John MacArthur on Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

This question, “Should fallen pastors be restored?” raises one of the important and yet debatable matters that must be considered when a leader is involved in egregious sin. One of the voices speaking on this question is John MacArthur. He registers his concern for the frequency of a quick “restoration” of leaders and “Restoration teams — equipped with manuals to instruct the church on how to reinstate their fallen pastor.” In contrast, he maintains that there are sins which permanently disqualify, and that there are sins against the body that cause irreparable damage to a man’s station as leader.

Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

John MacArthur

Over the years as I’ve watched church leaders bring a reproach on the church of Jesus Christ. What’s shocking to me is how frequently Christian leaders sin grossly, then step back into leadership almost as soon as the publicity dies away. (more…)

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Ever Cheerful at Age 91

My dad recently turned 91 years old. On his birthday, my son David and I, sons-in-law Taylor Tsantles and Peter Bradrick, and three of my grandsons took him out for lunch – FOUR GENERATIONS present.

It was a joy. My Dad is always cheerful, inquisitive, learning, reading, and questioning … all while being very funny, often coming up with remarkable one-liners.

He asked us science questions during the lunch like, “Is there more fresh water in the rivers and lakes or in the clouds?” After giving us the answer, he gave each of us some counsel on what we should do with the rest of our lives. He spoke about purity and setting our minds on only pure things. He concluded with another one-liner: “You need to get the Drano and pour it into the ‘Brain-O.’” I thank the God of heaven and earth and all that there is that He gave me a happy father.

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Five Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy People

Infographic courtesy of AmExOPENForum via Visually.

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It’s a New Year – But Let’s Not Move On So Fast

One of my favorite parts of the year are the days surrounding New Year’s Day. It is a time of evaluation, celebration and contrition as I look back on the previous year. One reason I love this season is that the changing of the years is a reminder from heaven that God brings some things to a close and opens up new doors. I have always taken the changing of the year as an act of kindness from the Lord. It is also a time of planning and excitement as I consider the new year.

As we look back and evaluate, 2013, and our entry into a new year, Isaiah 9:9-10 is particularly relevant. Providentially, as a result of our expository studies in Isaiah in our church, I will be preaching on this text on Sunday. One of the critical points that Isaiah makes relates to how we look on the trials and tribulations that have come upon us. In this text, Isaiah calls Judah to be careful not to move on too fast after a trial.

Unfortunately, in Isaiah’s day, the people of Judah experienced trials and tribulations, but they did not take time to listen to the Lord. He struck them in order to turn their hearts toward Him, but instead of crying out to God in repentance and for wisdom, they just moved on in arrogance. They were a prideful self sufficient people,  “Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.” Instead of meditation on the ways God might have chastized them, they are simply moving on to bigger and better things.  Let us not make that terrible mistake as we enter into the new year.

As we look back on the problems and trials of 2013, we often move on too fast and forget to ask, “what do these trials mean?  What does the Lord want me to learn from them?  What lessons are there to learn?”  Did God chasten me, and if so, how should I respond?”  Have I sufficiently understood how the Lord was correcting me? This is simply another way of saying what Socrates already said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

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2013 Year in Review

Click the image above to check out our 2013 flip book.

 

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Celebrating My Parents 66th Year of Marriage

I am so grateful for love on this, my parents 66th year of marriage.


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Should We Celebrate Christmas?

Each year, I receive letters asking my thoughts about the celebration of Christmas. So last year, I posted over a dozen articles on the subject of Christmas expressing a number of different perspectives from respectable men. Here they are below.  My view is that it would be very unwise to refrain from evaluating this holiday from a strictly biblical perspective. Further, it is helpful to get perspective. One beneficial way to do this is to consult the historical record to consider what others in previous generations have thought about Christmas. These articles are written by men who have tried to think biblically about Christmas. No one will agree with all of them. My counsel is that we all carefully scrutinize all cultural practices in the light of Scripture, listen to godly counsel, and be faithful to obey the Lord as He convicts us. It is important to preserve love, and continue the dialog.

What about Christmas? Ponder through the Twelve Days of Christmas series and test each of them by the Word of God.

Day 1: Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

Day 2: Jonathan Edwards on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s

Day 3: XMAS by A.W. Pink

Day 4: John Piper

Day 5: George Whitefield

Day 6: Brian Schwertly

Day 7: John MacArthur on the Christmas Tree

Day 8: A Scottish Covenanter – George Gillespie – on Christmas

Day 9: Two Sermons Commenting on Christmas Observance from Charles Spurgeon

Day 10: The Puritans on Christmas

Day 11: Did We Celebrate Christmas in Early American History?

Day 12.1: More Quotes from the 17th to the 19th Centuries

Day 12.2: What Roman Catholics Say About Christmas

Day 12.3: Christmas and the Use of Time

Day 12.4: R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer

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Expository Preaching as Prostration Before God

Here, Craig Houston shares what is the beginning of wisdom for those who preach the Word of God.

 

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Music in the Worship of God

There has been significant discussion recently regarding matters of music. In this video I focus on the use of music in the worship of God which is distinctly different than music in general.

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The Gospel: The Worst of Me Was Laid on Him and the Best of Him Was Laid on Me

Here is a wonderful explanation of the Gospel by Steven Lawson

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Give Me More Boring Men

The picture of a husband in Ephesians 5:22-33 is such a dramatic contrast to the he-man, chest-beating image that we often see today – even in Christian circles. The Bible exalts husbands who model humility and service toward their wives instead of parading themselves in the public spotlight. Godly husbands fulfill their responsibilities in both the public sphere and also in private, when no one else is looking.

Ann Voskamp has captured some of the really practical elements of this in her article,  ”The Real Truth About ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women Who Live With Them.” She defines and gives a glimpse of the “boring” man. We need more of them. I need more of this kind of “boring” myself.

Included below are some excerpts from the article that I especially liked: (more…)

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Please Forgive Me

During the panel discussion on rap I should have engaged such a controversial subject as this with greater discernment, explicit scriptural grounding, clarity, definition of terms (like “rap”) and precision that comes from a full grasp of the subject. These were lacking in the rap discussion. The very question itself lacked clarity and nuance which opened the door to the misrepresentations common to the broad brush. In framing the question, I failed to distinguish between the use of music in worship compared to simply listening to music. We failed to distinguish between the various expressions of the artists. I failed to correct a panelist who made an unsavory comment. Panel discussions, off the cuff are useful for certain things, but to use a surprise question to a panel to engage a broader audience on such a complex controversial topic as musical genres they may not have been knowledgeable of was unwise. I did not engage this topic with the required care. There were moments where it lacked the brotherly tone that is essential for our critiques within the body of Christ. In at least these senses, it was unworthy of our Lord. Please forgive me.

I also understand that a further failure was that I did not provide adequate context for the Q&A Session which existed in the midst of over 40 messages on the subject of the worship of God. Below is my opening message at the conference which explains that context.

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An Apology

A few days ago I released a video clip from a panel discussion at our conference on The Worship of God. One of the panelists, Geoff Botkin, referred to the people driving Christian rap as “disobedient cowards.” I interpreted his statement to mean that, in every culture, Christians are often cowards in the face of various elements of their cultures that are infected with worldliness. Geoff has explained to me that he did not intend to impugn the work of sincere men, and that he would like to apologize for any confusion caused by his statement. Here is his apology:

“I need to apologize for the unintended offense and confusion of my comments on disobedient cowardice. I certainly do not believe that all of today’s Christian rappers are cowardly. My most sincere apologies go to anyone out there who was hurt by my strong language. While I do hold concerns about the use and misuse of rap, my words were not directed at any particular artist. My greater concern is for the broad cultural conformity and compromise that is not limited to reformed rap.”  Geoff Botkin

We look forward to God glorifying dialogue with our brothers in Christ on the important matters of culture and the transforming power of the gospel.

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What About Holy Hip-Hop?

UPDATE

An Apology:

A few days ago I released a video clip from a panel discussion at our conference on The Worship of God (ncfic.org/worship) One of the panelists, Geoff Botkin, referred to the people driving Christian rap as “disobedient cowards.” I interpreted his statement to mean that, in every culture, Christians are often cowards in the face of various elements of their cultures that are infected with worldliness. Geoff has explained to me that he did not intend to impugn the work of sincere men, and that he would like to apologize for any confusion caused by his statement. Here is his apology:

“I need to apologize for the unintended offense and confusion of my comments on disobedient cowardice. I certainly do not believe that all of today’s Christian rappers are cowardly. My most sincere apologies go to anyone out there who was hurt by my strong language. While I do hold concerns about the use and misuse of rap, my words were not directed at any particular artist. My greater concern is for the broad cultural conformity and compromise that is not limited to reformed rap.”  Geoff Botkin

We look forward to God glorifying dialogue with our brothers in Christ on the important matters of culture and the transforming power of the gospel.

At the recent Worship of God conference, attendees were encouraged to prepare questions for the concluding time of Q&A. One of the questions we received was: “Any thoughts on reformed rap artists? … Their musical styles would be considered offensive to some, but the doctrine within the songs is sound.” Panelists Dan Horn, Scott Aniol, Geoff Botkin, Joel Beeke, Jason Dohm, and Joe Morecraft weigh in.

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A Place to Rest Your Head

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