Morning Mashup 04/12

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together | Jared Wilson

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Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture | John Piper

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ARTICLES

THE NEW MARTIN LUTHER MOVIE | PATHEOS

Gene Veith: I’m not a huge fan of this hybrid of documentary and drama, but this one works as well as I’ve seen.  Luther’s life is so interesting and so inherently dramatic that the narrative is gripping and entertaining, even though it is continually interrupted by the scholars.

THE HORROR OF CRUCIFIXION | DESIRING GOD

Tony Reinke: This week we celebrate the death of our Savior. And today we are going to look at the crucifixion from its historical and physical realities.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RECOVERY | CHRISTWARD COLLECTIVE

Nick BatzigWhen we have sinned in our Christian life or made a error in judgment in pastoral ministry, we need to remember that so much of the Christian life and pastoral ministry is in the recovery.

SOME HELPS FOR FAMILY WORSHIP | VASSAL OF THE KING

Geoffrey Kirkland: What is family worship? What does it look like? How does one get started? Is it really doable in our ‘fast-paced society’? This is the outline that I provided our men to guide us in our discussion through this important topic.

PASTOR, DON’T WASTE YOUR EXCLAMATION POINTS | TGC

Jared Wilson: If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling. But more directly, just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.

VIDEOS

MARTIN LUTHER | PATHEOS

 THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PSALMS | LIGONIER

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Morning Mashup 04/10

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel | TREVIN WAX

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12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You | TONY REINKE

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ARTICLES

REMEMBERING THE RURAL | CANON FODDER

Michael Kruger: In recent years, this interest in the urban has sometimes turned into a superiorityof the urban, and even a disdain of the rural. Those who are a part of urban churches can sometimes project an attitude, even unwittingly, that urban centers are where “real” ministry happens.

ARE SHORT TERM MISSION TRIPS VALUABLE | EPM

Randy Alcorn‘s answer to the question, “Wouldn’t it be better just to take the money spent on short-term trips and send it to the mission field instead?”

THE OBSCENITY OF THE CROSS AND THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL | TPJ

Timothy Paul Jones: These forsaken bodies—the vast majority of the victims of Roman crucifixion—remained on their crosses to be consumed. Thus their remains disintegrated into the dust of the Roman Empire. But the case of Jesus—a Jew, crucified near Jerusalem on the eve of a popular religious festival—doesn’t fit this pattern.

WHY YOU MAY BE MISREADING SCRIPTURE | LOGOS

Tyler Smith: When we come to familiar passages, like the Easter story, we are tempted to rely more on our memory of the story and less on the text of Scripture itself.

RAISING EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUNG BELIEVERS| REFORMED MARGINS

Erik Odegard: There are young believers throughout our churches who are capable to be trusted with significant responsibilities, gospel labors, and growing in grace.  I pray that we would recognize that God has gifted young believers for the edification of our churches (1 Corinthians 12:7), raise our expectations of them, sharpen them training, and entrust them with significant tasks.

5 LESSONS FROM FALLEN PASTORS | ERIC GEIGER

Eric Geiger: As pastors are removed from ministry, the implications on churches and families are far-reaching. Here are five lessons from a season of fallen pastors, a season that has, at times, felt epidemic.

VIDEOS

Russell Westbrook Game-Winning Buzzer Beater | NBA

Morning Mashup 07/13

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A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community | David Powlison | $3.99

Speaking Truth in Love Book

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest | Ed Welch | $2.99

Running Scared Book

ARTICLES

Which Way Forward? | New Orleans Baptist Association

I usually cringe to read anything theological coming out of Louisiana. But these men have seen, acknowledged, and responded strongly to the divisive attitudes among certain Southern Baptists in their state. I was beyond thankful to read this.

There is No Pro-Life Case for Donald Trump | Jake Meador

“If pro-lifers really believe that the Republican party is the only vehicle that they have in American political life to reach their ends — which is what the “Dumb and Dumber” argument rests upon — then they should absolutely refuse to support this candidate on the grounds that abstention is the only way of keeping the value of their vote up in every subsequent election.”

5 Principles for Studying the Trinity | Gavin Ortlund

“Rather than wade into the contested areas, I thought it might be helpful to offer a broader, more constructive post for those of us (like myself) who, particularly in light of the controversy, see our need to keep “beefing up” our understanding of the Trinity. So here are 5 basic principles that I have reflected on in my own study of the Trinity that may be helpful for others.”

Stop Assuming Your Neighbors Are Hostile to Your Faith | Trevin Wax

“We need to do away with that old saying that Americans don’t discuss politics and religion in polite company. The research shows that most of your friends and family who don’t attend church are either (1) willing to listen to you talk about your faith or (2) will engage you in conversation.”

The Three Verses that Kept Spurgeon from Quitting the Ministry | Cripplegate

“Because Spurgeon was so distraught over the events that occurred, he was unwilling to preach the next Sunday, he even thought about quitting the ministry altogether. And it wasn’t until the Sunday after that that he was willing to return to the pulpit. Here were his first words as he got up to preach that morning.”

Preacher Wanders Away from Pulpit to Catch Pokemon | The Babylon Bee

Hilarious!

“According to sources within Second Baptist Church of Cleveland, Teaching Pastor John Walton abandoned his key sermon point and wandered away from the pulpit in order to catch a Pokémon for his Pokémon GO collection Sunday morning.”

On Leaving CBMW | Owen Strachan

Owen Strachan announces and explains his resignation as president of The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

In Praise of Tim Duncan and Boring Plodders | Stephen Altrogge

An interesting connection between Tim Duncan’s boring career and the Christian life.

VIDEOS

Pop Says Goodbye to Tim Duncan | ESPN

 

Dallas Police Chief David Brown Press Conference | USA Today

Quick Quotes: 10 Quotes from “Family Ministry Field Guide” by Timothy Paul Jones

Q-train-logoEvery Friday, I plan to share select quotes from a book I am either currently reading or have previously read. Few things have impacted my faith and life as much as reading has. This will be just one way I promote books and reading. These articles will be for the dedicated reader who loves to gain insight from as many books as possible. They will also be for the Christian looking for new books to read. I am always on the lookout for new books to read. Hopefully some things I share will lead you to pick up a new book. Finally, these articles will be for those of you too busy to read. Hopefully these quick quotes will provide you with easy access to books you would otherwise not have time to read. Each article will include a brief discussion of the author and his work followed by ten (or more) pertinent quotes from the book.


One of the major concerns within youth ministry is how to make connections. How can we connect the Ancient Near Eastern culture to children and teenagers living in 21st century post-modern America? How can we connect unchanging biblical truth with young people who are changing by the minute? But most importantly, how can we connect children’s ministry to youth ministry? And how can we connect all youth ministries to the rest of the local body?

Youth ministry in many churches is like a remote island. Once who arrive, you can’t get off. But once you leave, you are lost at sea. Most adults in the church, including parents, want to avoid youth ministry. Youth ministers are held responsible for the spiritual development of each student, while parents forsake their God-given responsibility to train their children in the way of the Lord. This is a problem in many churches; a problem many churches want to see solved.

According to author and professor Timothy Paul Jones, there is hope in the darkness of the disconnect. Jones believes the hope for the disconnect between youth and the church is family ministry. If churches want to learn about and implement family ministry in the life of your church, be prepared not for another program, but for a paradigm shift in the way you do ministry. In other words, if you are allergic to change, avoid Jones’ books.

Jones has written many books on family ministry. He teaches a course at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary called “Discipleship and Family Ministry,” a class I am currently taking. His book Family Ministry Field Guide is a great starting point if you desire to bridge the gap and connect the break between youth and the rest of the church.

81uAJdfC81LFamily Ministry Field Guide is a call to gospel-centered family ministry, an endeavor that if undertaken would no doubt radically transform the ministries in your church. But this change is not the result of Jones’ expertise, which he clearly possesses. It would be the result of the power of the gospel that is the focus of everything Jones calls for. Here are ten quotes to whet your appetite:

1. Family ministry is the process of intentionally and persistently coordinating a ministry’s proclamation and practices so that parents are acknowledged, trained, and held accountable as primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives.

2. Family ministry is a process of equipping parents to engage actively in the discipleship of their children.

3. What does it profit our child to gain a baseball scholarship and yet never experience consistent prayer and devotional times with us, the parents?

4. If the scope of our vision for our lives or for the lives of our children shrinks any smaller than eternity, our thirst for eternity will drive us to attempt to fill the emptiness with a multitude of lesser goals and lower gods–including the fleeting happiness and success of our children.

5. Until the gospel drives even our scheduling priorities, families will continue to default to the values of the culture around them, and parents will remain too busy to engage in intentional discipleship with their children.

6. Think about gradually changing the culture of a ministry so that parental discipleship of children becomes the norm instead of the exception.

7. The people of God are shaped and defined by Jesus Christ himself, who unites individuals that the world would never dream of bringing together–but not by clustering them in categories of age or special interest or musical preference.

8. Gospel-centered family ministry has more to do with the unseen foundations than with the visible practices.

9. Family ministry cannot merely be a series of activities that a congregation does. It must flow from who the leaders and volunteers are with their families, day by day.

10. Our families must never become our identity or the identity that drives our ministries. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, he is your identity…His gospel has set an ax to the root of any pretense that we are who we are because of our families. To position anything other than this gospel as the focus of your ministry is to lapse into idolatry.


11751958_1209158262442953_3486622930933138849_nMathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.

Morning Mashup 09/02

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Kentucky Clerk Not Issuing Marriage Licenses – A Rowan County clerk has stood her ground and continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses. She is at war with her employer, the Kentucky state government. But Ryan Anderson shows there is a better way for protecting religious liberty rights of county clerks as well as civil rights of citizens. If you are at all plugged into this unfolding drama, please consider this piece.

When Jesus Got the Bible Wrong – Uh oh! Don’t you just love clickbait? Nevertheless, this is a fantastic piece about hermeneutics and biblical tensions.

Should We Go Down the Ashley Madison Rabbit Hole? – “Our media-saturated lives offer regular opportunities to make private details public. How do we know when to feed our hunger and when to starve it?”

Tullian Tchividjian Files for Divorce – I don’t know how I missed this news. I’m saddened to see Tchividjian fall. Praying for God’s grace in his life.

Judgment and Grace – Another sad loss in the Reformed Christian community as Ligonier’s R.C. Sproul Jr. was suspended by Ligonier based on his confession that he had signed up with Ashley Madison.

6 Joys and Perils of Full Time Ministry – I think most pastors can identify with these.

The End of the RGIII Era in Washington? – It’s kind of hard to believe, but Robert Griffin III’s tenure in the nation’s capital may be short lived. The former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has already been passed over in favor of Kirk Cousins for the starting gig in Washington. Now the question will be, What’s next for RGIII?

Why All Christians Should Care About Systematic Theology – A helpful excerpt from a book partly written by my current Systematic Theology professor, Stephen Wellum.

Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him. –C.S. Lewis

Four Imbalanced Frameworks for Children’s Ministry: Intro

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Children’s ministry can either be something kids and volunteers love, or dread. It can be something they anticipate all week, or something about which they just shrug their shoulders. Children’s ministry can also be a place where the gospel is vibrant and clear, or dull and ambiguous. Most all churches desire an exciting children’s ministry that nurtures the children of members and is appealing to children of guests.

The most common questions about children’s ministry usually regard balance. How can we balance fun with Bible study? How can we teach kids to pray without boring them to death? How can we evaluate whether a kid has truly trusted Christ or just followed their parents’ wishes?

There are countless questions that need to be asked of every children’s ministry. But some of the most important relate to balance. An imbalanced children’s ministry will tip over and crash. A balanced children’s ministry will thrive. A healthy children’s ministry will balance the following things: safety, fun, and discipleship. Really, everything in children’s ministry falls under the broad heading of discipleship. When I speak of discipleship in children’s ministry, I am specifically referring to gospel teaching in large group and small group settings.

Children’s ministry as a whole is the church’s effort to pass the torch of the faith on to the next generation. Children’s ministry is also an intense ministry of the church that is multi-faceted. This is why balance is crucial. Forsaking safety concerns for Bible teaching is self-defeating. But so is forsaking Bible teaching for safety or fun. A balanced children’s ministry, then, can only have one primary goal with a plethora of means to carry out that goal. The goal is the propagation of the gospel. And we should carry out this goal through a safe, fun, and biblically saturated environment.

While children’s ministry is typically under-appreciated and under-valued, this is in large part due to the way it is viewed and implemented. It all goes back to balance. Without balance in children’s ministry, volunteers will be under-appreciated and the ministry as a whole will be all but discredited. This can be so serious in fact that there may be members in the church who are unaware there even is a children’s ministry. The framework with which your children’s ministry is constructed will determine the faithfulness and “success” of the ministry.

In children’s ministry, there are generally four imbalanced frameworks that can be used:

1. The Babysitting Framework

2. The Story-time Framework

3. The Show-time Framework

4. The Ivory-tower Framework

In the coming days I will examine each of these frameworks while reserving the final post for a call to what I will call the balanced, gospel-centered framework. In today’s post I will take up what I call the babysitting framework, and addressing the remaining three frameworks over the next few days.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.

Indifference or Obedience: How to Respond to God’s Grace in Christ

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When we are presented with a truth-claim, we must respond to it in some way. I think about the resurrection of Jesus. When you are presented with the truth claim that a man named Jesus walked the face of the earth 2,000 years ago, died on a cross, and was raised from the dead, it forces us to respond in one way or another. We can reason and trust that this is true. Or we can reason and trust that this is not true. However, what we cannot do is remain indifferent. There is no indifference when it comes to the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son. Either Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead or he didn’t. There is no middle ground. And no matter which option we choose, our lives will be dramatically impacted one way or another by our response to the truth-claim of the resurrection of Christ.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Paul presents a few truth-claims to which believers must respond. Paul presents a truth about God’s heart and a command from God’s Word in this passage. First, we are commanded to pray for all people. And secondly, we are told the truth-claim that God desires the salvation of all people and Christ died as the sole mediator for all people. The question is, will you take the next step through obedient response or will you miss the opportunity through disobedient indifference?

As people of the cross, we have been commanded to pray for all people because God desires that all people be saved and Jesus died for all people. This all means that there is no one too bad or too different for God’s love or Christ’s salvation. God pursues all kinds of people on earth. In fact, the Bible says that God has a people from every tribe and tongue on earth (Rev. 5:7). This means that from every nation on earth, there are those for whom Christ died. In the most remote village and in the busiest city are people for whom Christ shed his blood.

Paul knew this to be true. And because there is only one God and only one mediator in Jesus, Paul knew and now we know that this means that all of those people on earth cannot come to God unless they do so through Jesus. So, not only was Paul urging Timothy to pray for all people because of these things, he was urging Timothy to go to these people and to not keep the gospel away from anyone.

Notice Paul’s response to the dramatic truth-claim of God’s grace in verses 4-6: “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Tim. 2:7). Paul’s entire ministry was based on the fact that God desires global salvation and Jesus died for people from every tribe and tongue on the planet. Because the gospel is for everyone, Paul made it his goal to preach the gospel not just to people who look like him, but to anyone and everyone.

What about you? Do you have this attitude? Has the heart of God and the death of Christ for sinners caused you to desire all kinds of people in your family, circle of friends, and community to be saved? Has it caused you to pray for them? Are you willing to pray for not those who benefit you, but those who have little to do with you or even oppose you? Are you willing to share the gospel with those who make life hard for you? For those who are culturally miles apart from you? For those who do not do things the way you do? Does your prayer life, evangelistic outreach, and missions work in some way reflect the heart of God to save all kinds of people in Christ?

God uses the prayers of his people to accomplish the purposes of his heart through the work of his Son. You cannot be indifferent to the grace of God in Christ. You can be disobedient, though. Indifference to the gospel is just a quiet and subtle form of outright rebellion. And it is the evidence of an unchanged heart.

Instead, allow the grace of God in Christ to move you to respond with global prayer and global gospel proclamation. Respond to the great grace and love of God in the gospel of Jesus by sharing its message with your friends and enemies alike.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba.

Ministry is not Missions

Global Missions - web imageMissions is not the same thing as ministry. Ministry includes missions, but the two are not one in the same. Just because one is working cross-culturally or ministering to people in one’s own community does not mean that one is doing missions. Ministry includes all the activities of the church carried out ‘in the name of Jesus,’ attending to the entire range of needs of people—social, physical, emotional and spiritual. Missions is focused specifically on the discipling and churching of the people who have not had the opportunity to hear the Good News.
According to Paul, the work of missions comprised of three things:

1. Preaching the gospel message to persons with intent of leading them to repentance and, thus, salvation

2. Planting of bodies of believers (churches) who were actively involved in ministry to one another and outreach

3. Cultivating these churches until they reached a point of maturity in Christ.

In Romans 15:19, 23, Paul said that he had fulfilled the ministry of the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum and that he no longer had any room for work in these regions. Paul had at most been in these regions for 15 years, so what did he mean?

It is conceivable that Paul’s meaning here was that he had left behind a number of churches in key places now capable of completing the work of evangelization and discipleship in the region (Timothy in Ephesus, Titus in Crete).

It is also conceivable that he meant all the existing people groups within the region now had a viable church or churches among them such that these churches could now finish the task of reaching their own people.

John Piper is very insightful on Paul on this point:

In fact, [Paul] goes so far as to say in Romans 15:23, ‘But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions…I hope to see you as I go to Spain.’ This is astonishing! How can he say not only that he has fulfilled the gospel in that region, but also that he has no more room for work? He is finished and going to Spain (15:24). What does this mean? It means that Paul’s conception of the missionary task is not merely the winning of more and more people to Christ (which he could have done very efficiently in these regions), but the reaching of more and more peoples or nations. His focus was not primarily on new geographic areas. Rather, he was gripped by the vision of unreached peoples. Romans 15:9-12 shows that his mind was saturated with OT texts that relate to the hope of the nations” (Let the Nations Be Glad!, 194).

If Piper’s interpretation of Romans 15 is accurate then it seems that missions is about laying the foundation among a people group—that is, the aim is to see spiritually mature, reproducing churches planted in strategic locations among a people group so that these churches themselves are capable of completing the task of evangelization among their own people and even moving beyond.

Ministry is not missions. Missions is taking the message of God’s purpose for humankind and proclaiming that message to the nations, specifically to the nations that have never heard. Missions goes beyond mere conversion of individuals to the planting of bodies of believers that are marked by outreach to the world and mutual ministry within the body.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Precious Duality: Serious Theological Education and Practical Ministry

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One of the things I love about being an online theology student is the opportunity it provides me to serve in my home church. I have been an online student at Boyce College for the past two years. Lord willing, I will graduate next May. Due to a plethora of reasons, my wife and I have been unable to move to Louisville, so my entire degree in biblical and theological studies will have been earned online. The greatest blessing this has provided has been the duality of receiving a substantial and significant theological education and the opportunity to actively serve my local church in kids ministry.

Boyce College provides a theological education in the vein of the desires of its namesake. James P. Boyce believed theological education was “a matter of the first importance to the churches of Christ.” Because of this, he desired ministry that was “convictional, rigorous, and accessible.” Even as a lowly online student, my experience has shown me that this is exactly what Boyce College provides.

However, even though I know the serious theological education I am receiving is fueling my service in kids ministry, there are those who believe studying theology cannot coincide with tangible and practical ministry in the local church.

Many people create an unhealthy false dichotomy when it comes to serious theological education and gospel ministry. They say that if one studies theology too deeply or thinks too much about biblical truths, it will cause one to stay locked away in an ivory tower while the people suffer spiritually and physically in the gutter below. I have heard people say, “I don’t see the point in theological education when there is so much ministry to be done.” What do Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and other theologians have to do with kids ministry, for example? Those who condescend serious theological education simply cannot see how practical ministry can benefit from keeping one’s head in the clouds.

This separation of theological education and practical ministry is not new. German theologian, pastor, and conspirator in an attempt to kill Adolf Hitler, Deitrich Bonhoeffer, was educated at one of the most prominent seminaries of his day; Berlin University. Though he disagreed with many of his liberal and critical professors, he honored their commitment to serious theological study. Bonhoeffer was a deeply serious theology student, who was not content to speak without thinking or allow issues to simply fall to the wayside unsolved. Bonhoeffer was also a loving and faithful pastor. Nearly as soon as he was handed his diploma, he was on a train to Barcelona to pastor. His deep love for theology fueled a deep love for God (or vice versa). This love expressed itself in practical pastoral ministry.

However, when Bonhoeffer decided to travel to America in 1930, he saw something quite different in one theological seminary and many churches. Serious theological education had been abandoned in favor of social involvement. While studying at Union Theological Seminary for recreational purposes (not for a degree), and while attending various American churches, Bonhoeffer observed the unhealthy disconnect between theology and ministry.

There is no theology here…They talk a blue streak without the slightest substantive foundation and with no evidence of any criteria. The students…are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level (quoted in Erica Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet,Spy, 101).

However, despite the lack of theology present at Union and in many of the churches, there was still much ministry going on.

At the instigation of this group, the student body of Union Theological seminary has, over the winter, continually provided food and lodging for thirty unemployed–among them three Germans–and has advised them as well as possible. This has led to considerable personal sacrifice of time and money. It must not, however, be left unmentioned that the theological education of this group is virtually nil, and the self-assurance which lightly makes mock of any specifically theological question is unwarranted and naive (Ibid., 105).

While serious theological study was lost, ministry to the poor was not. So, it would seem that these liberal theologians in the first half of the 20th century and those today who see serious theological education as unnecessary for ministry to exist and even thrive are right. Do I really need to spend hours upon hours studying, watching lectures, reading books written by guys who have long since died in order to minister to kids each Wednesday night? The answer lies in what is lost when theology is forgotten.

When theology is forgotten, the gospel is lost. The gospel of Christ has been passed down to us, essentially because Christian men and women throughout history have seriously studied theology, both formally and informally. This is not to say that if you do not attend seminary or receive some form of formal theological training that you will lose the gospel. However, this is to say that you will lose sight of the gospel if you refuse to think often about its implications. This is why Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand (1 Cor. 15:1, emphasis added). Theology sharpens our understanding of the gospel and all of its implications. This means that theology should always overflow into practical ministry that is gospel-centered.

Clearly, this leads me to conclude two things about the relationship between theology and ministry:

(1) Theology that does not naturally overflow into practical ministry is useless, groundless, and Christless.

(2) Ministry that does not flow from gospel-centered, God-centered, and Bible-centered theology is in vain.

When theology is ignored in favor of ministry, this false dichotomy shows it has no place for the cross. Bonhoeffer wrote of American churches in 1930,

Things are not much different in the church. The sermon has been reduced to parenthetical church remarks about newspaper events. As long as I’ve been here, I have heard only one sermon in which you could hear something like a genuine proclamation, and that was delivered by a negro (indeed, in general I’m increasingly discovering greater religious power and originality in Negroes). One big question continually attracting my attention in view of these facts is whether one here really can still speak about Christianity…There’s no sense to expect the fruit where the Word really is no longer being preached. But then what becomes of Christianity per se?

In New York they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life (Ibid., 106).

What a shame. A theological seminary and local churches both speaking much about spirituality and social issues, yet neither proclaiming the cross. Where serious theological education is ignored, the gospel is lost in the muck of “ministry” concerns. Notice how Bonhoeffer characterized these churches:

All these things of course, take place with varying degrees of tactfulness, taste, and seriousness; some churches are basically “charitable” churches; others have primarily a social identity. One cannot avoid the impression, however, that in both cases they have forgotten what the real point is (Ibid., 107).

I am eternally thankful for the existence of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Because of these institutions, the world is being filled with pastors and leaders who are preaching Christ and nothing else! The men and women at Boyce and Southern are ardently raising up men and women to go forth into the world to faithfully serve local churches with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am confident that my time at Boyce has driven me to desire a significant and impactful ministry that never forgets what the real point is.

So, as I grow weary in writing papers, taking tests, and memorizing Hebrew vocabulary, instead of calling it quits to “practically minister” due to the poisonous false dichotomy created by some, I will pour one more cup of coffee and journey into great theological depths in order to never lose sight of the gospel and for the purpose of ministering to God’s people in grace and truth. Because I deeply love Jesus, I study theology and minister to boys and girls. My love for the one fuels my love for the other. And may this precious duality between serious theological study and practical ministry never be severed, so the gospel may go forth.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

20 Healthy Quotes from Thabiti Anyabwile’s “What is a Healthy Church Member?”

517Y-rMS6oLLast week, I posted 25 quotes from Jonathan Leeman’s book, Church Membership. This week I will stay in the area of church membership and post some helpful quotes from Thabiti Anyabwile’s book on the topic.
Anyabwile is currently serving as assistant pastor for church planting at Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is a council member for The Gospel Coalition. He has written numerous books such as Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons and Captivated. If you are not following him on Twitter or his blog, you should be.

Anyabwile has been very helpful for me, personally. His books have come at times when I have needed them and they have offered me timely encouragement. He engages the culture in his books and I am thankful to God for his work and ministry.

In What is a Healthy Church Member? Anyabwile tackles every aspect of life for a church member. I am pulling some quotes out of this book that have been beneficial for me, and I hope that they are beneficial for you as well.

1.If churches are to be healthy, then pastors and teachers must be committed to discovering the meaning of the Scripture and allowing that meaning to drive the agenda with their congregations.

2. Expositional listening gives us a clear ear with which to hear God.

3. Faithful men flourish at the fertile reception of the preached Word.

4. Every Christian is meant to be a theologian in the best and most intimate sense of the word.

5. The Christian who is interested in knowing his God is the Christian who wants to know what God says about himself in the Bible.

6. A healthy church member, committed to becoming a biblical theologian, will work to know the difference between beliefs that are essential to biblical Christianity and beliefs that are nonessential to the integrity and continuance of the faith.

7. Healthy church members will commit themselves to defending the essential things of the gospel (Phil. 1:27, Jude 3), while avoiding strife and contention over things that are not essential to the gospel.

8. The greatest need in the church today is the gospel.

9. The gospel is not only news for a perishing world, it is the message that forms, sustains, and animates the church.

10. Conversion is the radical turn from an enslaved life of pursuing sin to a free life of pursuing and worshipping God.

11. Conversion is a change so dramatic that it requires the intervention of God the Holy Spirit.

12. If our love of other Christians is cold, we need to examine whether or not we have ravingly believed on Christ Jesus the Son of God.

13. A healthy church member works to make sure that he himself is converted, but he also works to make sure that his evangelistic efforts are informed by a biblical understanding of conversion.

14. The local church is the place where love is most visibly and compellingly displayed among God’s people. It’s where the “body of Christ” is most plainly represented in the world.

15. Ministers of reconciliation must be patient and longsuffering.

16. Advancement in the knowledge and likeness of Christ, spiritual maturity and progress toward it, are supposed to be normal for the Christian.

17. A healthy church member has a pervasive concern for his or her own personal growth and the growth of other members of her or his church.

18. A healthy Christian relies more and more on the grace of God as it is communicated through the Word and the ordinances.

19. A healthy church member first gives himself to the Lord and then to the minister of the Lord, knowing that this is God’s will (2 Corin. 8:5).

20. Leadership in the local church is established by God for the blessing of his people.

You can purchase What is a Healthy Church Member? by clicking on the image of the book in this post.

Friends, buy the book. Read it. Use it. Become healthy church members for the sake of the gospel of Christ and for the glory of God!

You only get one life, and it will soon pass. Only what is done for King Jesus will last.


1557562_10153227664651515_1796309980_nEvan Knies is an undergraduate student at Boyce College where he studies Biblical and Theological Studies. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife, Lauren. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.