Posts Tagged: theology
We have a question on our
application for those who wish to be mentored and sent to bring sound
theological training around the world. One of those questions has to do
with our Statement of Faith. It's a fair question and quite normal. We want to
know if you subscribe to what we believe. We use two confessions for our
teachers, with The Gospel
Coalition Confessional Statement being what all teachers must
As I have interviewed
over 100 people to be sent, I find that most just skip the question as to
whether they gladly agree and just mark "yes." Most are innocent
(though lazy!). I have had a number of Presbyterians tell me they
subscribe to the Bethlehem
Baptist Elder Affirmation of Faith in their application. This
always puzzles me and upon further review the applicant realizes they just
checked the "yes" box. To be fair, there are also many Reformed
Baptists who do not know the content of what they have signed off on.
This is no minor issue for us. We
are sending people to teach doctrine to pastors and leaders. The teacher must
have conviction on what they believe and not so easily mark “yes.” I believe what
has happened is that some people want to be associated with the Young,
Restless, Reformed Movement, but they have yet to put the work in and cannot
explain the foundational theological underpinnings of Reformed doctrine. I
remember Josh McDowell used to stir up parents by showing them that high school
kids had no idea how to articulate a Christian Worldview. I now find that
college and graduate students along with some pastors like being associated
with the hip Reformed movement, but they don’t really know the statement of
faith they say they subscribe to.
Obviously, Christians have varying degrees of maturity, but when it’s a
teacher, the stakes are very high and the consequences great.
Situations like these are very serious when interviewing a pastor/elder for a position in a church or a
professor for a seminary post. Many churches and seminaries have lost moorings because
people have hired friends who they like who seem to love Jesus with almost total disregard for their personal statement of faith. Sometimes no questions are asked.
Other times the person being interviewed is “close enough” in agreement and the
person is hired. Need examples?
A brother in the Lord recently
interviewed for a position at an evangelical school. He does not agree with
part of their statement of faith. But no big deal, he is now a professor. They
didn’t press him on the statement of faith, but asked if he agreed and crossed
their fingers because he is such a fine scholar. He said he could work within
the boundaries of their statement, but he
personally does not agree.
There are a number of evangelical
churches close to me where the Senior Pastor does not agree with part of the
statement of faith of the church. I have seen churches appoint elders by asking
them if they agree with the statement of faith and leaving it at that. Of
course, those same men can’t even tell you the content of the statement of
Just asking, “Do you agree” is a
sign of terrible shepherding. What we believe about God is the most important
thing about us. The church uses confessions to protect, unite and worship. If your church or organization does not take
them seriously, you will eventually be torn apart from the inside.
Take doctrine seriously. While it
is fair to ask, “Do you agree,” let’s not stop there. I don’t care if someone
has been ordained, passed test after test in theological studies or written
wonderful papers and articles. I still
will ask for an explanation and defense on what they believe. In doing so I
safeguard TLI. Will you safeguard your church or organization?
Training Leaders International just released the newest edition of the Journal of Global Christianity, which has over 100 pages of articles and book reviews. The journal is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Farsi.
The Journal of Global Christianity seeks to promote international scholarship and discussion on topics related to global Christianity. The journal addresses key issues related to the mission of the Church, in hopes of helping those who labor for the gospel wrestle with and apply biblical teachings on various challenging mission topics. The journal targets an audience of pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers around the world.
This volume has the following contributions:
- Darren Carlson l EDITORIAL: Encouraging Women to Do Biblical Studies at the Graduate Level
- H.H. Drake Williams, III I Evaluating a Response to the Refugee Crisis through a Biblical Theological Lens: Perspectives from the Epistle of James
- Fred Farrokh l Pursuing Integrated Identity in Christ in Ministry to Muslims
- John A. Wind l Does the Old Testament "Authorize" a Creation Care Mission of the Institutional Church? Examining Christopher Wright's Claims
- Thomas R. Schreiner l New Trajectories and Old Patterns: Hermeneutics and Same-Sex Advocacy
- Aaron and Meg Brown l REPORT FROM THE FIELD: Reflections on Our One Year Anniversary
- David W. Shenk l APPROACHES TO MINISTRY: The Universal Questions Muslims Ask
The Journal also contains book reviews.
Join me in praising God for all those who made this journal possible. May this journal also be an encouragement to our brothers and sisters around the world.
Jul. 24, 2015By: Jackson Wu
› Author Bio
If you emphasize honor and shame, does this mean
that you need to minimize the theme of “judgment” in the Bible? Absolutely not.
Unfortunately, some people have that impression.
They seem to think that judgment is a legal idea and so unrelated to honor and
shame. In this post, I will show you a number of passages that show how the
Bible describes judgment in terms of honor-shame.
Shame of Judgment
Everything a person can say about judgment from a
traditional perspective can be communicated by using honor-shame.
Daniel 12:2 is quite direct:
many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Likewise, Daniel 9:8 adds,
us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our
fathers, because we have sinned against you.
The psalmist pleads for God to judge his enemies.
It is especially interesting to observe the purpose for God’s
judgment. Psalm 83:16–18 says,
their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O LORD. Let
them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that
they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High
over all the earth.
God gets glory when he puts his enemies to shame
(cf. Exod 7:4–5; Eze 32:9–15)
Biblically speaking, “judgment” referred to more
than the punishment of bad people. It routinely speaks about how God sets a
situation right and rescues His people. We see this two-fold emphasis in Psalm
75:7, which says:
is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
Through judgment, God honors one side and shames
Consider how the Scripture describes salvation.
Biblical writers announce that God’s people will be saved from shame. In
Zeph 3:11, we read
that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have
rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly
exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain.
In Romans 10:11 (and in Rom 9:33), Paul draws from
Isa 28:16 saying, “Everyone who believes in him will
not be put to shame” (cf. Rom 5:5).
The Shame of
What about passages like Rom 6:23, which say that
the “wages of sin is death”?
Death is the ultimate shame.
Death exposes our vulnerabilities, our weakness and
limitation. We are not sovereign over ourselves. None but Jesus are able to
Consider Jeremiah 51:47–51. Notice how death and
destruction are described in terms of shame.
behold, the days are coming when I will punish the images of
Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her
slain shall fall in the midst of her. Then the heavens and the
earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon, for
the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, declares the
Lord. Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, just as for Babylon have
fallen the slain of all the earth. “You who have escaped from the
sword, go, do not stand still! Remember the Lord from far
away, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: “We are put to
shame, for we have heard reproach; dishonor has covered our face, for
foreigners have come into the holy places of the Lord’s house.”
wants to “lose face.” The fear of shame drives
people’s behavior as does the desire for honor. Both in the Bible and in world
cultures, people use honor and shame to discuss the most significant issues in
life and theology, including judgment and reward.
Does Calvinism kill missions? Consider the following:
- John Calvin: Calvin sent missionaries from Geneva into France and as far away as Brazil. Most of these young men sent to France died a martyr’s death, but the church of Geneva continued to send them.
- John Eliot: A missionary sent to the American Indians in the 1600′s. He is believed to be the first missionary among this people group. As many have said, if William Carey is the father of the modern mission’s movement, then John Eliot is its grandfather.
- David Brainerd: A missionary to the American Indians in the 1700′s. Many historians believe that he has sent more individuals into the mission field than any other person in the history of the church via his diary, An Account of the Life of the Late Reverend David Brainerd.
- Theodorus Frelinghuysen: The great evangelist and preacher, who set the stage for the First Great Awakening in the middle colonies.
- Jonathan Edwards: The great theologian, writer, and preacher of the First Great Awakening. He was also a missionary to the Indians.
- George Whitfield: The great voice and preacher of the First Great Awakening. He journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean thirteen times and scholars believe he preached over 18,000 sermons.
- William Tennent: He founded the Log College, which later became Princeton University. This college trained pastors and provided many of the revivalist preachers of the First Great Awakening.
- Samuel Davies: The famous President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University), preacher of the First Great Awakening, and evangelist to the slaves of Virginia. It is believed that hundreds of slaves came to saving faith through his evangelism efforts.
- William Carey: He is the famous missionary to India and is considered the father of the modern mission’s movement.
- Robert Moffat: The first missionary to reach the interior of Africa with the Gospel. He translated the entire Bible and Pilgrim’s Progess into Setswana.
- David Livingstone: Arguably, the most famous missionary to the continent of Africa.
- Robert Morrison: The first Protestant missionary to China and the first to translate the Bible into Chinese.
- Peter Parker: An American physician and missionary to China who first introduced Western medical techniques to the Chinese. He also served as the president of the Medical Missionary Society of China.
- Adoniram Judson: The famous missionary to Burma, translated the Bible into Burmese, and established multiple Baptist Churches in Burma. His mission work led many to enter the mission field and was foundational for forming the first Baptist association in America.
- Charles Simeon: The vicar of Holy Trinity Church and the founding figure of the Church Missionary Society. This organization was instrumental in leading many students to the mission field. The Society itself has sent more than 9,000 missionaries into the world.
- Henry Martyn: The renowned missionary to India and Persia. He preached in the face of opposition and translated the New Testament into a number of languages.
- Samuel Zwemer: He is affectionately known as “The Apostle to Islam.” His legacy includes efforts in Bahrain, Arabia, Egypt, and Asia Minor. His writing was used by the Lord to encourage and mobilize an entire generation of missionaries to labor in Islamic countries.
- John Stott: Scholar, preacher, pastor, and evangelist of the twentieth century. He was one of the principle authors and the influential leader in establishing the Lausanne Covenant, which promoted world-wide evangelism.
- Francis Schaeffer: Pastor and found of L’Abri, which has been used by the Lord to draw many to saving faith as they intellectually wrestled with the tenants of Christianity.
- D. James Kennedy: The founder of Evangelism Explosion, which many believe is the most widely used evangelistic training curriculum in church history.
- John Piper: Pastor, writer, and theologian, who has been used by the Lord to define missions and send many young people into the mission field.
HT: Jason Helopoulos
Originally Published on the Gospel Coalition
Jun. 9, 2015By: Evan Burns
John Owen has been called the John
Calvin of England, and he is arguably the greatest of all the Puritan
writers. C.H. Spurgeon called him the
prince of the Puritans. J.I. Packer, having
summarized Owen’s spirituality, sounds a clarion call to contemporary
evangelicalism. Packer says,
Anyone who knows
anything at all about Puritan Christianity knows that at its best it had a
vigour, a manliness, and a depth which modern evangelical piety largely
lacks. This is because Puritanism was
essentially an experimental faith, a religion of ‘heart-work’, a sustained
practice of seeking the face of God, in a way that our own Christianity too
often is not. The Puritans were manlier
Christians just because they were godlier Christians. It is worth noting three particular points of
contrast between them and ourselves.
First, we cannot
but conclude that whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is
a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion
with God in a way that we are not. The
measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other
about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christians
acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely
of their daily experience of God. Modern
Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian
standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little
about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little
relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together,
in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at
all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other
matters. Thus we make it plain that
communion with God is a small thing to us.
But how different were the Puritans!
The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and
writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s
communion with God….
Then, second, we
observe that whereas the experimental piety of the Puritans was natural and unselfconscious, because it
was so utterly God-centred, our own (such as it is) is too often artificial and boastful, because it is
so largely concerned with ourselves. Our
interest focuses on religious experience, as such, and on man’s quest for God,
whereas the Puritans were concerned with the God of whom men have experience,
and in the manner of his dealings with those whom he draws to himself. The difference of interest comes out clearly
when we compare Puritan spiritual autobiography… with similar works from our own
day. In modern spiritual autobiography,
the hero and chief actor is usually the writer himself; he is the centre of
interest, and God comes in only as a part of his story. His theme is in effect ‘I—and God’. But in Puritan autobiography, God is at the
Third, it seems
undeniable that the Puritans’ passion for spiritual integrity and moral honesty
before God, their fear of hypocrisy in themselves as well as in others, and the
humble self-distrust that led them constantly to check whether they had not
lapsed into religious play-acting before men with hearts that had gone cold
towards God, has no counterpart in the
modern-day evangelical ethos. They
were characteristically cautious, serious, realistic, steady, patient,
persistent in well-doing and avid for holiness of heart; we, by contrast, too
often show ourselves to be characteristically brash, euphoric, frivolous,
superficial, naïve, hollow and shallow….
A word to the
wise? There was once a day when God sent
Jeremiah to say to Israel, ‘Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way
is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Jer 6:16).
 J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of
the Christian Life (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 215-218.