Archive by Author

What is the Point of Church?

The following is a guest post by J.K. Wall who is a writer in Indianapolis. His modernized abridgment of William Symington’s work, Messiah the Prince Revisited, was published in 2014 by Crown & Covenant Publications. You can e-mail him at jk.wall@gmail.com.

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During a chat at a restaurant last month a dear friend, who hasn’t attended church regularly for years, claimed that church is unnecessary for true Christian faith.

In other words, Who even needs the church? What’s the point?

This is a burning question for many today, especially Millennials. They find Christians a group of people they don’t want to associate with. They are turned off by pervasive hypocrisy and legalism among modern American Christians—at least in the conservative circles in which this friend and I have moved. They especially don’t like the overt politicization of many evangelical churches by the Religious Right movement. And they don’t see why going to a building with a bunch of people once a week has any effect on what they believe.

I didn’t have a great answer for my friend’s question that night. But here is what I should have said:

You can’t be anything individually without having a relationship with others.”

You can’t be a writer […]

What to Pray for Your Church

The following article is a guest post by Pastor Bob Hemphill. Bob is a RPCNA minister and church planter who recently retired after decades of service. He is the author of the Windmill Pete series of books for children.

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How long, O LORD, will I call for help and you will not hear? I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ Yet you do not save.” -Habakkuk 1:2

The prophet cries for help in the manner of the Psalm writers. However, it is not a personal problem he brings to the Lord. He is asking God to deal with sin in Judah, to discipline and purify God’s people.

Can you find anywhere in the Bible the typical prayer of so many of us pastors and members of churches, a prayer for God to add people and make the church bigger? I don’t think so.

The prayers of believers in the Bible, when it comes to Christ’s Church, are either of the Habakkuk type – Lord, purify us, cleanse us, turn our hearts back to you, cause us to bring glory to your name; or they are of the Apostle Paul type – Lord, save the lost, cause them to repent and believe, bring them into your kingdom, write them in the […]

3GT Episode 31: Brothers, Some of Us are Professionals!

The parishonier questions why the church does not train some of its people to be high-powered executives. Kyle does a Kyle and turns the question back: Is it the job of the church to train people to do jobs? The prof offers a few ideas on gifting and mentoring. The theology of calling is discussed. We learn one of us has a rocket scientist for a brother. Kyle then goes Augustine on us, and did he really say do what you want? It’s another free wheeling conversation on 3GT!

We thank Crown & Covenant for sponsoring the podcast! Be sure to listen for this week’s special offers!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/3gt-episode-311.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Books cited

Robert Clinton, The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development

Sinclair Ferguson, Discovering God’s Will

Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

Terry Wallace, Stuck!: Navigating Life and Leadership Transitions

Starting Forest Fires

In late spring two years ago, I took to the woods behind my house to rid the trees of the nests of tent worms. Tree after tree had their branches loaded with the unsightly, web-like sacs containing wriggling caterpillars. Seeing these cottony blobs loaded with worms out our window made my wife shudder, and knowing they would soon march out and start stripping the branches of leaves made her determined that I needed to do something about it.

Desiring to be her shining knight and rescue her from these little dragons, I dutifully followed her suggestion to rid the trees of these pests. She had seen her sister’s husband burn them out of his trees by tying a gas-soaked rag on the end of a pole, lighting it on fire, then burning the nests. So on an exceptionally warm Saturday in May that year, I did likewise. I must admit it was rather satisfying seeing the tents melt under the heat and watching all those little tree terrorists get their just reward. Everything was working according to plan…until I decided to get one last nest down further in the woods.

For as I reached up to scorch the last bastion of those buggers, […]

3GT Episode 30: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. But How?

Is the Sabbath now the first day of the week? Do you call it the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day? Can you have a “to-do” and “to-don’t” list without becoming legalistic about it? How do you rest on the Sabbath? How do you keep it like Jesus did? What do you do when you are asked to work on it? What if you are traveling and there’s no good church around? Are we more worried about legalism than obedience? And should you have a Sabbath bucket of toys like Kyle does? So many questions! Are there answers? Listen to 3GT and find out!

We thank Crown & Covenant for sponsoring the podcast! Be sure to listen for a great way to receive some free books!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/3gt-episode-30.mp3

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The Expectation of Fasting

When Jesus was asked a question on the subject of fasting as recorded in Matthew 9, he answered in a way that God’s people should well understand.  He used a wedding metaphor.

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.’” (Matt. 9:14-15)

The basic lesson of this metaphor is that fasting is like waiting for a wedding. Better yet, fasting is like the bride longing for the wedding and bringing it more quickly by that longing. It is asking the lover of your soul to come and make a holy visitation.

With this metaphor, Jesus explained that his disciples were not fasting at the time because he was with them. But when he would leave to go to heaven where he is now, note what he says will happen. Look at the last three words of verse 15: “they will fast.” Jesus expects Christians to fast.

Our Lord made that clear earlier in the gospel of Matthew. […]

3GT Episode 29: How Do I Pray When I Don’t Feel Like It?

Our parishonier gets things rolling with this question. The prof tries to kick the can down the street, then runs to others for help. The pastor pontificates a bit about the place of the psalms and putting prayers in print. Fear of public praying is admitted. The role of the Trinity in prayer is pondered. Promises are claimed. False forms of prayer and hindrances to prayer are warned against. The Three Guys Theologize in practical ways on this episode!

We thank Crown & Covenant for sponsoring the podcast! Be sure to listen for some great free give-aways!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/3gt-episode-29.mp3

The Shoddiness of The Shack

With all the attention given to the movie The Shack, it would be good to take a careful look at the book it is based upon. The author, William P. Young, wrote The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity (Newbury Park, Calif.: Windblown Media) in 2007. Below is review of the book by Dr. Michael LeFebvre, pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana, and author of Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms and Exploring Ecclesiastes: Joy That Perseveres.

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The Shack is a modern day allegory of the Christian life. Like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, William Young’s The Shack is a vivid tale designed to teach the reader about the way of salvation. But Young’s vision, while helpful in points, ultimately presents a different kind of salvation than that of Bunyan’s classic.

Bunyan’s pilgrim labors under the burden called “sin,” and he only finds freedom from its guilt by receiving forgiveness at the cross. Young’s protagonist is cast in a more postmodern image. The Shack’s central character is Mackenzie Phillips, whose struggle is not with sin and guilt; Mack’s burden is “the great sadness”—the accumulated emotional baggage from his abusive childhood and the death of his daughter. Rather than seeking his own forgiveness, Mack’s […]

Browse Worthy: Wisdom Wednesdays

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. And, yes, I know this is not the seminary I am “supposed” to be promoting!

But “Wisdom Wednesdays,” weekly videos produced by the Reformed Theological Seminary that are typically three-to-five minutes long, provide helpful, short meditations on an array of topics. For a few moments of sharpening, I appreciate receiving them each Wednesday.

For a good example, below you can listen to Dr. Scott Redd remind us of two vital Biblical principles in dealing with the immigration issue that, held in proper tension, provide the balance our nation so desperately needs. As you listen to most of the rhetoric out there, people typically uphold one to the exclusion of the other.

If you would like to subscribe to Wisdom Wednesdays, simply click this link to go to their YouTube channel.

3GT Episode 28: Rewind on the Lord’s Table

The 3GTers go back in time to pick up on their discussion about the Lord’s Table from Episode 23. A listener asked, “Wait a minute. What about dementia and the mentally disabled? How can they discern Christ’s body and blood to come to the Lord’s Table?” Aaron pulls out his handy dandy parishioner card, but when the professor and pastor take it on, he jumps right in as well. Our merciful Lord has answers!

Also, do not miss the opportunity to win some free goodies from our new sponsors, Crown and Covenant Publications!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/3gt-episode-28-edit-3617-9-59-pm.mp3