September 15, 2017 by  
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Newsletter Update: September 15, 2017 (t)”>(e)”>(d)”>(o)”>
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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.”


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.

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


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.


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


This Date in History

1620 Mayflower departs from Plymouth England with 102 pilgrims


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