November 1 News Letter

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Scripture-God’s Word Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

* Book Reviews-Some Pastors & Teachers

* Leadership Lessons – ID Dysfunction

* This Day In History – The Reformation

* Read My Blog – Reformation & Revival

 

A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

 

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

 

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Book Reviews – Some Pastors & Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Leadership Lessons – Identify Dysfunctions

 

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

 

This Date in History

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

BLOG

Read and respond. THANKS!!

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

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

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

US Update

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

 

October 15 2017

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* History of the 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns

* Assessment & Ministry Effectiveness

* Book Reviews

* Current Issues of Importance

* Leadership Lessons

* This Day In History

* Read My Blog

* History of 95 Theses

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

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

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

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

 

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

 

* Classic Christian Hymns

 

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

Time after time He has waited before

And now He is waiting again

To see if you’re willing to open the door

Oh, how He wants to come in

 

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

Leadership Insight

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

Calling a Lead Pastor

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

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

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

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

Links - Pastoral Resources

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

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

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

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

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

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

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

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

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

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

This Date in History

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

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

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

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

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

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

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

October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

* Culture – Gospel & Great Commission

*  Leadership Insight – Cultural Awareness

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Model ‘T’ Ford

Read My BLOG – Cultural Analysis

Culture – Gospel – & Great Commission

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

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

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

National Cultural Factors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Church Factors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Application

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

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

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

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

Leadership Insight

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

Calling a Lead Pastor

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

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

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

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

Links - Pastoral Resources

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

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

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

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

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

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

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

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

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

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

This Date in History

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

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

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

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

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

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

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

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

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

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Defining Orthodoxy

*  Leadership Insight – Exegetical Precision

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  The Kraynak Family – Contributions

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Mayflower sets Sail

Read My BLOG – Doctrine & Downgrade

Defining Orthodoxy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See http://www.christiansunitedstatement.org/

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leadership Insight

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

 

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!”

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

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

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

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

 

The Kraynak Family Contributions

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

Mrs. Tim Kraynak

109 Plum Hill Road

Peach Bottom PA 17563

 

Links - Pastoral Resources

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

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

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

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

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

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

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

 

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

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

 

This Date in History

1620 Mayflower departs from Plymouth England with 102 pilgrims

 

BLOG - ”Doctrine & Downgrade”

Read and respond. THANKS!!

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

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

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

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

 

IUS Update

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

News Letter

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Spurgeon goes on:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Leadership Insight -  A Tribute to a Transformation Warrior

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Links  – Pastoral Resources

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

The Role Of Deacons?

June 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Function of  Deacons - Executive Board ?

*  Bibles For Babwisi – Uganda

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

*  Where’s Waldo – Calling A Pastor

*  Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

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

Function of Deacons??

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

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

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

First Principles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Bibles for Babwisi – Uganda

$8.50 = 1 Bible Delivered

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

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

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

Please contribute because … One Bible matters.

http://biblesforbabwisi.org

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

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

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

* Calling a Pastor – Where’s Waldo?

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

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

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

Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

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

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

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

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

The Pew Report & Ministry Metrics

June 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

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

Pastor As Author

February 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
* Pastor As Author

* On-line Coaching & Consulting

* Was Adam The First Man? Does it matter?

* Partnership – Founders & IUS

* Leadership Resources – Imputation of Adam’s Sin

* Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – I Can’t Write!

* Metrics In Ministry – Read the BLOG www.thetextsays.blogspot.com

* eStore on The Web

* In the Next Issue – Prayer & Effective Ministry

The Pastor As Author

Intro.: I requested an article from Dr. Jack Williamson, pastor of First Baptist in Ridgeway SC on the topic of writing. Jack has authored a number of books during his tenure as Pastor (a list of those titles follows this article). In spite of the ‘pen hits the paper’ reference, Jack does not write with an ink well and a quill! Writing is a wonderful way to expand the impact of the gospel. I encourage my readers to embrace this challenging and fruitful avenue of ministry. Notice the persistent production of Dr. Williamson’s work – persistence is a must for a writer. Caution – in this digital age what you write is out there for others to critique – forever!!

Tips on Writing from Dr. Jack Williamson, Pastor FBC Ridgeway SC

Before the pen hits the paper, ask yourself, “Who’s going to read this?” The answer to that question should have an enormous influence on what you write and how you write it. It will also affect the development of your theme, the vocabulary you use, and the application and conclusions of your piece.

Am I composing this for fellow pastors who will be familiar with the theological terms I use? Or, am I writing for laymen, in which case, I may have to incorporate definitions and references explaining those terms. Is this a piece that will be read by people from my generation, or for a younger or older audience?
Are the readers likely to be in agreement with me or opposed to my views and conclusions? This will govern the work’s construction. If you perceive the audience as friendly, you can mention the theme throughout the entire project, but if the audience is hostile to your argument, you should save the conclusion until the very end. Let the hostile reader follow your thinking before he or she reads your conclusions.
As you consider the potential audience, consider the purpose of your writing. Am I defending a particular viewpoint that has been challenged by another author? Am I attempting to persuade others to my point of view, or am I simply educating people of details and ideas that they might not already know?
The old adage is especially important in writing: “Plan your work and work your plan.”
Titles by Dr. Jack Williamson:
God’s Fluttering Servants—The Biblical Story of Angels
ISBN 978-1-4560-6524-9 (2011)
Heaven’s Area Code—A Theology of Prayer
ISBN 978-1-61582-938-5 (2010)
L of the Tulip—A Case for Particular Redemption
ISBN 1-60813-293-5 (2009)
Sin in the Assembly—A Guide for Local Baptist Church Discipline
ISBN 1-60441-178-3 (2007)
Seven Basic and Brief Pointers for Writers
Lit Crit – Literary Notes
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 05 April 2010
In no particular order of importance, I would encourage those who want to learn the wordriht life to approximate something like the following:
1. Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books. This might require joining the Marines, or working on an oil rig, or as a hashslinger at a truck stop in Kentucky. Know what things smell like out there.
2. Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks. Tolkien said that his ideas sprang up from the leaf mold of his mind. These are the trees where the leaves come from.
3. Read mechanical helps. By this I mean dictionaries, etymological histories, books of anecdotes, dictionaries of foreign phrases, books of quotations, books on how to write dialog, and so on. The plot will usually fail to grip, so just read a page a day. If you think it makes you out to be too much of a word-dork, then don’t tell anybody about it.
4. Stretch before your routines. If you want to write short stories, try to write Italian sonnets. If you want to write a novel, write a few essays. If you want to write opinion pieces for the Washington Post, then limber up with haiku.
5. Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.
6. Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours. This would include Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon. The brain is not a shoebox that “gets full,” but is rather a muscle that expands its capacity with increased use. The more you know the more you can know. The more you can do with words, the more you can do. As it turns out.
7. Keep a commonplace book. Write down any notable phrases that occur to you, or that you have come across. If it is one that you have found in another writer, and it is striking, then quote it, as the fellow said, or modify it to make it yours. If Chandler said that a guy had a cleft chin you could hide a marble in, that should come in useful sometime. If Wodehouse said somebody had an accent you could turn handsprings on, then he might have been talking about Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Tinker with stuff. Get your fingerprints on it.
Know when to stop.
Follow this link to John Hodgman’s “Advice to Writers.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVUJIGqL1AA
After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: “Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.” The eternal value of their work gives Christian writers further reason to heed an adaptation of Michelangelo’s words: “Write — and do not waste time.”
Follow this link to a helpful article on Justin Taylor’s BLOG on writing clearly and coherently. This also points the reader to a “Writer’s Conference in April in Orlando FL.
TCF’s personal basic tools for writing well:
1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
2. Wordsmithy – Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson
3. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Write On!

* On line Coaching & Consulting

Most, nearly all, Pastors are looking for helpful ministry resources and sound counsel. Thanks to God’s Providence and modern technology, this is now available. IgniteUS uses Video Conferencing. This enables us to speak with you Face2Face. We provide references that connect you with other Pastors who have engaged the process. They serve as our most effective and powerful promotion tool.You may choose the level of service you desire. You may sign up for one hour or a year etc. as you choose. The normal frequency is a 30 minute call twice a month. Prior to the call you send us an email detailing the issues you want us to address. There is no cost to learn more about this beneficial and economical approach to seeing God make the ministry where you serve Healthy & Effective. Give us a call 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net. You will be glad you did!

* Was Adam The First Man? Does it matter?

Publisher’s Description:

Denying the historicity of Adam has become increasingly present within evangelical circles.
Was Adam the first historical man?
Does the answer really matter?
And, does it affect any important doctrines in the Bible?
Carefully examining key passages of Scripture, Versteeg proves that all human beings descended from Adam, the first man. He argues that if this is not true, the entire history of redemption documented in Scripture unravels and we have no gospel in any meaningful sense.
This issue has been front and center for several years. It does matter and every pastor must know why. This title provides credible evidence for the historical Adam. (tcf)
Adam in the New Testament: Mere Teaching Model or First Historical Man? by J.P. Versteeg.
A number of theologians have postulated that Adam is a ‘teaching model’ in the
New Testament. Versteeg’s remarkably cogent and concise book tells us why
this view is impossible. (John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology
and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary)
Coming Publication: Four Views of the Historicity of Adam – Zondervan; to be published in time for ETS/IBR/SBL conferences in November. Four essayists: Denis Lamoreux (evolution, no historic Adam), John Walton (archetypal Adam, no need for historic Adam), C. John Collins (old earth creation, definite historic Adam), William Barrick (young earth creation, definite historic Adam).

Partnership – Founders & IUS

IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the “Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is (www.founders.org). You will find helpful resources at both sites!

Study Preaching and Preachers with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This was the first course we offered back in 2003. It is rich and refreshing source of insight for all who desire to faithfully proclaim God’s Word. A 16-week course beginning February 4, 2013. The course material is downloaded to your ipad, computer, etc. when you register. Go to www.founders.org and click on the Study Center. This course will help you become a better ‘Expositional Leader’.

* Leadership Resources – Imputation of Adam’s Sin by John Murray

The historical orthodox evangelical doctrinal position has been and is that mankind inherited both a sin nature and guilt, God’s judgment, as a result of Adam’s disobedience. There are some today who accept the fact of our inheriting a sin nature but loudly deny that we inherit Adam’s guilt. Read Murray and follow the link for a systematic examination of this question.

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-biblical-evidence-for-the-imputation-of-adams-sin

Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- “I Can’t Write”

I started my formal education at age 27. One of my first Professors was Dr. James Murray Grier. He died on January 12, 2013. He had and continues to have a profound influence on my life and ministry. Why? He taught me to think Theistically, to think God’s thoughts after Him. He modeled a joyful scholarship. He was highly academic and at the same time intensely practical in what he taught, preached and wrote.

I recall a student complaining to him and saying “I Can’t Write”. Jim said with genuine compassion and honest integrity – - ‘You can’t write because you can’t think!’ So true. When we think properly we can deliver those thoughts in written form. Jim followed me in one of the pastorates I was privileged to hold. He served for two years in that role.

This is a well deserved tribute to my brother, friend and mentor. He taught me to think. If you want to write well, learn to think well. Thank you Jim. The “Olde Pilgrim” has reached the celestial city whose builder and maker is God!.

?* Metrics In Ministry – Read the BLOG (www.thetextsays.blogspot.com)

Do you know what a disciple is? Can you measure the transformation of the people and congregation you serve? This article will get you started down this road to true spiritual health and effectiveness.

January 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Newsletter

 

IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Expository Leadership
*  A Learning Organization
*  A New Year & New Opportunity
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources - Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – No Decision is a Decision
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – What is Competence in Ministry?
Expository Leadership
**Please note – follow the links in this article to appreciate the importance of Expository Leadership. THANKS!
When I was in Bible College our homiletics prof gave us an eisegesis, yes eisegesis, assignment. Using the KJV only we were to preach a sermon for class to “prove” something, anything. My sermon was proof of Santa Claus from Zechariah 2:6. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. — Wish I still had the manuscript. Got an A! (from Face Book on 12/24/12)
The Bible is a treasure. The message is the Drama of RedemptionThere are at least four primary segments or epochs; Creation, The Fall, Redemption and Consummation. The chronology covers thousands of years. There are 40 authors of 66 books that in reality is ‘one Book’. There is an amazing consistency in the message. There is a God. He did actually send his Son. That Son in his sacrificial death did actually purchase a people for himself (cf. Rev. 5:9). This Son, Jesus, will come a second time in what is referred to as the parousia, the unveiling of the Triumphant Christ, the final act in this Drama of Redemptionas he returns to reign. Consummation.
The message in the opening paragraph above does not measure up as Expository Leadership. It distorts and abuses the intended message of the text of Scripture. That prof made his point and decades later that speaker remembers the assignment. In all fairness he is a proponent of Expository Leadership! That paragraph serves as a fitting comparative image.
What is Expository Leadership? Expository writing or speaking is that which seeks to inform, explain and make clear what the author or speaker intended. Authorial intent is a crucial component. In spite of post-modernism’s disdain for Truth Absolute the Scriptures mean what they say. The Christian Leader has as his unchanging foundation the Word of God. Expository Leadership is action that is rooted in and shaped by the unchanging Word of God. The text of Scripture guides and governs in precept and principle what flows from a leader’s life. He models Truth and by virtue of his godly character compels others to imitate or follow his example (Heb. 13:7; 13:17). To the degree that his conduct and initiatives are not supported by Scripture it is not Expository Leadership.
Experience rather than Exposition now shapes ‘ministry’ in the evangelical church. To the extent that we have abandoned the consistent exposition of the text of Scripture we are less potent. We have a diminished impact on the world in which we live. We attract people but the attraction is not to the Christ. The disciples we make do not image transformation into the character and likeness of Jesus. Exposition that is true to the text and accomplished by sound exegetical principles is our calling and our duty. Nothing less will suffice.
The links that follow are:
1.  An article by Sam Storms titled How to Interpret The Bible. Accurate and helpful.
2. & 3.  Two articles by Bob Hadley. They serve as an example of the lengths to which some will go to avoid letting the text say and mean what it says and means. These articles are focused on John 10:26.
4.  An article from the NY Times published on December 29, 2012 detailing the shift toward building congregations around Art Galleries and Cafes.
5.  A You Tube Video of Pastor John MacArthur being interviewed on the topic of Expository Leadership.
By Sam Storms, Enjoying God Ministries, How to Interpret The Bible
By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary.
The ministry of IgniteUS, our Staff and Board of Directors are unflinching in our commitment to a High View of Christ and a High View of the Scriptures. We embrace the principles that produce Expository Leadership. If this is the kind of ministry you seek to promote then we will serve you well. Tell others. Pray for us to stand firm in this endeavor to see churches become Healthy & Effective, making disciples fully formed in the image of Christ.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
** I will send an article from the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology titled D. A. Carson’s Theological Method by Andy Naselli, August 2011 to all who make that request.
A Learning Organization 
David A. Garvin of the Harvard Business School has defined a learning organization as:
“an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.”
Peter Senge (Fifth Discipline) speaks of generative learning. The church should be a leader in taking the Truth of God’s Special Revelation and applying that Truth to all of life. God’s Truth should reign and rule in virtually ever realm of God’s world. The church and her leaders should shape culture in the application and defense of that Truth. To do that effectively the church must be a “Learning Organization”. Tragically, ‘status quo’ is the norm in local churches. The following link takes the reader to a brief article describing the essence of a Learning Organization. Read, Pray, Think, Apply!
Is the church in which you serve a Learning Organization?
*  A New Year & New Opportunity
IgniteUS provides a variety of beneficial services and resources to Pastors and Churches. These range from some simple Assessment tools to a comprehensive Reformation & Renewal Process. You may contact us at     1 800 472 3764. We work with those who have a desire for and commitment to Leadership Development, Organizational and Personal Transformation. The decline of the church in America is irrefutable. Doing nothing is not a legitimate course of action. You can become an effective and fruitful leader. Call us!
*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is (www.founders.org). You will find helpful resources at both sites!
Study Preaching and Preachers with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This was the first course we offered back in 2003. It is rich and refreshing source of insight for all who desire to faithfully proclaim God’s Word. A 16-week course beginning February 4, 2013. The course material is downloaded to your ipad, computer, etc. when you register. Go to www.founders.org and click on the Study Center. This course will help you become a better ‘Expositional Leader’.
From the inside cover – - Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy–an environment that actively undermines the well-being and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.
Here is a book that diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.
Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- No Decision is A Decision
Frequently I work with Pastors and Churches who apply some valid and accurate Assessments to their ministry. These tools reveal the obvious need for change. The decision they make is “NO DECISION”! They are paralyzed by the brutal reality of their circumstance. Thus, they do nothing.
Doing nothing in the face of significant dysfunction, attempting to execute ministry with a process that fails to honor God’s Word is not only futile, it is ultimately fatal. I have heard the following statement from so called leaders – - “well at least we will continue to exist in my lifetime!” What? the goal is not mere continued existence but robust effectiveness to the glory of Christ.
When is the last time you made a ministry decision that brought effectiveness to ministry and glory to Christ?
*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.
Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently - ) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS Update This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

Why Enlist a Consultant

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Why Enlist A Consultant?
*  A Learning Organization
*  Immanuel
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – Book Review of Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – The Incarnation of Truth
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Expository Leadership
Why Enlist A Consultant?
Congregational coaching brings fresh fuel of process and skills designed to  encourage, challenge, focus, and explore options that move churches from maintenance to mission, from apathy to engagement. The key is a deep        willingness to connect with and follow the Spirit’s leadership.                              (Eddie Hammet, TCP, Face Book, 12/11/12).
The church in America is facing a most significant challenge. The question is this – ‘Will the church embrace Truth Absolute and Propositional and in doing so display the majesty, sovereignty and grace of God, or, will she acquiesce to the culture and continue her slide into what Martin Luther termed another “Babylonian Captivity”?
Why enlist a Consultant? Glad you asked. The collected data documenting the decline of the American Church is virtually irrefutable (cf.The American Church in Crisis, David Olson, Zondervan, 2008) yet, when presented to those labeled as leaders in a local church they respond with a plethora of excuses as to why they do not need to change. Follow this link to a portrait of the true story.(http://missionalchurchnetwork.com/the-marginalization-of-the-church-2/).
The foundational premise that answers this question is this – “If the church, knowing they are in serious decline was going to change, they would have already implemented the processes and resources that would bring genuine transformation.” They have not and in most cases they cannot without outside assistance. Covenant Seminary conducted a five (5) year longitudinal study (http://media.covenantseminary.edu/ADM/PastorsSummitSM.pdf). This study revealed what most Pastors know. They received equipping in theological disciplines but virtually not one course in Leadership or Organizational Transformation! I personally noted this in my own leadership pilgrimage.
The church is a sub-culture that exists within a larger culture. That larger culture has become aggressively anti-theistic. Post-Modernism pervades the larger culture. That world view declares there are no absolutes. The church’s message is premised on the world view that there is one and only one valid world view – Christian Theism. Leading Transformation in the local church requires leadership that is capable of confronting this anti-culture with tact and an effective apologetic. The first challenge is to see God change the church before we attempt to change the world. This is the contribution of a qualified and effective consultant.
Coaching is the buzz word of the day. There are now doctoral programs offering a D.Min. in Coaching. Effective consulting is not primarily possessing a battery of information related to change in the church. The key is knowing what to do, when and why. That skill will never be acquired in any classroom. That skill is acquired in years of ministry experience dealing with the issues the consultant is tasked to address. Good intentions are not enough. The following are reasons that enlisting a competent consultant is a wise and prudent decision for a local church, her leaders and her people. A good Consultant helps the pastor overcome the deficiencies in their capacity to lead the Transformation Process effectively.
1.  Leadership Competence - A survey completed by the Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute in which they contacted over 1,000 pastors revealed that 75% believe they are unqualified and poorly trained to lead and manage the church. This profile is substantiated by the Covenant Seminary study. A good consultant guides the pastor and other leaders in acquiring the necessary competence and skills to see God bring Transformation.
2.  Purpose - The second leading cause of decline in the local church is the absence of biblical operative purpose. This is purpose that the majority (80%+) of the people know, understand and embrace. Most churches are riding off in multiple directions, various groups competing with one another. A competent consultant guides the leadership and the body in bringing one biblical purpose to ministry – Make Disciples.
3.  Biblical Metric - Nearly all churches measure ministry effectiveness with a simple numerical standard = numbers. A good consultant guides the church in measuring ministry by the transformation of the individual believer and the body as a whole. Edgar Schein declares correctly – ‘What you do not define you cannot measure.’ Defining what a disciple is enables the church to measure with a degree of accuracy the transformation that is or is not taking place in a professed believers life. No transformation may well mean there has been no regeneration.
4.  Objective Evaluation - Churches typically conduct an evaluation of ministry effectiveness on an annual basis if then. Far better to develop an objective standard and apply that standard on a monthly rather than an annual basis. Make corrections and ministry modifications promptly rather than permitting dysfunction to continue for an entire year.
5.  Leadership Selection & Development - I recently had a leader in a large church (1,600) tell me that ‘we choose leaders like the dog catcher.’ His meaning is that any stray that they can coerce to say yes to the nominating committee becomes a leader. What? The Scripture has very clear and compelling standards for those that would occupy a leadership role. Applying this profile requires courage, perseverance and the readiness to graciously resist the pressure of the assembly to perpetuate status quo. When a church has godly leaders that model true discipleship the members of that body will begin to imitate what they see modeled. cf. 1 Cor. 4:14-17.
The first issue for a church to address is their dysfunction. When they have done this they then need to identify and enlist a competent consultant that will treat them with dignity, tell them the Truth and hold them accountable to a biblical profile of a Healthy and Effective ministry. I urge all pastors to take this bold and courageous step today.
A Learning Organization 
David A. Garvin of the Harvard Business School has defined a learning organization as:
“an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.”
Peter Senge (Fifth Discipline) speaks of generative learning. The church should be a leader in taking the Truth of God’s Special Revelation and applying that Truth to all of life. God’s Truth should reign and rule in virtually ever realm of God’s world. The church and her leaders should shape culture in the application and defense of that Truth. To do that effectively the church must be a “Learning Organization”. Tragically, ‘status quo’ is the norm in local churches. The following link takes the reader to a brief article describing the essence of a Learning Organization. Read, Pray, Think, Apply!
Is the church in which you serve a Learning Organization?
Immanuel

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

Click on the link and reflect on the Incarnation as you listen to “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg8OJf40LJE

*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is www.founders.org. You will find helpful resources at both sites!
From the inside cover – - Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy–an environment that actively undermines the well-being and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.
Here is a book that diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.
Book Review - Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp  
This may be the best book I’ve read all year. It’s one of the few books I constantly had to put down. That may sound weird. Don’t you not put down a book you love? you may be thinking. But so much of what Tripp said hit me in the gut. I found myself constantly catching my breath and then meditating and digesting his words.

The dirty little secret of it all is I’m not even a pastor. This book is geared towards pastors but it’s message is worth hearing for everybody. Those sitting in the pew and working a 9 to 5 will benefit from reading Dangerous Calling because it will help us better understand the unique challenges of our pastors and may also give you a glimpse into your own dark heart. Pastors will benefit from reading it because you need someone to pastor you. You need someone to come alongside of you and encourage you and apply the gospel to your heart. Some of you may be fortunate enough to have that; some may not. Regardless you should read this book.

The third group of people who should absolutely read this (like not an option stop reading my review and purchase it right now. No really right now. I’m waiting) is seminary students. You need this book now to put your training in perspective. You need this book to shine the light of the gospel on the darkest corner of your hearts. Dangerous Calling&n bsp;may save your ministry and family heartbreak–just take the time to read and apply the gospel truths within it.

Tripp starts by sharing his own personal struggle in ministry. For years he battled anger. His wife gently confronted him about his anger and he stubbornly brushed it off. He shares the damage it did to his own life and the possible damage it could have done. He also tells us how God slowly chipped away at his sin. He then says, “God was making the anger that I had denied and protected to be like vomit in my mouth” (p. 20). May God do the same with each of our pet sins.

He shares story after story about pastors who flame out or drop out before the race is even started. He shares stories of moral failures and hidden sins. But within all of this brokenness he’s swift and careful to apply the gospel to the reader and to root the Christian’s identity in Christ–not ministry. Tripp admonishes, if you are not feeding your soul on the realities of the presence, promises, and provisions of Christ, you will ask the people, situations, and things around you to be the messiah that they can never be. If you are not attaching your identity to the unshakable love of your Savior, you will ask the things in your life to be your Savior, and it will never happen. If you are not requiring yourself to get your deepest sense of well-being vertically, you will shop for it horizontally, and you will always come up empty. If you are not resting in the one true gospel, preaching it to yourself over and over again, you will look to another gospel t o meet the needs of your unsettled heart (p. 36)

He also encourages pastors not to see “theology as an end in itself rather” than “a means to an end” (p. 44). He argues preaching is not passing along of information but rather passionately stirring of the heart and call for action. It’s also all these things for the pastor himself. He must be obeying the gospel as he preaches it (pp. 105, 155).

I would encourage elders and pastors to gather together and read Dangerous Calling. I would encourage small groups to read it and think of ways to uniquely minister to our pastors. Use the wisdom Tripp provides to pray more urgently and wisely for our pastors. Again I can’t urge seminarians enough to read this and take his counsel to heart. I wish I would have read this before entering seminary. Don’t say no one ever told you.

Review published in http://Grace For Sinners http://grace4sinners.blogspot.com/2012/09/BR-Dangerous-Calling-Paul-David-Tripp.html

Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- The Incarnation of Truth

Truth is Absolute, Revealed, Propositional and Incarnate. John’s Gospel (1:18) John tells us that Jesus led God out into the open, made Him known. The verb is exeigeisato. This is exegesis. Jesus exegeted God before a watching world. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father.

Modeling is the key to disciple-making. Churches are in precipitous decline. One of the major factors in this malaise is the significant absence of the incarnation of Truth. Truth is much more than accurate exegetical precision. It is and must be that. It is much more. Jesus said in the Upper Room – ‘the world will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another’. This is Truth in action. ‘Until conviction is transformed into action, it makes no difference in the world’ (Mohler, The Conviction To Lead, p. 73).

So the question of the hour is this – - “Is Truth Incarnate and visible in the lives of those who profess Christ? Can the watching world see God in you? At this season of the Incarnation we do well to honestly and persistently examine ourselves on this vital issue. HE is with us and He is LORD!

*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – Pastoral Implications of The Incarnation) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS Update This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

 

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