leadership. Credible leadership must be Modeled. Pitchers & Catchers are reporting to Spring Training in the next week or so. Professional Baseball has a strategic approach to discovering the next Sandy Cofax, Bob Feller, or Corey Cluber. They have a Farm System in which they prepare men to perform at the highest level. The church must encourage and equip men with competence for Leadership roles. Failure in this realm insures that the future of such a church is bleak.

 

Funding – Inadequate Funding is the cumulative impact of all of the above. When churches reach this plateau, several key factors come into play. They postpone or totally ignore facility maintenance issues. Major systems become inoperative. The aesthetic condition of the facility declines. They invest nothing in outreach and evangelism. They often reduce support for ministries outside of their own local church. They ‘survive’ by reducing the compensation of Staff. They become a poor imitation of what a church is designed to be and do. In this condition they disgrace the church and Christ Jesus as they flounder along in this pathetic state. Yet, their favorite theme is ‘We Shall Not Be Moved!’

 

Resource – Collins wrote an article titled The Silent Creep of Doom. This reveals the five stages of the death spiral that leads relentlessly to closure. I will send this to those who make such a request.

 

Tithe.ly For Ministry Support $$ – IGTAM 

A major challenge for every no-profit ministry (501-c3) is funding. Ministry is not money, but, it does require funding. We must generate additional revenue to fund travel as an important part of ministry expansion. When we are face to face with pastors and church leaders the prospect of them engaging the Leadership Development and Intentional Disciple Making Process we provide goes up exponentially.

This reality requires that we raise funds. We do this by appealing to people that believe in the value, importance, and Kingdom contribution of our ministry. They want to participate in the transformation of people and churches from cultural lethargy and spiritual impotence into maturing disciples and thriving assemblies. These churches grow numerically. Most importantly, people in these churches are transformed into the fullness of the image of Christ in Character and Conduct. That is the purpose of the church. That glorifies Christ.

Permit me to share a funding process employed by Clemson University. This simple process has raised millions of $$ for scholarships at this University. This has benefited many thousands of students. Read the following paragraph.

 

Originally, the letters IPTAY stood for “I Pay Ten a Year.” Begun in 1934 to give the Clemson athletic program the support it needed, IPTAY is now one of the most successful athletic fund raising organizations. IPTAY donors provide millions of dollars in scholarships for student-athletes and non-athletes alike. It also has provided substantial support for programs and facilities that help Clemson Athletics stay competitive in collegiate sports.

 

We are launching an important funding initiative for IgniteUS Ministries. This initiative is titled IGTAM = I GIVE TEN A MONTH. Most people reading this message can do this with ease. I once received this advice on Fund Raising – - “Never ask people to consider giving – - Ask them to give!” So, I am asking you to give – $10 a month. When each person receiving this message does so, our ministry, the pastors and church leaders we equip with leadership and disciple making skills, will be the benefactors. Churches will thrive and Christ will get the Glory! 

 

Here are several convenient ways to do this. Two of these are on our Web Site – www.igniteus.net.

 

1. On the Home Page click on the banner at the top labeled DONATE. Follow the Pay Pal Prompts.

 

2. On the Home Page click on the banner on the right labeled Online Giving. Follow the prompts. There is a process at this site that enables you to set up Automatic Monthly Contributions – very useful, simple, and user-friendly.

 

3. You may also mail contributions to IgniteUS PO Box 865 Cullman AL 35056. Thanks you for becoming a donor-partner in IgniteUS Ministries through IGTAM. Your greater reward will come from the Lord himself when you stand before him face to face. We believe the resources and encouragement you receive with each issue of our News Letter make this a very reasonable exchange. Thank You for being a faithful reader and a faithful leader in the Lord’s church. KUDOS!
Book Reviews 

Crossway Publications sends me pre-publication titles. I will write a review in the IUS News Letter of each title. I will publish a review in the March 1st News Letter of John Piper’s most recent title – Expository Exultation – Christian Preaching As Worship. This will be available in April. All those who love exposition and preaching will celebrate this resource. Piper makes a compelling case for the priority of expository and exegetically based preaching. This title will enhance your pulpit ministry and bless your efforts in this vital ministry. It will also cause you to rejoice in the privilege of preaching!

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric – Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Cf. the link below that addresses this issue. Are the pews filled with sheep or goats? Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

Pod Cast – WKUL.com/IgniteUS

 

IgniteUS began Pod Casting in January. These are posted on our web site every Tuesday. The content is a mix of resources for revitalization and interviews with Evangelical Leaders and pastors that have found the courage and stamina to embark on this risk-filled journey to ministry effectiveness. The radio station (WKUL FM 92.1) that broadcast my M-F and Sunday Radio programs is our host this for this endeavor. You will benefit by this resource.

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. The address for the Pod Cast is www.wkul.com/igniteus. These messages are shaped by four factors. 1) Focus – each post will feature one single issue. 2) Theological Substance – our desire is that we provide information, encouragement, and equipping for ministry. 3) Just Plain Fun – it is wise and prudent to laugh and sometimes at ourselves. 4) Dialog – real communication is two-way. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

Here are some of the Christian Leaders that have agreed to participate in this endeavor and provide information, encouragement, and equipping to those who listen.

Dr. Don Whitney, Southern Seminary, Author and Professor.

Dr. Tom Ascol, Founders Ministries.(interviewed on 1/23)

Dr. David Wells, Gordon Conwell Prof. & Author of six titles from 1993 – 2014.

Dr. Nathan Finn, Prof. of Church History at Union University.

 

Numerous courageous Pastors who will share the truth about Reformation & Renewal in the local church – both success and failure. This ain’t for sissies folks! God can and will cause your ministry to THRIVE – - if and when you embrace and apply the ministry initiatives that the text requires for genuine transformation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links to Beneficial Articles

This post by Thom Rainer fits hand in glove with the theme of this Newsletter.

http://thomrainer.com/2018/01/dying-churches-common-revitalized-replant-025/

 

This post by Tim Challies on music is excellent. My Philosophy of Music is “If it is not TRUE – DO NOT sing it! Tim agrees!

https://www.challies.com/vlog/how-to-choose-worship-songs-three-minute-thursdays-14/

 

This post by Thom Rainer is intended to be optimistic. You decide if his points are valid.

https://thomrainer.com/2018/02/nine-reasons-im-hopeful-church-revitalization-replanting-north-america-revitalize-replant-027/

 

A thought provoking article from Tim Challies regarding the distinctives of a Reformed Perspective. Read and respond.

https://www.challies.com/articles/themes-or-challenges-for-reformed-christians-in-2018/

 

Are your pews filled with SHEEP or GOATS? David Platt speaking.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_GDUZKuSOw

This Date in History

1798 The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.

BLOG – 5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast!

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

Finishing Well

November 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Finishing Well – Will You?

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Scripture-God’s Word Living & Powerful

* Christian Hymns – O Worship The King

*  Links to Beneficial Articles

* Leadership Lessons – Prov. 16:18

* This Day In History – Africa Colonized

* Read My Blog – Consequences of Pride

 

Finishing Well

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

 

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

 

Statistics say that 60% to 80% of those who enter the ministry will not still be in it 10 years later, and only a fraction will stay in it as a lifetime career. Many pastors – I believe over 90 percent-start off right with a true call and the enthusiasm and the endurance of faith to make it, but something happens to derail their train of passion and love for the call.(http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562)

 

In the ministry God has granted me I encounter with unwelcome frequency the work of that ‘roaring lion’ who seeks to devour pastors. This is always a painful reality. As Linus teaches us – - ‘we have met the enemy and it is us!’ This News Letter is focused on alerting each of us concerning the importance of Finishing Well. The article that follows was produced by Chuck Lawless. My prayer is that my readers are challenged by this post and equipped to Finish Well to the Praise & Glory of Jesus who is LORD!!

- – - – -

Today, I’m thinking about pastors I knew who finished well—those who faithfully served God all the way to death. Here are some of their characteristics that challenge me to live differently today.

 

1. They oozed humility. Though they, like all leaders, at times wrestled with a desire to be somebody, they knew from the beginning that the work of the gospel was not about them—it’s about Jesus.

 

2. They always knew they could be steps away from a fall. They weren’t so foolish as to think they could not fall. Their honest recognition of the possibility made them ever alert and prayerful.

 

3.  At the same time, the thought of failing Jesus was almost a foreign thought. They just loved Jesus, and serving Him meant more to them than anything. Even the thought of letting Him down broke their hearts

.

4. They planned to finish well. That is, they didn’t end well by accident. They made a commitment to finish well each day, and the faithful days became years.

 

5. They were firmly committed to their families. They adored their spouses and children, and everybody knew it.  Serving God meant building their homes on His Word, praying daily with their family, and protecting their time with them.

 

6. They had some kind of mentor in their lives. These relationships weren’t always formal, but they were intentional. The pastors I’ve known who finished well always had somebody walking with them and encouraging them.

 

7. They lived in the Word and on their knees. They knew the Word so well that it naturally flowed from them. Prayer was not ritual to them; it was relationship.

 

8. They were committed to integrity. Their “yes” really did mean “yes,” and their “no” really did mean “no” (Matt. 5:37). Never once did I question the truthfulness of their lives or their words.

 

9. They evangelized regularly. This characteristic may be surprising, but I can’t deny what I saw in their lives. These pastors wanted others to know about Jesus. Their world was first and foremost about Him.

 

10. Their only ambition was to please Jesus. Some of these pastors were elected to significant denominational positions, but none of them sought those roles. Hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21) was more important to them than hearing the accolades and applause of man.

 

My prayer is that you and I finish well, too. What characteristics have you seen in pastors who ran the race well?

 

http://chucklawless.com/2017/11/10-characteristics-of-pastors-who-finished-well/

 

http://www.acts29.com/pastors-who-finish-well/

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

 

Jeremiah 20:7-9 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
* Classic Christian Hymns –

 

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. Choose wisely and with theological integrity what is sung in the worship of the LORD! O Worship The King.

 

 

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

 

Links to Beneficial Articles

 

According to Roman Catholics the greatest ‘heresy’ in the Protestant faith system is ??

http://theaquilareport.com/greatest-protestant-heresies/

 

Recently my wife and I reflected on how The Gospel and The Reformation has shaped our lives for 60+ years. How about you?

http://https://founders.org/2017/11/02/8-ways-the-reformation-has-shaped-my-life-and-ministry/

 

Expository preaching systematically through books of the Bible. I personally believe this is the most beneficial means of establishing Biblical Literacy in the lives of the people you serve.

https://founders.org/2017/10/25/the-value-of-preaching-through-books-of-the-bible/

 

Leadership Lessons – Pride will bring you DOWN!

 

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (gawown – arrogance, majesty, pomp, swelling = PRIDE) Crucify this beast daily the first thing every morning. 1 Peter 5:5 . . . Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Pride is insidious. It is baggage from the Fall. Every pastor/teacher must engage in continuous awareness of the destructive potential of PRIDE!

 

This Date in History

1884 Colonization of Africa organized at international conference in Berlin

 

BLOG – The Consequences of PRIDE!

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “The Consequences of Pride”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

November 1 News Letter

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Scripture-God’s Word Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

* Book Reviews-Some Pastors & Teachers

* Leadership Lessons – ID Dysfunction

* This Day In History – The Reformation

* Read My Blog – Reformation & Revival

 

A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

The following material is provided by a pastor friend of many years, Jack Williamson. This is from his book “Luther’s Hammer–a concise history of the Reformation.”. I trust this is challenging, informative, and enjoyable as we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Praise God for his Sovereign Providence and his infinite Grace.

 

It is tradition that the Protestant Reformation began on October 31, 1517 when the obscure Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailed a list of 95 theses to the front door of the cathedral at Wittenberg, Germany.  Luther prepared his list that he wanted to discuss and debate with Catholic colleagues who were supportive of the status quo.  On that Wednesday afternoon, he walked down to the Cathedral and nailed his list to the church’s front door.  Such an act sounds very bold, defiant, and rash; but it actually wasn’t.  The front door of the Cathedral was the community bulletin board where common notices were routinely posted.  If a local farmer needed to buy a cow or wanted to sell a used plow, he would post a notice on the church’s door.  But history will demonstrate that Luther’s list was no routine posting.

 

Luther’s theses presented an invitation for a robust discussion or even a formal debate.  Such public debates and discussions were quite common.  These were the days long before newspapers, radio, television, or any electronic devices.  Watching a debate was one of the more popular forms of entertainment of the day.  Martin wanted to initiate a discussion on one, any, or all of these ninety-five points.  He believed that these were issues where the Catholic Church’s teachings departed from the teaching of the Bible.

 

The content of his theses was nothing short of startling, defiant, and revolutionary.  Among the points were several that denied a human priest, or his work, was necessary for salvation.  The Church believed and taught that salvation could be obtained through its sacraments, but only properly ordained priests could perform them, therefore, as they saw it, a regularly ordained Catholic priest was essential for salvation.  Luther insisted that repentance should always be accompanied by a visible change in lifestyle and a person’s salvation could be legitimately questioned if there was no visible or tangible evidence of repentance.  He severely criticized the pope for not following the laws, policies, and regulations of his own Church.  He specifically singled out the pope for threatening dying people with centuries of languishing in Purgatory.  He wrote that the forgiveness of sins came only from God, and while the pope may reassure people that God has forgiven them, no pontiff had the authority to forgive sins.  In his list of theses, Luther seemed to equate Purgatory with Hell and stated that Heaven could be assured to an individual, which were both sharp departures from Roman Catholic orthodoxy.  He wrote that the veneration of relics was an evil practice and most of the artifacts were probably phony anyway.  After all, there were thousands of antique, square, and rusty nails that were being venerated as one of the three authentic nails used on the Lord’s cross.  How could dispensations be granted for the veneration of all them when it was obvious that very few, if any, could be authentic?

 

The theses also presented a much different picture of human nature than did Catholic dogma.  Luther insisted that there was no biblical proof that a person is ever freed from sin while alive.  He took the view of Augustine that human sin had rendered man dead in trespasses and sins totally unable to contribute to his own salvation.

 

He saved his most caustic remarks for his prime irritation—the sale of indulgences—which he boldly stated deceived people.  He wrote that they cannot save anyone, and they had no effect upon the dead.  Luther even suggested that the price of indulgences purchased for the dead ought to be returned to the purchasers by the pope, and the notion that punishment in Purgatory could be removed or even lessened by giving money to the Church was utter nonsense.  A person who thinks he or she is saved by purchasing an indulgence is damned along with the cleric who sold it.  Martin pointed out that the whole concept of indulgences removed the need for contrition and humility.  It created the impression that salvation can be obtained by earthly riches, which he labeled as a thoroughly absurd and a conspicuously unscriptural teaching.  If one person could afford to purchase an indulgence and have his or her sins forgiven, and another person was too poor to afford such a certificate and could not afford to have his sins forgiven, the whole idea of grace was utterly destroyed.  It wasn’t grace that saved, but gold.  Such a concept, Luther wrote, contradicted real repentance.  Exercising Christian love may make one a better person, but buying an indulgence doesn’t improve a soul.  He flatly said that indulgences were a waste of money, and that money was being sucked out of the hands of people who couldn’t afford such needless expenditures.  Martin went so far as to label Indulgences as ecclesiastical intimidation.  Never one to mince words or hide his opinion, Luther also wrote that if the pope knew how much indulgences actually cost people, he would destroy St. Peter’s that was largely built on funds derived from indulgences.  He even suggested that the pope, instead of using tithes and gifts, should use his own vast wealth to build St. Peter’s and give it to the people as a gift of pontifical grace.  This fiery monk observed that in his day the Gospel of Christ was being preached less and indulgences were being preached more.

 

This posting became the single act that ultimately pried the Catholic fingers off of the neck of Europe and ushered in freedom of religion throughout the region.  There is no question that this act was responsible for the popularity of America, the New World, as a safe refuge from the religious and civil turmoil of Europe.  It also catapulted religious freedom into the foundational documents of the United States of America, making it an essential value in American society.

 

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

 

Daniel 4:34-35 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

 

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. The following hymn has been a favorite of mine. It was sung many Sundays as the opening hymn in the worship service of the church I attended. It presents a glorious and accurate portrait of the God we worship

 

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!.

 

 

 

Book Reviews – Some Pastors & Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson 

Effective Leaders are readers. A recent survey of effective leaders revealed that they read 60 books each year. The only way you will accomplish this important element in your leadership is to establish a plan and faithfully do what you set out to do. You may begin with a modest goal, 12 books a year, and then incrementally increase that number. Note – the issue is NOT the number of books you read. The issue is do you glean valuable insights as you read and apply them in your ministry? We provide a Learning Covenant that facilitates this objective.

 

Some Pastors and Teachers is a volume for every minister’s study and indeed for the bookshelves and bedside tables of everyone who has a concern for the ministry of the gospel and the well-being of the church in the twenty-first century. In many ways, it reflects the biblical vision of what every minister is called to be: pastor, teacher, counsellor, and example—but also a man who is growing spiritually, both in understanding and in character, before the eyes of his congregation.

 

In five sections and thirty-nine chapters, Sinclair B Ferguson writes on pastor-teachers whose life and work have left an indelible mark on his own life, and then leads us in a series of chapters on the teaching of John Calvin, John Owen and the seventeenth century Puritans. This is followed by studies of Scripture, the ministry of the Spirit, the nature of Biblical Theology, the work of Christ, adoption, the nature of the Christian life and other important doctrines. The final section discusses various aspects of preaching, including preaching Christ from the Old Testament, the importance of theology, reaching the heart, and concludes with a decalogue for preachers. All this, as the epilogue makes clear, is set within the context and goal of doxology.

 

Here is a book to return to again and again, for instruction, for challenge, and also for enjoyment. While written particularly with ministers in view its style makes it accessible to all. Dr Ferguson describes Some Pastors and Teachers as a series of small gifts for fellow-ministers and others, written as an expression of the love of Christ. It is calculated to help both ministers of the gospel and entire congregations to realize Paul’s vision of churches growing up into Christ as they are nourished and taught by their pastors and teachers.

 

https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/some-pastors-and-teachers/

 

Leadership Lessons – Identify Dysfunctions

 

Every church has some level of dysfunction. It is crucial that the leadership team identifies and corrects these areas of dysfunction. Failure to do so renders that ministry less capable of maximum effectiveness. If you do not know how to do this, call 803 413 3509. We will be happy to provide resources that produce an objective and accurate profile of the dusfunctions and a means to correct these ministry killers.

 

This Date in History

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 theses on Wittenberg church – that action launched the Protestant Reformation

BLOG

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Characteristics of Genuine Revival”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

October 15 2017

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* History of the 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns

* Assessment & Ministry Effectiveness

* Book Reviews

* Current Issues of Importance

* Leadership Lessons

* This Day In History

* Read My Blog

* History of 95 Theses

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

* Classic Christian Hymns

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. I often caution people concerning the danger of adopting a ‘hymn book theology’. Many of the hymns sung each week present theologically corrupt doctrine. Example – The Savior Is Waiting.

Time after time He has waited before

And now He is waiting again

To see if you’re willing to open the door

Oh, how He wants to come in

 

This portrays the Sovereign of the Ages as an impotent deity. The Scripture states clearly that Jesus sacrifice was to purchase a people for Himself, an accomplished fact (Rev. 5:9-10). Be conscious of what you sing!!

Leadership Insight

Cultural Awareness Pastors and church leaders would do well to conduct some training on the current factors shaping the culture. Train people with the wisdom and resources to confront these factors. Remember – - lost people are not the enemy!!

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!” These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

The message of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of claiming and transforming lost people. Read Dr. Mohler’s article on urgency.

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/09/26/seven-characteristics-of-liberal-theology/

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

This Date in History

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Cultural Analysis”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

* Culture – Gospel & Great Commission

*  Leadership Insight – Cultural Awareness

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Model ‘T’ Ford

Read My BLOG – Cultural Analysis

Culture – Gospel – & Great Commission

I write this article very early on the Lord’s Day 09/24/17. I listened to the radio this AM as I do frequently on Sunday morning. Putting it mildly, what I hear broadcast in our area that passes as ‘Gospel’ makes my blood boil and my heart weep. The corruption of the Gospel that saturates the air waves of our community is deplorable and exhibits a serious absence of sound doctrine and precise exegesis. My assumption (with reasonable certainty) is this is true across America.

The church in America is not fulfilling the Great Commission. The church is declining – rapidly. It is my purpose in this article to identify some of the causal issues that contribute to this failure and the resulting decline. A Process that God uses to bring Reformation & Renewal to stem the decline is provided by IgniteUS. This is a News Letter and not a Doctoral Dissertation. Therefore, space constraints permit only the citation of these issues. Further research and investigation is required to elaborate on each factor. As you read, engage in an honest assessment of the church where you serve. As these things are present take strategic steps that lead to correction of these dysfunctions.

These issues will be stated in National Cultural Factors and Local Church Factors.

National Cultural Factors

No Fault Fallacy There is now ‘No Fault’ everything; Divorce, Automobile Accident Insurance, etc. No one is held responsible for anything. This mentality has a serious deleterious impact on the church.

Anarchy There is a significant and growing spirit of anarchy in America. The loss of a transcendent authority (God’s Word) has produced a culture in which opinions and feelings are the predominate arbiters of reality. We witness continuous riots and the destruction of entire segments of our cities as a result of this ‘spirit of the age’. (Prov. 29:16).

Entitlement many segments of our society embrace the perspective that they are ‘owed’ certain privileges. This is not merely a generational issue. Rather, it pervades all social and generational elements of the USA.

Cultural & Biblical Literacy In the mid 80’s (1987) Hirsch produced a title, Cultural Literacy. In this treatise he cited 1,000 terms and dates of significant historical events that a person must have knowledge of if they are to be considered ‘culturally literate’. The absence of a functional knowledge of history is nothing short of stunning among the populace of the USA. When preaching, cite events from history and note the blank stares among the gathered assembly.

Antinomianism The USA was founded on the basis of Truth and that Truth being Absolute. The USA is now a nation in which the perspective of Law is similar to the culture which pervaded the book of Judges – - ‘every man doing what is right in his own eyes’! The principle of ‘Case Law’ now dominates our system of Juris Prudence – cases are decided on the basis of previous decisions rendered in similar cases not on the basis of what the Law (Constitution) states. This has produced an atmosphere of creeping (Racing to quote Judge Bork) immorality.

False Teaching I referenced the content of many radio programs. One program speaker in our area recently cited a listing of 25 False Teachers. The list included Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Jesse Duplantis. This man’s name appeared as #25 on this list. He was PROUD of that fact. He expressed pride of the designation as a False Teacher. How tragic. Believe me if you listened to his program the designation ‘False Teacher’ is accurate! This is possible because of the pervasive biblical illiteracy. People lack the capacity to discern truth from error and they suffer the consequences. (cf. Jer. 23:15).

Local Church Factors

Purpose One of the tasks I ask people to perform in my Consulting Ministry is to define the purpose of their church in three sentences or less. The responses are all over the map. The majority of churches are dysfunctional because they are focused on activity not on Making Disciples, This means that each and every ministry venues MUST contribute to disciple making. When this fundamental component is absent all other aspects of ministry are inevitably flawed.

Metric When the purpose of a local church is not Making Disciples the inevitable result is the application of a dysfunctional and flawed Metric. Nearly all local churches measure ministry effectiveness by applying one dimensional factors; attendance, offerings, baptisms, etc. The NT Metric is Transformation. Are lost people being redeemed and are regenerate people being transformed into the fullness of the image of Christ? Paul tells us this is a reality for those who are truly regenerate (2Cor. 3:18). A recent quote by Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwest Seminary in Fort Worth TX, reveals the inevitable result of this flawed practice:

“In the process of this race for numerical achievement, our church rolls have become gorged with people who “walked the aisle” and were baptized but remained as lost to genuine conversion as Judas”— Paige Patterson

Unregenerate Membership The evangelical church through the ages has practiced the principle of regenerate membership. Many/most congregations apply what they term ‘congregational polity’. This means that all members ‘vote’ on ministry initiatives. When there is a large compliment of unregenerate membership the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is not directing such decisions. This factor alone has contributed to schisms and conflict in a multitude of churches. As a challenge to my readers – can you identify any instance in the NT where a church voted on anything?

The Loss of Awe In my consulting ministry I interview Staff members. I simply ask three questions, one of which is ‘What do you want me to know about this church?’ Recently 3 of 12 staff member told me that ‘we have lost the awe of God’. OS Guinness when speaking at a Lausanne Conference in South Africa said ‘in today’s evangelical church you can start a church, function for 50 years, and never once need or realize the ministry of the Holy Spirit’. The church has become a business pure and simple. I regret to say he is correct. Read the testimony of Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-7) for a description of the awe of God in the Prophet’s life.

Life In Community The church has become a collection of islands that go bump in the night. There is a profound absence of genuine Christ honoring relationships. There is a series of One Another Commands in the NT. Not only do church members not obey them, they for the most part do not even know what they are. The church is God’s Family and we are commanded to care for one another in transparent and vulnerable relationships. Jesus said that it is by this kind of intimacy that the world will know that we are his disciples (Jn. 13:34-35).

Incompetent Leadership Leadership is an issue of Modeling. There is a phrase ‘As in the pulpit, so in the pew.’ The Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute conducted an extensive survey of pastors. The results of that survey validate the existence of leadership incompetence.

(http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562).

Application

The Gospel is what it has always been. It has not and will not change. It is the power of God unto salvation. Declare it with the utmost confidence.

The culture in the USA is saturated with immorality and decadence. Leaders MUST recognize this in equipping their people to function effectively in the marketplace.

The atmosphere in which the church exists today is similar in many ways to that of the First Century. The church flourished then and it can flourish now.

As you complain about the barriers you face in a post-Christian era, don’t forget that the gospel once exploded on a pre-Christian era and did unimaginable good. The gospel is yet the power of God and we must not lose it or muffle it or distort it when the world needs it most, whatever the context. (Jim Eliff)

Leadership Insight

Cultural Awareness Pastors and church leaders would do well to conduct some training on the current factors shaping the culture. Train people with the wisdom and resources to confront these factors. Remember – - lost people are not the enemy!!

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!” These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

The message of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of claiming and transforming lost people. Read Dr. Mohler’s article on urgency.

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/09/26/seven-characteristics-of-liberal-theology/

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

This Date in History

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Cultural Analysis”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Newsletter Update: September 15, 2017 (t)”>(e)”>(d)”>(o)”>
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 4:18 am
IgniteUS, Inc. (newsletter@igniteus.net)To:you (Bcc) + 1 more Details

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Defining Orthodoxy

*  Leadership Insight – Exegetical Precision

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  The Kraynak Family – Contributions

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Mayflower sets Sail

Read My BLOG – Doctrine & Downgrade

Defining Orthodoxy

The term evangelical has lost the distinctiveness it once communicated. Those who love the TRUTH and have full confidence in the Inspiration & Authority of Scripture must declare with compassion and precision this perspective. We must not capitulate or surrender a single centimeter of territory on this issue.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

When you speak with clarity and certainty, you will be charged with all manner of inaccurate terms and false labels. This was true of Spurgeon. It was also true of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Note the following quote regarding Lloyd-Jones on this issue:

Opponents of Lloyd-Jones accused him of being the opposite of humble. They interpreted the authority with which she spoke as pride; he was, one critic asserted, a pope. Professor F .F. Bruce once heard Dean Matthews of St. Paul’s describe an address the preacher had given as ‘extraordinarily bad’. What Matthews did not understand, said Bruce, was that Lloyd-Jones assurance was based on his confidence in the God whose message he was commissioned to proclaim. And Bruce added: ‘he was a thoroughly humble man. Those who charged him with arrogance were wildly mistaken.’ (Seven Leaders, p. 149)

Here is a quote from the ministry of Lloyd-Jones concerning the true Gospel message. It bears repeating today in our culture dominated by ‘feelings’ rather than sound doctrine drawn from careful and precise exegesis of the text of Scripture.

Let me solemnly remind you of this: the gospel of Jesus Christ does not start even with the love of Jesus Christ. It starts with God. It is no use going to people and saying, ‘Come to Jesus’, or ‘Come to Christ’. They say, ‘We couldn’t care less.’ Why? Because they have never seen any need of him. That is why they do not come to Christ. The only people who truly come to Christ are those who have seen their own condition under the condemnation of the law of God and know that one day they will face God and eternal judgment. (Seven Leaders, pp. 139-140).

The 09/01 News Letter focused on Spurgeon and The Downgrade Controversy. The article that follows, written by Peter Jones of The Truth Xchange validates my concern that the evangelical church in America is in the grips of a monumental downgrade! In the links provided in this letter is one that takes the reader to the Nashville Statement.

This is the oddest time for me to be writing a book that warns the church that the affirmation of homosexuality will lead many Evangelicals into liberalism. The recent Nashville Statement on Sexuality (made public August 25, 2017), has, oddly enough, provoked an embarrassment of riches for my research into the decline of evangelicalism.

The internet is rocking with responses of “Christians” denouncing with righteous anger the Scripture-honoring Nashville Statement. Written and endorsed by leading evangelical theologians (such as J. I. Packer and Al Mohler) this statement is dismissed by “Christian” movements as a hateful attack on people with variant sexual identities. So the Nashville Statement raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

Sojourners Magazine article has the title: “Thousands of Christians Respond to Nashville Statement with Emphatic ‘No.’” Sojourners’ own president, Jim Wallis, declares: Nashville Statement Damaging to People and to the Evangelical Witness.

Pastor and writer Nadia Bolz-Weber and her Colorado congregation offer a point-by-point refutation called the “Denver Statement.”

The Liturgists drafted a statement called “God is Love”, signed by Christian writers Rachel Held Evans and Nish Weiseth, among others. They affirm: “We can no longer project first-century notions of sex and sexuality on people today.” They further state: “We believe that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are fearfully and wonderfully made, holy before God, beloved and beautiful as they are. We believe all people have full autonomy over their bodies, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and the diversity of identities reflects the creative power of a loving God. We believe that God is love, and that ‘anyone who loves is born of God and knows God’.” (I John 4:7)

The group, Christians United in Support of LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Church immediately proposed its own statement that begins: “As followers of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to bear witness to the love, grace, and truth of God in every generation…So it is that we, like each generation before us, are called to reflect, repent, and reform our teachings and practices to be ever more closely aligned with the heart and will of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ.”

See http://www.christiansunitedstatement.org/

This group not only claims to be Christian, but claims to be the most Christian expression of what God is now doing. It goes so far as to state that Evangelical orthodoxy is “resist[ing] the Spirit’s leading in various ways and cling[ing] to the dogmas and traditions that God is calling us to rethink and reform.” For these “Christians”, “Evangelical orthodoxy” is a heresy.

One of the signers of the Christians United document, Colby Martin, in his book, UNclobber, tells how he left conservative Evangelical orthodoxy over the issue of homosexuality. Eventually, he founded a welcoming community that was “uniquely Christian” but “not exclusively,” a community that gives space to people “regardless of ethnicity, orientation, age, creed or socioeconomic status.” (UNclobber, Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, 142–3)

One can only wonder what the 16th century Scottish reformer John Knox would have said of a church that was multi-creedal, and thus not exclusively Christian. What does it mean to be Christian in today’s world? In the final pages of his book, Colby Martin. [UnClobber, 178]. acknowledges the important influence on his thinking of the following people:

 

  • Glennon Doyle Melton, a popular “evangelical” author and social media speaker, who divorced her husband in 2016 and, in 2017, married the famous female soccer star, Abby Wambach.
  • Rob Bell, who has abandoned orthodoxy and the sufficiency of Scripture.
  • Brian McLaren, who champions interfaith spirituality.
  • Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis that sees Christianity as an evolving system and has no doctrinal statement. The church is attended by Tony Jones who was once the national coordinator of Emergent Village.

At the 500th anniversary of Protestantism, some protestant churches reject the “five solas” of the Reformation: Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone. As in the time of the Reformation, the church today is being asked once more to define orthodoxy.

At the Reformation the question was, “Can I save myself by my good deeds”? Today the issue of sexuality has emerged as a key issue, because it raises three questions: 1. What defines each individual’s deep personal identity? 2. How does sexuality relate to the heart of the Gospel, and 3. Who is faithful to Christianity? Because these questions are so controversial, many pastors, even orthodox pastors, do not want to or do not know how to touch the issue. But silence is deadly. The flames of this current apostasy are raging through our churches.

We must find a discourse that avoids emotionalism, moralism, hatred or bigotry, while reaching to the heart of the issue. Many Millennial Christians need a clear statement of the truth. If we are to understand sexuality, we need to hear all that the Bible says about it. Of paramount importance is a focus on biblical cosmology and the being of God. Sexuality must be seen in the context of the way God structured the cosmos.

In a recent article entitled “Why I, Peter Jones, Signed the Nashville statement,” I stated that “the cosmos is structured on the principle of unity within genuine distinctions. The Bible presents a world of distinctions: a hetero-cosmology not a homo-cosmology. The created universe is based on “otherness,” not “sameness.” This is true for everyone. In that sense, the Bible’s view of sexuality is not small-minded, unloving moralism, discrimination, violence, or bullying, as much criticism claims. It is, rather, a theistic understanding of the universe, deeply founded on the being of God Himself. This is ground zero for everyone. We are made in His image, male and female, to reflect His image of unity in distinctions, as ultimately expressed in the Trinity. Homosexuality is not only immoral but “unnatural,” as Paul says in Romans 1:26. It is out of order with the physical cosmos and thus a rejection of the natural world, and of God, who is both the moral judge and also the intelligent Creator of all things.

This essential aspect of the biblical revelation must be an important element that defines what it means to be an Evangelical Christian who honors the Scripture and Christian orthodoxy. We must pray for courageous theologian-pastors who will take up the challenge of defining orthodoxy in our modern world and of training the next generation in a full understanding of the Christian faith for the difficult days ahead.

https://truthxchange.com/2017/09/defining-orthodoxy-modern-world/

Leadership Insight

Exegetical Precision One aspect of the ministry of IgniteUS is a Pastoral Placement Process. I advise churches to include in the profile they develop that describes the man they will call, competence in the original languages; Hebrew & Greek. Since about 1975 many Seminaries have abandoned the requirement in their M.Div. program the original languages. This principle simply declares that the better equipped a man is, the higher the probability that he will be able to properly exegete the text and declare with precision and competence in the marketplace (1Peter 3:15) what God has revealed in his word. This translates to Applied Theology – what we must believe and how those convictions are incorporated in our daily life of faith without compromise. Then we must defend the faith with grace, humility, and tenacity.

 

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!”

These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

 

The Kraynak Family Contributions

Anyone that would like to donate to the family of Pastor Tim Kraynak may send your donations to:

Mrs. Tim Kraynak

109 Plum Hill Road

Peach Bottom PA 17563

 

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

 

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

 

This Date in History

1620 Mayflower departs from Plymouth England with 102 pilgrims

 

BLOG - ”Doctrine & Downgrade”

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Doctrine & Downgrade”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

 

IUS Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

News Letter

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Newsletter Update: September 1, 2017 (t)”>(e)”>(d)”>(o)”>
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5Biblical
IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*   The Downgrade – Then & Now
*   Leadership Insight – A Tribute
*   Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff
*   Links – Pastoral Resources
*   Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU
*  This Date in History – 1752 Liberty Bell
*   Read My BLOG – Doctrine & Downgrade
The Downgrade Then & Now
C.H. Spurgeon faced in his day and met head-on what he labeled the Downgrade. His reference was to the persistent and damaging doctrinal drift from biblical evangelical orthodoxy. He paid a high price for his integrity and courage in confronting this departure from the Word of God. His own brother ultimately broke fellowship with him.
I have posted below the book titled The Forgotten Spurgeon. This title by Ian Murray details this struggle in Spurgeon’s life and ministry. The issue is captured well in the following quote from p.7 of that title:
It is pointless to claim to be merely biblical when the whole question is, ‘What do the Scriptures actually teach on certain issues?’
The mantra of my personal ministry and that of IgniteUS has been, is, and will remain – ‘What does the text say?’ Precise exegesis and a comprehensive Systematic Theology that integrates all of Special Revelation is the task and goal of every serious Pastor/Shepherd. The current theological atmosphere in America lacks much that comes from this practice – consider R.C. Sproul’s recent survey on this topic. Biblical Literacy is critical for anyone that claims to be a ‘defender of the faith once delivered!’
The following article is by Dr. Jason Allen, President of Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City MO. The content is based on Spurgeon’s struggle in this tragic drift from orthodoxy. American evangelicalism is currently in the grip of a similar downgrade. Read the article on the Pelagian Captivity of The Church in the link below.
- – - – -

As Christians, we are called to share our faith, but we are also called to keep it. Like the Apostle Paul, every believer should aspire to the epitaph, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

 

Perhaps no one in Baptist history better kept the faith than the illustrious Charles Spurgeon—especially as seen through the prism of the Downgrade Controversy.

 

The year was 1887, and Spurgeon was in the winter of life. For more than three decades he had enjoyed singular status as the world’s most well-known preacher, but just over the horizon storm clouds gathered.

 

The Downgrade Controversy began slowly at first, with three anonymous letters appearing in the March, April, and June (1887) editions of the Sword & Trowel. The three letters (later revealed to be authored by Spurgeon’s friend, Robert Shindler) warned of doctrinal slippage on a downhill slope, thus a downgrade.

 

While the anonymous letters drew interest, the controversy did not explode until a few months later when Spurgeon directly entered the fray. In the August 1887 issue of the Sword & Trowel, Spurgeon threw down the gauntlet in his six-page editorial entitled, “Another Word on the Downgrade.”

 

At that time, Spurgeon was less than five years from his death. He was near the height of his popularity in the Baptist Union and globally, but near the depth of his personal anguish.  Physical ailments like failing kidneys and chronic gout wracked his body, and depression plagued his soul. Simply put, he did not need, nor was he much poised for, the conflict he was about to enter. Withdrawing the largest Baptist church in England from the Union would have dire consequences.

 

Nevertheless, Spurgeon entered his Westwood study, fountain pen in hand, and proceeded to join the battle himself by drafting for publication the six-page article.

 

I own the original six-page manuscript Spurgeon wrote that day in 1887. It is fascinating to review his words, penned in his hand, with his markings, alterations and emphases. It radiates the spirit of Paul and the urgency of keeping the faith.  The first paragraph especially has taken on immortality:

 

No lover of the gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. We are willing to make a large discount from our apprehensions on the score of natural timidity, the caution of age, and the weakness produced by pain; but yet our solemn conviction is that things are much worse in many churches than they seem to be, and are rapidly tending downward. Read those newspapers which represent the Broad School of Dissent, and ask yourself, How much farther could they go? What doctrine remains to be abandoned? What other truth to be the object of contempt? A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!

 

Spurgeon goes on:

 

The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith… Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers, and England is following in her tracks.

 

Most prophetically, Spurgeon argued true believers cannot be ministry affiliates with those who have compromised the faith. His words portended the schism to come. Spurgeon was a lone voice, but he was the loudest and most revered voice of all, calling for doctrinal fidelity over programmatic confederation.

 

Spurgeon’s Another Word on the Downgrade landed like a bombshell. It sent shock-waves throughout the Baptist Union and British Evangelicalism. It reverberated throughout the Protestant world.

 

For decades the press had attacked Spurgeon, but now he would be savaged by his own Baptist Union. Prior to the Downgrade Controversy, if the Baptist Union had a papacy, Spurgeon would have been the unquestioned pope.  But now, his erstwhile brethren brutalized him. They charged him with pugilism, and being a schismatic. They even questioned his sanity with a whisper campaign that his physical maladies had made him mad. Graduates of Spurgeon’s College turned on him, and the leaders of the Baptist Union pilloried him.

 

Over the next two months, Spurgeon penned two more articles on the Downgrade in the Sword & Trowel. Then, on Oct. 28, 1887, Spurgeon wrote the General Secretary of the Baptist Union, Samuel Harris Booth, to announce his withdrawal from the Baptist Union.

 

Three months later, in January 1888, the Baptist Union Council voted to accept his withdrawal, and then, the Council of nearly 100 members voted to censure Spurgeon, with only a meager five men supporting the Prince of Preachers.

 

The Baptist Union adopted a compromise doctrinal statement, which was altogether too weak, neither clear nor comprehensive enough. Though outside the Union, Spurgeon opposed the statement for its obvious deficiencies. Nonetheless, it passed overwhelmingly, by a vote of 2000–7, and can appropriately be interpreted as a second vote against Spurgeon. Most tragically, Spurgeon’s brother, James, seconded the motion to pass the compromise doctrinal statement.

 

Spurgeon, the “Lion in Winter,” was prophetic, if not popular. He said, “I am quite willing to be eaten of dogs for the next fifty years, but the more distant future shall vindicate me.”

 

Indeed, Spurgeon has been vindicated. The British Baptist Union is a shadow of its former self. Moreover, Spurgeon’s Downgrade foreshadowed the Fundamentalist/Modernist Controversy of the 1920s and the great SBC Controversy at the end of the 20th century. Doctrinal decay always brings dire consequences.

 

The controversy cost Spurgeon dearly. It cost him his friendships. It cost him his reputation. Even his own brother disowned his decision. Yet, for Spurgeon, to remain within the Union would be tantamount to theological treason.

 

Less than five years later Spurgeon would die. Against his previously stated wishes, his supporters erected a massive burial tomb in the Norwood Cemetery. Ensconced on the front of it, beneath the marble replica of his likeness, is a marble Bible, open to II Timothy 4:7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

 

Indeed, Spurgeon kept the faith, and his accomplishment must be our aspiration—to keep the faith even when confronted with our own Downgrade Controversies.

 

http://jasonkallen.com/2015/10/keeping-the-faith-spurgeon-and-the-downgrade-controversy/

 

 

Leadership Insight -  A Tribute to a Transformation Warrior

 

On Sunday August 19, 2017 Pastor Tim Kraynak (age 49) entered his eternal rest. Tim was what I describe as a Transformation Warrior. His every breath was focused on honoring Jesus Christ and being God’s agent of Transformation in the work of the kingdom. He delighted in seeing individual believers transformed and the church as a body as well. His labors sought to accomplish this with excellence.

 

Transformation – is the objective and observable positive change in the life of a disciple into the character and likeness of Jesus Christ. The principles and precepts of God’s Word are the directives for this change and they are applied in the routines of life consistently with joy. The change is measured objectively based on behavior that reflects obedience to the Scripture, ‘all that Jesus has commanded’. This process is accomplished in the context of transparency and vulnerability with accountability and is lived out in a ‘life in community’ context within the body of Christ.

 

Tim connected with IgniteUS by reading our News Letter. I was working with a church in Elizabethtown PA. Tim called and asked if I would meet with him. He drove to E-Town and we met for 3 hours in McDonald’s. He was a virtual sponge, seeking to absorb every facet of the Transformation Process IgniteUS provides. His attitude was one of enthusiasm and delight. He had finally discovered a process that would equip him to see God transform the church he pastored in Skillington PA, Berks Bible Church.

 

He applied with precision the principles that lead to transformation. I had been seeking a man to assume my role as CEO of IgniteUS. Tim met every criterion that I had established with one exception – he did not have a doctorate. He subsequently sent me an email requesting that I serve as a reference – he was applying to the Ph.D. program at Lancaster Bible. I sent him a message which said ‘You just put the final nail in your coffin’. I told him that was the final item I had been waiting on to ask that he assume my responsibilities with IgniteUS when I step down. He met with our Board and we went forward with that assumption.

 

Tim, as he did with all things, worked diligently in his doctoral studies. In October of 2015 Tim was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Lancaster granted him his Ph.D. Tim pursued every treatment option provided. At one point it appeared that he was on the way to a cure. Not to be.

 

I do not weep readily, but I wept on Monday morning August 21, 2017 when I learned of Tim’s death. He is a man of godly character. He is a man with a heart to shepherd God’s people and see them transformed into the fullness of the character and conduct of Jesus Christ. He was a godly husband and a devoted father to his children. It has been my great privilege to know and serve with him. I love him. I will miss him. He was and is a true Transformation Warrior. Until we meet again Sir!

 

Calling a Lead Pastor - “We are going to go it alone!”  These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. This is the response of many churches when they face the challenge of calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. A key factor in this process is FIT – - the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.
If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

 

Links  – Pastoral Resources

 

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity!

 

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

 

https://ulsterworldly.com/post/machen-christianity-and-liberalism/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://michellelesleybooks.com/2017/08/25/watch-your-language-10-christian-terms-that-need-to-be-cleaned-up/

 

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU – The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net

This Date in History  - 1752 The Liberty Bell is brought to Philadelphia.

 

BLOG - “Doctrine & Downgrade”. Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – - www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Doctrine & Downgrade”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/ ; Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.
IUS Update This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

The Role Of Deacons?

June 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Function of  Deacons - Executive Board ?

*  Bibles For Babwisi – Uganda

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

*  Where’s Waldo – Calling A Pastor

*  Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

*  Read My BLOG – Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point?

Function of Deacons??

In the June 1st News Letter I requested my readers submit topics they would like to see us address. The first response we received regards the Function of Deacons. The request is listed below. In the limited space we have we address this most important topic. THANK YOU to the faithful reader who submitted this question.

How about the “function” of deacons?  There is this very popular thinking that is embedded in Christian culture, especially among SBC churches, that deacons constitute the Executive Board of a congregation.  Yet, no such role is ever mentioned in Scripture.  If that is not the function of deacons, then what is it?

I think I finally got through to our people that deacons are not the Executive Board, but they still expect “monthly meetings.”  But when I ask, “For what purpose,” they seem bewildered.  It amazes me how different “cultural” Christianity is from “biblical” Christianity.

First Principles

The Scripture makes clear that there are two Offices in the NT Church. Those are (1) Pastor/Elder, and (2) Deacon. In every NT church found in the text of Scripture there is a plurality of Elders. In many/most Baptist churches there is a single Elder. Major problem.

Deacons became a necessity as recorded in Acts 6. The Grecian widows were being neglected while the Jewish widows were being cared for (prejudice is not a new thing!)

The stated reason for the establishment of Deacons in the church is that of service. The Apostles/Elders/Pastors declared that they must not give up preaching and prayer (vv.2&4) to diakovein trapeizais, serve tables. In this context the specific reference is to meeting the material needs of those widows.

This establishes the primary roles of the two offices in a NT church. Deacons are to serve. They are not to govern. Their role is not one of dominance or the establishment of ministry policy. It is not to preach and/or teach. It is not to guard and monitor doctrine. That is the responsibility of the Elders. Deacons are to serve and to do so in submission to (Heb. 13:7; 13:17) and in concert and harmony with the Elders.

There is an accurate, specific, and vivid description of the qualifications for those who would serve as Deacons. They are to be ‘men of good report’ – their reputation in both their private lives and in the public marketplace. They are to be ‘men full of the Spirit’ and wisdom. That is, their conduct is to be directed and guided by the Holy Spirit in modeling godly lives. The ‘fear of the LORD’ is the beginning of wisdom. There is often a spirit of arrogance and a lack of humility displayed by those holding this office due to misunderstanding their role as one of service not governing. This must not be permitted

What would be the result if a local church went into the community and inquired as to the reputation of those who serve as Deacons BEFORE men are elevated to this office? Identifying those who will serve in this office is usually done as a popularity contest rather than an examination of their character. Arrogance is not fitting for men who hold  this office. In 46 years of ministry it is my observation that this quality of humility is profoundly absent in men who occupy this office to the great harm and dysfunction of the church. If you disagree with this observation consider the state of the evangelical church in America. I take no pleasure in stating these things but they are true.

A common complaint I hear in working with Pastors is ‘the Deacons won’t come to the Deacon’s meetings’! Then they should not be Deacons! That role is not an honorary title. It is a position of service and it must me engaged with excellence and integrity.

One final observation on this test. Notice the pronouns. It was not ‘the vote’ of the people that put these men into the office of deacons/serving. The text specifically declares that the people identified these men because they lived with them, observed their conduct, knew them well. However, the text states ‘we’, meaning the Apostles, ‘will appoint them’ (katasteisomen, 1p pl future active indicative). Notice they did not formally hold that office until the Apostles appointed them. A great deal of confusion could be avoided if we simply followed what the text declares.

Function

The offices in the NT church are clearly delineated. Most Baptist churches (the question was submitted by a Baptist pastor) have only one Elder. This is a clear violation of the polity God ordained for the church (Acts 14:23 – appointed Elders plural in every church, singular; Titus 1:5 appoint Elders, plural).

A word study of Deacon (deaconous, servant, helper – 1 Tim. 3:8) brings crystal clarity to the function of Deacons in a NT church. Deacons by God’s design are to serve not govern. The problem that has arisen is the church has assimilated ‘democratic rule’, Roberts Rules of Order, etc. as the guiding principle in the church. As the questioner stated – there is a vast difference between Biblical and Cultural Christianity. Majority Rule is not a wise course of action for several reasons. Consider Kadesh Barnea as a classic object lesson. The ‘majority’ (10 of 12) said ‘do not go in’. How did that work out? 40 years of wilderness wandering. We must involve and listen honestly and carefully to the congregation. That does not mean that a 51-49% vote has God’s approval!

Summary

Please understand there is much more exegesis that must be considered on this issue. Traditions are powerful and deeply entrenched. James McDonald wrote an article several years back titled “Congregational Rule Is Of The Devil“. (June 9, 2011 – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2011/06/10/james-macdonald-congregationalism-from-hell/). He later wrote a retraction. Deacons are to serve. Elders are to Preach, Teach, Pray and provide oversight for the congregation. Thom Rainer’s research states that Organizational Dysfunction is one of the two primary reasons for the decline of the evangelical church. When a church has a single Elder there is no way they can fulfill the profile found in the text of Scripture. This contributes to a vacuum and Deacons assume they are to fill that void. This is a dysfunctional organizational structure as measured by the text of Scripture. When the church ignores what the text says on organizational polity or any other item it does not meet with God’s approval.

Deacons governing rather than serving has been established culturally not biblically. Changing this requires patient systematic instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept. The goal must be to honor what the text says.

The initial question included the issue of meetings. Some guiding principles for meetings:

1.  Never conduct a meeting for which there is no clear purpose.

2.  Never conduct a meeting for which there is no Agenda stating specific objectives.

3.  Meetings should contribute to the effective fulfillment of purpose – Make Disciples.

4.  There must be accurate minutes and a clear statement of who does what & why as a result of the meeting. Without this clarity you become a hampster on a wheel meeting month after month with no substantive achievement.

Two titles that will provide excellent direction for church meetings.  Meetings That Work by Alexander Strauch and Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni.

Submit your question on a topic related to ministry. THANKS!

* Bibles for Babwisi – Uganda

$8.50 = 1 Bible Delivered

Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Seed Company have partnered to complete translating the New Testament, Genesis, and other Old Testament books, such as Jonah. All donations for this Bible will go directly to and are administered by Wycliffe.

The plan is to print 5,000 Lubwisi Bibles in the summer of 2015. Next, the Bibles will be taken through customs, transported to the Babwisi, and dedicated in the fall of 2015 through local pastors and missionaries.

This “Heart Language Happening” campaign is raising $42,500 to print and deliver 5,000 Lubwisi Bibles. $8.50 buys and places one Lubwisi Bible into the hands of the Babwisi.

Please contribute because … One Bible matters.

http://biblesforbabwisi.org

*Contribute & be part of bringing Scripture to this People Group in their tongue.

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

Ministry poses a multitude of challenges. What is the most pressing issue you are facing? Send us an email (info@igniteUS.net) and describe your circumstance. We will consider using this in our News Letter. We will protect your identity and just deal with the issue. Give us your name, email address, church name and cell phone #. THANKS!

* Calling a Pastor – Where’s Waldo?

It is not uncommon for a church to receive 300-400 Resumes when seeking to call a Lead Pastor. They then launch a process that is comparable to ‘Finding Waldo’. Remember that game? There is a picture of a thousand faces. The challenge is in viewing this photograph; find Waldo. The book by this title was released in 1987.

This may be entertaining for some folks, but, it is a very poor and ineffective way to identify and call a pastor. It takes far too long, cost far too much and produces pastoral tenures that average 4.3 years (http://www.gbjournal.org/8-82/); (http://www.tms.edu/preachersandpreaching/the-long-view-on-pastoral-ministry/). Not good and very detrimental to the church.

IgniteUS provides a Process that is less costly, requires less time (on average 12 months or less), is more effective and results in a pastor that FITS the church and the church FITS him. The churches that have used this process give us a 94% Effectiveness Rating. Contact us for more information on this valuable resource that equips local churches in calling a man that leads with excellence and effectiveness. 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

Unless you have been hiding in a cave or on a deserted island in the past week you are aware of the most recent capitulation to evil by some ‘so called’ evangelicals. Dr. Al Mohler responded to this in an editorial post on 06/10. The link takes my readers to this post. We will or we will not defend the veracity and integrity of the text of Scripture. Choose you this day whom you will serve!

http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/06/10/which-way-evangelicals-there-is-nowhere-to-hide/

BLOG - “Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point? “. Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – - www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently -”Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point? “) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!

The Pew Report & Ministry Metrics

June 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Evangelical Church – Pew Report – Reality
In the Fable ‘Chicken Little’ he is struck on the head by an object. He cries out – - The Sky is Falling – The Sky is Falling!! (Actually, it was an acorn!) Here is a link to that Fable. (http://www.eleaston.com/chicken.html) I post the final sequence for my readers convenience. The alarm was overstated hyperbole but the result was a disaster. This is similar to what will transpire in the evangelical church if we do not have the courage of genuine discernment, embrace reality, and take wise, persistent, and prudent action – - SOON!
So Foxy Loxy led Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey across a field and through the woods.  He led them straight to his den, and they never saw the king to tell him that the sky is falling.
The recent Pew Report on the decline of Christianity in America launched a flurry of Panic, I told you so’s, and a host of other responses. My Grandpa taught me that ‘liars can figure, but figures don’t lie’. There is a modicum of truth in that aphorism. But, (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
In this article my objective is to tell the real story. It is utterly and absolutely undeniable that many Denominations are not only declining, they are in free fall. The losses reported in the past decade are astronomical. To continue on this path will result in the closure of many more assemblies known as churches (sic). This precipitous decline is in Denominations that have abandoned in wholesale fashion the Authority of Scripture and the historic concept of Evangelical orthodoxy. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, published nearly 100 years ago but applicable to our time exposed the foolishness of this approach to ministry.
The Pew Report prompted a host of Evangelical pundits to quickly trumpet their numbers. These figures do not show decline. In some cases there are even modest gains. While true, this is merely part of the story. The fact that there is not decline may even be a negative factor in the future of the American Church. This may lull some to be ‘at ease in Zion’. A very bad place to reside. Israel in their arrogance was once there:
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, . . . (Amos 6:1).
First, the church is never going to die. Not in America. Not in any part of this world. The church is the Body & Bride of Christ. He stated emphatically that He is building that church (Matt. 16:18), He never fails, and He never lies. Mark it down.
Second, there is a serious and deadly flaw in the way the Evangelical Church measures effectiveness; numbers only. Bigger is better, biggest is best. Denominations are accorded slots for Chaplains in our military services based on numbers. These numbers are based on attendance and primarily on membership statistics.
(One of my Board Members is a retired military officer. He joined a church. He was then transferred numerous times. After 15 years he once again resides in the area where he joined that church. He told the Church Secretary they wanted to join that church. He was told, ‘Oh Dr. XXXX, you are already a member!’ In some cases you cannot get off the church roles even when you die!!) The fallacy of mere numbers and membership stats!
The SBC claims to have about 16 million members. However, on the best Sunday of the year there are not 7 million in attendance. There have been numerous formal attempts to correct this. Those attempts are always met with scorn and defeat. How dare you challenge our standing as the largest Evangelical denomination? Excuse me. (The SBC is not alone in this charade.) I have personally corresponded with numerous Denominational Leaders who state clearly they agree with my thesis that we are applying an erroneous metric. But, nothing changes. How tragic.
Third, numbers are important because they represent people. But, the proper Metric for measuring ministry effectiveness is not numbers alone. Rather, it is transformation. We are commanded and privileged to make disciples (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 9:23; Rom. 12:2; Col. 2:6-7). Edgar Schein offers a sterling statement regarding organizational metrics:
What you have not defined you cannot measure!
Fourth, every organization that expects to survive has a viable and accurate metric for success. If you do not know with accuracy what your purpose and objective is, you are merely beating the wind. MacDonalds recently saw a small % decline in their sales. They dismissed the CEO. They eliminated numerous menu items. Why? To correct the fact that they were missing the mark. The metric they had established and defined for success was not being met. The church should exhibit such integrity and diligence.
It matters very little how many thousand people ‘attend’ Sunday services if they are not transformed into the image of Christ. For the church to assess effectiveness she must have a well defined and accurate definition of transformation. She must assess  ministry using this metric. To fail in this process is quite simply to fail at the very mandate, the singular mandate in the Great Commission – Make Disciples. Here is ‘a’ definition. The means by which this is accomplished will vary from church to church but the fact of transformation into the image of Christ must not be ignored.
Transformation – is the objective and observable positive change in the life     of a disciple into the character, conduct and likeness of Jesus Christ. The principles and precepts of God’s Word are the directives for this change and they are applied in the routines of life consistently with joy. The change is measured objectively based on behavior that reflects obedience to the Scripture, “all that Jesus has commanded’. This process is accomplished in the context of transparency and vulnerability with accountability and is lived out in a ‘life in community’ context within the body of Christ.
The Greek word for “one another” is “allelon” which denotes a reciprocal and mutual work on the part of believers toward one another. It occurs 58 times in the New Testament, excluding the Gospels. A church body which practices these commands experiences a meaningful dynamic deep caring concern for fellow believers; connectedness, unity, cooperation, commitment, accountability, other-centeredness, involvement. These concepts can be measured objectively.God has given the Church His blueprint for building itself up. This includes relating to one another in and everybody doing their part (Eph. 4:12-16). As we follow His design, we will see a dynamic church that is healthy and effective. Probably much smaller in ‘numbers’ for a time but profoundly more powerful and effective in proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. The end result will be a church that is filled with those who meet the profile Christ gave us (Luke 14:25-33).
Summary
Do not be ‘led through the woods’ by those with nefarious motives – preserve status quo at all costs. Never fear Pastor. Unlike our friends who followed Foxy Loxy, you WILL see the King. You will give an account for your care and feeding of the sheep. He is Holy, Merciful and Worthy. His word is clear and it calls for transformation not mere numbers and activity.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17).
We simply must engage in what Jim Collins calls in his book Good To Great (p. 86)  ‘Brutal Reality’. We should always speak the truth. The truth regarding the evangelical church is that she is currently and persistently focused on  the wrong issue; numbers rather than transformation. REPENT! Isaiah spoke truth to power in his ministry;
Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:13-18)
So, what Metric are you applying? Attendance? Membership? Offerings? Baptisms? All these issues matter but they are not the primary issue. Are the people you shepherd being transformed into the image of Christ? Can you measure that transformation with a high degree of accuracy? We ARE going to see the KING!

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