From Christian Blogs

The paragraph from "Church Planter"

“One of the common errors of young men who surrender to ministry is to simply adopt the model of a church Macthat they have experienced or idolized. A similar mistake is to blindly accept the ministry philosophy and practice of a ministry hero. The man who is experiencing head confirmation is thoughtful about his own philosophy of ministry, his own ministry style, his own theological beliefs, his own unique gifts, abilities, and desires. In short, there is uniqueness to the way he wants to do ministry.”

John MacArthur's take:

Notice that Darrin Patrick himself summarizes and restates the point he is making, and it is about “uniqueness” in “the way he wants to do ministry.” He seems to suggest that everything about one’s ministry (Patrick expressly includes “his own theological beliefs“) needs to be self-styled and individualistic.

Is that really what Patrick is saying?

He could simply have been saying that when a man is called to ministry, everything he considers should be with thoughtfulness.

Is being thoughtful about my own theology mean that I'm being "self-styled and individualistic?  No - it means that the more thoughtful I am about my study, the more I work out my salvation, the more time and care I put into it, the more I make the faith of my own.

As the White Horse Inn guys say:

Know what you believe...and why.

A while ago, I read an interview with Rob Bell.  He - as a pastor - embraced the mystery.  He wasn't sure what he believed and he was okay with that.

My thought at the time was something to the effect of - If HE doesn't even know what he believes, why on EARTH would I trust him to teach me what I should believe?

God BLESS His men who are willing to be thoughtful (Patrick's word) about their own theology.

Repeating MacArthur:

He seems to suggest that everything about one’s ministry...needs to be self-styled and individualistic.

No.  I'm going to go further than MacArthur did in his quote.

In short, there is uniqueness to the way he wants to do ministry.  Unlike many young men who know much about what they are against and little about what they are for, the man who is experiencing head confirmation things through very carefully and deliberately, what am I for with my life and ministry?  What are my specific burdens for the church?  How can I best serve the church in these areas?

If you read in context, the uniqueness that Patrick is writing about is not 'make it up as you go along' theology...

Patrick is urging men who feel called to the ministry to thoughtfully discover their own path, their own gifts, their own burdens, their own service...all of these given to them by God.

I doubt that MacArthur would really urge young men to jump into ministry without being thoughtful about their own theology - at least I hope not.

Or is it "preach the way I preach, believe all the minutia that I believe, do it the way I do it" and it'll all be good.

From "Is God A Moral Monster" by Paul Copan (hint - if you buy it through the link, I'll get credit  😉

According to Copan, both pride and false humility have their basis in a lie.

Pride (arrogance) says that I can do more than I can do.  Pride says that I have done things that I have not done.  The lie of pride lets me give myself (and others) an inflated view of myself and my abilities.

False humility says that I have not done what I have done.  False humility says that I cannot do things that I can do.  The lie of pride lets me give myself (and others) a deflated view of myself, my gifts and my abilities.

True humility, on the other hand,

Copan writes:

True humility doesn't deny abilities but rather acknowledges God as the source of these gifts, for which we can't take the credit.  What do we have that we didn't receive (1 Cor. 4:7)?  To be humble is to know our proper place before God - with all of our strengths and weaknesses.

Two links:

Challies Weekend a la Carte - the segments and most of the comments about John MacArthur's criticism of Darren Patrick.

John MacArthur's blog - Travis Allen defending MacArthur.

More tomorrow...

“All should be forgiven, and the thoughtless especially.”

Leo Tolstoy, Where Love Is (New York, 1915), page 20.

The Lord taught us to forgive at two levels.

Deep in our hearts, forgiveness is unconditional, since God has forgiven us: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). This forgiveness is absolute, before God.

At the level of our relationships, forgiveness is conditional: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). After all, how can one forgive a sin that hasn’t been confessed? For the relationship to be restored, the sinning brother must repent.

But what if he doesn’t repent? Or doesn’t even realize the harm he has done? Sadly, the relationship remains broken. But deep within, “. . . and the thoughtless especially.” This is the most costly forgiveness, because it is unseen, unthanked.

But God sees. As in everything else, all that ultimately matters is who God is, what God says, how God works.

Thoughtless is a post from: Ray Ortlund

Can God Make a Rock So Heavy Even He Can't Lift It?

I remember when I first heard this bit of immature atheistic reductio ad absurdum. I was in high school, and I didn't respond to it because the Nirvana-shirted, long-banged drama stud who said it didn't say it to me. He was laying it on his friend like it was theist's kryptonite.

My answer then, steeped in C.S. Lewis as I was, would have been along the lines of the nonsense of the question as framed. It is a rhetorical and hypothetical "gotcha" with no sincerity behind it, and in any event, it is sort of like asking, "Does the number nine smell red or yellow?"

My answer today is different. My answer today would not be to skewer the nature of the question but to inject its insincerity with the sincerity of God and all the weight of the gospel.

The truth is that God did make a weight so heavy he couldn't lift it. He did so not by building an immovable force -- we did that with our sin -- but by incarnating the frailty of humanity and willingly subjecting himself to the force. As one of us, yet still himself, he created the conundrum of the incarnate God, bearing a cross he both ordained yet could not carry by himself, becoming condemned in death and also victorious. And God was crushed according to the plan he himself projected from the foundation of the world.

So, can God make a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?

Yes. And he did. For three days only. And then he drop kicked it out of the mouth of the tomb.

Link to:  "Gospel Driven Church"