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Archive | The Church

Crying “Wolf!”

We are all familiar with the proverbial story of the boy watching sheep who cried “Wolf!” falsely a few times for fun. He then paid the price when a wolf actually did show up and begin attacking the flock. The townspeople, the objects of his earlier mockery, ignored his cries when they were truly needed.

To avoid this error, here at Gentle Reformation we have made a commitment not to be alarmists. We do not want to use the blog like a cyber megaphone and call out every heretic, be it one truly, perceived, or otherwise. This commitment is even found in our mission statement. Though we do not shy away on occasion from pointing out heretical teaching (see here for an example then here for recent confirmation by our friends at TGC), our primary focus is on truth and its practical application rather than on falsehood and its awful perpetrators.

However, we must equip God’s people to recognize wolves in sheep’s clothing. As the Lord told us, God’s people are to be able to determine who they are.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered […]

Christ’s Help for Sabbath-Keeping

I’m getting geared up to preach on Genesis 2.1-3 tomorrow morning, so I thought I would share with you a few thoughts on how Christ helps us keep the Sabbath.

First by His Example

Along with Father and Spirit, the Pre-Incarnate Word, the Logos or Eternal Son, rested on the seventh day, as the climax of Creation. The Agent of Creation did not press the pause button. The term that is used indicates total completion and fulfillment of His task. The ‘work’ mentioned twice is also a slightly unusual choice: it has been suggested this term, which is usually otherwise reserved for human employment, was chosen by the Spirit to remind human beings of the need to down tools on the Sabbath; this expression ‘work’ is a close relative of the Hebrew word for ‘angel’ or ‘messenger.’ The key thing to note, in connection with an angel, is neither a shining body nor flapping wings, but the duty to complete the messenger’s God-given commission or task. Is it hard to prove that this is the reason the term ‘work’ was used in this instance? It still remains true that, as in the work of Redemption, so also in the work of Creation, […]

Browse Worthy: Bully Pulpits

Since we have posted articles on pastoral failure and bullied pastors, let’s add to the collection by pointing to some good articles on pastors who give the term “bully pulpit” altogether the wrong meaning. Having tended through the years to some dear souls who have been roughed up by rogue clergy, it is a real danger and we need alerted to the damage it causes. Faithful shepherds also must be reminded that the biblical term for bullying pastor is a wolf in sheep’s clothing(Matt. 7:15). We have a responsibility to warn about them, speak against them, and silence them (Acts 20:28-30; Tit. 1:10-11).

Pastoral Bullies | Erik Reymond

Using the story of Eli’s sons who misused their priestly office, Pastor Reymond gives us “six problematic patterns with pastoral bullies.” This is a good line for examining their ministry: “Consider what they do with the Word of God. Is it preached, or is it used as a prop to support the pastor’s selfie stick?”

Healing Congregations Wounded by Clergy Sexual Misconduct | David Murray

Reviewing a book on this subject with the above subtitle, Pastor Murray offers a helpful list from the book on how to best aid the victims who are often forgotten. “It’s heart-rending […]

3GT Episode 37: Poor Memories

No, the 3GTers are not discussing getting old! Rather, they reflect on the Biblical duty to remember the poor.

Kyle starts off with the Apostle James’ admonition not to show partiality in the church. Barry shares the story of his friend Thomas (pictured) who recently died, and the other men tell of their experiences as well. Aaron makes sure terms are defined about who is lowly or needy. The Guys discuss how easy it is to forget the very ones God tells us to remember. Practical ways for the church to honor the lowly are offered. Creating poor memories is the way to overcome our poor memories!

No sponsor this week. Rather, we encourage you to remember a work of charity and give generously to it!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-37.mp3

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Browse Worthy: When a Pastor Falls

David Murray at HeadHeartHand blog tackles a topic that is becoming all too common – the fall of a pastor. As Kyle indicated, this tragic situation often leaves a congregation devastated and disillusioned, his family ashamed and uncertain, and the world often mocking and laughing. So it is vital to treat this problem in a biblical manner. David offers the following three posts that contain wise, practical counsel on this matter, with the third post a guest one that focuses more on the preventative side of the issue.

Repairing the Damage after a Pastor Falls | David Murray
13 Truths for the Congregation of a Fallen Pastor | David Murray
The Most Common Reasons Pastors Fall | Tom Parr

And just in case you are not quite certain what to do with that book on your shelf that you have from an unfaithful minister, here is another link.

What Should We Do with Books by Fallen Leaders? | Tim Challies

Church Administration: A Simple Formula

Put bluntly, through trial and error — mostly error — God has taught us a lot about practical administration in the church. Like many pastors, I’ve often believed this was beneath me or at least some type of distraction. But here in our local congregation as well as in other places I’ve been involved, I’ve come to learn the importance and the effectiveness of a well-run church. 

Hezekiah My Hero

I’ve just finished reading through 1 & 2 Kings, in Hebrew, last Friday. For the sins of King Manasseh, the nation of Judah was finally thrust out into the judgment of Exile to Babylon.

Hezekianic Analysis

Some weeks ago I did a blog entitled ‘Humbling Hezekiahs’. I had been reminded at that time about the danger of pride in leaders, particularly after times of successes. Re-reading the life and times of Hezekiah has given me a fresh more positive take on his reign – I’ve recently declared in church ‘Hezekiah is my new hero!’

Hezekianic Text

The bit of the text by which I was struck like a thunderbolt was 2 Kings 18.3:

“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David, his father, had done. He removed the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).”

There is far more to Hezekiah than initially meets the gaze. His reign concluded in a downfall caused by pride, when self-interest finally trumped and eclipsed a career […]

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 27: A Strong Dose of Vitamin R

Kyle talks about his passion for church revitalization. Barry reminds him that church planters are the modern rock stars in the kingdom. But the Borgmeister trumps this suggestion by pulling out the apostolic card of revitalization, and then just has to mention the rural church. The guys tighten down on the Biblical call to being revived and keeping core things central. The connection between reviving pastors and reviving churches is explored. Pragmatism is warned against, while the place of pastor-coaches and prayer are discussed. Open wide and take your Vitamin R!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/3gt-episode27-12817-3-06-pm.mp3