February 20, 2013Culture

Morning Roundup 02/20/13: Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids; the Heart of Church Planting; the Next Pope; Racial Reconciliation

Nice quote and thoughtful application from Capon via Tullian...

Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids -- Tullian Tchividjian

For every head-scratching page that Robert Capon writes, he pens a a mind-blowingly insightful one. Some of the best paragraphs I've ever read on grace come from Capon. As far as I can tell, he holds some wild ideas about the atonement. So, as with anyone, you have to discern the meat from the bones. But it's worth it. The following paragraph on preaching made me sing:

I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills...and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross-and then be brave enough to stick around while [the congregation] goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms. But preachers can't be that naughty or brave unless they're free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus. Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus' passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone-and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness-they will be of very little use in the pulpit.

May God raise up a generation of preachers who storm the the gates of worldliness with "It is finished."

Some helpful insight from Paul via Adam Sinnett.

The Apostle Paul and the Heart of Church Planting (and Pastoring) -- Adam Sinnett

I have lost track of how many church planting books I have read. I have attended conferences. I have read blogs. I have listened to sermons, workshops and seminars. I have talked to seasoned planters and pastors. I have done my homework. As a novice church planter I was told to focus on: converts, leadership development, missional communities, connecting with city leaders, contextualization, strategic planning, social networking, engaging preaching, membership development, and contemporary worship. Those are all good, even needed. I agree with (most of) them. Yet, in focusing on so many things, it is easy to lose focus on the main thing.

What I have noticed is missing from much, but not all, of these resources and recommendations is the very heart of God. The Apostle Paul gives us a helpful and needed corrective in Colossians 1:28-29:

"Him we proclaim, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."

Again, this is written by the Apostle Paul - the greatest church planter in the history of the world. What was he about? What did he toil after? How did he channel his energy? What was his goal? What got him out of bed in the morning? Did you see it? Presenting everyone mature in Christ.

The heart of church planting (and pastoring) is to present everyone - everyone - mature in Christ. That means the heart of God is for everyone - believers and non-believers - to grow in knowledge of him, through faith in Jesus. Church planting is not just about reaching non-believers. Church planting is not just about reaching believers. Church planting is about presenting "everyone mature in Christ." Church planting is about proclaiming him and "warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom" and doing so by "struggling with all his energy". In other words, church planting is not only about regeneration (i.e. new conversions). Church planting is ultimately about glorification (i.e. ultimate maturity in Christ).

So, let's toil, pray, preach, and disciple to those ends. Let's rejoice when the Spirit awakens an unconverted soul. But, let's also rejoice when the Spirit re-awakens a converted soul to the preeminence and supremacy of Christ (notice the passage above follows Paul's famous passage on the preeminence of Christ in Colossians 1:15-23). Let's rejoice when the Spirit graciously pours itself out on churches and brings about a miraculous wave of new births. But, let's also rejoice when the Spirit graciously pours itself out on churches and brings about a miraculous wave of maturity and passion among the converted. Let's proclaim him and make it our aim to present everyone mature in Christ. Everyone.

I always enjoy TMatt's take on the news. The title of his/their blog is "Get Religion" because the press just does not get religion.

Here is another example.

Alas, Next Pope Will Probably Defend Same Old Doctrines -- Terry Mattingly

So here is an interesting journalism question for this digital age: What do we do with the earlier versions of stories by major news organizations if the editors later take them down and replace them with cleaned-up, expanded versions?

Do all of those headlines and paragraphs go into journalistic limbo? Were they ever published in the first place?

Take, for example, the following headline from The New York Times:

Pope's Successor Is Likely to Share His Doctrine

You have to admit that this is a stunner. Doctrinal stability! You mean the Catholic Church doesn't change doctrines whenever the top man steps down, rather like a National Football League team losing its head coach? For many journalists, the more likely parallel in their minds is the White House, with entire policies going up for grabs after a change in the Oval Office.

Anyway, I saved the URL for the story that went with that headline, which featured a lede that clearly inspired the headline. Only now, when you click that URL, one goes to a new story in which the gist is the same, but the wording is less, well, funny.

The key to this rather magisterial report is -- as usual -- the almost complete lack of attribution attached to its many sweeping fact statements. Readers are left with this undeniable impression: People are talking to The New York Times and the editors of The New York Times do not want to tell us their names, perhaps because they all come from the same camp in the battles over the direction of Catholic life here in North America and spiritually frosty Europe.

We've had some great guests over the past year on The Exchange, and more on the way. Coming this spring, we have Lecrae, Tim Keller, Andy Stanley, Jeff Iorg, Dave Osborne, and more lined up for the show. Today's clip is from the show last fall with Darrin Patrick in which he discussed racial reconciliation and church planting. Be sure to join us every Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern for The Exchange.

The Exchange - Racial Reconciliation and Church Planting -- Darrin Patrick

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

More from The Exchange

Christianity Today

Morning Roundup 02/20/13: Preachers Should Be Like ...