Monthly Archives: January 2012

Faithful Elders and Deacons

I am glad to have received a complementary copy of Thabiti M. Anyabwile’s, Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons (Crossway, 2012). Below is my endorsement of the book. Get one and give it to all of your church’s deacons, and all of your friends who carry the title, “deacon.” It is a book anyone in the pew should enjoy.

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Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons offers the sort of meditations from the Pastoral Epistles that would-be elders and deacons-in-training need. Yet, pastors and laymen alike will find these chapters to be insightful and poignant, for they are faithful to Scripture, culturally contextualized, and able to be implemented immediately. I am encouraged to think that there are thousands of well-meaning churches peddling along with mediocre religious practice that could be transformed into vibrant, Christ-pleasing, soul-winning, community-transforming churches if the officers of their congregations would humbly embrace the simple exhortations of this gracious work.”

 

Thank you Burtonsville, Franconia, and Macedonia

A big “thank you” goes out to Burtonsville Baptist Church (MD), Franconia Baptist Church (VA), and Macedonia Baptist Church (DC) for their hospitality as I came to serve them each by invitation this week. They are Christ-filled churches that preach the Gospel and love all of the saints. I am grateful for the opportunities granted to speak before them.

For my friends at Macedonia Baptist Church, below are links to several resources I mentioned in today’s leadership seminar. Also below is the outline of today’s discussion. A link to Where Are All The Brothers? can be found at the tab above or here.

Thank you too to Nazareth Baptist Church (DC) and Bethel Outreach Ministries (MD) for joining Macedonia today.

Resources

On Scripture Memory: Andrew Davis, An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture (free pdf).

On the Gospel: Bryan Chapell, What is the Gospel? and Anthony Carter, What is the Gospel? (free pdf).

On Christ-Centered Ministry (2): D. A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, and D. A. Carson and Timothy Keller, Gospel-Centered Ministry.

On the Prayers of Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers.

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Biblical Leadership

A Seminar for Macedonia Baptist Church and Friends

January 21, 2012

Rev. Eric C. Redmond

Reformation Alive Baptist Church

www.ericredmond.wordpress.com

eredmond@bible.edu

Proposed Schedule

10:15 – 11:05              Session 1: What Biblical Leadership Is and Is Not

11:15-12:00                 Session 2: Important Marks of Biblical Leadership

12:10 – 12:40              Lunch

12:45 – 1:15                Session 3: How We Learn to Be Leaders

1:15 – 2:00                  Session 4: Q & A on Biblical Leadership

I.      Session 1: What Biblical Leadership Is and Is Not

A.    The “Biblical” in Biblical Leadership

1.     Biblical means that we want the Bible – God’s voice – to determine what it means to be a leader. This assumes things about the Bible and us:

a.     The Bible is authoritative, being from the very mouth of God (2 Tim. 3:16).

b.     You have a practice of meditating on God’s word for successful living (Psalm 1).

c.     You rely on the word of God to guide your life (Ps. 119:105). You have a practice of studying the word (2 Tim. 2:15), of memorizing the word (Ps. 119:9-11), of reading through the Bible over the course of a year.

d.     You see preaching as the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).

2.     In the Bible, everything is for the glory of God; so Biblical leading is for the glory of God (Rom. 11:36; 15:7; 16:27; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 1:12; 3:21).

3.     In the Bible, everything is for the joy of the one who follows God; so Biblical leading is for the joy of the leader and followers (2 Cor. 1:24; Col. 1:11; 1 Jn. 1:4; 2 Jn. 12).

4.     In Bible, every part of the storyline from Genesis to Revelation is about the cross of Christ; so Biblical leadership is part of the storyline of the Bible that is given to reveal the Cross and to reflect the Cross.

B.    Unbiblical Thinking About Leadership in the Church

1.     Leadership is about reaching a milestone or place of honor.

2.     The goal of leading is to keep the followers happy.

3.     Real leaders know how to step up when there is bad leadership.

4.     Successful Leadership in the world is transferrable to leadership in the church.

II.    Important Marks of Biblical Leadership

 A.    Leading is a calling: God is glorified in calling who he wishes as leaders: He calls, he gives gifts, he exalts, he gives stewardships, he will judge (Ja. 3:1). Christ is called of God; the Cross is about calling leaders for the church Christ purchased (Acts 20:28).

B.    Leading comes from one’s character: God is glorified in leaders who have godly character—character that reflects Christ (1 Tim. 3:5; Tit 2:5, 8, 10).

C.   Leading is accomplished by serving: God is glorified by serving, because serving is what he has done for us in Christ (Mk. 10:45).

D.   Leading depends on praying: God must transform you and the people you lead.

  1. You would be wise to pray for every leader over you and everyone immediately under you, by name.
  2. Find out how you can pray for them; set a schedule to pray for them through the month.
  3. Call and let those who look to you as a leader know you have prayed for them; ask if there is more for which you can be praying.
  4. Pray the prayers of Paul into their lives.

III.  How We Learn to Be Leaders

A.    Learn to accept correction so that you can grow in wisdom (Prov. 12:1).

B.    Apprentice yourself to godly leaders (Ex. 24:13; 33:11; Acts 20:4; 2 Tim. 3:10-12).

C.   Get rid of fear of people and be willing to accept persecution for being right (Num. 13:25-14:4, 11; Mt. 10:28).

D.   Be willing to accept small accomplishments and occasional failure(s) (Acts 19:8-10; 1 Cor. 4:9-13).

E.    Encourage those leading you (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

F.    Know those under you (Prov. 25:2).

G.   Keep short lists of others’ wrongs; major in love by overlooking faults (1 Cor. 13:7).

H.   Other (Mt. 10:16; Eph. 5:15; Col. 4:5): Watch and learn from good and bad leaders. Learn everything in your field. Be willing to admit wrong and apologize.

From the Desiring God Website: Download Bloodlines for Free

Download Bloodlines for Free.


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Bloodlines is one of the most autobiographical books I have written. It tells my story from racism to the path of redemption. I preached on the theme of Bloodlines yesterday to mark Martin Luther King weekend. The title of the message was “From Bloodlines to Bloodline.” I argued that God is calling his people to move from the alienation of many bloodlines to the reconciliation of the single bloodline that began on the cross of Christ.

I urged my people to read the book. Not because I care about selling books, but because I want them to know my story, to be aware to the global relevance of the issue, and to feel the hope that comes from the power of the gospel.

In making the book available in a PDF version online for free we are trying to remove every obstacle that might keep you from that experience.

Chapter six is the one I tried to unpack in this week’s message (to be posted shortly). It is close to the center of the Gospel’s relevance for perseverance in the cause of Christ-exalting ethnic diversity.

African Americans and the Doctrine of Predestination

Yesterday I spoke with a member of the clergy of an African American church in the historic Black Baptist tradition. He attended a graduate theological program at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). In conversation, I mentioned that I embrace Reformed Theology (aka Calvinism). With a note of incredulity in his voice, he immediately replied, “So you believe in predestination?” I answered, “Yes, because the Scriptures teach it.”

This brother’s assumption appeared to be that no believer of African descent could hold to a belief in God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation. Calvinism is much more than this, but “predestination” was this minister’s only association with all that is systematized from the preaching and teaching of John Calvin and his followers.

What I am wondering is if  “so you believe in predestination” is the stock reply to expect from a fellow believer of pan-African descent in the Black Baptist tradition. Elsewhere I have written that this is the very response I gained from a member of my ordination council over a decade ago. Are anti-predestination and anti-Calvinism standard teachings in the Afro-Baptist tradition? Are predestination and Calvinism spoken against everywhere in the schools where the majority of clergy in the Black traditions are trained? This is different than asking if Calvinism is ignored in such traditions, or if it remains unmentioned. I want to know if it is categorically denied as sound doctrine and rejected in these traditions.

I am not being naïve. I know that there are many people in other Baptist traditions that question any Baptist association with Reformed Theology. I have heard my share of brothers outside of the African American community say, “You know Spurgeon was not really a Calvinist,” in order to speak against any possibility that a Baptist preacher – and a very evangelistic one at that – could hold that the Scriptures teach that in Christ, the Lord has elected some to salvation, that such ones are the only ones to be saved, that this is the only way that the Lord saves, and that only those elected will be saved. (I am not sure what these brothers do with Spurgeon’s, A Defense of Calvinism.)

I also know that slave owners in America used a maligned concept of predestination to justify the slaves’ need to accept their place within the unjust system of slavery. However, the erroneous use of the Scriptural teaching on election (rather than predestination) from a period over 150 years ago should not prevent a proper reading of the Scriptures now. The Curse of Ham teaching largely has died out from American pulpits even though it was popularized and spread just a little over 40 years ago by notes in the Scofield Study Bible. The association of predestination with the plight of my ancestors also should be buried by the teaching of the truth: “[God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6).

 

A New Revelation Commentary: Help for Preaching through the Apocalypse

Jim Hamilton’s Revelation commentary in the Preaching the Word series just released. I anticipate it to be a very good exposition of John’s Apocalypse based on the sermons Jim preached through the book. For those looking to preach and teach through Revelation, or read through it devotionally, this is a good resource.

A friend recently told me how she heard another pastor say to his congregation, “I am never preaching through Revelation.” Apparently, the Apocalypse is not worth the exegetical labor and prayer it would take for him to understand and communicate the meaning of its narrative to God’s people. Ligonier’s January 2012 Tabletalk considers the meaning and significance of John’s Apocalypse. While its articles come to different interpretive conclusions than Jim’s commentary, I would recommend it to be part of many resources one should gather when going through John’s vision.

In addition to the above, Jim has completed a theology: God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. It is a Biblical Theology rather than a systematic, like Calvin’s Institutes.

Calvin intended the Institutes to be read hand-in-hand with his commentaries; five centuries later we are still benefitting. Jim is among those who are providing a means for the contemporary church to do the same. I hope many churches, near and far, will drink from the deep wells of these works for generations to come.

Extra

Tom Schreiner has written both theologies and commentaries, as have Greg Beale, Wayne Grudem, Paul House, Walter Kaiser, Frank Thielman, and Bruce Waltke.

 

 

RT: A Forgotten Text? Why is that, I wonder? – Reformation21 Blog

Below is a reposting of an article by Carl Truman at Reformation 21:

A Forgotten Text? Why is that, I wonder? – Reformation21 Blog.

I wonder if there is a more neglected text in the New Testament in the current revival of interest in reformed theology than Eph. 5:12?  In the reaction to the taboos of old-style fundamentalism, there is surely a danger that we have lost all sense of what is biblically appropriate when it comes to engaging the wider world.   I had my own first-hand experience of this a few years ago when I suggested on this blog that it was perhaps not appropriate for Christians to see the film Milk which was not only a highly fictionalized account of the life of Harvey Milk but also included, according to the reviews, sexual scenes of an explicit and inappropriate nature.   I still remember the teacup sized storm of protest as various Christian culture vultures treated me to lectures on how my narrow mindedness was not going to stop them using Milk as a means of witnessing to friends.  But none of the outraged evangelists addressed Eph. 5:12.

More recently, the very public preoccupation in the evangelical world with what are apparently pretty explicit treatments of the subject of sex has brought to my mind Eph. 5:12 once again.    Paul, of course, was no legalist.  He affirmed free grace and Christian liberty.  Yet he wrote Eph. 5:12.  So what does it mean?   Well, it actually means exactly what it appears to mean.  You really do not need a postdoctoral qualification in Second Temple Judaism to crack this one. 

Here is how Peter O’Brien explains the verse (and if you have never read Peter O’Brien, buy everything you can by him – a Christian gentleman, a churchman and a masterful exegete):

“The earlier expression, ‘the fruitless deeds of darkness’ (v. 11), is a general one and could include sins done openly as well as those committed secretly.  Such a description focusses on their evil character – they belong to the realm of darkness – and the fact they are utterly futile.  These ‘works’ are the sexual vices (perhaps even perversions) mentioned in v. 3, not immoral pagan religious rites, as some have suggested.  They are now described as ‘the things done in secret': those who commit them (i.e., the ‘disobedient’ of vv. 6, 7) do not want their sins to be brought out into the open (cf. John 3:20).  But their dark deeds are so abhorrent, Paul asserts, that it is ‘shameful’ even to mention them, much less to do them.  He utterly repudiates these sexual sins, but desires to convey their seriousness without mentioning the details of the depravity.  Paul and his readers knew what they were, and he will not dignify them by naming them.  Instead, he wants the light of the gospel to shine through the readers’ lives and expose these deeds for what they are.”  (The Letter to the Ephesians, 371-72)

O’Brien’s explanation is as clear as Paul’s original statement, though he brings out beautifully the fact that the light of the gospel is to be the focus.  The gospel is light; it is truly beautiful.  To wake in the morning and to know that whatever darkness lurks within our hearts, the light of Christ is sufficient to dispel it all is surely glorious.  Why would one even want to dwell in any detail on the deeds of darkness when one could spend time reflecting on the magnificence of God manifest in the flesh?

I have often in the past stood with those who laughed at what we regarded as the ignorant, unsophisticated taboos of the older generation.  But now I worry about the ease with which the rising generation talks explicitly of ‘the fruitless deeds of darkness’ in the name of cultural engagement, fear of being thought passé or simply a desire to slough off the legalisms of their fathers in the faith.    You can, after all, get to heaven without ever having seen an R-Rated art house movie or having enjoyed a spectacular love life.  

Here’s a question: would it make any difference to you, any difference at all to the way you talk, to what you watch, to the way you “engage culture”, if Eph. 5:12 had never been written? 

Thank you for Reaching Men with Where Are All The Brothers

Thank you to everyone who, in 2011, put a copy of Where Are All The Brothers? into the hands of an African American man or young man who does not attend church or who will not give a hearing to the Gospel–the good news of Christ’s death for our sins and his resurrection from the dead to offer life to those who believe upon him. I will continue to argue that African American men are one of the most unreached people groups in the US, and that reaching African American men with the Gospel, and making them faithful, learning disciples of Christ, is the key to turning around most of the social ills within the African American community — fatherless homes being one of the most significant ones.

A special “thank you” goes to all who placed copies of the book in incarceration facilities or gave them to a brother or brothers behind bars. I heard of the exciting spread of the book through a series of facilities in one southern state. I wrote the chapter on Islam with brothers in the US penal system in mind. I am grateful the book is getting to some of them.

If you know of an African American man making ethnically-based excuses for why he cannot give a hearing to Christ or visit a church’s worship services, please place a copy of the book in his hands. Do not allow flimsy retorts like, “Christianity is white,” or “all preachers are men just like me” to keep your husband, brother, father, uncle, cousin, nephew, grandson, son, son-in-law, or good friend’s soul in jeopardy before his Maker. Also, you may wish to consider using the book in a high school boys Sunday School class if you want them to pay attention to the lesson more than they usually do.