Is Seminary Necessary??

August 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Seminary – Competence – Pastorate

* Leading Transformation

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Pod Cast  Thrive – Leadership Is

* This Date in History -

Some men tell me they

 

 

 

labeled

Seminary – Competence – Pastorate

You just suffered a major Myocardial Infarction. It is life threatening. You choose as your physician: a) your neighbor who has a 10th grade education and is unemployed, b) the guy down the street that repairs cars in his back yard, or, c) the very best Cardiologist in your state.

My assumption is you chose c. Why? Because your life depends on his competence and expertise in treating patients suffering heart anomalies.

Your company is facing a complicated legal issue through no fault of your own. It involves millions of dollars. You will secure Legal Service from: a) the UPS Driver that delivers packages to your house, b) the guy that runs the coffee shop where you stop every morning, c) the finest Legal Team in the Mid-West.

My assumption is you chose c. Why? Because the longevity and continued existence of your company depends on the skill, training, and competence of that Law Firm and their team of Attorneys that will represent you.

So, should those who Pastor/Shepherd a congregation in the church be any less competent and highly skilled than the Cardiologist or Attorneys?

The focus of this issue of the News Letter is addressing this question – - ‘Is a Seminary Education required to pastor in today’s culture?’ Well, the answer to that question is ‘Yes’ & ‘No’! Let me explain and PLEASE do not jump to any conclusions or let your prejudiced opinion answer the question. I will close this article with my personal testimony on the impact Seminary has had for44 years on my life and ministry.

There have been several men that had no Seminary Training and enjoyed great success and effectiveness in ministry; Bunyan who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, Charles Haddon Spurgeon who led the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and Martin Lloyd-Jones who served for 50 years at Westminster in London. They are the exception. Such success without the equipping that Seminary provides is extremely rare.

Let me clarify right here. There is a vast difference between a Seminary Education and a Seminary Degree. There are many men with degrees that never accomplished  Seminary Education. They managed to go through the process without embracing the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredible value and benefit of learning the original languages, church history, homiletics, hermeneutics, etc. The people you serve are the beneficiaries of your competence and diligence in applying what you learned.

Here are several pluses or advantages that a Seminary Education provides for pastoral ministry. You will appreciate these much more AFTER you have been in the battle for a few years. Mark it down, it is a battle, it is spiritual warfare!

1) Confidence Pastoral ministry is literally the care and feeding of God’s chosen people. The text of Scripture provides a clear warning to those who wear the mantle of Pastor/Shepherd.(James 3:1). Every time you mount the sacred desk to declare the unchanging TRUTH of the Gospel you will be exceedingly thankful for the CONFIDENCE that a Seminary education well executed provides for you. With proper humility, you know as you speak that you are accurately with precision in context representing what the text says!

2) Competence There is great joy in knowing that you are executing the care and feeding of God’s people with precision and excellence. Like a skilled surgeon, you apply the tools of exegesis and hermeneutics with precision. You witness the transformation God produces through your ministry in the people you serve. Making disciples is accomplished by the accurate declaration of God’s revealed TRUTH as applied by the Holy Spirit = Transformation.

3) Tenacity Seminaries report that five (5) years after graduation, 50% of the graduates are no longer in ministry. That is a stunning statistic. Possessing the tools that seminary provides and unconditional surrender to Jesus as Lord makes longevity in ministry possible. Peterson framed this as ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.’. I recently served a Pastor who is completing 68 years in the same church! That men is real Tenacity.

My Testimony on Seminary Education

I was 27 years old with two children when I began my undergraduate studies. After 1 year I determined that a Seminary Education was imperative. That was in 1970. Our culture today is far more complex and challenging. The competence that a Seminary Education provides equips a man to face head on those challenges. My education opened a multitude of ministry opportunities to me. God has taken me to 27 countries training pastors and church leaders. I added to my Seminary training Church Consultant Certification which was granted me in large part because of my education and International experience. I currently write Book Reviews for Crossway Publications. My Seminary Education has equipped with the tools to do that. God has granted me the joy of six radio programs a week in which I promote the Reformation and Renewal of the church. Our children and grandchildren have been influenced by my education. Modeling influences as little else can. Our eldest son is an Attorney and serves as Chief Counsel for the Inspector General in the Security Exchange Commission in Wash D.C. He is 53 years old. He is pursuing an M.Div. at Southern Seminary.

God granted me the privilege of having 20 Pastoral Interns over the 49 years of pastoral ministry. Today they serve as Military Chaplains, Missionaries, Pastors, Hospice Chaplains, etc. My Seminary Education in part made this possible and it is a great way to multiply your Kingdom impact.

Some men tell me that ‘I did not have the opportunity to attend Seminary’. Really? Let me close by saying the incredible multitude of options that exist today to get a Seminary Education is simply stunning. Obviously a resident program is best, but, you can accomplish an M.Div. via on line instruction. Knowing the original languages is a strategic advantage in pastoral ministry. You know with accuracy and precision in context what God’s Word declares. The people you serve trust that you are properly representing God’s Truth. Sell everything you have and pursue such an education (Matt. 13:46). You will never regret acquiring the skills and competence such an education provides. Soon enough my pilgrimage will be over and I delight in what God has graciously permitted me to do for the Kingdom and the King! Seminary Education contributed significantly to that endeavor. Pastor, encourage the men under your ministry that God calls into pastoral ministry to get the very best Seminary Education possible. You serve the King & the Kingdom well by doing so. (Consider www.expositors.org). The fee is $200/hour and you get an M.Div. with both languages in 4 years.

ResourceSome Pastors and Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson. Read Chapter 35, pp. 685-696. The Preacher As Theologian. Rich fare for your soul!

The link takes my readers to an article by Dr. Jason Allen, President of Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City MO. He affirms what I have said in this article. Read & Heed!

https://www.challies.com/articles/is-seminary-really-necessary/

 

Leading Transformation

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality as this post documents. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address and correct this persistent impotence?’

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples (Call Pastor Louis Venable in Loris, SC – 843 817 7842). Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

We come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is. a very modest monthly fee depending on the level of Consultation you desire. Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. I have an article titled Measuring What Matters Most that will facilitate genuine Transformation  I will send this to all who make such a request You will be very glad that you called. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Pastoral Placement

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

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.

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of helping meet those needs.

THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

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.igniteus.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.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. On July 17 I began a series titled “Leadership Is”. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development and Intentional Disciple Making in the local church. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

Ent.
 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1620 Mayflower sets sail from Southampton, England, with 102 Pilgrims

Read and respond. THANKS!!Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Why Go To Seminary“) 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!

News Letter August 1, 2018

August 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Persistent Decline & Persistent Denial

* Leading Transformation

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Pod Cast  Thrive – Leadership Is

* This Date in History- Jerusalem Falls

 

 

 

 

labeled

Persistent Decline & Persistent Denial

 

The OT Prophets voiced a powerful, accurate and persistent message. That message declared the aberrant, wayward, and disobedient conduct of God’s people. They ‘sounded the trumpet’, calling people to repentance. Repentance is a change of heart that also results in a discernible and radical change of direction – TURN AROUND. They not only ignored the message, they killed the prophet messengers (Acts 7:52).

There was a time, about 15 years ago, when so called leaders in the church denied the reality of decline and loss of spiritual power and effectiveness. That is no longer possible unless of course you have had a frontal lobotomy. The evidence of decline and loss of disciple making fruitfulness is overwhelming. The history of the church in America has been to measure effectiveness by numbers; attendance, offerings, baptisms, etc. Now that flawed metric also reveals persistent decline. Those using this reprehensible metric have been hoisted on their own petard.

The article that follows is from the Aquila Report dated July 24, 2018. It describes the consequences of denial in the state of Minnesota. However, the profile that emerges may be legitimately applied to most so called evangelical churches in all 50 states in the USA. This despicable portrait developed in spite of gracious, accurate, and persistent warnings that the decay in the church was rotting her very soul.

Paul declared to the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:31) that for 3 years he had admonished them with tears. That is my testimony as well. Since 2001 IUS has pleaded with Pastors and local church Leaders (selah) to abandon the flawed metric of numbers and focus on the NT objective of the genuine transformation of true believers. That message has fallen on deaf ears. The News Letter of July 15 provided a plethora of resources to accomplish an honest Assessment of the true status of ministry in a local church. How many engaged this profile? There is no greater JOY than leading a church to become robustly effective in making disciple in obedience to the Great Commission. Join that initiative. You will be thankful in time and eternity.

So, Minnesota is not the only state in which the church is impotent. Denominational Leaders in the SBC (2008)  and United Methodist (UM June 2016) predicted dire consequences if the ministry models being applied did not change. The United Methodist will be bankrupt by 2030 and will not exist by 2050. The SBC will close 40% of the existing (44,000) churches by 2030; (many of them need to close – they have not been true “Churches” for many years. They have no connection with the communities in which they exist). The SBC has been on an unbroken 65 year decline, but, their eyes are blind and their ears are deaf (Ezek. 12:2). That my dear reader is not the picture of a healthy Christ honoring Church!

FYI I spoke this week with a local pastor. They typically have 30-32 people attend on Sunday Morning. I inquired – “How are you doing?” His response = ‘Well attendance is down, but, we are holding our own!’ Of the few that do attend, the majority of them are 65+ years of age. I leave my readers to see where this is headed. I plead with my readers to pray earnestly and often for the American Church and for her Pastors. Thank You!

Article on Minnesota

Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

La Salle, Minn. — For 100 years, Lutherans in this farming community on the Minnesota prairie have come to one church to share life’s milestones.

They have been baptized, confirmed and married at La Salle Lutheran. Their grandparents, parents and siblings lie in the church cemetery next door.

But the old friends who gathered here early one recent Sunday never imagined that they would one day be marking the death of their own church.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

“Sunday used to be set aside for church: that’s what families did,” said Donna Schultz, 74, a church member since grade school at La Salle, in southwest Minnesota. “Now our children have moved away. The grand kids have volleyball, dance on weekends. People are busy with other things.

“I’m really going to miss this,” she added quietly, gesturing to her friends in the lobby. “We’re like family.”

The rising toll is evident in rural, urban and suburban churches across the state.

St. Paul’s On the Hill Episcopal Church on prestigious Summit Avenue was recently sold to a developer after more than a century of religious service. Bethany Lutheran Church in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis held its “holy closure” ceremony last fall. St. Michael Catholic Church in West St. Paul celebrated its last mass 18 months ago.

Mainline Protestant churches have been hit the hardest. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Minnesota has lost almost 200,000 members since 2000 and about 150 churches. A third of the remaining 1,050 churches have fewer than 50 members. The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in Minnesota, has shuttered 65 churches since 2000.

Catholic membership statewide has held steady, but the number of churches fell from 720 in 2000 to 639 last year, according to official Catholic directories. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which closed 21 churches in 2010 and merged several dozen others, is again looking at ways to consolidate church staffing and programs.

The closings and mergers are leaving a void in communities where churches frequently house child care, senior programs, food shelves, tutoring and other services.

The Link

This link take my readers to an article I captured from the Birmingham News. The article is originally from the Washington Post. Please read this in it’s entirety. This article is a bit lengthy but it does provide insight. It provides a tragically accurate portrait of many SBC churches in AL. The church profiled called a former truck driver as pastor with apparently no formal education to  lead them. His ‘call to ministry’ was an ‘emotional moment’ in his past. While intended to make Christians look like buffoons, the article does provide a portrait of many SBC churches in AL. This informs you of how to pray for the church, IUS, and myself. Thanks for your prayers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/07/21/feature/god-trump-and-the-meaning-of-morality/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.03fd0f7b674e

 

Leading Transformation

 

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality as this post documents. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address and correct this persistent impotence?’

 

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

 

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples (Call Pastor Louis Venable in Loris, SC – 843 817 7842). Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

 

We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is. a very modest monthly fee depending on the level of Consultation you desire. Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. I have an article titled Measuring What Matters Most that will facilitate genuine Transformation  I will send this to all who make such a request You will be very glad that you called. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

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.

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of helping meet those needs.

THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

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.igniteus.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.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. On July 17 I began a series titled “Leadership Is”. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

Ent.
 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1834 Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire – Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into effect

Read and respond. THANKS!!Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Change or DIE!“) 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/

June 15 News Letter

June 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1607 – Colonists in North America completed James Fort in Jamestown, VA. (I have a very informative Power Point on this Fort. Contact me!)

BLOG – Who Shares the Gospel?

Read and respond. THANKS!!

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

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Who Shares the Gospel?“) 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!

News Letter June 1 2018

June 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* The Judgment Of God

* Leading Transformation

* Seminary @ Expositors.Org

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review – ‘Unhitched’? – Nope

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* This Date in History – Harbor Closed

* BLOG – The Judgment of God

 

 

W

The Judgment of God

 

The past several weeks (May 1 – May 25) have been an absolute blur of indictments on the Evangelical Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention specifically. The link following this paragraph is an article addressing this circumstance written by Dr. Al Mohler. The SBC is not alone in the American Church scene to which God’s judgment may be rightly applied. Read Dr. Mohler’s post first.

https://albertmohler.com/2018/05/23/wrath-god-poured-humiliation-southern-baptist-convention/?mc_cid=45b3897781&mc_eid=d299093093

 

The three words that describe our conduct considered in this article merit God’s Judgment. There are many more Covenant violations we are guilty of as we express daily the sin nature imputed to us as a result of Adam’s willful disobedience. Pray for Repentance, Reformation and Renewal.

 

In Isaiah 53 there are numerous words in the English language that express sin; iniquity, transgression, transgressions, etc. These terms in the original Masoretic Text of the OT convey a much more graphic portrayal of our sin. When you read this article and comprehend the messages conveyed by these words, you will readily understand why the church and sinners deserve God’s Judgment!

 

I included the original language in this article but IContact will not accept them so the best I can do is a transliteration of the words. In most cases I cite lexical sources so the reader may do further research if desired. The sins delineated in this article surely merit God’s judgment.

 

Word #1 – Isaiah 53:5 - (avone) (used 215 times in the OT) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

 

Isaiah 21:3  - (avone), to bend or twist, used 215 times in the OT = crooked perverse behavior. Used as a Portrait of the anguish of a woman in labor.

 

Isaiah 21:3 Therefore my loins are filled with anguish; pangs have seized me, like the pangs of a woman in labor; I am bowed down so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see.

 

Someone distressed, bent double; NKJV – distressed

 

The parent verb, (avone), means ‘bend, twist’, making the noun mean ‘crooked behavior, perversion.’ In the total vocabulary of sinfulness, it is the “internal” word – strictly, therefore, the warped human nature from which all wrongdoing derives. . . . (J. Alec Motyer, Stricken for The Transgression of My People, Chapter 10, From Heaven He Came And Sought Her, p.257) This word gives clear expression to our twisted conduct and motives, the consequences and resulting guilt of our deeds.

 

That which is injustice, false and idolatrous – LOGOS7 word studies

 

The remarkable ambivalence between the meanings “sin as an act” and “penalty” shows that in the thought of the OT sin and its penalty are not radically separate notions as we tend to think of them.  Rather in the OT the action of a man and what happens to him are presupposed to be directly related in one process within the basic divine order (TWOT, Vol.II, p. 651)

 

…the total man, the whole sum of human life and being, is perverted; that all the faculties of man are more or less twisted out of shape by sin; that each man, from the whole is turned from God rather than toward God; so that the whole nature of man, as it now exists, is warped and twisted by sin. (E.C. Dargan, SBC 1900 ish)

 

Man is both in mind and heart, in purpose and in deed apart from God, lost and straying. (Dargan as quoted in By His Grace and For His Glory, Nettles, p.210)

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘iniquity’ (crookedness) to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your warped sinful nature?

 

Word #2 – Isaiah 53:8  (pasha) Used 90 times in the OT The fundamental idea of the root word is a breach of relationships, civil or religious, between two parties. It expresses the ‘casting off’ of allegiance’. The verbal form indicates a casting off of allegiance, a rebellion against rulers (TWOT, Vol. II, p.741) Sin is rebellion against the reign of Jesus Christ in your life.

 

Israel was accused of rebelling against her divine king and the established Covenant between them.

 

Isaiah 48:8  You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

 

Hosea 8:1  Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant and rebelled against my law.

 

Acts of transgression, going beyond the limits of God’s laws, have the impact on inner attitudes which create deceitfulness or a distorted love for this “independence” from God.

 

Amos 4:4  ”Come to Bethel, and transgress (rebel, break away from legitimate authority); to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days.

 

No matter how much we make an excuse for the fallen nature which prompts actual sin, the fact remains that in cases far too numerous to recall, a choice was presented to us and we chose the path of deliberate, conscious, willful rebellion. We sinned because we wanted to!!!

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘rebellion’ to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your wicked rebel nature?

 

Word #3 – Isaiah 53:12 - (katah) (used 34 times in the OT) This word focuses on the fact of sin as a short-coming, missing the mark.

 

In the moral use of this word, ‘sin’ is the specific matter we find that we have to confess – whether thought, word or deed, inward imagination or outward act. We have “missed,” fallen short of the Lord’s command.

 

Judges 20:16  Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

 

One of our grandsons took up archery in High School. Each shooter fires 30 arrows at the target from increasing distances resulting in a total possible score of 300. Our grandson scored about 210 in the beginning. He progressed and qualified for the National Championship held in Nashville which we attended. He shot 289. The young man that won that competition shot 299. But – that still misses the mark of 300.

 

The fall rendered all of us poor marksman. We consistently miss the mark.

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘missing the mark’ to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your failure?

 

Summary & Application

The Fall rendered us all:

1. (avone) crooked, twisted, idolators

2.  (pasha) rebels, we rebel against the reign of Christ in our lives

3.  (katah) poor marksman, we miss the mark consistently

 

What is God’s standard?

 

Matthew 5:48 -You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

?? How can a crooked, rebellious, poor marksman live up to, accomplish this perfection?

 

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

Luke 9:23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

 

Leading Transformation 

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address and correct this persistent reality?’

 

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

 

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples. Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

 

We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is no long term contract. There is. a very modest monthly fee. .Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. I have an article titled Measuring What Matters Most that will facilitate genuine Transformation that I will send to all who make such a request You will be very glad that you called. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. A positive trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

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 –

Book Review – Motyer, Alec. 6 Ways The Old Testament Speaks Today – An Interactive Guide. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018, 240 pp. $19.99 ISBN # – 978-1-4335-5851-1. Available May 31, 2018.

Recently Andy Stanley stated that the church, specifically pastors in their preaching ministry, need to ‘unhitch’ from the Old Testament. This comment unleashed a flurry of criticism. To be fair, this comment was in the third message in a series of three. He insists that if taken in context of the three (3) messages, not to worry.

 

I’m not so sure. There are no new heresies, just new heretics. Marcion was perhaps the first to promote the bifurcation of the Old Testament from the New. He lived from 85 – 160 AD. He was excommunicated from the church in 144 AD for cause. His specific comment on this issue was:

 

. . . we need to distinguish between the “stern law-giving Creator God of the Old Testament and the good merciful God of the New Testament.”

 

I will accept Pastor Stanley’s explanation regarding the context of this comment. Having taken the high ground and being gracious, I will state that such a comment at the very least is profoundly unwise and he should expect the furor that followed. Now we turn to the content of Motyer’s treatment of the Old Testament.

 

This is the second edition of this title. It was first published in 1994 under the title A Scenic Route through The Old Testament. From the Introduction:

 

Actually, it is a rather spectacular piece of countryside, full of interest, and wonderfully speaking directly to us, our situations, and our needs. Did you ever notice a striking thing Steven said in his speech in Acts 7:38, that Moses “received the living oracles to give to us” – the vital word of God itself relevant to each successive generation right up to “us”? Paul insisted on the same truth in Romans 15:4: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.”

 

And when we turn to the highest authority of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, what do we find? Well, if we had asked him, “why do you keep quoting the Old Testament? “He would have replied, “the old what?” And when we explained, he would have corrected us: “you mean the word of God (Mark 7:13), the Scriptures, (John 5:39)” –  nothing old about that as far as Jesus was concerned, for it is actually the applicable truth of God by which he was content to plan his life and accept his cross (Matthew 26:53-54). The big word he used was “The Law” (Luke 10:26), a word that actually means “the Teaching”, and “the living directions of a caring parent to a beloved child (“instruction,” Prov. 4:1) in the case of our Lord, his heavenly Father’s voice in his ear. Should we not prize –  and go all out to understand – what was so precious to our Savior?

 

The author presents the very beneficial text and readings in six headings as follows:

I.               The Voice of History pp. 15-36

II.               The Voice of Religion pp. 37-54

III.              The Voice of Worship pp. 55-76

IV.              The Voice of Prophecy pp. 77-100

V.                The Voice of Wisdom pp. 101-120

VI.               The Voice of God pp. 121-142

 

There is then an Appendix that supplies ‘daily readings’ in each of these subject areas; pp. 143-208. I suggest that a pastor will be encouraged and equipped in his study of the Old Testament by purchasing and applying this material in his sermon preparation and personal study. This material will be very beneficial in establishing biblical literacy in the lives of the people a pastor serves.

 

In closing it would be profoundly foolish and heretical to discard the rich history and background of our faith by ignoring the Old Testament. Read it. Study it. Apply the Truths recorded in it to inform, encourage and equip God’s people. This title is a wonderful tool any pastor may use in that glorious task.

 

A testimonial regarding the value of this title in the life and ministry of a pastor.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book. Priceless wisdom and exquisite summaries of Old Testament genres, with the added bonus of Motyer’s wit and wisdom, make this a book a treasure in deed. ”

Derek Thomas – Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church – Columbia, South Carolina

Pastor Tom Fillinger

 

Expositors Seminary

 

Expositors Seminary is truly cutting edge in the Theological Training & Equipping of men for ministry. Those that attend and complete the required courses receive a full M.Div. in four (4) years complete with both languages. Students attend Tuesday AM through Wednesday at 2PM. The cost is $200/hour. The men attending are able to continue their current ministry and do not need to relocate their families. They have 9 campuses around the country housed in local churches. They have the most current technology which facilitates the instruction. Dr. George Zemek is the Academic Dean and one of the Professors.

 

I encourage you to go to their web site and examine what they offer. Their web site is www.expositors.org.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1774 – The British government ordered the Port of Boston closed.

BLOG – The Judgment of God

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 Judgment of God“) 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!

News Letter May 15 2018

May 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* What Is The Church?

* Leading Transformation

* Links to Fruitful Deliberation

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review – Christian Ethics – Grudem

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* This Date in History – America Launched

* BLOG – What Is The Church?

 

W

What Is The Church

 

“The Church is puzzled by the world’s indifference. She is trying to overcome it by adapting her message to the fashions of the day. But if, instead, before the conflict, she would descend into the secret place of meditation, if by the clear light of the gospel she would seek an answer not merely to the questions of the hour but, first of all to the eternal problems of the spiritual world, then perhaps, by God’s grace, through His good Spirit, in His good time, she might issue forth once more with power, and an age of doubt might be followed by the dawn of an era of faith.”  (J. Gresham Machen)

 

On Saturday morning, April 28th I received an early morning call. The caller was a member of my first pastorate back in the 70′s. The purpose of that call was to solicit wisdom on the callers planned departure from the church they had been attending for a number of years. The essence of Machen’s quote frames the multiple reasons for this caller’s departure from that church. Machen’s quote is now nearly 100 years old. Imagine what he would write today.

 

The sermons in that church are vacuous. They are largely devoid of exegetical substance that produce transformation in the lives of the congregants. They give no evidence of diligent personal study and scholarly research. The caller discovered that the sermons were in fact copied word for word from a ‘popular’ public speaker – I hesitate to describe him as an Elder/Pastor. In fact, several years ago this individual declared that the term Pastor/Shepherd is now passe. This same individual recently declared that ‘oneness in the faith is more important than being theologically correct’. The music in this assembly is often popular songs from the culture, not hymns that teach theological Truth as the congregation worships the True and Living God.

 

The caller said – ‘Pastor, you taught us well.’ Be encouraged men. When you honor God’s word and proclaim it line upon line with precise exegetical accuracy and genuine compassion for those you lead, it does equip your people to live with discernment that honors Christ.

 

This article is endeavoring to answer the question ‘What Is The Church?’ My prayer is that this material informs, encourages, and equips you to lead with integrity in the Church, The Body of Christ and the Family of God. My prayer is for you as a pastor that you find incredible JOY in your leadership. There is much that is needed under each of these headings but this is a News Letter not a dissertation. I leave my readers to flesh out these issues. Remember, the Church is a Theological entity/organism and ministry must be shaped by ‘what the text says!’

 

I begin with a declaration of what the church is NOT.

 

The church is Not merely a ‘Preaching Station‘. Preaching is vital. The word of God transforms his people. But the church is much more than Preaching. Perhaps this is part of our problem. Many have the attitude that ‘I went to church and listened to preaching’ therefore I have paid my dues for this week.The church fails to understand that Special Revelation is not mere information. It is to produce Transformation!

 

The church is Not a Social Agency servicing all the material needs of the community. We do well to provide a Food Pantry and other similar beneficial functions but never let the tail wag the dog.

 

The church is not A Christian School. I support Christian Schools. I believe in teaching TRUTH to children from the day they are born. But, be careful. Do not permit the school to run the church, or the tail to wag the dog!

 

The church is Not a welfare agency. We do well to provide assistance to needy people but the focus of the church is the redeemed of the Lord, not every citizen in a given community.

 

The church is Not a Country Club. In a Country Club you pay your dues and participation is optional. Tithes and Offerings are not dues and participation is not optional in the church. Contributions do not purchase power to be wielded in the decision making process.

 

The church is Not a Democracy. No where in the text of the NT can it be demonstrated that the church ever voted on anything. The church does not make decisions by ‘popular opinion’ and God is not impressed with nor will he ever bless a 51% majority. The practice of ‘voting’ in the church is imported (may i say syncretized) from the culture at large and has no exegetical validation. The people affirm decisions the Elders have reached. They must be well informed, always treated with dignity and respect, but, that does not mean they vote. cf. the issue of those who are members but clearly unregenerate.

 

The church is Not a belong – then believe assembly. This mentality is driven by a false Metric for effectiveness – Numbers! More is better and Biggest is Best. Wrong and lethal!

 

What the church Is. (The issues are simply listed. No order of importance is implied.)

 

The church Is the gathered body of God’s chosen redeemed people. A characteristic of the true church through the ages has been one of regenerate membership. There are numerous people today that have membership in a local church – BUT – they are tragically not redeemed.

 

The church Is the Bride of Christ, The Family of God, and The Temple of the Living God.

 

The church is rooted and grounded on the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture.

 

The church Is the household of God, the pillar and buttress of the truth.

 

The church graciously and consistently practices church discipline. The design of this is restoration of the offender, not punishment.

 

The Church Is Elder led. The offices in the church are Elders/Pastor Shepherds and Deacons. No where in the NT are Deacons shown to be a Board of Governors. Their function is to serve the congregation as set forth in Acts 6:2-3. (cf. Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:5)

 

The church Is to display true Life in Community. There is genuine Transparency and Vulnerability among the members. They exhort, encourage, rebuke, bear with one another, and bear one another’s burdens. Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples by the way we love one another.

 

The Purpose of the church Is to make Disciples who make Disciples. This is the singular imperative verb (command) in the Great Commission.This tasks is the privilege of every believer.

 

The church is a place in which there is a continuous process Of Leadership Development that trains and equips men for future leadership roles in the church that are capable of planting healthy churches.

 

The church treats all people with dignity because they are created in the image of God.

 

The church recognizes, affirms, and requires expository preaching. There is a place for exception but this principle is the norm for week to week exposition of God’s word.

 

The church embraces with passion and consistency the practice of Intercessory Prayer. The church openly petitions God with the confidence that he hears and responds to their petitions.

 

Conclusion – Every dysfunctional ministry practice diminishes the prospects of the church being and doing what God has designed His church to be and do. Teach your people the true profile of church. Do this exegetically, graciously, systematically, and persistently. Those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells will delight to learn, honor, and obey the LORD!

 

Leading Transformation

 

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address correct this persistent reality?’

 

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

 

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples. Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

 

We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is no long term contract. There is a very modest monthly fee. .Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. You will be very glad that you did. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Links To Fruitful Deliberation

The two links that follow display with integrity the theme we are addressing – What is The Church? The Link from Challies contrasts two ministries that clearly display the profile of a true church, Matt Chandler (The Village) & Steven Furtick (Elevation). The second link displays the significant changes taking place in our nation. These changes have a profound impact on the church.

 

https://www.challies.com/articles/matt-chandlers-radical-reminder-that-god-is-for-god/

https://www.amren.com/news/2017/09/americas-changing-religious-identity/

 

Pastoral Placement

 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. A positive trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

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 –

 

Book Review. Wayne Grudem. Christian Ethics – An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018,  1225 pp.  Available June 30, 2018. $60 Hardcover.

 

Grudem poses questions that serve well in providing justification for this title. How should Christians live when the surrounding culture is increasingly hostile to moral values? How can they know God’s will in the ordinary decisions of life?

 

This title has the endorsement of many Christian Leaders. Here is the affirmation of Sam Storms. “This nearly exhaustive treatment of Christian ethics is destined to become the standard evangelical text for many years to come. It is wide-ranging, thoughtful, and unafraid to engage with controversial issues and with those who take a different approach.

 

Grudem presents the material under seven headings. I provide them as follows.

 

Part One – Introduction

Part Two – Protecting God’s Honor

Part Three – Protecting Human Authority

Part Four – Protecting Human Life

Part Five – Protecting Marriage

Part Six – Protecting Property

Part Seven – Protecting Purity of Heart

 

Don’t let the price deter you from securing this title. If you turn to the Subject Index (p. 1216) you will be provided with a plethora of resources that have exegetical substantiation. This volume will aid the serious exeget in sermon preparation by supplying credible data in the areas Grudem has researched and that provide focus for the issues of the day  Your people will benefit and be equipped by possessing current research with exegetical validation on the multitude of issues swirling around us in the culture in America today. You will be equipped to preach with authority that transcends mere personal opinions.

 

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.

 

IgniteUS APP Coming Soon – Stay Tuned! I anticipate this will be available by June1st (??)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1787 Constitutional Convention delegates begin to assemble

BLOG – What Is The Church?

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 The Church“) 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!

 

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!

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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!

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