Appreciate Your Pastor

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One of the side benefits of owning a site like SharperIron is that I get to scratch an itch that is a major burden of mine: helping pastors and church leaders. Outside of pastoral ministry, nothing in ministry gives me more satisfaction. Hearing their struggles, listening to their rebukes, directing them to resources, and getting to know them better have been some of my greatest joys of the last two years. However, my burden for them has increased ten-fold. I have come to believe that pastors are America’s greatest, yet most under-valued and under-appreciated, men. It’s no longer in style to respect the man of God. After all, with Swaggart and Haggard, why should anybody respect the clergy? I hope to answer that question.

On Paul’s second missionary journey, he wrote a letter to the Thessalonians. He addressed many areas, including the need to be faithful amidst persecution, to encourage them regarding those who have already passed away, and to address errors. He hit on moral laxity and laziness, and then he addressed their tendency not to respect their church leadership. The problems of the Thessalonians are present in today’s church as well. I believe every church member should appreciate his pastor.

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (KJV).

Darrin Patrick, pastor of The Journey in St. Louis, in a recent podcast reported on a recent study by Focus on the Family. He reports the following: Read more about Appreciate Your Pastor

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Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

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In The Nick of TimeThey say that any publicity is good publicity, but that may not be true. Pillsbury Baptist Bible College has recently received some rather unwelcome attention. First, a prominent pastor in Indiana has publicly narrated a pejorative but largely fictitious account of his expulsion from Pillsbury during the 1970s. Then a blogger from back East published a negative report complaining that the campus coffee shop wasn’t open at night and he was bored while visiting the college. He named another Bible college, then asked, “If Pillsbury and ________ are the same price, why would anyone ever go to Pillsbury?”

That question is worth answering, not because Pillsbury is necessarily better than every other college, but because it has its own strengths and character. The truth is that Pillsbury should appeal to some students. Not every collegian will want to go there, but prospective students from fundamental churches should at least consider it.

Why go to Pillsbury?

First, because Pillsbury is a small-town school. It has the benefits of a city without having the crime and congestion. Pillsbury doesn’t need to keep a coffee shop open at all hours, because Owatonna has lots of places that sell coffee. You can get a cup any time you want! Owatonna also has a Wal-mart, a Target, a Mills Fleet Farm (the “men’s mall”), and a Cabella’s. There is an outlet mall nearby, and there is plenty of industry in and near the town.

If you want to go out to eat in Owatonna, you’ve got real restaurants from which to choose. If you want to go shopping, you can find real stores, and even real malls. If you’re looking for a job, you can get hired for a decent wage. If you get sick, you’re within about half-an-hour of the world famous Mayo Clinic.
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Paul and Logic, Part Three: Grace-Gifts

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My wife knows when I want to eat. When she says, “I bet you want something to eat,” I don’t wonder if she has some weird link to my hypothalamus. She has reasoned. She bases this on many things that she knows about me. Among those things: 1) When I don’t eat for a while, I get hungry; 2) I hate bananas.

—Logically:

Premise 1: He wants to eat something when he doesn’t eat for several hours.
Premise 2: He hasn’t eaten for several hours.
Conclusion: He wants to eat something.

—And:

Premise 1: He does not like to eat things that have bananas.
Premise 2: This item has bananas.
Conclusion: He will not want to eat this item.

What, then, would my wife say if I have not eaten for 10 hours and there is only banana cake? If I am hungry enough, perhaps I will eat even the dreaded banana. Would that mean that the second principle and syllogism are false? No, they are still true, but in a relative sense. I don’t like bananas—generally. In fact, both conditions (“time since eating” and “amount of banana”) may be true to a greater or lesser extent.These conditions vary independently. They each may vary alone, together, or in opposite ways. I might have eaten minutes ago or days ago, regardless of whether the item I am offered is banana-free or 5 percent or 50 percent banana.

Neither of these principles is presented with the other as an exception. For instance, the second argument did not read:

Premise 1: He does not like to eat things that have bananas unless he is hungry.
Premise 2: This item has bananas.
Conclusion: He will not want to eat this item unless he is hungry.
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Spurgeon’s Library in New Hands

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NOTE: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

by Doug Kutilek

And speaking of Spurgeon—early Sunday morning October 22, instant, I was watching a televised sermon by Dr. Phil Roberts, President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, who was speaking at a church here in Wichita. In his introduction, he naturally discussed the seminary and its progress and growth (like all Southern Baptist seminaries, it is once again in conservative hands). And then he stated that, after two years of negotiation, MBTS had as of “last Tuesday” (October 10, 2006, if I figure the date correctly), signed a contract to purchase Spurgeon’s entire extant library from William Jewell College, and would take actual possession of it by November 15 of this year. He stated that some of the books need restoration, and this would be done right away, and the whole would be catalogued electronically.
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Now Thank We All Our God

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To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

It’s been 383 years since Governor William Bradford called the Pilgrims to the first Thanksgiving celebration in the New World. One 156 years later, after a long, hard war for independence, our first President, George Washington, called the United States of America to a day of thanksgiving:
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Thoughts on Diversity and Scripture

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A couple months ago, I presented some thoughts on developing a philosophy of Christian higher education. In light of the discussion of Joy McCarnan’s book review, as well as the fact that diversity and higher education are so closely associated, it seemed to be a good time to reflect on what Scripture says about diversity. The purpose now is to focus on Scripture instead of criticizing specific actions by certain individuals or organizations. If any passages appear to be taken out of context or are misinterpreted, please don’t hesitate to point them out. I welcome suggestions and criticisms. This article is a work in progress about my own views and does not represent the position of any particular college or seminary.

So then, what exactly does the Bible say about diversity and humanity?

God places the highest value on human life.

God created the human entity in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9). Every man and woman of all time is a valuable creation of God. Each person is made in God’s image. Even though this image is marred, the human being is most important to God. Christians should value everyone as precious.

God does not view individuals differently because of their external appearances (1 Sam. 16:7; Rom. 2:11). God knows each person’s heart. One’s outward appearance does not change his or her standing with God. Christians should never prejudge another person on the basis of external characteristics (James 2).

God is most concerned with the immaterial (soul/spirit) essence of each person, and He wants an intimate relationship with each person (John 3). He desires that everyone live with Him forever (2 Pet. 3:9).

God is glorified by the diversity of His creation in general (Gen. 1:31). We too, should appreciate the beauty of variations within creation. Read more about Thoughts on Diversity and Scripture

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Dave Doran: My Reflections after the Alphabet Soup

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Once the articles and cartoons stopped, I thought the conversation would also stop. I guess I thought wrong. Clearly, I have at least two options. I could just ignore the discussion and get on with life and ministry. That’s a very attractive option. Or, I could offer a different perspective on the interaction from this past week. It’s not hard to tell which option I chose. Let me explain why.Guest Editorial
I will begin with the assumption that we all love the Lord. His glory matters to us. We are His people and His people want to do His will. I hope we all agree on this. What we disagree about is the point of our discussion, and this is an important discussion.

God has given me the privilege of teaching seminary students for almost two decades. It is one of God’s great kindnesses to me. Few things thrill me as much as encouraging and equipping men for ministry. My ministry position puts me in contact with hundreds of men who are preparing for ministry at the college and seminary level, and it opens the door to interact regularly with hundreds more who are already serving local churches in pastoral ministry. It is inevitable, given this contact, to have conversations about the direction and future of fundamentalism. I wouldn’t want to avoid it. I usually enjoy them, and have enjoyed these conversations since my college days. Contrary to what some seem to think, I don’t have a problem with anyone talking about these subjects or expressing their views on just about anything.
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Shall We Reason Together? Part Ten: Extra‐Biblical Premises

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In the Nick of TimeThis series of essays began by discussing the usefulness of logic as a tool for discovering biblical truth. Until now, the question has been whether necessary inferences from the Scriptural premises are somehow less authoritative than the original premises. These essays have argued that whatever Scripture necessarily implies is just as authoritative as what Scripture actually states.

The assertion of this authority must be qualified both when the premises are probable rather than certain, and when the arguments are inductive rather than deductive. Even so, if the degree of probability is so high as to constitute virtual certainty, then the conclusions should be pressed as strongly as the statements of Scripture itself. Indeed, since all biblical statements must be grasped inductively, all of our teaching rests upon probability rather than Cartesian certainty.

One further question should be addressed. How strongly can conclusions be pressed when one of the premises upon which they rest is extra‐biblical? This is a complicated question, and giving a facile answer would be foolish. We do not need to explore every part of it, however. What we really want to know is whether the conclusions of these “mixed” arguments are ever as authoritative as the text of Scripture itself.
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