Heard & Seen
The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities. Thus, for example, the faux intimacy of twitter helps build a popular, informal base of support. Twitter followers come to think they really know the individual. They then believe his propaganda, conflate message with messenger, and can ultimately even subordinate message to messenger. This rapidly morphs into an angry bodyguard when the beloved celebrity is threatened...
In fact, the central message of the Bible is the most raw--namely, the murder of the Son of God, who was torturously beaten, scourged and nailed to a tree by men in order to bleed to death for the raw sins of His people. Surely, we are to teach our children that raw truth from their earliest days! As we consider this extremely difficult (and widely debated) subject, here are three reasons to teach your kids about the depravity of men as it is revealed in Scripture:
Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
When storms come (and they will), where are you anchored? Do you toss to and fro by the waves, or does your anchor hold?
"A sure-footed journey through the doctrines of grace - foundational truths for godliness and discipleship - by a trusted guide. Reading this book will both thrill and convict, challenge and confirm. Essential reading for discipleship groups, Adult Sunday School classes, and individuals determined to grow in grace. Warmly recommended."--Derek W. H. Thomas; Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC; The Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta
The Church is the hope - the one hope to which believers are called. Unfortunately the word "hope" today often refers to something unknown or uncertain. It suggests nothing of stability or certainty. And, yet, that's exactly what is involved in the Biblical idea of hope.And while the future of the Church has and continues to divide believers, Paul points to the one hope that unites. Jesus Christ is going to come back. There will be a resurrection of the body. Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for all who know Him so as to spend eternity with Him.And this is what The Bible Study Hour share every day with tens of thousands across North American and the world. Alliance broadcasts bring the clear message of the Gospel to people who might never otherwise hear it.By promoting the unifying truths of the Gospel, Alliance members like you encourage the Church to stand firm in faith. And you encourage us to continue the work. Thank you.Your tax-deductible gift continues to encourage and equip those in your community and around the globe with the unifying hope of the Gospel.Continue to praise God for the true unity only Christ Jesus gives! Remind others that our identity stands for all generations, not based on who you are or what you do but is found in your Savior, Jesus Christ. And allow the Alliance to serve you, as you serve the Church.
- "Pentecost and the Gospel"
- "Pentecost and the Gifts of the Spirit"
- "Pentecost and the Intercession of the Spirit"
You know the importance of sound doctrine preached. Yet in many churches God's Word is no longer preached. Congregations no longer bear fruit.
Secularism seeps into churches, maybe even your church.
Alliance members like you look to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology for sound doctrine preached! Maybe you are fortunate to be in a church with confessional doctrine, but you see the need for others to have access to the same fruit-bearing teaching.
PCRT brings sound doctrine preached to thousands faithfully.
Pastor Rick Phillips, chair of PCRT, reminds us:
"I can remember my first PCRT and the palpable excitement that attended God's Word.
The packed, hot sanctuary shook as we sang Martin Luther's great hymn, "A Mighty Fortress." In the center, was a beaming, singing, Jim Boice. Dr. Boice was the founder, guiding PCRT to be a cornerstone of the Alliance.
Over that weekend, I was exposed to condensed, clear, "black-coffee" Reformed theology. The result was not merely the persuasion of my mind but the enflaming of my heart with a passion for the truths of God's Word. "
Maybe you have your own PCRT story to tell, a story of hearing God's Word in a meaningful and new way. A story of being changed by the working of the Spirit through the teaching at PCRT. We hear from many people - even people who have attended church all their lives - who discover at PCRT the truths fought for centuries ago.
But it's larger than just PCRT; farther than just Philadelphia!
Alliance members sponsor events throughout the year, bringing proclamatory, expository teaching to more people across the continent.
Even if you are unable attend this year, your support enables pastors and college students to attend at reduced rates. Events can't continue by registration fees alone but require the support of Alliance members like you. Your gifts allow registration rates to remain low and means more people hear God's Word.
We don't labor alone and for that we are grateful. Thank you for standing with us.
Text Links:http://www.alliancenet.org/philadelphia-conference-on-reformed-theology http://www.alliancenet.org/events https://my.monkdonate.com/48/d/52e844a4
Thank you so much for your well done service to the Truth. We were all the beneficiaries. - MM
I so appreciate all your work in following what I'm sure was the Lord's direction in birthing this conference. I pray it does continue in the years to come. - Carol
The conference was awesome! I learned so much, had so many questions answered, and was challenged to think more deeply about my theology. - Susie
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The Alliance is pleased to announce the release of a new book from P&R Publishing entitled Joy Beyond Agony: Embracing the Cross of Christ by Jane Roach. Jane Roach assists in organizing the Alliance-sponsored Texas Hill Country Bible Conference. She also served as the Director of Training for Bible Study Fellowship for more than 25 years. She now teaches two Bible studies and directs women's ministries at her church.
Joy Beyond Agony, a devotional commentary ideal for small group discussions, explores twelve different aspects of Jesus' cross through Bible study, application questions, commentary, testimonies, and hymns. The book helps us to learn what the cross shows us about our Savior and the paradoxes of Christian living, and discover the hope and joy it gives us as we face life's struggles and uncertainties.
We would love to offer you a chance to win a copy of Joy Beyond Agony. Enter to win a copy of the book here, and if you don't win (or don't want to wait!) you can order your copy from ReformedResources.org.
Texas Hill Country Bible Conference Audio - http://www.reformedresources.org/thcbc-2015/
Joy Beyond Agony book - http://www.reformedresources.org/books/joy-beyond-agony-embracing-the-cross-of-christ/
The Mortification of Spin podcast has been airing for a year and a half, attracting tens of thousands of listeners each week. And while there are some issues and certain episodes that we are asked to avoid, remove, or apologize for - we've not succumbed to any of that. BTW - the one thing we hear most often is for more. For more of Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd - but we suspect they really mean more of Aimee.
So while the actual podcast schedule can't change - it will continue to air each and every Wednesday - we can bring you more content from the hosts. The blog content of Carl from reformation21.org, of Aimee from HousewifeTheologian.com and of Todd from his blog known as 1517 will all be combined at Mortification of Spin.
There it will sit alongside the podcast, it's archives, the huge archives of these three prolific writers, and soon, new and fun content extras! So the web address will not change - MortificationofSpin.org and HousewifeTheologian.com - but the causal conversation about things that count will grow!
The Mortification of Spin is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church. Learn more about the Alliance at AllianceNet.org.
The Alliance, and all of its ministries, including Motification of Spin is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Mortification of Spin and the mission of the Alliance. Please donate here.
The Alliance is partnering with the annual Reformation Worship Conference outside of Atlanta, Oct. 23-26. We are so very happy to join with our friends at Midway Presbyterian Church, outside of Atlanta, who host the annual Reformation Worship Conference (www.reformationworship.org). This annual gathering is designed for all Christians and ministry leaders. A guest faculty, consisting of W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Richard Phillips, Terry Johnson, Douglas Kelly, Jon Payne, T. David Gordon, and many others will assemble for a rich weekend of biblical instruction, encouragement, and modeling of robust, reformed worship.
Please see the entire program at www.reformationworship.org, and a discounted registration price is available through the end of August. And since the Alliance is a partner in this event, we invite all our friends to join us and stop by our booth at the conference. Please contact Judy Dodd (email@example.com) for more information about group rates or to register.
From the Charlotte Observer:
In a close vote that reflected deep division, Presbyterian church leaders representing the Charlotte area signaled their support Saturday for ending their denomination's longstanding ban on gays and lesbians becoming pastors and elders.
In past years, the Charlotte Presbytery - the fourth largest in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - had backed the prohibition. But after a spirited, civil debate in the chapel at Johnson C. Smith University, the presbytery voted 133-124, with one abstention, to reverse itself.
That means that the seven-county Charlotte Presbytery is now on record as backing a proposed amendment to the denomination's constitution that would open the door to - though not automatically guarantee - ordination of homosexuals.
In a bit of irony, the paper quotes a female Assistant Pastor in opposition to the move:
"It was the right thing for the presbytery to do," said the Rev. Tom Tate of Charlotte's Plaza Presbyterian, one of four pastors - two on each side - who addressed the gathering. "While I am glad for those affected, I am sad that the close vote says the church may be so divided."
The proposed amendment weakens "The Fidelity and Chastity" section (G-6.0106b) governing the moral conduct of church officers. The task force's recommendation, report and rationale are available here.
The revised section deletes the following language:
Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
While retaining the language below:
Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.
It's not at all clear to me how an ordained minister can pledge to live a life obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge or repent of extramarital, pre-marital, or homosexual sin.
But then again, the task force arrived at this recommendation by allowing each individual uninterrupted and unlimited time to state their opinion and desired outcomes. What emerged, in their opinion, was "a Spirit filled revelation of persons, including a broadly diverse viewpoints and positions, that was received by the group with respect and awe. The very simply process of self declaration without interruption was profound, validated persons and led to an ethos of mutual respect even though those declarations were very different."
A "revelation of persons" that "validated persons" is bound to lead to plain contradictions of the word of God and rebellion against the Head of the Church.
Last week, the Lord granted me the privilege to attend the Worship God '08 conference hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries and Bob Kauflin. The conference was wonderfully cross-centered, full of joy, and instructive. I appreciate those brothers making the time beneficial to music neophytes like myself. The conference audio is posted here.
And I'd especially like to draw your attention to David Powlison's sermon, "Enduring Hardship with the Psalmist." I'm familiar with Powlison's very helpful written works, but this was the first time I've heard him speak. In the very laid back (he effortlessly preached in a Hawaiin shirt and sandals; not even the guy from Cayman could pull that off!), calm, and instructive tone I imagine from his books, he led us through an overview of many psalms and their relation to one another, opened up Psalm 28 in detail, and showed us Christ throughout. If folks are thinking about suffering, trying to comfort someone who is suffering, or simply want to understand many of the Psalms better, this is a great talk. Highly recommend it.
Recently, I read a lamentable statement from the leader of African-American pastors inside the PCUSA. It was lamentable because it made the gospel and the spiritual mission of the church secondary to social and political concerns.
This morning I came across this video of African American pastors inside the PCA. The video highlights the work of these pastors at church planting and spreading the Good News of Christ. As a Baptist, I rejoice at the faithful labors of these men because we have everything in common and share a spiritual mission and history far more important than social causes and concerns.
One man I respect in the faith was Presbyterian pastor Dr. Frances J. Grimke. He pastored 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for 55 years! An African American, he was committed to the gospel and the word of God as the inerring truth of God. One is left to ask: which pastoral fraternity would Grimke join?