Linkathon 4/21, part 1

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  1. great article on J Knapp

  2. What? I was first! Well how about that. As my daddy used to say “Sometimes, even the blind pig finds an acorn”

  3. Nene says:

    BrianD. Another fountain of wealth in links!

    As for Francis Chan, his move does not surprise me one bit. Awesome for him, he so gets it! May the Lord continue to pour out an abundance of His spirit upon Francis. Bless this family greatly Lord, keep them safe in your care. Surround them with plenty of Godly encouragers as they move on.

  4. BrianD says:

    I’m not terribly impressed. This is like Manny signing with the Dodgers. No effect on my life.

  5. pineapple head says:

    Shaun Groves post is the essence of what blogging is supposed to be…

  6. Michael says:

    Scott McKnight is making a grievous error by lumping Waltke and Longman together.

    Waltke affirms a historical Adam and the fall…Longman does not and that is simply not orthodox.

  7. Michael says:

    Insomnia sucks… I don’t have a link, but take my word for it. 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    “When it comes to imputation and justification, I believe that Piper (over against his New Perspective opponents) is absolutely and gloriously right.”

    Bravo, Trevin!

    Here’s another problem with all these conferences…we miss the significance of some things in the flood of information.

    100 years from now Pipers message will be cited in church history books as the fist that laid the NPP to the ground.

    Piper is a giant…

  9. Michael says:

    I wrote a bunch of obnoxious comments about Donald Millers article but decided it’s better to sleep on them…when I can sleep.

    BrianD does the most incredible job on the internet of keeping all of us informed about where the church is at among our various tribes…so grateful for his service.

  10. brian says:

    I was thinking on that article, I also deleted what I was going to say, good choice.

  11. Bob Sweat says:

    Groves’ piece about Jennifer Knapp was priceless. I expected to read something along the line that everyone else has written, but he chose to speak to an issue that needs to be addressed. My first marriage was damaged long before my act of adultery. I was married to my ministry rather than my wife. Seldom did I take anytime away from my church, and I justified it all by the claim that I was “Called by God”. I have seen the same reasoning in others who are in ministry. I have watched as their spouses and children are neglected all for the cause of Christ. If you haven’t read Groves’ article, I encourage you to do so, and take note.

  12. Bob says:

    Patton’s blog said:

    “Most churches are ignoring the mind. Rarely do you find a pastor on staff of a church that is committed to learning, studying, and helping people work through the real challenges they face. Check it out yourself. Pastors today are taught to deal with the felt needs of their people through countless programs that bring in big numbers. But they fail to nurture the real need: people need to believe, not be entertained.”

    Worth repeating. I would add pastors and elders (board members if you don’t call them elders) tend to get wrapped up in the financial preservation of their church and thus are forced to attempt to maintain their numbers.

  13. centorian says:

    Interesting article by Miller. He spoke about asking people to get on board with the ministry of the church or get off the wagon and go find another church. That’s an interesting ideal. I have had some people (one who considered me their “best” friend, a red flag in itself) that I felt were sitting at the back of the wagon, dragging their feet while I tried to pull it forward. They eventually ended up leaving and causing significant damage to the church after they left. I wonder if it had been better for them and the other people in the church if I had just asked them to either get on board or leave.

    I was convinced then as I am now that I would have met the same type of straw man resistance that some of the people here have encountered when they confronted abusive pastors.. I wonder if they may have found their way here and complained vehemently how unloving and controlling I was in asking them to leave.

    In this case, I’m convinced these people are abusive sheep, if in fact they are of the household of faith. While much focus is placed upon the abusive pastor, there is a dynamic within churches of abusive people seek to gather a following of their own within the church, bring conflict to a head whether there is actual merit or not, and then divide.

  14. Bob Sweat says:

    Centy

    You make a very valid point. I’m sure that all pastors can identify with you. I can remember such a group in every church where I served as pastor.

  15. Em says:

    Donald Miller’s link: Good God in Heaven! what a cowardly thing that pastor did – IMO
    “get with the program or move on” – said genericallyd, of course – might have been honest and to the point. But….
    I’m assuming i know; he wasn’t concerned enough to offer to go one on one or have a staff (qualified) do so meet face to face and individually with these folks, he just told them, in essence,”lead, follow or get out of the way.” Talk about a brush-off. I don’t care how sweetly and diplomatically he stood behind his invisible wall to proclaim this message, it was wrong headed and revealing. IMNSHO
    He said, essentially, “i’m not here to teach you and grow stronger Christians, i’m here to run an organization” – “a Christian organization! is job one here.”
    Not saying he’s wrong…
    yes, i am, aren’t i? 🙁

  16. Michael says:

    Millers church example was about “doing work together”.

    That’s not church, thats the Rotary Club.

    I’ll leave it at that.

  17. Em says:

    Centorian, God bless you – that’s what i get for posting without reading the comment thread, i guess – there’s two sides to Miller’s stand, eh? And i do sympathize with you pastors who encounter what i’d call log-jam Christians

  18. Em says:

    Michael, that was what jumped out at me, i guess…

  19. Michael says:

    Em,

    The minute ‘church” turns from the centrality of what Christ did to being based on what we do is the minute it becomes a Sunday meeting of the Kiwanis Club.

    People will be there to “network”, not to worship.

    I’m as grouchy as a snake this morning…

  20. centorian says:

    Em,
    yes you are, and that’s fine. I would not ever get up in front of our people and tell them to get with it or move on.. Some are incapable to do much at this point and it is my hope that they come to a place that they will be able to receive God’s blessings in their lives in a greater way. And part of that blessing may in fact be wrapped around service. Some people are never going to serve and I have to entrust to God that He is working. Sometimes it’s good enough that people are not going backwards, but sometimes there needs to be a purposed effort on their part to serve the Lord by serving others.

  21. Michael says:

    Patton;

    “In Evangelicalism today we are going through a crisis. The pews are filled with people who are in the middle of this battle. They are fighting for their beliefs and many of them are losing. Some leave the church believing it is naive and archaically denying reality. Some are in a mind/spirit/emotion battle, not knowing how to sort out the conflict. Others are doing their best to live on the high of their emotions. All the while the church itself is falling way behind and losing its relevance and voice.”

    Continuing my morning tirade…

    The problem is that people aren’t interested enough in the faith to learn the faith.
    Thus, when it no longer is psychologically pleasing, they go looking for something else to salve their widdle feelers.

    God is not as interesting as this weeks”24″ or “American Idol”.

  22. centorian says:

    and Michael’s point about “doing work together” does need to be considered. The question always needs to be asked “to what end’ are we doing these things? Sometimes “ministry” is nothing more than fulfilling the pastor’s ambition. What I found interesting is that I’ve had people leave because I didn’t give them something to do. That is not poor leadership on my part, that is poor discipleship on theirs. They despised the days of small things, and opted rather to sit in the back of a large church and not serve at all.

  23. Bob Sweat says:

    People getting mad and leaving the church because the pastor did not give them something to do is like the child who tells his mom there’s nothing around the house he can do while there is a sink full of dishes! Look around!!

  24. Another Voice says:

    The truth is, in your organization, there may be some people who simply aren’t a fit.
    ———————————————————————-
    Did I just read these words? In context of Christ’s church? YOUR ORGANIZATION?! AREN’T A FIT?!

    Is there any thought about the folks struggling to economically survive, raise kids, stay married, stay sober etc. when the demand is made that they commit their precious time to a ‘small group’ or to ‘serving’ at the church.

    I guess I am just different because I read all this vision/leadership stuff and I just want to teach the Word faithfully every opportunity I have – to whomever the Lord brings my way.I want to see the ones who come built up in the faith. And I want to be there to pray, encourage and assist those who ask for my help.

    I would laugh at somebody who asked me about our church’s 1-year, 5-year and 10-year plans. What is your vision for the church brother?

    Maybe we have a Scripture error in Proverbs 29 and the verse should read ‘With too much vision the people perish’ 😉

  25. Bob Sweat says:

    Some people are content to sit in church Sunday after Sunday, turn the pages of their Bibles, take notes on the teaching, praise the pastor for a great teaching, and then walk out the door to return to life as usual.

    Michael, your fangs are showing. 🙂

  26. I have been criticized lately as promoting a social gospel because we are reaching the lower income/ largely Hispanic neighbor our church is in thru, a community garden, ESL classes, and building soccer fields instead of a sanctuary. I have also been criticized as being un-American and pandering to the liberal agenda because I used the word “multicultural” to describe what our church might look like in the future.

    I don’t see necessarily a separation between helping people and the sharing of the gospel. In fact the early church grew from 12 to being the religion of the Empire in 300 years because, when plagues struck, rather than fleeing the cities, the Christians stayed behind to help the informed. Tertutllian commented on what the pagans were saying “See how these Christians love one another”

    More recently in China, the persecuted Christians have had success in sharing the gospel in that they tended to the needs of those who persecuted them

    Again, we must be careful not to separate the mandate to care for widows and orphans in James, from the preaching of the gospel. Both go hand in hand. Seems many, and I’m not accusing anyone here, feel that evangelism is simply holding church services and people come and get saved. Certainly that happens. But equally, going to a people group who have not heard the gospel, and meeting them at their needs with the purpose of salvation is evangelism too.

    The issue I think the pastor in Miller’s article was that people tend to like it when a church hires a staff of people to do what they should be doing personally. They feel they are fulfilling the great commission albeit, vicariously.

    I am not endorsing what the pastor in Miller’s article said, but I get it. Church, in this pastor’s opinion should never be just a place where “Christians” go. We ought to get out of the mindset we are our own subculture.

    Paul and Silas started a thriving church in Philippi by worshiping. The prisoner’s listened it says in Acts 16. We ought to have a few pagans in the Sunday morning crowd in my opinion

  27. Michael says:

    AV,

    The vision/leadership stuff is the biggest steaming crock that has been dumped on the church in the last thirty years.

    My “vision” at the end of every service is a prayer that we learned more about Him this week and that He be gracious enough to gather us all together in one piece to do it again next week.

  28. Michael says:

    “Again, we must be careful not to separate the mandate to care for widows and orphans in James, from the preaching of the gospel. ”

    I agree…but our works cannot be the central focus of our gathering.

  29. Michael says:

    Bob,

    I know…I need to get off the computer when I’m this way.

  30. centorian says:

    “The vision/leadership stuff is the biggest steaming crock that has been dumped on the church in the last thirty years.”

    lol! Yep. The fruit of all this vision/leadership stuff has produced networks, movements, leaders who set lofty goals and say things like we’re gonna be bigger than they are, have multi-sites in several locations in the city/region and when that is not enough open up franchises with anointed button pushers in others states, and unholy alliances with unbelievers in the name social welfare (guess they didn’t take the books of Ezra and Nehemiah too seriously), international radio “ministries”, and on and on it goes as the mustard tree grows…

  31. Bob Sweat says:

    “The vision/leadership stuff is the biggest steaming crock that has been dumped on the church in the last thirty years.”

    Isn’t that why pastors go to conferences? You know, to hear what the newest gimmick is for filling the pews. I hated going to conferences!!!!

  32. Another Voice says:

    I believe Galatians 6:10 gives me support in making a focus of our charity as a church to be the ones who attend there. I also think James’ instruction in 1:27 should not be divorced from its cultural, historical context – and should be properly exegeted with emphasis on the verb ‘meaning to look upon in order to help, as well as seeing it is a command to the individual.

    I have had people tell me they give money privately to poor neighbors they know, but it limits what they can give to the church. Then they ask ‘Am I doing the wrong thing’ – of course I say No. In fact, I rejoice! What a witness that becomes and how it opens doors for that person to share the love and gospel of Christ.

    I would much rather see that taking place then to have some big church-run program that is funded by the tithes (or the “special” offerings for the program) that is then administered as an entitlement program with no real personal connection to the ones receiving the aid. (Note – I realize that does not describe everybody’s outreach programs, but it sure is accurate for most I have seen over the years)

    Likewise, if I can help someone in how to apply for and receive various benefits available to them by my tax dollars (and yours) then I will do so. Such benefits were not available to widows and orphans in the 1st century.

  33. pineapple head says:

    I am amazed how many pastors spend so much time going to a multitude of conferences. How can you do ministry when you’re out of town all the time?

    Over the years there have been a few that I’ve felt fed my soul. but most of them are just a platform for people to sell stuff.

  34. Nonnie says:

    Michael said: “I know…I need to get off the computer when I’m this way.”

    When my kids would getting cranky and irritable, I would make them take a nap.
    🙂

  35. Another Voice says:

    To my knowledge (which covers a lot of years) I never heard Chuck Smith challenge the congregation to get on board or get out. Yet, look how many got on board over the years.

    For that matter, I have never heard him talk about goals and vision for the church from the pulpit. Yet, look at the fruit.

    I wonder if in instead of making the CCOF and Bible College folks listen to the tapes from Genesis – Revelation, if it wouldn’t be far more valuable to have them listen to the Sunday morning messages from that same time period. You probably would get all the “essential” doctrine, but it would be a far better example of the man as pastor/leader of the flock (which he will rightfully be seen as one of the legends for this time period) – and not theologian (which I do not personally see Chuck as).

  36. Em says:

    there are no ‘outreach’ programs (i think i have the right term) that can take the place of well fed (spiritually fed) Christians out there in the market place living The Life
    that said, our town has a charitable non-denominational, but outspokenly Christian, organization of pooled resources that has gone on for longer than i have lived here (“Serve Wenatchee Valley”) – haven’t checked lately, but i believe that their doors are open to all of the town’s pastors’ referrals – thus taking the burden off of the smaller individual fellowships.

  37. Another Voice says:

    EM – what do they provide? (for my curiosity)

    I remember when the forum was discussing Christian schools and it was stated that the ideal way was to have one solid Christian school that the area churches could support – rather than each church (that was large enough) trying to have their own school. This is since running a school takes a special skill set and educational background that the church most likely does not have, at least in full.

    So back to charity, the same thing applies IMO.. And there is a group we support with some money that is reaching the community as a whole.

    What’s happening in this ministry you mention EM seems to be the way to go. They just seem to be few and far between – at least in my area.

  38. Goose says:

    “The problem is that people aren’t interested enough in the faith to learn the faith.
    Thus, when it no longer is psychologically pleasing, they go looking for something else to salve their widdle feelers.”

    Well said Michael!

    I would add that if the flock shows up hungry on Sundays or Wednesdays or whenever and all they hear is a bunch of nonsense at their local fellowship then what can we expect? Of course, I am not saying all churches/Pastors are at fault, but we know many that are! Many simply fail to teach the Word of God and that is where the problems begin, in my opinion.

  39. AV
    “I believe Galatians 6:10 gives me support in making a focus of our charity as a church to be the ones who attend there”

    Wow; that sounds kind of harsh to me. While I agree the church should take care of it’s own I think the ghetto mentality of some churches is what makes us irrelevant.

    You also seem to have put the burden of taking care of the outsiders on the church corporately. But isn’t the big organized church model something that has led to many of the issues we discuss and despise here? I dunno…not attacking…just questioning.

  40. Em says:

    AV, let’s see if this link attempt works – explains better than i

    http://www.servewenatchee.org/

  41. Another Voice says:

    Steve, I just mean from a priority standpoint, the needs of the body come first, right?

    I pastor a fellowship hit HARD by these last couple years, and frankly there are more needs in the body than we have resources for. Thus, I do not feel a burden to start our own church-run ministry program to the unsaved poor in the community.

    I also have those in the fellowship who are involved in the needs of the poor and homeless around us too – wht the support as needed of the church. But it’s their calling, not some church program.

    What is the ghetto mentality you speak of? I don’t follow you there.

    I do think a parachurch ministry is more effective in social needs than the local churches working at their individual abilities. For one thing, as long as we unite in the gospel, the various doctrinal differences are not nearly as relevant.

  42. London says:

    “Thus, I do not feel a burden to start our own church-run ministry program to the unsaved poor in the community.”

    wow….

  43. London says:

    Hey Hopkins…I like the way your thinkin’ these days 😉

  44. AV
    By the word “ghetto” I mean a christian subculture where it’s just us. I certainly agree with you that the churches first responsibility should be to take care of it’s own. Where I might respectfully disagree though is that a para church organization may be more effective at handling these kinds of things. You maybe right but I guess I kind of resist any thought that says or even implies “You help em and I’ll preach to em”.

    That’s where I am coming from. Sounds like you have a good church

  45. For the record and although I am not necessarily a shining example, I don’t see helping folks outside the church as anything but a privilege..it certainly is no burden. But again, I don’t want to ever relegate the church to being a social service organization. I just think there is a danger is separating one from the other.

    So London…I m not as big a horses ass as you thought?

  46. Michael says:

    ” just mean from a priority standpoint, the needs of the body come first, right?”

    Absolutely.

  47. Another Voice says:

    London and Steve,

    Maybe I should have said I don’t PRESENTLY feel such a burden. Put another way, how do I get the church excited about helping the poor when THEY are the poor (at least many of them). How do I explain to the members that we have no more funds to help them because we made it our priority to help the strangers. And remember, any money we have is given to us by the members who certainly care for the poor strangers, but love the people they know and worship with each week far more.

    I would also add that much of this is spoken from experience where there has been no real fruit from such programs of any lasting spiritual benefit. There have been such ministry outreaches.

    I would much rather see the members help those individually as the Lord brings them into their lives – rather than some organized program.

    Over the years I have had that privilege, where instead of dropping a five on some homeless guy and thinking I made a difference as I go about my busy day – I stop and we go have lunch and talk. Maybe I take the next step.

    Back in my business days I have given my card to guys who tell me their story about their bad luck, family to support and love for Jesus – and told them they have a job if they show up Monday. Nobody ever did.

    This had nothing to do with me being a pastor, just a Christian, and it is what I am trying from the pulpit to instill in the fellowship. That THEY are the best to do the work of the ministry with the people THEY already know or might meet. Not some impersonal monolith known as the church. THEY are the church.

  48. London says:

    No Hoppy, I still think you’re as big a horse’s ass. Just with better thinkin’ :mrgreen:

  49. AV
    I get ya

    London
    “Whinneey neeeeeyy” or “Wilbur!”

  50. Another Voice says:

    Steve,

    Let me explain the parachurch thing by using Haiti as an example (maybe not the best example since it is not a local need).

    There are groups and churches with a large established presence in Haiti for years. I do not think it makes sense to try and drum up a team, pass the collection plate and start our own Haiti relief program. Of course, since many Christians in the fellowship are burdened for Haiti, I announced some options for them to donate towards from these established groups, if they are so led.

    Some in our church are part of a multi-church outreach program in our area that seems to be blessed. But it isn’t our program, nor does it belong to any one church’s program either.

    I will grant you that there are lots of problems in the parachurch structure, as well as misuse of funds, poor stewardship and the like.

  51. London says:

    I need to leave before I blow a gasket.

  52. Another Voice says:

    London, That is one reason I post annonymously.

    I like to share my views as openly and honestly as possible. Since the internet is such a lousy medium for EFFECTIVE communication (or such a great medium for miscommunication if one prefers) – the last thing I want to do is invite scorn upon the fellowship I am privileged to pastor because either I have done a poor job of explaining my ministry philosophy (as is likely the case here) – or because someone deliberately seizes on one phrase out of context and begins to criticize and defame.

  53. Michael says:

    Who said anything controversial?

    My best guess is that if down the road we do become the main social agency it will have to be a parachurch entity supported after our own .

  54. London says:

    Whether you post annonymously or with your name isn’t relevant to me, although I can see how you’d want to stay annonymous. I don’t post with my real name on line here or elsewhere so I get that.

    My frustration isn’t really even with you personally. Although the little digs you put at the end of your posts are a bit annoying. 😉

    I’ve had a very, very hard week and if I get into what I’m thinking about some of the philosophy I see in churches, including what you’ve written today, then I’ll just end up not being able to find the right words to explain myself, get pissed off and start a big old arguement about something that doesn’t even need to be argued about.

    It’s not worth it…

  55. Michael says:

    My primary responsibility to those outside the church is to give them the Gospel…

  56. Another Voice says:

    I think I just got the whole burden/privilege thing above. Burden is a hot-button word.

    I only meant burden in the sense of the checking account. Every ministry expense is a ‘burden’ under this definition.

    To better explain, children are a financial burden. That simply can’t be argued. But if you say that, it is likely to be horribly misunderstood.

    Raising children is a honor and a privilege, and worth every penny they may need.

    Steve, of course it is a privilege to minister to the poor, or for that matter, ANYONE in society. the PEOPLE are never the burden in my mind.
    Again – it was meant in the context of finances…limited finances…

  57. Xenia says:

    I downloaded and have read over half of Divine Commodity. It is a very good book, so far. Thanks for the link, BrianD.

  58. BrianD says:

    Let me know how you like it, Xenia. I have yet to read it at all. I’m currently reading Matt Turner’s Hear No Evil and Peterson’s A Long Obedience.

  59. Another Voice says:

    Michael, I agree with you about the gospel. On occasion I hear a church has a program to the community as a whole and it is stated boldly (and proudly) that there is no witnessing involved – as if somehow it is wrong to share the gospel to those you help…or it is a virtue to help without sharing the gospel.

    I know sometimes people portray the church as saying ‘you only get fed if you make a decision for Christ first’ but that is silly. I also have heard many times the missionary idea of nobody will listen to the gospel on an empty stomach etc. Of course, many missionaries have shown that once the rice stops, the people go back to their old ways too (this is not as often noted by the church).

    It’s not an either/or thing – and we need not apologize for having a gospel presentation incoporated into the proceedings. The Bible is pretty clear on what mankind’s greatest need happens to be,

  60. Michael says:

    AV,

    Agreed.

    No one wants to help as much as the people on this board…but we also realize our first responsibility is to plead with people to be reconciled to Christ.

  61. Xenia says:

    I just now finished Divine Commodity and I recommend it highly. The author decries the consumerism of the Am Church. His solution is not another program but a call for personal prayer, fasting, alsmgiving, silence and hospitality. He believes that non-believers will be attracted to Christ by our Christlike behavior rather than by the worldly spectacles and programs offered by some churches. I think most PPeeps will agree with basic ideas of the book. It’s a call for Christlike humility over worldly glitz.

  62. BrianD says:

    Xenia, your reading discipline puts me to shame 🙂

    Thank you for the review!

  63. Xenia says:

    Well Brian, now that I don’t play FarmVille anymore I have more time to read! (Thanks for the link to my blog.)

  64. Carole Turner says:

    The Divine Commodity is one of my top 20 books! I loved it. Hear No Evil is so funny and I related to a lot of it.

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