How Does the Bible Describe the Preacher?


preaching

When it comes to preaching, most people think about the technique or style of a preacher. Does he yell or is he more reserved? Is he pacing about the stage or standing behind the pulpit? Does he wear a suit or blue jeans? Does he use a full manuscript, partial manuscript, or no manuscript? Does he preach for an hour, 45 minutes, 30? Surely he ends the service in time for lunch and kickoff, right? People describe preachers based on their charisma, humor, and personality.

But how does the Bible describe the preacher?

What follows are four images the Bible employs to accurately describe the role of the preacher.

1. Herald

The preacher is a herald of the glorious truth of God’s self-revelation in his word. Like a town crier bringing good news of the end of the war, the preacher cries, “Hear ye! hear ye!” as he proclaims the good news of Christ’s triumph over sin and death.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 4:5, emphasis added).

2. Sower/Farmer

The preacher is a sower of gospel seed. They are not responsible for the condition of the soil. However, they are responsible for sowing by preaching the gospel. The faithful preacher will confidently preach God’s word trusting God to prepare the soil and give growth. The preacher of God’s word must be a humble sower who realizes that “neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:7).

3. Ambassador

The preacher is a representative of a greater kingdom. Like a political ambassador working on behalf of his home nation in a foreign land, the preacher is sent by the King to work diligently in calling those lost in a foreign land home.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).

To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:18-20).

4. Steward

The preacher is entrusted with the provisions those who are in the household need. His calling is to dispense the mysteries of God to God’s family. Like a mailman, the preacher is to deliver the glorious message of God revealed in his word that has been entrusted to him.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

The message every preacher is to preach has been given to the preacher. The preacher does not come up with a message that works or keeps his audience’s attention. He does not receive a special, extra-biblical “word” from God. The preacher has been granted the privilege to take what has been entrusted and faithfully dispense it to God’s people. The preacher is a servant under someone else’s authority. The preacher is the communicator of somebody else’s word. Preacher, do you bend your thoughts to the Scriptures? Or do you bend the Scriptures to support your thoughts?

Good news has been given to the herald to proclaim.

Good seed has been given to the farmer to sow.

Good food has been given to the steward to dispense.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Morning Mashup 09/01


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We are kicking off September and Labor Day with a new edition of Morning Mashup. If you are like my wife and have today off from work, rest up! While you’re at it, grab a cup of coffee and read some (or all) of these excellent articles!

Victoria Osteen and Our Conservative Prosperity Gospel – Attention has recently been given to the blatant health and wealth gospel of the Osteens with the hilarious video of Bill Cosby responding to a ludicrous statement made by Victoria Osteen. However, Daniel Darling of the ERLC warns us to be cautious in our laughter, as we “offer a subtler version of the prosperity message in the way we talk about sanctification in this life.”

The Education of the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings – Ok, ok, time to play my nerd card. I found this essay fascinating. If you are a Tolkien fanatic like I have become, you will greatly enjoy this piece.

Kentucky Baptist Convention to Recruit Foster Families – Stories like this make me proud to be a Kentucky Baptist.

Justice and Privilege – If you are white and are uncomfortable with the situation in Ferguson, this is one article you do not need to miss. Darrin Patrick gives an important challenge for all white Christians to consider.

A Novel Every Christian Should Consider Reading – Biblical counselor David Powlison recommends a unique work of fiction that he believes can awaken the soul to a more fully developed sense of worship.

Books on the Cross of Christ – While we are on the subject of books, I will commend this list compiled by Ligon Duncan. It is perhaps the most comprehensive list of books on the atonement that I have ever seen. Many of these books, the ones I have yet to read, have already made their way into my Amazon shopping cart.

7 Presuppositions for Faithful Christ-Centered Expository Preaching – David Prince on preaching is always a gem. Short. Profound. Helpful.

The Enduring Effects of Adam’s Transgression On Race Relations in Ferguson and Beyond – Jarvis Williams who is a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writes, “I am not in the least surprised by this sad event or by the series of subsequent events that have emerged in the aftermath of Brown’s death.” Read the article to find out why.

Lay Aside the Weight of Self-Indulgence – I am always so blessed by Jon Bloom’s writing and this article is no exception. He writes, “Self-indulgence is spiritually dangerous to us because it’s a form of idolatry. It’s something we turn to instead of God for happiness.”

Faith-Hacking: Managing Your Kids Screen Time – Tim Challies seeks an answer to the following questions: “How do you motivate your kids to pick up a book or go outside? How do you govern screen time without it collapsing into constant bickering?”

What My African-American Sons Taught Me About Race in America – Jeremy Haskins gives a different perspective on racial tension, Ferguson, and the gospel in this open and honest article.

The eternal contribution of Jesus has changed the course of manhood forever. –Eric Mason

Top 5 Blog Posts From August


It always seems to me when a new semester of classes begins, the months roll on by like a kid’s summer break. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. It also flies by when you spend hours upon hours putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, as it were. I wrote more frequently in the month of August than I have in the past. Lord willing, I will continue this trend. Evan also contributed a few meaningful posts this month. I know his Throwback Thursday posts will continue to be a blessing. Evan also plans to write more frequently in the coming months. As a reflection on the month of August, I have included below the five most viewed posts from the month we have left behind. Check them out and feel free to interact by commenting on the posts.

1. BwDmfW-CAAA_SER.jpg-mediumDavid Platt Elected President of the IMB: 5 Reasons Southern Baptists Should Be Thrilled

In this post, I reflect on David Platt’s election as president of the IMB and why this is a very good thing for Southern Baptists and the kingdom.

 

 

img52. One Question All Churches Will Face Tomorrow

Here I argue that there is one question every congregation is faced with when they gather for worship.

 

john_owen23. Throwback Thursday: John Owen on Seeing the Glory of Christ

In this post, Evan Knies provides great insight into John Owen, his thoughts on the importance of seeing the glory of Christ, and why that matters for Christians today.

 

Sermon4. Is It Sinful to Preach Sermons You Did Not Write?

This was the last post of August, but it gained excellent intrigue and feedback. I examine the reality of preaching the sermons of others and the ethics behind such actions.

 

97808010162335. Review: The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated

This was the most popular book review from August. I reviewed James E. White’s newest book in early August. Check it out here and then buy the book!

 


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Is It Sinful to Preach Sermons You Did Not Write?


Sermon

It is not uncommon for pastors to preach sermons written by well-known pastors. With the miracle that is the Internet, the sermons of popular pastors are readily and easily accessible. Pastors will lead their churches through sermon series’ that were first used by other pastors. I have to say, this would be a great temptation for me. I have benefited so much from the preaching of various well-known pastors like John Piper, John MacArthur, Timothy Keller, David Platt, Matt Chandler, and others. The sermons these men have preached are not only available on the internet, but they are even organized by sermon series and by Scripture. If I were to lead a church through Romans, it would be tempting to access MacArthur’s and Piper’s sermons through this letter and preach them to the congregation. I know of pastors who have borrowed themes and sermon series from guys like Andy Stanley and J.D. Greear. All of this reminds me of a saying I once heard: “There once was a man named ‘Spurgy.’ His sermons are preached by all the clergy.”

Some would contend there is nothing sinful about preaching sermons written by others, especially if credit is given to the sermon writer (“If my bullet fits your gun, then use it.”). Advocates would argue that it is quite humble to use sermons written by more gifted pastors for the benefit of the congregation. However, if you are a pastor who frequently preaches the sermons of others or if you are a church member whose pastor does this, there is one obvious question you must face: Is it sinful for a pastor to preach the sermons of others? What follows is what I hope is a concise and helpful answer.

I believe that preaching another person’s sermon is unhelpful at best and outright sinful at worst. Obviously, preaching another person’s sermon as your own without giving proper credit is plagiarism. Any preacher doing this should stop immediately and repent. There is no place for this kind of dishonesty in the pulpit. As the great English preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones once said, “I am assured that this is not uncommon practice. I have but one comment to make about this—it is utterly dishonest unless you acknowledge what you are doing…He is a thief and a robber; he is a great sinner.”

But even if a preacher preaches another person’s sermon giving them full credit, this is still very unhelpful to both the church and the preacher. The church is best served by a pastor who labors over the text and seeks to faithfully expose its meaning. Even though the man who wrote the sermon may have wonderfully exposited the text, the man preaching the sermon did not and was not personally impacted by the text. Part of the impact of the sermon is the passion of the preacher who has been overwhelmed by the grandeur of the text he is preaching. This is lost when a preacher preaches someone else’s sermon. Remember, pastor, you are God’s man for the local church you are shepherding. As helpful as Piper and Keller are, they do not know your church. You do. God has called you and will use your unique abilities to preach the riches of God’s grace in Christ week in and week out.

Regarding the importance of being gripped by the truth in your sermon preparation, Lloyd-Jones again writes,

When you yourself are gripped and moved in the preparation you will generally find that the same happens in the preaching.

Similarly, the prominent Puritan pastor-theologian, John Owen once said,

A man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul. And he that doth not feed on and thrive in the digestion of the food which he provides for others will scarce make it savoury unto them; yea, he knows not but the food he hath provided may be poison, unless he have really tasted of it himself. If the word do not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.

These comments from Lloyd-Jones and Owen suggest that pastors should prepare their hearts and sermons through diligent prayer and study of the passage. Pastors cannot approach sermon preparation lightheartedly or casually. Preaching depends highly on preparation, so pastors must prepare the way they want to preach—passionately and personally gripped by the passage. The purpose of preaching original sermons is not prideful boasting in personal ability. Preaching original sermons forces the pastor to dive into the text, to be gripped by the text, to be set ablaze by the text. When a pastor has encountered the living God in meditation on Holy Scripture, the congregation will leave the pew the same way their pastor left the study; set ablaze with flaming desire for God and his unparalleled glory.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

The Pastor and Character


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One of the top things that churches evaluate in pastoral candidates is a man’s character. While sadly some if not many churches look first to a pastor’s personality and charisma before evaluating his character (Joseph Umidi, Confirming the Pastoral Call, p. 53). Nevertheless, on average, churches admit that a pastoral candidate’s character is one of the top five things they are looking for. This is encouraging due to the overwhelming biblical witness to the importance of a pastor’s character.

It is vital to notice first that every Christian is expected to exhibit high character because of their calling and response to follow Christ. From the beginning of our salvation, through justification by grace through faith alone, our broken character inherited from Adam is being renewed and radically transformed by means of sanctification. In fact one glorious purpose for which we were predestined by God to become his sons and daughters is that we be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). In a real sense, our conformity to Jesus who is the perfect image of God is the reason for which we are saved. So, does personal holiness matter to God? This verse along with a more direct teaching in Hebrews answers with a resounding, “yes”. “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

Scripture is clear that personal holiness is a vital component and necessity in every Christian’s life. In fact, it is what separates nominal Christians from those branches who are connected to the Vine (John 15). We are each to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).

What bearing does this have on the pastor, the shepherd of the flock? Indeed, the pastor or teacher of the Word is held to an even higher standard than the flock (James 3:1). Therefore, the character of a pastor is of utmost importance. Since the pastor is not to be some distant figure who writes sermons from the solitude of some ivory tower, but rather a leader who suffers, grieves, and rejoices with his followers, his character will be on constant display and will be a mighty role in which he shepherds his flock. Many other roles of the pastor are dependent on his character and Christ-likeness. In the words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “How awful a weapon in the hand of God is a holy minister” (quoted from On Being a Pastor, Prime and Begg, Moody: Chicago, 2004).

A church body will be hesitant to heed the words from the pulpit where an immoral man is standing. The counsel from a pastor who is not striving for similar holiness will fall on deaf ears. The ministry in the community led by a pastor whose reputation is corrupted by moral compromise will fail. The entire ministry of a pastor is dependent on his commitment to the will of God of which personal holiness is of high importance (see Rom. 8:29 again).

Scripture is clear that personal holiness for a pastor is not a suggestion or merely a benefit to be received on our own terms. It is much more than this. It is necessary. It is necessary in two lights. Firstly, personal holiness (character) is necessary for a pastor in the sense that it is embedded and central in the pastoral qualifications. Secondly, personal holiness is necessary for a pastor in the sense of being a shepherd leading a flock.

Qualifications for a Pastor

Two places in Scripture we find qualifications for overseers or elders—in 1 Timothy and Titus. Paul includes many qualifications, most of which deal with a man’s character. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul instructs that an elder or pastor is to be “above reproach”, “sober-minded”, “self-controlled”, “respectable”, “hospitable”, “not a drunkard”, “not violent but gentle”, “not quarrelsome”, and “he must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil”.

Further, Paul exhorts in Titus 1:5-9 that an elder or pastor must be “above reproach”, “not arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” The other qualifications deal with a pastor’s ability to teach and defend sound doctrine and these should not be overlooked. Nevertheless, it is interesting to notice that the overwhelming aspect of a man’s worthiness to the call of pastor has to deal with his character or personal holiness. While there isn’t a pastor who will exhaustively fulfill each of these qualifications, the point is that a pastor must be pursuing greater Christ-likeness. His character must be sufficient for the task to which God calls him to—leadership of his people in the local church.

Thus a pastor’s character is of utmost importance in the evaluation of whether he is qualified to be an elder or not. In the words of Derek Prime and Alistair Begg, “the fruit of the Spirit is as important as the gifts of the Spirit in the life of a shepherd and teacher” (On Being a Pastor, p. 36). Being able to teach and preach (gifts of the Spirit) are no more important to a pastor than being able to love and exhibit self-control (fruits of the Spirit). All are gifts of God’s grace. All are necessary for ministry. But who will listen to a great teacher who has not loved nor has self-control in his personal life? We are not called to be professionals who put on a show on Sunday mornings. We are to “[fulfill] our tasks as shepherds and teachers [by] pursuing our Christian privilege and duty of knowing God better and becoming more like him” (Prime and Begg, 41).

A Shepherd Who Leads

Pastors are to be shepherds. And shepherds lead sheep—in this case, the people of God. The humbling thing about this is that we ourselves are to be followers. We are not leaders with our own agenda and kingdom, but merely agents of the Good Shepherd ultimately following his lead. We are to ask our people to follow us as we follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Again, this is an extremely humbling reality when considering the character of a pastor. I like Prime and Begg here as well: “When any Christian falls into sin, he hurts others. When a Christian leader falls into sin, he hurts many others” (38).

My heart sinks when I read that. What a task the minister of God is called to! But it is true. Paul constantly referred to his own character as something for his followers to follow. And it is clear that this wasn’t out of pride, but instead was an honest evaluation of his own character—the character of a man who was personally growing in personal holiness as he worked out his own salvation in his conformity to the image of Christ.

Here are just a few examples:

  • He exhorts Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).
  • Paul warns the believers in Thessalonica to keep away from brothers with low character and to imitate him since he exhibited his character by not being idle among them (1 Thessalonians 3:6-7).
  • And to the saints at Philippi, Paul writes for them to practice the things they had seen him do (Phil. 4:9).

Similarly, Peter exhorts elders to shepherd the flock willingly, but not domineeringly, as examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). And if there is any motivation for this type of leading, he gives it in verse 4: “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” Praise God! Shepherds are leaders and our leadership is dependent highly on our character, which is daily being conformed from one degree of glory to another into the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 3:18). To quote Prime and Begg once more: “Whatever else a shepherd and teacher provides for God’s people, he is to give them an example to follow” (36). And this example is one from a man of God who is following the God-Man, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).

Conclusion

Pastors are shepherds, and shepherds lead, one way or another. We will either, by our lack character, lead our flock by our example into sin and destruction; or we will lead our flock as a result of our character into further obedience to Christ as we follow in the footsteps of our chief Shepherd who embodied perfect character and forgives by his blood all of our faulty character. The words of C.F. Collins sums it up for me concerning the pastor and character: “Character is everything, and character is what pastors must have—and is the very reason why any church calls them as her pastor” (H3F: A Model for Christian Living, p. 54)! May all pastors strive to be more like Him and lead the people of God in His paths—all for His glory.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Strange Delight: Three Reasons to Find Joy in Discipline


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Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. –Proverbs 29:17

Is it possible to delight in disciplining those you love most?

The hardest thing for any leader to do is to point out or expose the moral deficiencies of those under him or her. However, this is also one of the most important things for leaders to do. Even harder, and seemingly impossible, is the prospect of delighting in this biblical duty to rebuke and subsequently discipline. Whether it is in the classroom, the office, the home, or the church, exposing and punishing moral failure can be one of the hardest parts of leadership. It is much easier to create an atmosphere that allows for all types of moral failures or sins to exist. This kind of environment is much more comfortable for us. There are no awkward situations when messages from parent to child or from pastor to congregation are always chipper and easy. This kind of atmosphere is filled with fluffy pillows with “Everything is OK!” stitched on them.

This is especially true for leaders who love those who are under their care. Parents often say, “This hurts me more than it hurts you” or “I am doing this for your good” when they punish their children. And often they punish their children for disobedience despite the emotional pain that presses down upon their souls to punish the ones they love most.

This dual experience of heart-ripping exposure of sin and subsequent discipline is viewed and even often felt as a begrudging duty rather than a delight. This is especially true for parents and pastors. The Bible speaks very clearly on the importance of checking our children’s sin, disciplining them accordingly, and bringing them up in the instruction of the Lord, all of which is commanded of the Lord and is for their good (see Deut. 6:7; Ps. 78:4; Prov. 19:18; 22:6, 15; 29:17; Eph. 6:4). Similarly, the Bible speaks on numerous occasions and in numerous contexts to the importance of the pastor’s role in leading the local church in the things of God, guarding them from sin, exercising oversight, and calling them to repentance (1 Pt. 5:1-4). The image that is used to describe the pastor in this sense is the “shepherd.” The pastor is to shepherd (ποιμάνατε) the flock that God has entrusted to him. The biblical imagery of shepherding carries with it a sense of providing, guiding, protecting, and constant companionship. This means that when a pastor sees members of the local church he is shepherding indulging in sin, he should stop them with loving rebuke as he calls them to repentance.

Leaders of God’s people throughout Scripture are seen as bearing a special responsibility for the spiritual condition of the covenant community.

“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the Lord, their habitation of righteousness, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’” (Jer. 50:6-7).

Similarly, James warns potential pastors that they will be judged more strictly than other believers (Jam. 3:1). The position of leadership in the family or in the church is one of influence either for ill or good on those under the leader’s care.

So, one crucial duty of a parent and pastor is to expose the sin of children and flock and call both to repentance. There is no denying this. However, the question becomes, can this biblical duty be a delight? And if so, how? I think this can be answered by quickly looking at three reasons why we are called to lead in this kind of exposing, rebuking, and correcting way.

The Father’s Example

Firstly, we are called to expose sin, call to repentance, and if necessary discipline because this is the position our Father who is in heaven takes with regard to sin. God hates sin. He convicts us of our sin through his Word and Spirit (John 16:8). And as our Father, God disciplines the one he loves because he hates to see his children meddle with sin (Heb. 12:6). Christ is the Chief Shepherd and he will not allow one of his sheep to be lost. God as Shepherd is seen very vividly in Ezekiel 34.

“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost…bring back the strayed…bind up the injured, and…strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice” (Ezek. 34:15-16).

God is jealous both for his glory and for his people. Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them [the sheep] to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:29-30).

Likewise, parents and pastors should be jealous for God’s glory and their children’s/congregation’s eternal state. Let God as Father and Shepherd who disciplines his children and cares for his flock be your example in truly caring for your children and congregation when they sin by exposing sin and calling for repentance. Knowing that this is how God interacts with his children or people when they sin should cause us to find joy in a biblical duty that can be difficult and even sorrowful as you labor in the grace of Christ to help your children and congregation fight sin.

Love’s Motivation

Secondly, we are to expose sin, call to repentance, and if necessary discipline because we love our children and congregation. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6). This is remarkable. Because God loves us as sons and daughters, he disciplines us. His great and unparalleled love for us—the same love that sent Christ to die for us (Rom. 5:8)—leads God to discipline us. So, parents and pastors, let your love for your children or your congregation lead you to see them in their sin, expose it, and call them to repentance. Joyful discipline is possible, despite the pain, when love is the motivating force.

To put it more strongly, neglecting to call your children or your congregation out in their sin is to not love them. And it would be contrary to the very way that God interacts with his children and flock. I do not mean to casually call parents and pastors to discipline those they love, as if discipline in the home and church are exactly the same or as if church discipline can or should be wildly implemented at the drop of a hat. There must be tremendous discernment and wisdom to accompany a desire to discipline those walking in sin. However, the point is that leadership in the home and church is faulty if it does not care about the hearts of those being led. Letting children and congregants freely sin with no buffer of discipline may mask as love, but it is really neglect for their hearts.

Inherent with love is delight. So, when we discipline or call our people to repentance, we can delight in this, as it is an action motivated by our love for them. As an example, if someone refuses to be baptized, but wishes to continue serving in the local church and taking the elements of the Lord’s Supper, pastors should expose this disobedience and call this individual to repentance. And if necessary, elements of church discipline may need to be executed (Matt. 18:15-20). The point is that if parental and pastoral discipline is done in love, then it can be a delightful duty as an expression of a deep love for those the parent and pastor is leading. There is great delight to be found in loving discipline.

Eternal Vision

Thirdly, we can find delight in discipline because when we call children and church members to repentance, we are doing so for their eternal good. What good is it for a parent or pastor to gain the approval of children or congregants who are living in sin if they lose their souls in the process? Our Father in heaven disciplines us for our eternal good (Rom. 8:28). We should do the same. Discipline in the home and in the church serves as a roadblock to keep those in our care from doing further damage to their souls. Not only will discipline be for temporal good as many consequences for sin will be avoided, but it is for eternal good as only those who persevere to the end will be saved (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36).

Discipline is difficult. And though disciplining those we love “hurts us more than it hurts them,” there is a strange delight to be found in discipline. Discipline is the fruit of love. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Prov. 13:24). Discipline is a demonstration of grace. It is incredibly gracious to stop someone in his or her sin through loving rebuke. “When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him” (Ps. 39:11). Parents, love your children by calling them to repentance through discipline when they fall into sin. Pastors and churches, love the church by calling those to repentance through discipline when they fall into sin.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Morning Mashup 08/29


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The Continuing Menace of Anti-Semitism – Michael Gerson of The Washington Post writes, “In fact, anti-Jewish attitudes remain deep and consistent, and the memory of the Holocaust is fading.”

Please Say More than Six Words to Your Kids About Sports or Any Performance – I love when David Prince writes on sports. I grew up playing three sports, and I can attest from experience that Prince’s counsel for what to say to kids before and after performance is spot on!

Losing Your Voice – Clint Archer gives four ways pastors can lose their pulpits.

Mas Hill Pastors’ Letter on Mark Driscoll – Things are falling apart in Seattle. I have been deeply saddened by Mark Driscoll’s fall and I pray for repentance and restoration. But as for now, Paul Tripp admits something (as quoted in the letter) startling and frightening: “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”

An Impatience with Biblical Exegesis – Wesley Hill: “Although it may seem futile, the effort to trace out the meaning of the Bible and talk about Scripture with others isn’t a vain exercise.”

Marriage and Mating Rites – Karen Swallow Prior: “If marriage is a sacrament, then the way in which practices that lead to marriage function as liturgies deserves attention.”

Christians Are Terrible: You Should Know This Going In – Derek Rishmawy: “One of the major premises of the Christian faith is that humans are so flawed, so broken, so rebellious, and so unable to redeem themselves that the eternal Son had to incarnate himself, live, die, and rise again in order to fix them.”

Bill Cosby and Victoria Osteen – Bill Cosby reacts to Victoria Osteen. Watch all the way to the end.

13 Marketing Terms You Might Be Falling For – Barnabas Piper gives the down-low on marketing tricks.

Six Things Every Freshman Needs to Know – Sammy Rhodes: “If I could write a letter to every incoming freshman who doesn’t want to waste their college, I would want to say six things to them before they move to campus. It applies to their anxious parents, too.”

Because the gospel is endlessly rich, it can handle the burden of being the one “main thing” of a church. –Timothy Keller

David Platt Elected President of the IMB: 5 Reasons Southern Baptists Should Be Thrilled


BwDmfW-CAAA_SER.jpg-mediumUnless you have been living under a rock, you have probably already heard the news that the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has hired David Platt as their new president. David Platt comes to the IMB from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL where Platt was the senior pastor. Platt became a household name because of a little orange book he wrote called RadicalRadical was published in 2010 and became a New York Times bestseller. By and large, Christians raved about the book that called for radical and sacrificial living for the sake of the proclamation of Christ’s name in all nations.

Many Christian news agencies, ministries, and leaders have reported and responded to the election of Platt as president of the IMB with overwhelming excitement. Hershael York, professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church, has written that he has never met anyone on whom the anointing of God rests as powerfully and comfortably as David Platt. This is why he believes “the greatest days of Southern Baptist missions lie ahead.” Russell Moore says he is “radically happy” with Platt’s election and admits he has been praying for this for a long time. Even Paige Patterson of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who opposed Platt’s election says it is time for Platt’s critics within the SBC to bury our reservations and get on our knees in prayer for the new IMB president and his family.

While concerns have been raised about Platt’s Calvinistic soteriology and The Church at Brook Hills relatively scarce giving to the Cooperative Program (CP), the above articles from York and Moore should eliminate such concerns. In fact, for anyone who knows Platt or is familiar with his ministry, there is little to no apprehension whatsoever about his election; only pure elation. I am one of those young evangelicals who was caught up in the hype of Radical and can honestly say that David Platt saved my faith by rocking my comfortable and complacent Christian world. My first two years of college were spent being fed by Platt every week via podcast. I am very familiar with his preaching and ministry. I have led a group of friends to Birmingham the past two years to attend Secret Church, an event started by Platt to help Christians identify with and give to the persecuted church. I have met Platt on both of those occasions and had one substantial conversation with him. I can honestly say that he is one of the most humble Christian leaders I have ever met and he is clothed with his love for Christ and his Church.

Yesterday, Platt was trending #1 on Twitter, which says a lot about his influence for Christ and his kingdom. Regardless of your stance on Calvinism, Southern Baptists should be thrilled at the election of David Platt as president of the IMB, the largest missions agency of its kind in the world. Here are five reasons why.

1. Platt’s passion for the global glory of God

Platt has taught and preached for years now on how God’s purpose in the salvation of sinners is primarily the praise of his own glory. On numerous occasions I have heard Platt preach that fulfilling the Great Commission is all about a desire to extend the grace of God to the ends of earth for the praise of the glory of God. He not only sees the mission of God in Matthew 28:18-20, but he sees God’s mission for the salvation of peoples from all nations to fill the earth with his glory is found in every book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. His passion for the extension of God’s glory to the ends of the earth is what makes him perfect for the role of president of the IMB. The only way for the Great Commission to be accomplished is for local churches to take up a similar vision and now Platt is in a position to instill a passion for God’s global glory in thousands of local churches.

2. Platt’s passion for the unreached

Related to the first reason is a passion that is unique in David Platt. While many Christian leaders talk about giving and sending to the nations, I know of no one who talks about unreached people groups with the frequency that David Platt does. Platt’s heart breaks for those people groups who have yet to hear the name of Christ. Recently, Platt has said that the fact that there are billions of people who have never heard the gospel must become “intolerable” and “unacceptable” to Christians. It is this heart-wrenching passion for those who have never heard the gospel that will get the gospel to them. As president of the IMB, more and more local churches will catch the fever of the intolerable truth of gospel advance in thousands of people groups.

3. Platt’s passion for the fulfillment of the Great Commission

I have had the privilege of visiting The Church at Brook Hills on a number of occasions to worship with those brothers and sisters. At the close of every service, Platt led the gathering in a recitation of the Great Commission. By God’s grace, the man had created a culture of people who were committed to obeying the Great Commission in their workplace, community, state, nation, and world. I recall a sermon in which Platt declared something to the effect of, “If there is one verse plastered all over the walls of hell; if there is one verse Satan has memorized forwards and backwards, it is Matthew 24:14 because it is the proclamation that his time is short and his end is certain.” Platt also believes that the accomplishment of the Great Commission is possible in this generation if all local churches would take it seriously. His election as president of the IMB places him in a position to impact local churches to capture this vision. It is this overwhelming desire for the accomplishment of the Great Commission that makes him the man for the job.

4. Platt’s passion for the local church

In a recent interview, Platt expresses his love for the local church and how it is this love that compels him to take this position. Platt has said that the God has chosen to use the local church to accomplish his mission. His experience as a senior pastor will help him know how to best serve local churches for the accomplishment of the Great Commission.

5. Platt’s passion for Jesus

Maybe this reason should be first. David Platt loves Jesus. There is no doubting this. But David Platt has a passion to take Christ at his word and willingly obey him no matter the cost. He frequently and most recently in this video has said he views his life as a “blank check” for God to use in any way he sees fit. Platt is committed to personally follow Christ and offer his life as a living sacrifice with “no strings attached.” It is this unadulterated and even radical(?) passion that the IMB needs; that Southern Baptists need. I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. York when he said, “the greatest days of Southern Baptist missions lie ahead.”

A New Generation of Missionaries

Currently, the IMB has commissioned over 5,000 missionaries to the field. Expect this number to increase. I foresee many more Christians to give their lives as missionaries for the sake of Christ’s name as a result of Platt’s election as president of the IMB. Last night during my local church’s kids ministry, I prayed over a group of over 20 kids. In that prayer I asked God to call out missionaries from among them and for all of them to be committed to the Great Commission and the fame of God’s name among all people groups. I am confident that with Platt at the helm of the IMB, the reached will begin to reach the unreached with the gospel at a much greater rate because of the passion of the new president. As a young Southern Baptist, I am thrilled about Platt’s election as president of the IMB and I am thrilled about how God will use him for the spread of his glorious grace among all peoples.

I encourage you to check out these links and videos below where Platt discusses being named president of the IMB, a message to The Church at Brook Hills, and many other things relating to his transition.

Pray for the Platt family as they shift into this massive role. Pray for The Church at Brook Hills as they search for a new pastor.

David Platt’s Message to The Church at Brook Hills

David Platt Speaks to Southern Baptists

David Platt on His Ministry Transition and the Future of Radical


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Can We Deny the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus and Preach the Gospel?


tomb61Is it possibile to deny the historicity of Jesus and advocate the preaching of the gospel? Can someone who denies the physical resurrection of Jesus, for example, even believe in the gospel?

While the consensus for evangelicals for the past 2000+ years has been to not only affirm, but to gladly affirm the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ based on the authority of Scripture, including its historical significance, there has been opposition to this doctrine at different points in history. Lutheran theologian, Rudolph Bultmann presented an anti-existential understanding of the resurrection that is mind-boggling and in my opinion contrary to logic. Bultmann was a German Lutheran biblical scholar, who was famous for his approach of demythologization. Starting with the Bible as myth, Bultmann advocated peeling back its mythological surface so as to uncover its essential meaning, which he viewed in terms of existentialist philosophy.

Bultmann denied the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus by claiming that “a historical fact that involves a resurrection from the dead is utterly inconceivable.” Since there is no eyewitness account of the resurrection, Bultmann takes issue with the belief in its existential importance. Therefore, Bultmann claims that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is a “mythological conception” that needs to be abandoned since the historical Jesus is “relatively unimportant.” However, Bultmann affirmed that the preaching of Christ as crucified and risen is essential to the faith and the components of the faith, but reliance on their historicity is not what is important to the faith. His theory applied to the United States of America could be seen in affirming the “idea” of independence from Great Britain without necessarily believing in the historicity of the American Revolution. Bultmann’s theory would argue that belief in a historical war of independence from Great Britain is unimportant.

It is both logically dishonest and foolish to teach the idea of something if one does not believe there is any historicity in it. The apostle Paul would agree. The essential aspects of Paul’s gospel are all rooted not in “mythological conceptions,” but in historical realities (1 Cor. 15:1-8). The highlighted focus of this passage is the historical importance of the resurrection of Christ. Paul writes,

“…that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Cor. 15:4-8).

Paul gives multiple references to people who had seen Jesus as a bodily risen Savior. He basically declares to the Christians at Corinth that if they do not believe his testimony, they can go to one of the many of the five hundred who saw Jesus who are still alive (v. 6). The historicity of the resurrection of Jesus was of upmost importance to Paul’s gospel. This is because the “idea” of a risen Savior evidenced with a buried body gives no substance to the faith. Faith in a risen Savior who has not risen is utterly futile.

I am echoing Paul when he declared, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17, 19). This is the crux of Christianity. If Christ has not actually risen from the dead, then we have no hope in this life or in the life to come. We are still in our sins. Paul grounds our future bodily resurrection in Christ’s actual bodily resurrection. If he was proclaiming a mythological conception that entails a deeper meaning that needs to be dug out, he has a strange way of doing it.

Preaching Christ is futile, foolish, and in vain if Christ has not risen bodily from the dead. The message we have to preach is predicated on the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Christ. Therefore, if Bultmann is consistent in his thinking, he should most certainly not preach Christ nor even believe in him. So, to answer the question at hand, Bultmann was most certainly not right to call Christians to preach the message of Christ because he would be encouraging the preaching of a message that is either contrary to Christ or contrary to his own theory. The gospel of the Bible is directly contrary to Bultmann’s theory due to its emphasis on the bodily resurrection of Christ. Likewise, a “gospel” message absent of an actual and historical resurrection of Christ is directly antithetical to Christ and his message. Frankly, any message of Christ that does not include Christ as historically and actually risen from the dead is no gospel at all. The work of Christ is null and void if we find his remains in a tomb.

The church has always and must continue to faithfully assert the biblical truth that the actual and historical resurrection of Christ is “God’s seal of approval on the death of Christ as complete payment for humanity’s sin and as a promise of the final bodily resurrection of all believers” (Gregg Allison, Historical Theology, 411).


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Morning Mashup 08/27


coffee-newspaper

10 articles for your information, edification, encouragement, and enjoyment. Happy Hump Day!

Ferguson: One Body, One Head – Blogger Mathew Sims expresses why he hasn’t written on Ferguson in an honest article that I find much identification with.

7 Reasons Why the Current Marriage Debate Is Nothing Like the Debate on Interracial Marriage – Ryan Anderson asks, “Is opposition to same-sex marriage at all like opposition to interracial marriage?” Read and check out his helpful answer.

How to Break Up to the Glory of God – 13 wisdom-principles on how to end relationships to God’s glory.

Transgenderism: A Theological Perspective – To respond rightly and helpfully to the issue of transgenderism, Tim Scheiderer writes, “we must think biblically; and to think biblically, we must know how certain biblical truths relate to transgenderism and the helpful implications of these truths.”

Christ Did Not Die for You to Do Keg Stands – Kevin DeYoung: “Churches must be ready to winsomely and courageously confront the university lifestyle when it is inconsistent with Christian commitment.”

Grace Creates Safety, Which Creates Change – Justin Buzzard: “When an individual embraces a grace-based identity (instead of a performance-based identity) and standing with God, he or she becomes capable of extending grace (undeserved love) to other people.”

The Wrong Kind of Christian – Tish Harrison Warren: “I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong.” Oh, so sad.

Embrace the Blessing of Rebuke – David Mathis: “One of the most loving things anyone can do for you is tell you when you’re wrong.”

The Importance of Perspective – This is a helpful post from an African-American former police officer who says it’s all about perspective.

The 10 Greatest Hymns of All Time – It is hard to disagree with this list from Tim Challies. Did your favorite hymn make the cut?

I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter. –William Carey