Celebrating the Reformation in Boston

We just returned from the Reformation 500 Celebration and boy, what a celebration it was. Doug Phillips engineered this event which was marked by joy, friendship, scholarship and practical, experiential, heartfelt Christianity. It was also a three day hard charging training center where young and old were learning of the great doctrines upon which we stand and studying the long line of godly men and women who have maintained them throughout history. The conviction ran high and it was such a pleasure to be part of it. Thank you Doug and Vision Forum for doing this. May your tribe increase.

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Is it a Sin to Send Our Kids to Public Schools?

We now have government indoctrination centers that have systematically secured the corruption of entire generations. How serious is this issue? David d’Escoto shows just how insidious this influence is, and answers the question, “is it sin to send our children there?”

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Nehemiah’s Nursery

I am often asked how to explain the phrase in Nehemiah 8:2, “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding.” The question typically comes from people who want to use this text to prove us wrong on the issue of age segregated Sunday school. The idea is, “see, the children were not included in this meeting, therefore, the legitimacy of age segregated Sunday schools are proven conclusively.” Here is Dr. Voddie Baucham on the matter. Click Here

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Paul Butler’s Radio Clip on the Power of Father’s Investment

 

 

Paul Butler has done it again. Click HERE to listen to an encouraging audio clip from Moody Radio with Paul Butler interviewing Lyndon Ascuna, myself, and others.

Paul says:

As you read through the book of Proverbs there are many chapters which begin with phrases like: “Hear my children, the instruction of a father” or “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, lend your ear to my understanding…” The words of a father to his children can have incredible impact. This piece highlights the power of a father’s words…

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Dennis Rainey On The Need For a Family Reformation

A defining moment in my life came in the year 2000 when I was listening to Dennis Rainey at a conference in Dallas Texas. He said,

 

“The family is God’s smallest unit in the battle for the soul of any nation. He designed the family as the birthplace and residence of Christianity. It is the place where the knowledge, fear, and love of the Lord are taught by parents and learned by children… If the soul of America is to be restored, it will be done one home, one family at a time, and in the church, we assist that by proclaiming God’s truth for the family. We need a ‘family reformation.’ Just as the Protestant Reformation restored vibrant faith to the soul, so a family reformation can restore spiritual vitality in our homes, communities, and nation…”
–Building Strong Families. Dennis Rainey, Crossway Books, 2002, p16-17

 

I was convinced that he was right and that the reformation must start with pastors and with fathers. Since God has made elders spiritual heads of churches and fathers the spiritual heads of households, without a radical reformation in their practices there will be no reformation.

Further, unless fathers rise up to play their biblical roles, there will never be sustainable reformation of any kind. When fathers do not adequately teach their children, reforms only last one generation and then everyone goes back to doing what is right in their own eyes. This is a systemic problem with many reformations in the church. When Deuteronomy 11:9 is not heeded and the children of the reformers are not taught, reformation dies with the leaders. (See also: Judges 8:32-35)

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Announcing: Family Reformation-The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in John Calvin’s Geneva

 

 

 

My prayer is that this book will help fan the flames of reformation for pastors, fathers, mothers, and children, calling them back to the historic doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture for the family.

The burning questions are being asked everywhere. “How do we insure our children will not abandon the faith?” “What do we do to reverse the destructive influence of the world, the culture, and even the church in our children’s lives?” Gratefully, something significant is happening in almost every denomination and every part of the country. Parents and pastors are finally abandoning psychology and current statistical analysis and turning back to the word of God to answer these questions. Regretfully, it has taken the loss of an entire generation to wake us up to our great need for God’s answers for the family. We need a family reformation.

As I studied the Scripture for answers, I wanted to know what our reformation fathers had learned and taught on this subject. Was this a new problem? Did the reformers exposit the scriptures on the Family? What I found led me to publish Family Reformation. I discovered a rich treasure trove of historical teaching on the family, pioneered by John Calvin, but carried out and honed through the reformation. Our present crisis is not singular and pastors and fathers crying out to God for answers for their family is not new.

In this book, you will find John Calvin’s expositions, commentary, and teaching on the various key elements of Christian family life and discover again the amazing truth that the Word of God is “living, active, and sharper than any two edged sword…” and just as applicable, convicting, and transformational today as it was in John Calvin’s Geneva.

Copies of Family Reformation: The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in John Calvin’s Geneva will be available at the Reformation 500 Celebration in Boston at the end of the month or online after July 5th. You can also go to Amazon.com to pre-order a copy HERE.

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Presidential Proclamation

 

 

During his first 100 days, our president has already proven he is no friend of the church or the family. During this period we have been observers of what seems to be the gutting of the moral capital of America. Now, in an absolutely unprecedented Presidential Proclamation, Barack Obama has officially named this month in honor of sodomites.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”

He also states his pleasure in promoting sodomites in the White House.

“I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.”

Romans chapter one addresses this phenomenon in devastatingly descriptive detail.

18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another ; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

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Missionary Martyr on Revealed Patterns for Church Life

 

“The pivot point hangs on whether or not God has revealed a universal pattern for the church in the New Testament. If He has not, then anything will do so long as it works.  But I am convinced that nothing so dear to the heart of Christ as His Bride should be left without explicit instructions as to her corporate conduct. I am further convinced that the 20th century has in no way simulated this pattern in its method of  ‘churching’ a community… it is incumbent upon me, if God has a pattern for the church, to find and establish that pattern, at all costs.”
–Jim Elliot

 

Elizabeth Elliot, Shadow of The Almighty:  Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot (San Francisco, CA:  Harper & Row, 1989), 138-139.

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A Day of Honor: Memorial Day – Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Day of Honor: Memorial Day

Blogging the NCFIC Confession: Article V

Church’s Leadership and Ministry?

 

We affirm God’s revealed pattern in Scripture that the church be led and fed by a plurality of biblically qualified elders whom the Holy Spirit raises up from within the local church, who equip all the saints to do the work of ministry, and who may or may not be remunerated (Acts 14:23; 20:28; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).

?We deny/reject the two unbiblical extremes of our day: authoritarian, one-man leadership/one-man ministry that impedes the biblical functioning of the body, and leaderless house churches that disregard the biblical necessity of elders

View the full NCFIC Confession HERE.

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What does NCFIC think about Christian creeds and confessions?

We agree with the historic position on the sufficiency of Scripture which views the various creeds and confessions as invaluable (though not infallible) summaries of the Word of God. A creed (meaning “I believe”) is inevitable—even the anti-creedal statement, “No creed but Christ,” is a creed! The Christian creeds and confessions affirm the authority of God’s Word and provide the hermeneutical framework (the Holy Spirit working through His whole church) to help us rightly interpret it. All the cults profess simple “belief in the Bible,” yet they reject the creeds and confessions. We recognize the Nicene Creed as a standard of basic Christian orthodoxy.

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Blogging the NCFIC Confession: Article IV

Church’s Head is Christ

 

We affirm our Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of His church, having purchased it with His own blood and having instructed it through His Word in order to make known the manifold wisdom of God and bring glory to Himself (Col. 1:18).

We deny/reject the self-importance and pride of man to usurp Christ’s headship of His church by introducing man made programs and rules that disregard the Law of Christ.

View the full NCFIC Confession HERE.

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J.I. Packer on Age Segregation in the Church

J.I. Packer says, “generations should be mixed up in the church for the glory of God”.

In an interview with Modern Reformation Magazine, J.I. Packer was asked the question:

“What do you think about a niche marketing approach that has by virtue of the different worship styles – teen pop, alternative, and adult boomer – created generational segregation?”

 

Packer replies,

 

We have separated the ages, very much to the loss of each age. In the New Testament, the Christian church is an all-age community, and in real life the experience of the family to look no further should convince us that the interaction of the ages is enriching. The principle is that generations should be mixed up in the church for the glory of God. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t disciple groups of people of the same age or the same sex separately from time to time. That’s a good thing to do. But for the most part, the right thing is the mixed community in which everybody is making the effort to understand and empathize with all the other people in the other age groups. Make the effort is the key phrase here. Older people tend not to make the effort to understand younger people, and younger people are actually encouraged not to make the effort to understand older people. That’s a loss of a crucial Christian value in my judgment. If worship styles are so fixed that what’s being offered fits the expectations, the hopes, even the prejudices, of any one of these groups as opposed to the others, I don’t believe the worship style glorifies God, and some change, some reformation, some adjustment, and some enlargement of spiritual vision is really called for.


Modern Reformation–July/August, 2008. Vol. 17, No. 4

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Anatomy of Collapse

 

“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” –I Tim 3:15

 

The continuing fluctuation of the financial markets as well as the unending uncertainty in the economy should serve as a warning for the modern church. Mortgaging the future for the present is a common activity among men. The collapse of businesses and the condition of the markets recently is due in part to this tendency to lose our way and be swept along with worldly wisdom by amassing debt to secure rapid growth. These companies had the growth. They had thousands of employees. They were flush with cash. But their business model required dangerously high amounts of debt and insanely high valuations in order to carry their debt structure and operating model. So far we have seen numerous large companies go bust because they did not build a solid financial foundation. I believe that we will most likely see additional company failures in the future because of the lust for worldly success at the expense of substance.

This is a common tendency among men. Men tend to be posers. We want things to look good even though we know they are bankrupt. This is nothing new. Jesus referred to the posers of His day as “whitewashed tombs”.

This tendency has affected our churches. We have large buildings and growing churches with programs that target every conceivable demographic slice. We appear to be reaching people. So, I must say that it is a good looking collapse. But, this is a facade. “Whitewash” too often disguises an inwardly decrepit building. The appearance looks good enough, but underneath there has been a breakdown of basic Biblical order, practice and authority.

In the process, we gained more church members, but sustained fewer long term disciples. We can boast of a full portfolio of programs, but we neglect the basic order and authority of the church and the family.

In our postmodern, relativistic culture, it is important to understand, when it comes to the church, there is a right way and a wrong way. There is a way that “you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God.” (I Tim 3:15) One of the “wrong ways” that is commonly accepted in the church is the diminished role of the father in the spiritual training of children. This has collapsed the Biblical order. Fathers don’t do this work anymore as it has been distributed to others.

My view is that we have come by the economic downturn honestly. We did not intend to reject the Biblical order. We got where we are through a mix of creativity and good old American pragmatism. We even prayed about it. And, in our creativity, we have amassed so many non biblical structures, and have become so busy with them, that they have forced us to push the Biblical things to the periphery. It was a poor swap that has caused the mortgaging of the future for the present success.

What we gained is programmatic Christianity where everything is packaged in a professionally run program.

What we lost was the relational model of Hebrew discipleship where the father was the chief delivery system for scriptural truth.

We have gained youth groups, but lost our youth. We have gained our Sunday schools, but lost our fathers. Collapse!

It is time for reformation. It is time for a return to the Biblical order for the home and the church for the delivery of the message of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world, for the eternal joy of all who believe, to a thousand generations.

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