Deacons as Shock Absorbers

9 Marks has just released a journal containing a half dozen articles on the ministry of deacons. Jonathan Leeman writes,

“The New Testament only mentions this unassuming office two, maybe three times (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13; cf. Rom. 16:1). But pay attention. It seems to direct the deacon’s attention to the church’s physical good, which in turn will serve the church’s spiritual good. The deacon is a unity builder—and shock absorber! There should be nothing unspiritual about a deacon.”

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Sincere and Affectionate Catechizing – John G. Paton

 

Family worship can become a resented drudgery or a longed for joy. This is powerfully illustrated by John G. Paton, the faithful missionary to the cannibals of the New Hebrides islands, in his autobiography “Missionary Patriarch.” Paton discusses radically different results from what was fundamentally the same activity:

It has been an amazing thing to me, occasionally to meet with men who blamed this “catechizing” for giving them a distaste to religion; every one in all our circle thinks and feels exactly the opposite. It laid the solid rock-foundations of our religious life. After-years have given to these questions and their answers a deeper or a modified meaning, but none of us have ever once even dreamed of wishing that we had been otherwise trained. Of course, if the parents are not devout, sincere, and affectionate, – if the whole affair on both sides is taskwork, or worse, hypocritical and false, – results must be very different indeed!

Consider coming to the Hope Baptist Child Training conference, “The Training and Admonition of the Lord.”

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A Biblical Analysis of Age Segregated Youth Ministry

The following will appear in my upcoming book on youth ministry:

“Do the methods for the evangelism and discipleship of youth matter? Does Scripture speak specifically to the issue of youth ministry? This book suggests that they matter greatly. Further, it shows that a tragic blindness exists in Christian culture regarding ministry to youth. While God has spoken clearly about how to minister to youth in His Word, that Word seems to be completely ignored in modern church life, and has been replaced with a cheap substitute. And, to make matters worse, youth are being destroyed through this modern method of discipleship. It is indisputably unbiblical in its method, inherently destructive in its effect, and undeniably unchristian in its origin. Even though this is true, most people will reject the message of this book. After all, age segregation is the biggest business in the church and its all we’ve ever done.

Believers are charged to take every thought and every practice captive by examining everything by the standard of scripture. Unfortunately, we live in an era where many churches have orthodox doctrinal statements, but not practices that are consistent with them. We have an intellectual orthodoxy without a biblical orthopraxy to match it. What is actually done week to week in our churches is very different from what is written in scripture.”

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NCFIC Book Blog — Principles for Helping Children Choose Marriage Partners

"The process of getting and staying married is severely malfuctioning in in our land. With the divorce rate in the church statisticially indistinguishable from the unbelieving world, it would not be be considered hyperbole to say that today’s marriages in the churches are a moral distaster.  As we have slowly adopted the ways of the world in nearly every area of life in order to maintin our respectability, at the same time, we have lost our ability to properly join our children in marriage.  Out chilren have been left with unworkable methods in a broken godless system.

This is why I hope these culturally acceptable practices would be abandoned by the church and replaced with more rational and intentionally biblical approaches."

Text quoted from Helping Them to Choose: The Duty of Christian Parents edited by Scott T. Brown. For more details about this book or to purchase click HERE.

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How Do you Love the Church and Continue in Pornography?

I just posted a piece on “Our Marriage blog” an article on pornography that appeared in National Review Magazine. We know that pornography destroys marriages and families. But there is more. The use of pornography defiles the church in more ways than one. First it destroys the individual. Second it destroys a vision of the gospel that marriage is designed to explain, “Husbands, love your wives as also Christ loved the church.” In December 9-11 we are holding our Love the Church conference in Asheville NC. No wonder there is so little love for the church in modern times. That love is being directed to other places.

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Love the Church Conference, Ridgecrest – Asheville NC, Dec 9-11

At this conference we will cast a vision for church life that is presented in scripture. Speakers such as Paul Washer, Joel Beeke, Doug Phillips, Scott Brown and many others will join together to define biblical church and family life. Our prayer is for a rising number of churches dedicated to the glory of God alone. We will communicate the biblical doctrine of the church, explain her importance, her calling and her destiny. We will show how you and your family fit in to the church of Jesus Christ and how He has called you to love and serve her. We will bring messages on evangelism, missions, church planting, and discipleship through local churches. We will be explaining particularly important church practices such as singing, scripture reading, the Lord’s table, baptism, Sabbath keeping and church discipline. We will explain the importance of the sufficiency of scripture for the government of the church and how to apply the “regulative principle” in church life. We will even bring messages regarding the way that churches should treat their elders and whether or not they should pay them.

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An excerpt from my upcoming book on youth ministry

Methodology, not Intentions

The good intentions of those involved present a difficult situation: How do you appeal to people who are honestly trying to do the right things in a wrong system? How do you appropriately point out to them that there is something they have adopted that is contrary to Scripture and that is destroying the body of Christ from within?

First, I hope to address our brothers with love, not condescension. Though God is direct with His expectations of us, He has also been gracious to lead us when we were in error. W should likewise be direct, yet gracious in our posture toward our brothers. My prayer is that the message of this book, though it is controversial, will be consistent with the words of the Apostle Paul:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16

Second, I want to focus on the methodology, not on the motivations of good men who have gone off course. It is important that we do not impugn the character of those who are well-intentioned, yet misguided in their approach to youth ministry. The goal of this book is to address the methodology of modern youth ministry and not the intentions of those who operate within it.

The truth is that most youth ministers have simply adopted what the previous generation established. They have not carefully considered whether or not the approach of their mentors actually follows God’s directives for the training of youth. Many, in fact, have considered methodology to be neutral, “So long as we get positive results, our methods must be acceptable.”

Yet methodology matters: God has not only ordained the ends, but He has also ordained the means to those ends, and He expects us to follow those means.  God has specifically prescribed the way that we should disciple youth. It is not just what we say to youth that matters; how we structure our discipleship endeavors is also of vital importance. How we get from A to B is critical in God’s economy of things. The ends do not justify the means.

Thus, if we have abandoned, even unwittingly, biblical practices as we have sought to evangelize and disciple young men and women, then we must repent. That is what I needed to do. I am mortified when I think of what I promoted, and that it took hold. If we find that we have drifted away from biblical patterns, we are obligated to change directions and subordinate ourselves to the standards of the God we profess to represent and serve. If we love God, we will “keep [His] commandments” (John 14:15). We will not seek to please Him, and then try to advance His work in a way that is contrary to His word.

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NCFIC Book Blog — Family Reformation

"While the doctrine of salvation was reformed during the sixteenth century, so were marriage, manhood, womanhood, courtship, child raising, fertility, and many other areas of family life. John Calvin never wrote a book on the family, but he touched off a family reformation resulting in a massive restructuring of the most fundamental institution of society. Like no other reformer, Calvin provided the exegetical precision that defined the terms for a biblical vision of family life. Calvin teaches us that “sola Scriptura” is the gold standard for family life.  This principle, which ignited a family reformation in Geneva, can ignite a reformation in your family today. This book communicates the main themes of Calvin’s teaching on family life in his own words, using quotes from his books, sermons, letters, and other writings."

Text quoted from Family Reformation: The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in Calvin’s Geneva by Scott T. Brown. For more details about this book or to purchase click HERE.

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Doug Phillips on “Pure and Undefiled Religion” – From My Notes at the Father Daughter Retreat

“Pure and undefiled religion” is ministering to those who are deprived of fathers from broken families.

James says, “Pure and undefiled religion” is to help those without fathers. This highly esteemed work is connected with helping broken families. The loss of a father is thought by Christ to be a devastating loss.

To show special care for those without fathers give a child a father is the work of undefiled religion.
Show special care for those without fathers and validate the truth of 2 Cor 6:18 – “I will be a father to you”

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The Botkin Sisters on, “Whose Daughter Are You?” – My Notes

Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin spoke beautifully to the daughters on the subject of examining our affections to identity and learn from them whether you are a daughter of Zion of a daughter of the devil. Here are some brief notes from their message:

“The devil wants you. However, the most devastating part is, “you want you.”

Who are you really?

Are you your own, or are you God’s daughter? Have you embraced Christ as your King? A Christian family can end up only as a course that allows you to pass yourself off as a Christian when really you have never become a daughter of Christ. I have seen many fall away. Many have been impostors. It happens because they were never converted to begin with. They were just pretending. They wanted a nice home and a nice husband, but they did not want the sacrifices necessary.
Matt 16:24-24. The difference between becoming a daughter of your own or Christ’s.”

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Messages on Proverbs 31 at the Vision Forum Father Daughter Retreat

Today, I am off to Calloway Gardens in Georgia with my daughters, Blair and Claudia. I will be doing expositions of Proverbs 31. I want to dedicate these messages to my wife Deborah. We have been married for 28 years, and as I have saturated myself in these 22 verses in Proverbs 31, in preparation for this retreat, my heart is full of rejoicing as I see with new eyes what makes my wife tick. These verses describe her perfectly. If anyone thinks these things are out of reach or for another world, I am here to testify that I have seen every one of these things with my own eyes for many years in my own wife Deborah.

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McLaren’s “New Christianity” attacked at Southern Seminary on NPR’s Morning Edition

National Public Radio reports, “Recently, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., convened a school-wide event to talk about a new book by a popular evangelical Christian. It wasn’t pretty. ‘It is a new kind of Christianity that is no Christianity at all,’ says Southern Baptist theologian Jim Hamilton.”

Listen here.

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NCFIC Road Trip – visiting 16 cities in five weeks for church and family reformation

This year, the NCFIC is coming to a city near you through a 9,000 mile road trip. The NCFIC Road Trip Team brings a message of biblical reformation for Church and family life, declaring that hunger for the glory of God is the beginning of all reformation. We will explain how the Gospel fills the true Church and demonstrate practical ways to go about bringing biblical reformation to the leadership, discipleship, family life and preaching of the church.

We will address how obedience to God’s commands regarding family life blesses the church, how obedience in our marriages models the love of God for the church, how obedience in discipling our children preserves the rising generation of the church, and how obedience in brotherly love, hospitality, and evangelism creates a church body life that builds up, strengthens, and grows a true church. We will exposit the Biblical directives for leadership, discipleship and preaching in the church. We will show the difference between law and grace and how they work in harmony for the building up of the church. In summary, we will cast a vision for a unified life of reformation in the church and the family.

Our goal is to leave behind a rising sense of the glory and beauty of the church and her importance in God’s plan of redemption.

The Brown family, the Peter Bradrick family, the David Brown family, and a number of interns will be taking this five week tour.
 

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NCFIC Road Trip – visiting 16 cities in five weeks for church and family reformation

This year, the NCFIC is coming to a city near you through a 9,000 mile road trip. The NCFIC Road Trip Team brings a message of biblical reformation for Church and family life, declaring that hunger for the glory of God is the beginning of all reformation. We will explain how the Gospel fills the true Church and demonstrate practical ways to go about bringing biblical reformation to the leadership, discipleship, family life and preaching of the church.

We will address how obedience to God’s commands regarding family life blesses the church, how obedience in our marriages models the love of God for the church, how obedience in discipling our children preserves the rising generation of the church, and how obedience in brotherly love, hospitality, and evangelism creates a church body life that builds up, strengthens, and grows a true church. We will exposit the Biblical directives for leadership, discipleship and preaching in the church. We will show the difference between law and grace and how they work in harmony for the building up of the church. In summary, we will cast a vision for a unified life of reformation in the church and the family.

Our goal is to leave behind a rising sense of the glory and beauty of the church and her importance in God’s plan of redemption.

The Brown family, the Peter Bradrick family, the David Brown family, and a number of interns will be taking this five week tour.

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Wedding in Review

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