Kevin Jones and I are teaching through Jerry Bridges book, “Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate.” In this discipleship class we will carefully examine the most common overlooked and pervasive sins we encounter and succumb to on a daily basis. Join us on this 8-week journey in April/May which will challenge and encourage us to examine our thoughts and actions more closely.
Our main textbook is:
Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007.
Outline & Recommended Books
1. Understanding Sin
2. Remedy for Sin
3. Ungodliness & Unthankfulness
4. Anxiety, Frustration, Discontentment
5. Pride & Selfishness
6. Impatience, Irritability & Anger
7. Judgmentalism & Sins of Tongue
I would agree with Al Mohler and Mark Dever that our views on end times need not divide us. Any church that would divide over third-order issues such as eschatology or alcohol is in sin.
Al Mohler presents a theological triage in doctrinal discernment. He claims that theological seriousness and maturity demand that we consider doctrinal issues in terms of their relative importance. See Mohler’s article at: http://www.albertmohler.com/?cat=Commentary&cdate=2004-05-20.
Here is a quick overview of the theological triage:
First-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith (among these are doctrines of the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture), and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself. Second-order doctrines (such as meaning and mode of baptism) are distinguished from the first-order set by the fact that believing Christians may disagree on the second-order issues, though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers. Third-order issues (such as eschatology and alcohol) are doctrines over which Christians may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations.
Mark Dever says that you are in sin if you lead your congregation to have a statement of faith that requires a particular view on end times. He makes a powerful charge regarding end times and church unity.
Listen to the sermon at: http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/audio/2009/07/12/the-end-of-death-revelation-20/
See the quote below from his Rev 20 sermon given on 7/12/09: http://ajgibson.org/blog/2009/07/13/its-a-sin-to-sever-cooperation-with-other-believers-over-eschatological-issues/.
“I think that millennial views need not be among those doctrines that divide us. . . . I am suggesting that what you believe about the millennium—how you interpret these thousand years—is not something that it is necessary for us to agree upon in order to have a congregation together. The Lord Jesus Christ prayed in John 17:21 that we Christians might be one. Of course all true Christians are one in that we have his Spirit, we share his Spirit, we desire to live out that unity. But that unity is supposed to be evident as a testimony to the world around us. Therefore, I conclude that we should end our cooperations together with other Christians (whether nearly in a congregation, or more at length in working together in missions and church planting and evangelism and building up the ministry) only with the greatest of care, lest we rend the body of Christ for whose unity he’s prayed and given himself. Therefore, I conclude that it is sin to divide the body of Christ—to divide the body that he prayed would be united. Therefore for us to conclude that we must agree upon a certain view of alcohol, or a certain view of schooling, or a certain view of meat sacrificed to idols, or a certain view of the millennium in order to have fellowship together is, I think, not only unnecessary for the body of Christ, but it is therefore both unwarranted and therefore condemned by scripture. So if you’re a pastor and you’re listening to me, you understand me correctly if you think I’m saying you are in sin if you lead your congregation to have a statement of faith that requires a particular millennial view. I do not understand why that has to be a matter of uniformity in order to have Christian unity in a local congregation.”
David Julen wrote a Biblical Recorder article in March, “Can a woman be president but not a pastor?”: http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/post/2009/03/09/Can-a-woman-be-president-but-not-a-pastor.aspx.
My friend, Ted Manby, published an excellent response, “Handling the Bible properly on culturally hot topics”: http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/post/2009/04/14/Handling-the-Bible-properly-on-culturally-hot-topics.aspx.
Check out Justin Taylor’s recent interview with Os Guinness on the 25th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death: http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/05/interview-with-os-guinness-on-25th.html.
I also recommend Guinness’ book review of Frank Schaeffer’s memoir, Crazy for God: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2008/marapr/1.32.html.
I have been challenged by Dennis Okholm’s book Monk Habits for Everyday People where he challenges pastors toward solitude, listening, poverty (sharing the goods), obedience, humility, hospitality, stability (staying put to get somewhere), and balance (God in everything). By cultivating these disciplines, ministry leaders have great potential to change the world for Christ.
I’ve been especially blessed by chapter 8 considering the Benedictine monks who took a vow of stability to stay with one church community for life. This kind of consistency is rare for GenX who tend to lack commitment. I urge you to prayerfully read Okholm’s book as a reality check. It may help you re-think your future ministry.
Kevin Roose has written an interesting book, The Unlikely Disciple, about his experience going “undercover” as a student for one semester at Liberty University.
Check out J. D. Greear’s excellent book review at: http://betweenthetimes.com/2009/04/27/the-unlikely-disciple/.
Greear says, “It is worth reading just to see how we as Christians look to those on the ‘outside’, and to see what intelligent, articulate, surprisingly MORAL ‘unbelievers’ think about us.”
No generation has arrived. Every generation has gains and losses. I pray our generation will be prayerful, teachable, Scripture-centered, seeking counsel from ministry leaders who have paved the way, learning from history, and making greater strides for Christ in the decades ahead.
I recommend the following article by Nathan Akin: A Call for Foot Soldiers in a Great Commission Resurgence: The Positives and the Pitfalls for Young Leaders. A brief outline is below.
Positives of Young Leaders:
1. Energy and Creativity
2. Theological Renewal
3. A Missionaries’ Mindset
Pitfalls of Young Leaders:
1. Pride and Ageism
2. Follow through
3. Capitulation to Culture
4. Isolationist Attitude
5. Neglect of the Spiritual Disciplines