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Pastor, I wonder if you agree with these two paragraphs from Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book Preaching and Preachers?

But, ultimately, my reason for being very ready to give these lectures is that to me the work of preaching is the highest and greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called. If you want something in addition to that I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and most urgent need in the Church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also. (9)

Do you believe that? Do believe that you have been called to the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called? Do you believe the most urgent need in the church is not for better programs or for better leadership principles, but for better preaching? Do you believe. pastor, that the best way for you to serve the world is to study yourself full every week and preach yourself empty every Sunday?

Here is the other quotation.

We are here to preach this Word, this it the first thing, 'We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.' Now there are the priorities laid down once and for ever. This is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are sit in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need. This is surely the direct answer to much of the false thinking and reasoning concerning these matters at the present time. (23)

Is that right? Do you believe that the primary task Church is not to redeem the cosmos or make a heaven a place on earth, but to preach Christ and him crucified? Do you believe that your primary task as a leader of the church is not cultural transformation but gospel proclamation? Do you believe the word of God will do the work of God?

Remember, pastors, as you step into the pulpit tomorrow you are charged in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word.


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68 thoughts on “The Most Urgent Need in the Church”

  1. A. Amos Love says:

    @Mark G

    You mention “elder/overseers” in 1 Tim 3:1 and 1 Tim 5:17.

    I have a little different understanding today about these verses. What do you think?

    1 Tim 5:17 KJV
    Let the elders that “rule well” be counted worthy of double honour,
    especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

    “Ruling Well” seems to be a precarious and complex issue today. Yes? ;-)

    In my experience… “Titles” become “Idols” and “Pastors” become ‘Masters.” :-(

    Ezek 14:1-11 Talks about “Idols” of the heart. And God now talks to us according to those “Idols.”

    In Mat 23:10, KJV – Jesus tells “His Disciples’ NOT to be called “Master/Leader”
    For you have “ONE” Master/Leader, even Christ.

    In Mark 10:42, Jesus teaches “His Disciples” NOT to “exercise authority” like the gentiles.

    If an elder/overseer calls themself a “Master/Leader”- contrary to the teaching of Jesus…
    If an elder/overseer “exercises authority” like the gentiles – contrary to the teaching of Jesus…
    Is that elder/overseer “Ruling Well?” ;-) I don’t think so anymore. Do you?

    In 1 Peter 5:1-5, doesn’t Peter tell elders, What “Ruling Well” means?

    1- Feed the flock of God… not for filthy lucre…
    2- Neither as being lords over God’s heritage…
    3- Being ensamples to the flock.
    4- Younger, submit yourselves unto the elder…
    5- All of you submit one to another…
    6- Be clothed with humility.

    Ever try showing and revealing to a “Senior Pastor/Reverend/Leader”
    he is dealing with some character and qualification defects… Oy Vey!!! :-(

    1 – He has taken a “Title” NOT found in the Bible?
    ……Senior Pastor, Lead Pastor, Reverend, Holy Reverend, Doctor, Pope. :-(
    2 – He is “exercising authority” like the gentiles?
    3 – He is lording it over God’s heritage?
    4 – He is NOT an exsample to the flock of submitting one to another?
    5 – He is NOT clothed with humility?
    6 – He does NOT meet the qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus for elder/overseer.
    …..For an overseer “must be” blameless. And a whole bunch of other tough qualifications. Yes? ;-)

    How many of the qualifications for elder/overseer can we ignore?
    Before we admit – This “Elder” is NOT “Ruling Well?” ;-)

    In my experience… I’ve never met an elder who, according to scripture, was able to “Rule Well.” :-(

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be “ALL” taught of God.

    Mat 16:17
    Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for *flesh and blood* hath NOT revealed it unto thee,
    but my Father which is in heaven.

    Nope – Think I’ll stick with Jesus as my Shepherd and Teacher. He’s the best. Yes? ;-)

  2. A. Amos Love says:

    Edward Gross – balderdash? Now that’s a funny word. Thanks… ;-)

    Was wondering… You mention “Revivals.” Can’t ssem to find “Revival” in my antiquated KJV. ;-)

    Seems many so-called “Revivals” don’t last very long, cause lot’s of division, and strange doctrines. :-(
    The “First great awakening” guys didn’t like the “Second great awakening” guys and their teaching…

    But, I could be wrong. Let’s say there is such a thing. You write about revivals saying…
    “Those have ALWAYS come in the past through *Spirit-anointed preaching*”

    Is there any place in the USA today that is experiencing the “Revival” that you understand?
    “as with Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, Evans, Roberts, etc., preaching that melts down opposition to the gospel, convicts men’s hearts and yes, changes the culture.”

    I don’t know of any “Revivals”today in the USA. Do you?
    And why would you give the glory to these men and NOT to God?

    If there are NO “Revivals” wouldn’t that also mean there is NO *Spirit-anointed preaching*?
    Because if there were *Spirit-anointed preaching* then there would be “Revival.” Yes? ;-)

    Did Martyn Lloyd-Jones experience “Revival” as you know it?

    I don’t think so because he wrote about…
    The Urgent Need for Revival Today, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1959)

    http://www.openheaven.com/library/articles/urgentneed.htm

    And even Martyn thought it was important for the whole body to participate and NOT spectate
    which is what “the Pastor, Preaching, in the Pulpit. model” produces – spectators. :-(
    Jesus taught “His disciples” in the streets, by doing, and then they did the same things. ;-)
    He quickly sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. Luke 9:2 KJV
    Jesus taught by example – NOT from a pulpit. :-)

    4th paragraph… The Urgent Need for Revival Today, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1959)
    “This is obviously a matter for the whole Church and not merely for certain of her leaders. The history of revivals brings that out very clearly for God often acts in a most unusual manner and produces revival and promotes it and keeps it going, not necessarily through ministers but perhaps through people who may have regarded themselves as very humble and unimportant members of the Christian Church.”

    The Church is so constituted that every member matters, and matters in a very vital sense. So I also call attention to this whole subject, partly because, I sense that there is a curious tendency today for members of the Christian Church to feel and to think that they themselves can do very little and so they tend to look to others to do all that is needed for them.

    IMO – True “Revival” is like the Kingdom of God. It comes NOT with observation.
    True “revival” is within. You know it when you got it.

    Luke 17:20-21 KJV
    …The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!
    for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – Jesus

  3. Mark G. says:

    Well, this is going to be hard to respond to because there have been so many rabbit trails and misunderstandings. It is clear that Lloyd-Jones believes in the position of pastor and the importance of preaching. That’s not what he is dealing with. If you want to debate if churches should have structure and leadership by pastors, that is another discussion (one in which I think you will find little suppport from the Bible).

    I agree that we have the priesthood of the believer, that Christians ought to speak the word of God to one another and encourage one another in the faith, and that people should be led by the Lord personally. However, there is a difference between one Christian speaking to another about the Bible and a man called by God standing before his people to say, “Thus says the Lord.”

    Rose, you are out of line by accusing pastors of trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit. No true pastor would ever want the responsibilty to do the Holy Spirits work. He would quickly fail. Our task is to work alongside the Holy Spirit, preaching the Word, by which God has promised to bless with the presence of the Holy Spirit who wrote that Word.

    Amos, elders and overseers are clearly in reference to the duties of a pastor. Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus to instruct them in their tasks of “appointing men” to be leaders. He gave them qualifications so that they would only ordain qualified men. God raises up leaders, and it is important that they be there and be faithful, otherwise you have a large group of people “doing what is right in their own eyes.”

    It is a red herring to point out the faults of pastors as evidence that they are unnecessary to the building up of the kingdom. Of course pastors have faults. God likes to use faulty people to do his will. If a pastor is neglecting his flock, that is something he will be held accountable for, but it is not a reason to abandon the office altogether.

    I’m sorry if I sound argumentative in this comment, but writing only allows you to communicate in one way. I really would like the issue to center more on what Lloyd-Jones actually says in his book, which I am afraid many of you are judging without actually reading. I would refer you to Tim Keller’s comments on this on his Redeemer City to City blog. He gives four posts that summarize the book.

    Also, I would let you hear Lloyd-Jones defend himself. “Some may object to my dogmatic assertions; but I do not apologize for them. Every preacher should believe strongly in his own method; and if I cannot persuade all of the rightness of mine, I can at least stimulate them to think and to consider other possibilities. I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to listen to myself preaching, and the preachers whom I have enjoyed most have been very different indeed in their method and style. But my business is not to describe them but to state what I believe to be right, however imperfectly I have put my own precepts into practice. I can only hope that the result will be of some help, and especially to young preachers called to this greatest of all tasks, and especially in these sad and evil times. With many others I pray that ‘The Lord of the harvest may thrust forth’ many mighty preachers to proclaim ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ!'”

  4. Scott says:

    I can’t help but believe that, at the heart of this discussion, is a deep rooted resentment toward “intellectual” Christianity. People don’t want to hear sermons or receive biblical teaching in this day and age. The pastor thus becomes the easy target for a people that wants to open scripture for 5 minutes and then expects to ” do the word.”

  5. A. Amos Love says:

    Scott – I love “intellectual” Christianity and biblical teaching. Especially when it comes from Jesus. :-)

    It does take a step of faith to believe and trust
    that Jesus “can speak to you” and **teach you** “ALL” truth. John 16:13.
    Jesus, as God, declared, apart from Jesus “His Disciples” can do nothing. (Learn???)

    And we do have some examples; 1 – Jesus, 2 – Peter, 3 – Paul.

    1 – Jesus, as man, declared, “He” could do nothing of Himself.

    John 8:28
    …I do nothing of myself; but as **my Father hath taught me,** I speak these things.

    John 5:30
    I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just;
    because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

    John 5:19
    …The Son can do nothing of himself, but what **he seeth the Father do:**
    for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

    2 – When Peter understood that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God.
    Jesus declared that Peter was blessed because;
    1 – Flesh and blood “did NOT” reveal that to him.
    2 – The Father, “did” reveal it.

    Mt 16:17
    Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for **flesh and blood hath NOT revealed it** unto thee,
    but my Father which is in heaven.

    Here’s the greatest teacher of all time, Jesus, NOT taking the credit.
    He taught Peter, it’s the one who lives “in you’ that **teaches you.**

    Most don’t start out wanting to steal the glory that belongs only to Jesus.
    They just don’t refuse that glory when it comes.

    3 – Paul declared that “his gospel” was NOT of man,
    he received it from God and he conferred NOT with flesh and blood.

    Ga 1:11-16
    …the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man,
    neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ…

    …16-To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;
    *immediately* **I conferred NOT with flesh and blood:**

    Jesus, as man, was taught by God. – Peter was taught by God. – Paul was taught by God. Hmmm? :-)

    Who better to “interpret scripture” than Jesus? My sheep “hear MY Voice” and FOLLOW ME.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice;”
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Teacher – {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  6. A. Amos Love says:

    Mark G

    You write…
    “He gave them qualifications so that they would only ordain qualified men.”

    IMO – This is an important topic for those who think they are elders/overeers and pastors.
    In the Bible – Did anyone ever “hire or fire” a pastor? Did anyone have the “Title” pastor/reverend?

    Didn’t Paul give lot’s of **very tough qualifications** for “Elder/Overseer” and their children. Today, all any **want to be** or *practicing* “Elder/Overseer” has to do is read the qualifications. And, if they don’t qualify, they can humbly remove themselves from **Today’s** “Position” of “Power and Prestige” and be an excellent example to the flock.

    How many congregations? How many believers? How many “Pastor/Reverends?”
    Take Paul’s/God’s qualifications for “Elder/Overseer” seriously today? ;-)

    1 Tim 3:2 – An “Elder/Overseer“ **must be** blameless…

    That “must be” is the same Greek word as – …You “must be” born again. John 3:7 KJV.
    Seems to be a small word but very important.

    It’s Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Computer – Thayers – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

    An “Elder/Overseer“ **must be** – Hmmm? Very important or…?

    **Blameless** How important is this word?

    Webster’s – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
    Synonyms – faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.
    Computer – Thayers – Blameless – that cannot be reprehended,
    (cannot be, rebukable, reprovable, cannot find fault)
    not open to censure, irreproachable.

    Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.

    How many, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering these qualifications,
    can see themselves as **blameless,** without fault,
    and thus qualify to be an “Elder/Overseer?” A “Pastor/Reverend?”

    And if you can see yourself as **blameless;** Is that pride? And no longer without fault?

    The Bible talks about “Elders/Overseers.“ And **qualifications** for “Elders/Overseers.“
    Can’t have one without the other – Can you? :-)

    And this is only one of many “very tough qualifications.”

    IMO – This is one of the reasons “**Today’s” “Pastor/Leader/Reverend”
    suffers so much from Burnout, Depression, unhappy families. Qualifications they cannot meet.

    When you believe the lie, you start to die…

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

  7. Scott says:

    The greek verb (dei) is incredibly, incredibly common. I don’t think I would make a connection between 1 Tim 3:2 and John 3:7 based solely on its presence in both verses. Context is everything man, and a concordance is near worthless without training in greek grammar and syntax. Anyway…

    I would suggest you spend some time in 1 Cor 12. Focus on vv.28-29 and let it sink in a bit. Verse 29 is a rhetorical question by the way, I don’t know if your Greek concordance will pick up on that. No one is saying that pastors are “better” than normal folks in the congregation, but the Lord saw fit to equip the church in various ways. There’s beautiful concord in that, with all members serving their purposes – foot is as valuable as the head, etc. But some folks are gifted as teachers, and, I for one, am glad that they are!

  8. Rose says:

    Mark points out another error into which pastors, thinking too highly of themselves, frequently fall. Besides neglecting to respect the Holy Spirit indwelling the congregation and deferring to His operation, they also often think of themselves as Old Testament prophets, saying, “Thus says the Lord.” Getting excited about their own thoughts, they begin to imagine that because of their office their own opinions have the authority of Scripture and are of more significance than the opinions of other Christians. This develops in part because they believe that their calling is more important to the task of the church than the callings of other members of the body. Pretty soon they start requiring an implicit faith from the congregation, accusing any who challenge them of ignorance and of being “out of line”. The truth is,folks who are lead by the Spirit who speaks through the Word are not “doing what is right in their own eyes.” Ask yourself, pastor, what difference does it make to your ministry that the Spirit has been poured out on all flesh? Do you fancy yourself a prophet like Moses? Do you flatter yourself that your calling is more glorious than any other?

  9. Rose says:

    And I don’t think this discussion has been anti-intellectual at all. It has been somewhat anti-authoritarian and definitely anti-“lording it over.”

  10. Mark G. says:

    Amos and Rose, you are jumping to judgments, I assume, based upon bad experiences with pastors in the past. Pastor pride is a problem, I know, I am one and I know a lot of them. However, imperfect pastors do not negate the office of a pastor. Yes, we are supposed to be the mouthpiece of God in the pulpit, and do the very best we can to remove ourselves and speak clearly God’s word.

    Your logic seems to say that because there are bad pastors, then there shouldn’t be pastors at all. That is like saying that because there are bad parents, there shouldn’t be any parents. Yes, some pastors are not good. And they should be removed when they do not meet the qualifications. God will deal with all of our short-comings in our churches. Pastors ought to preach, pastor, council, listen, and a dozen other important duties, but the primary job of the pastor is to preach (which is Lloyd-Jones’ point).

    Although I recognize the temptation to pride when you have a congregation listening to you, an honest, grace-filled pastor will not find pride when he approaches his task to exposit the Word, but will be humbled that he is so unworthy to do such a high calling. We are clay pots carrying priceless treasure.

    What could be more important for a pastor to do but to stand before his people and say, “This is what God says.”? What an awesome responsibility. God will strictly judge anyone who does that, and that is why it must be approached with so much fear, respect, and prayerfulness.

    And some callings are higher than others. The President has a higher calling than does the average American because when he speaks, he speaks for the entire nation. How much more does the man who stands up to speak for God?

    Rose, it makes a HUGE difference to me that the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon my congregation. Without it, all my words would be said in vain. The Holy Spirit indwells them, and when I am faithful to preach his Word clearly, He speaks to them saying, “This is true. You should do this.” Not my words, but his.

    I’m not interesting in arguing about whether there should be pastors or not. My point, as is Lloyd-Jones’, is that the primary task of the pastor is to preach, not entertain, or visit, or lead social movements. All of those things have there place, but they are nothing without the preaching. I’m not saying that all a pastor should do is preach. I’m saying the most important thing he does is preaches. And no, I’m not saying that to bolster my pride.

  11. Mark G. says:

    Also, let me reiterate that I don’t believe that pastors are better than other Christians. That’s not what I mean by a higher calling. However, it does mean that God will hold them accountable to a higher calling and will judge them much more strictly. I am reminded of the severe words of Richard Baxter, “There is a day coming when many will regret they ever entered the ministry. Besides their own sins they will have the blood of many sould to answer for.”

    Another quote on pride: “True godliness cannot exist unless pride is hated, mouned over and fought against. However, if symptoms of pride are a sure sign of ungodliness then godly pastors are very rare indeed.”

  12. A. Amos Love says:

    Scott

    Thanks for the critique on concordances and the verb “dei” translated “must be.”

    But, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at… :-(
    I was answering the statement Mark had written…
    ““He gave them qualifications so that they would only ordain qualified men.”

    I agree with that. Only those who are qualified should be ordained. How about you?

    So, are you saying that, “must be” blameless, for an elder/overseer, is not important to qualify,
    because “dei” is used 104 times in the NT? Should we ordain men that are NOT above reproach? ;-)

    Why is using dei, 104 times, make being blameless, above reproach, beyond reproach, unimportant?
    Got that number, 104, from my concordance. ;-)

    I looked at 1 Cor 12:28-29, as you suggested..
    28* And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
    after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

    Once again – I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. Maybe my “intellect” is lacking. :-(
    After you ask me to read those verses… You write…
    “No one is saying that pastors are “better” than normal folks in the congregation,”

    Well, thanks for calling pew sitters normal. :-) I trust that wasn’t a condescending normal. ;-)
    But I think the Bible calls normal believers – The Bride of Christ – A king and a priest unto God – a son of God – a servant of Christ – an ambassador of Christ – A disciple of Christ – That sounds like very important positions in “The Body of Christ.” Far from normal. ;-)

    And if someone says they are a pastor, an elder/overseer, aren’t they also saying that they are real live examples of someone who qualifies to be an elder/overeer. They are saying they are someone who is living up to some very tough qualifications given by Paul.

    Aren’t they saying the are “better” then the rest because they do qualify to be an “elder/overseer” and most don’t qualify? And now they have the “Title” to prove it, and to announce it? And everyone has to show “honor” to them by calling them “Pastor?” Then they place that “Title,” and their name, everplace people can see it. Diplomas on walls, signs on office doors, Sunday morning bullitins, business cards, outdoor church signs.

    Hmmm? Hard to remain humble with your name and “Title” everywhere you look. :-(

    And, I can’t seem to find “pastors” in the verses you asked me to read. :-(
    I can find – apostles – profits – teachers – workers of miracles – gift of healings.
    Would I find “ALL” of these different folks and giftings where you fellowship? ;-)
    Why do you only speak about teachers? What about the rest?

    IMO – If you take the “Title” and “Position” Pastor/Leader/Teacher, elder/overseer,
    You are required to fulfill “ALL” the qualifications in 1 Tim 3 and Titus. Yes? :-)

    Please, if you’re seeing something different let me know.
    If qualifications for elder/overseer/teacher are NOT really that important…
    Then please explain, which qualifications are NOT important? Which ones can we overlook?

    Christ in me the hope of glory… Thank you Jesus…

  13. A. Amos Love says:

    Mark G

    You write…
    “Yes, we are supposed to be the mouthpiece of God” Hmmm? And it says that – Where in the Bible?

    Here are two more qualifications for elder/overseer that seem tougher then “must be” blameless. :-)

    Titus 1:6-8
    6* If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7* For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry,
    not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* ** holy,** temperate;

    Just
    Strongs #1342 dikaios {dik’-ah-yos} from 1349; — KJV – righteous 41, just 33, right 5, meet 2; 81
    innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively):– just, meet, right(-eous).

    Thayers –
    1) righteous, observing divine laws, keeping the commands of God
    1a2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
    1a3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God,
    and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life.

    Holy
    Strongs #3741 hosios {hos’-ee-os} KJV – holy 4, Holy One 2, mercies 1, shall be 1; 8
    intrinsic or divine character, hallowed (pious, sacred, sure):– holy, mercy, shalt be.

    Thayers
    1) undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.

    Must be blameless, just and holy are three very tough qualifications. Yes? ;-)

    If an “elder/overeer,” a “pastor/leader/reverend,” doesn’t meet “ALL” the qualifications…
    Will they remove themselves and become a good example to the flock? ;-)

    If they don’t remove themselves…
    Now what do we do? :-(

    Jesus… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul… :-)

  14. Scott says:

    Amos,

    It appears you got hurt at some point by pastoral pride and/or ambition. That’s happened to me as well. But, as has been mentioned above, we shouldn’t judge all by the faults of the few.

    I did not use the word “normal” in a pejorative sense! I think the context makes that clear.

    You are right, there are no “pastors” in Scripture. And, you are right, there are no apostles in my place of worship.

    Thanks for the reply…. You can have the last word.

  15. Rose says:

    Mark, I think that what Lloyd-Jones said, at least in the quote we are discussing (I don’t think one normally is required to read the whole book in order to discuss one idea), was that PRAYER and the preaching of the word were the most urgent need of the church. Prayer, because what the church really needs is the Holy Spirit, even more so than preaching.

    I do not think you represent yourself well when you say that the role the Holy Spirit has in your congregation is to confirm that what you say is true. You have missed half the story. The other half is that the Holy Spirit protects your congregation from the false things you say. The Spirit can and will tell your congregation, “What Mark said is false; do not listen to it.” This is when it is important for you to respect the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of your congregation. Do not respond by accusing one who is correcting you of snarkiness, being ignorant, rushing to judgement, being overly critical, or bitter because of past experiences. It is the job of all Christians to be discerning and to apply the light of God’s word to their experiences, as Amos and I have done. It is also imperative that their submission and obedience go no farther than is permitted by their obedience to God. There is no place in Christ’s body for “Peter Pan Pastors.” You, know, “We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader. We’re following the leader, wherever he may go. We won’t be back til morning, til morning, til morning. We won’t be back til morning, because he told us so.”

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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