We’re working hard over here in our small part of the Pacific Northwest to get a classical and Christian school up and running this fall. Our headmaster returned from the ACCS Annual Conference last week with some thoughts about the challenges of getting going.
Just like anything else with a gargantuan upside, this is going to be hard. It’s going to be hard because it’s supposed to be. We are a major threat to the enemy and to the world, and we are looking to create generation after generation of worshipers who will be dangerous weapons in the hand of our Redeemer King. God willing, they will be familiar with hard work mixed with happiness; the mindset of fallen man filtered through Scripture and the mind of God; their place in the river of Western culture and the river’s source and destination.
I’m guessing that what we have become as a society is less like a threat to Satan than it is like a warm blanket: ambivalent about religion, ignorant about history, apologetically spineless, altogether faithless.
Ambivalent, ignorant, spineless, and faithless. These are things we don’t want to be. May God help us worship and live steadfastly as those who have overcome the evil one.
Doug Wilson writes about a local church’s advantages “to support a hundred missionaries at $25 a month,” namely, to diversify and minimize risk. The entire article is worthwhile, but this is his summary.
I think it was Andrew Carnagie who said to put all your eggs in one basket, and then to watch that basket. But watching the basket involves work. We would rather put 25 eggs in 25 different baskets, and then not watch anything.
The mantras of “personal knowledge” and “investment in lives” sound really good, almost hip even. But there is no way to do it without the willingness of the elder board to say to someone that they want him to “stop that.” And it cannot be done without an acknowledgement on the part of those who are sent that they are submitted to personal and real authority.
And the final kick in the pants:
But because we love our independence, because we are soft in our doctrine of how the Trinity knits us together, we would rather diversify the risk. We love our mutual funds.
If it were up to me, I’d tweak the title of this Driscoll post from “loving the pastor’s wife” to “loving the wife of a (or any) pastor,” but I know what he means. Read the wrong way, the whole thing may seem whiny. A pastor’s wife also needs to be a clay pot given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested, but the article shows some of the ways she may be particularly worn out.
This is a helpful article by Kevin DeYoung about how to identify “habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.” Here’s a humbling taste:
3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments.
5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.
10. You derive a sense of satisfaction and spiritual safety in being rejected and marginalized. You are constitutionally unable to be demonstrably fruitful in ministry and you will never affirm those who appear to be. You only know how to relate to God as a remnant.
Read answers from Al Mohler, D.A. Carson, and this one from Richard Pratt:
If I could wave a magic scepter and change seminary today, I’d turn it into a grueling physical and spiritual experience. I’d find ways to reach academic goals more quickly and effectively and then devote most of the curriculum to supervised battle simulation. I’d put students through endless hours of hands-on service to the sick and dying, physically dangerous evangelism, frequent preaching and teaching the Scriptures, and days on end of fasting and prayer. Seminary would either make them or break them.
Having the eggs doesn’t mean that you know how to make the omelet. But if you don’t have the eggs, it doesn’t matter if you do know how to make the omelet.
—Doug Wilson, Word Fussers and Whowhomers
This isn’t a rule I force myself to follow, but it is a principle I practice when appropriate.
Article by Neil Postman. His own summary:
First, that we always pay a price for technology; the greater the technology, the greater the price.
Second, that there are always winners and losers, and that the winners always try to persuade the losers that they are really winners.
Third, that there is embedded in every great technology an epistemological, political or social prejudice. Sometimes that bias is greatly to our advantage. Sometimes it is not. The printing press annihilated the oral tradition; telegraphy annihilated space; television has humiliated the word; the computer, perhaps, will degrade community life. And so on.
Fourth, technological change is not additive; it is ecological, which means, it changes everything and is, therefore, too important to be left entirely in the hands of Bill Gates.
And fifth, technology tends to become mythic; that is, perceived as part of the natural order of things, and therefore tends to control more of our lives than is good for us.
In case there was any question about Dr. MacArthur’s (current) position on the extent of the atonement, take a listen to this sermon.
UPDATE [11:53AM March 12]: The transcript is now available.
Matt’s point about Gospel Harmonies also applies to epistle parallels.
If you’re preaching a passage from one of the Gospels and you blend into your sermon all the information found in the parallel passages, oftentimes the end result is a flattening out of all the Gospel accounts so that each of them is made to say exactly the same thing as all the others. In doing so, I fear that you miss out on the distinct contribution that each Gospel writer is trying to make in the context of his own Gospel.
And from the comments, Paul summarizes the point.
Preach the text not the event.