Toward A Word-Centered Ministry

Chris Anderson has written a great little article on Acts 20: 17-38.

 In Paul’s lecture to the Ephesians elders he provides for us what I call “an inspired philosophy of ministry.” He explains what his ministry looked like, providing a pattern for the church throughout the ages. We need to know this passage well and apply it to our churches intentionally, especially in a day when there are so many competing voices regarding the nature of Christian ministry.

And here is Chris’ breakdown of Paul’s own description of his 3 year ministry in Ephesus:

  • He declared what was profitable (anangelō, v. 20)
  • He taught the Ephesians (didaskō, v. 20)
  • He testified repentance and faith (diamartureō, v. 21)
  • He testified of the gospel (diamartureō, v. 24)
  • He proclaimed the kingdom (kērussō, v. 25)
  • He declared the whole counsel of God (anangelō, v. 27)
  • He admonished the Ephesians (noutheteō, v. 31)

Al Mohler on the Lessons From the Life of Christopher Hitchens

Al Mohler has written an insightful article on lessons we must learn from the life of the notable atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens. The most important lesson for Christians is the deadly danger of superficial Christianity.

Unlike others who, as he wrote, might have rejected belief in God because of abuse or “brutish indoctrination,” Hitchens simply developed indignant contempt for a belief system that seemed so superficial and fraudulent. An exposure to tepid, lifeless, thoughtless, and intellectually formless Christianity can be deadly.

Mohler also points out that the greatest outside danger to Christianity does not come from the atheist.

In the final analysis, Christians have far less to fear from atheists or antitheists as we do from what Hitchens called “the generalized agnosticism of our culture.” We agree with him that the question of the existence and identity of God is nothing less than the most powerful and urgent question humanity will ever confront.

Difficult Warnings Regarding Losing Salvation?

Colin Hansen has posted an excellent article on the difficult warnings of Hebrews regarding our salvation and eternal security.

The Book of Hebrews daunts even the most gifted preachers and scholars. For one thing, we don’t know the author. He quotes the Old Testament at length and repeatedly, but his method of interpreting these passages doesn’t always make sense to readers. His arguments about angels, Moses, and the temple require more than cursory understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

And then there are the s0-called warning passages. It might be hard at first to grasp the significance of the priest Melchizedek, but many Christians viscerally understand the practical importance of these warnings. Can I lose my faith? What if I doubt? Fail to overcome sin?

To answer these questions and more, I turned to the acclaimed scholar Peter O’Brien, professor emeritus at Moore College in Sydney, Australia. Many who have studied EphesiansColossians, Philemon, and Philippians have benefited from his rich, insightful, and faithful commentaries. He has also written an immensely helpful commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews. He draws on some of that study to help us understand the famous warning passages in their immediate and canonical context.

Ekklesaphobia

David Fitch has come up with a great phobia that identifies a lot of what we see in Christian’s embrace of post-modernity and the missional movement. It’s called ekklesaphobia which is a fear of organization in the church (as if a disorganized church is much better.) You can read the article here.

…this wise caution against organizing people into Christendom-tainted-functions of the church has turned into a phobia, an unhealthy fear. I call this ekklesaphobia.

Christianity is Not Genetic

Russell Moore has a wonderful article for those of us who despair at the current state of the church. Moore relates a conversation he had with Carl F. H. Henry.

“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”