Church & Ministry

Thy Kingdom Come? The Kingdom, the Church, & Social Justice (Part 2)

This article first appeared in the Baptist Bulletin. © Regular Baptist Press, Arlington Heights, Illinois. Used by permission. Read Part 1.

Our participation in God’s work: missio Dei

The heart of the debate comes down to determining our role in God’s plan to reestablish the Mediatorial Kingdom. Do we have a job? Are we supposed to be helping God establish His kingdom? It would seem that most Christians believe this to some extent, simply judging by phrases like, “Helping God bring in the kingdom,” and “We need to reclaim culture for the kingdom.”

Where’s the truth in all of this? Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” If God has asked us to work for Him, and if God’s overall goal in world history is to reestablish His kingdom, then our work must contribute to this in some  way. But to what extent are we partners with God in this endeavor? Are we supposed to help God with everything He’s trying to accomplish?

There are three main views on the coming kingdom, and each view answers this question differently.

Premillennialism teaches that the kingdom has not come yet, and that it is going to come in the future in all of its glory, as predicted in Old Testament prophecy, with Jesus ruling and reigning this planet as the mediatorial, human (and divine) ruler. Read more about Thy Kingdom Come? The Kingdom, the Church, & Social Justice (Part 2)

Thy Kingdom Come? The Kingdom, the Church, & Social Justice (Part 1)

This article first appeared in the Baptist Bulletin. © Regular Baptist Press, Arlington Heights, Illinois. Used by permission.

On a recent vacation, I took the opportunity to spy on another church. My family was visiting friends out of state who took us to their nondenominational, nonaffiliated church. My radar was tuned in. From the moment we stepped onto the property to the moment we left, I was analyzing everything.

In such settings, I play a game: see how quickly I can figure out the pastor’s theological perspective and his alma mater. As I was collecting evidence, I noticed several points of interest. A statement at the bottom of the bulletin made an impassioned plea for more people to help in various ministries. The motivational tagline at the end said, “Come join us as we build God’s kingdom.” Interesting. Using a theology of the kingdom to motivate ministry service.

I peered into the church library and spotted the Left Behind series prominently displayed. Interesting. At the end of the service, the pastor announced that they would soon begin a study of Daniel. At this point I was certain the pastor was most likely pre-millennial in theology. Read more about Thy Kingdom Come? The Kingdom, the Church, & Social Justice (Part 1)

Aiming Small: A Pastor’s Thoughts to His Congregation

The average dieter puts all his weight back on plus five percent more. Why is that? One reason is that most diets are not maintainable in the long term. The “eating deficits” created now result in binges and cravings later. One diet is all protein and no carbs. Another is no fat and all carbs. The result: Americans weigh more than ever.

On the other hand, those who make permanent, moderate, maintainable lifestyle changes to their eating habits (like measuring ice cream, cutting down on simple carbs) or exercise regimen (taking stairs instead of elevator) may not lose as much weight—but they are more likely to keep off the weight they lose. Read more about Aiming Small: A Pastor’s Thoughts to His Congregation

Book Review - Shepherding God's Flock

“The importance of church leadership can so easily be either overstated, or understated” (p. 283).

It is common knowledge that when it comes to the leading of people by people, everything rises and falls on leadership. Whether it is a small business or a large multi-billion dollar corporation, both can be brought to their knees under bad leadership. Moses’ father-in-law realized as much when he approached Moses and suggested that he divide his oversight by appointing capable men to rule over Israel along with Moses. People need competent men and enough of them to lead them rightly.

For centuries Protestant churches have debated over proper and biblical polity, particularly regarding the office of elder and deacon and the roles they play within the local church and beyond. This issue continues to attract attention and there is no end of new books on all sides of the debate being published regularly. Writing from a Baptist perspective, Benjamin Merkle and Thomas Schreiner have teamed up with a number of Baptist pastors and theologians to bring us Shepherding God’s Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond from Kregel (2014). This book provides a thorough presentation of Baptist polity while also evaluating Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian forms.

Overview

While the book contains 10 chapters and no sections, there are essentially two sections to the book: chapters that address the issues raised theologically and those that handle them historically. Read more about Book Review - Shepherding God's Flock

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