What Church Elders Do

This is a quote from Alexander Strauch’s book, “Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership” (p 98). Biblical elders do not dictate, they direct. True elders appeal to their [flocks] to faithfully follow God’s Word… Out of love, true elders suffer and bear the brunt of difficult people and problems so that the lambs are not bruised. They bear the misunderstandings and sins of others so that the assembly may live in peace. They lose sleep so that others may rest. They make great personal sacrifices of time and energy for the welfare of others. They see themselves as men under [God’s] authority. They depend on God for wisdom and help, not on their own power and cleverness. They face the false teachers’ fierce attacks. They guard the community’s liberty and freedom in Christ so that the saints are encouraged to develop their gifts, to mature, and…

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Advice for Young Pastors

This post from Kevin DeYoung lists 45 nuggets of wisdom for young pastors and theology students. If you’re a young pastor, a theology student, or someone who cares about the character of pastors, you’ll enjoy this post. Part One. Part Two.

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Favorite Hypocritical Church Complaints

I recently came across a blog post that quotes Kevin DeYoung’s book, Why We Love the Church, with some of the typical complaints leveled against the church. We need to love the church, warts and all, because the church is people. I have tweaked DeYoung’s quote a little into a list of favorite church complaints. 1. The church is lame. The ‘church-is-lame’ crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love. 2. The church is too-programmatic. This crowd bemoans the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing. 3. The church is too hierarchical. This crowd doesn’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then they hate it when it has poor leadership. 4. The church needs to…

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In Praise of a Boring Ministry

I wonder how many young men would choose to enter the ministry if they knew, from the very beginning, that their churches would never exceed a few dozen people, their salary would always be meager, their church budgets would always be tight, and all their labors would be scarcely noticed by anyone outside of their faithful few? Carl Trueman writes along these lines at his reformation21 blog in a recent post. In a world that is driven by larger than life celebrity personalities, it is no surprise that the church has a few of its own, leading large churches, writing books, and posting podcasts for listeners around the world. Trueman notes that these celebrity churches are led by celebrity pastors who have one-in-a-million type gifts and it is unreasonable to try to replicate this into other churches. Enter new Calvinism. Time Magazine recently pegged new Calvinism as the third most…

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The Four Types of Poverty

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself is a new book by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert that argues that there are four primary relationships that have been broken by the fall: our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with others, and our relationship with the rest of creation. Another way to look at this is that these are four different types of poverty. All four of these types of poverty are part of the effects of the fall, and in Christ all four of these types of poverty are being reconciled back to their original place in the created order. Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy. This is the most profoundly and utterly devastating effect of the fall, because it severs us from God himself. Human beings are now profoundly estranged from the very source of all life. Conservative, evangelical Christians are…

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