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Archive for September, 2008

Misperceptions

Many people wrongly assume that we are exclusive rather than inclusive and have no desire to grow numerically. In their minds, we are self-absorbed within our own little holy huddle. But they couldn’t be more mistaken. We simply believe numerical growth can but doesn’t always determine health.

Our goal is to be deeply rooted “like a tree firmly planted by steams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3). Our fruit is evident. I see it individually and corporately day after day. We continue to plan and prepare for for the day when the Lord of the harvest declares that it is our season to reap what we continue to diligently sow. Until then, we will refuse to wither because we are prospering, whether others see it and believe it or not.

To better understand what we believe about God’s absolute sovereignty and our responsibility in evangelism, read this.

PC

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The Palin Debate Continues

As we were working in the flower beds at a members newly purchased but older home on Sunday afternoon (ox in the ditch?), the inevitable question arose, “What do you think about Palin?” The conversation that insued was really good. In light of that, here are three articles that are worth reading in the midst of the ongoing debate. The first is from Pulpit Magazine. The second is from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The last is from Voddie Baucham.

Happy reading.

PC

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This may be old but I’ve just now seen it. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

PC

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This is cool! It is a picture of words from my message on Sunday. You can find out how this was done here.

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Reformed-Mindedness

The door of Schlosskirhe

The door of Schlosskirhe

Of the terms reformed-minded, preaching/teaching-centered, family-integrated and evangelistically-driven, which do you think is the most confusing, or in need of defining? Well, without hesitation, I believe the two which are the most obvious would be reformed-minded and family-integrated. So let me ask the question again. Of those two, which do you think is the most confusing or in need of defining?

I’m sure some of you are thinking family-integrated because it is a term being used in a general sense to describe a small but growing movement within the American church that many identify with in one form or fashion. But it’s also a specific term that many would define differently depending on their particular church or situation. Some use the term to describe their philosophy of ministry. Others would use the term to describe their style of worship. Still others would use the term to describe their type of programming. And in all three cases, it would not only be possible but probable to have multiple definitions or descriptions that vary from church to church. In other words, it definitely needs to be defined to eliminate confusion.

That said, I don’t believe that is the most confusing of the four terms we use to describe ourselves. The most confusing and therefore the one most in need of defining is the term reformed-minded. Like family-integrated, the term reformed-minded or simply reformed is used both generally and specifically and in a wide and varied manner. But unlike family-integrated, the term reformed carries an enormous amount of baggage due to misinformation, misrepresentations and mischaracterizations. But our purpose this morning is not to clear up those erroneous misconceptions because being reformed means far more than affirming the doctrines of grace or what some call the 5 tenets of Calvinism. And I say that because the doctrines of grace or the 5 points of Calvinism were formalized by the Synod of Dordt in 1618, 54 years after Calvin’s death and 100 years after the reformation had actually begun. So there is far more to the Reformation than the Doctrines of Grace.

When we talk of the Reformation and being reformed-minded, the truth is, we’re not really referring to the doctrines of grace or 5 points of Calvinism, though they are an integral part. What we are referring to primarily are those central truths that we have on banners displayed each week on the platform behind me as I preach. They are 5 Latin phrases that summarize what the Reformation was all about.

Steven Lawson puts it this way,

At the heart of this great movement, there stood 5 statements – really, five declarations – that defined what this “revival of religion” was all about. These five proclamations forged the very essence of the Reformation and undergirded the advance of the Gospel on the European continent, as well as in Scotland and England. These five statements of biblical truth were known as the solas of the Reformation. Each of these declarations – sola Scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria – begins with the Latin word sola, meaning “alone”. This definitive word – sola – asserted the absolute exclusivity of each of these truths. The Reformation was all about this small, but pivotal word, “alone”. These were the doctrines that defined this history-altering movement…..Charles Spurgeon has said, “A reformation is as much needed now as in Luther’s day, and by God’s grace we shall have it, if we trust in Him and publish His truth…..we want such a one as Martin Luther to rise from his tomb. If Luther were now to visit our so-called reformed churches, he would say with all his holy boldness, ‘I was not half a reformer when I was alive before, now I will make a thorough work of it’.” If we are to see a new Reformation in our day, it will require a return to these same history-altering doctrines that once shocked the church. May God once again restore such a commitment in His church. And may it begin with you.

Steven J. Lawson
Unpublished Document
2006

We are committed as a church to it beginning with us. Therefore, we’ve set aside the 5 Sundays between September 28th and October 26th (Reformation Sunday) to preach and teach through these 5 “alones”. It is a series we taught through last year but one that we believe should be covered yearly.

As a side note, we’ll be teaching/preaching through the Doctrines of Grace the five weeks following the Solas.

Come join us!

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