Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Matt Chandler, mortification and the sins of fathers

I have never met Matt Chandler. After reading some of his thoughts, I want to. He is pastor of The Village Church, located north of Dallas, Texas, and is headed for an evangelical culture shock of major proportions in a few months (he is scheduled to speak at the Desiring God conference, Feb. 2-4 and the FBC Jacksonville Pastors' Conference, Feb. 6-10).

Matt blogs at Dwell Deep and his insights are worth reading. In a post from a couple of months ago he exposes the folly of trying to gain a "platform" for broader ministry through church growth, preaching, blogging or publishing. When this becomes the goal rather than Jesus Himself, it is, as Matt writes, "hollow" and "dangerous." That is a much-needed word that transcends theological and generational divides.

More recently he has written about mortification and resolving, by God's grace, to take to our graves the peculiar sins of our fathers that have been passed down to us. Anyone who has been in pastoral ministry very long, or anyone who has thought very deeply about his or her own spiritual pilgrimage and heritage, knows that some pernicious patterns of sin tend to be generational. This is not a denial of grace, it is an acknowledgment of reality.

I identify with the conclusion of Thomas Fuller's insights into God's grace and heredity. The chaplain to Oliver Cromwell wrote,
Lord, I find the genealogy of my Savior strangely checkered with four remarkable changes in four immediate generations. (1) Rehoboam begat Abijah; that is, a bad father begat a bad son. (2) Abijah begat Asa; that is, a bad father begat a good son. (3) Asa begat Jehoshaphat; that is, a good father a good son. (4) Jehoshaphat begat Joram; that is, a good father a bad son. I see, Lord, from hence that my father's piety cannot be entailed; that is bad news for me. But I see also that actual impiety is not always hereditary; that is good news for my son.
Grace assures that my children are not condemned to repeat the sins of their father. Grace working in a father's life empowering him to mortify sin is one of God's blessings to his children.

Go check out Matt's blog and be challenged to think more carefully and live more intentionally.

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