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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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Censoring the Gospel Update: Letter from the Publisher

When a Christian repents his repentance should be as notorious as his sin. When an organization does something wrong or foolish and then takes measures to correct their actions I believe that the decision to change should be as made known as widely as was the mistake.

Reggie Joyner, Founder of ReThink, the publisher of the curriculum that decided to eliminate the story of Christ's death and resurrection from their preschool curriculum this year, has issued a letter to the churches that use their material. In it he reaffirms his and his staff's commitment to the gospel message and its need to be clearly taught in their materials. He also acknowledges that the explanation that was posted on their website defending their decision "does not accurately reflect" their oganization's position. While he is not posting the letter on their website, he has sent it out very widely and has granted permission for it to be forwarded to interested parties. A friend sent me a copy this morning.

In the letter, Joyner pledges two things to those who use their materials: they will "teach the cross to every age group" and every Easter "the death and resurrection of Jesus will be included" in their preschool curriculum.

While there are certainly questions that remain about how the original course of action ever came about--questions that must be addressed internally within the organization--we should be grateful for this quick response and promise not to excise the Gospel from future lessons on Easter.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Censoring the Gospel

When the Gospel is lost I guess it really doesn't matter if you withhold the facts of Jesus' death and resurrection from children. That seems to be the rationale behind one publisher of children's Sunday School curriculum. The guys over at Two Institutions blow the whistle on this knavery. You must read the publisher's explanation for yourself.

HT: Mike Hall

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