The Gospel Coalition

Sometimes my mind is about as scattered and disarrayed as a 500 piece puzzle freshly dumped out of the box.  There are pieces I'm sure fit together, but I've not yet found all the corners and borders much less began to put the picture together.  Normally I keep that mess pushed into the closet of my mind the way I sometimes thrust the clutter in my home into the bedroom just before the guests arrive.  Perhaps you know what I mean.

Anyway, despite the disarray, some paragraphs and points from my reading or browsing manage to stick.  Here are a few things I've read recently that have stuck with me.  They're on the top of the clutter so to speak.

Al Mohler on the recent statement on salvation proposed by some members of the SBC:
We should never apologize for attention to doctrine, especially when those doctrines reach the very heart of the Gospel. But tribalism, whether Calvinist or non-Calvinist, is an affront to the Gospel by which we have been saved and to the mission of the Great Commission that is entrusted to us. May God save us from dividing into tribes, even as we gladly and eagerly talk with one another about the doctrines we cherish, and especially when we discuss the doctrines on which we may disagree.

Femi Adeleye's examination of the 'prosperity gospel' in Africa, Preachers of a Different Gospel, has been a good primer on both the 'prosperity gospel' and its manifestations and leaders in Africa.  A couple of lines that stuck out to me:
It is no longer news that the ambition of many young Africans is to migrate to America where the good life is believed to be.  Were there to be another slave trade, many would gladly volunteer to be shipped abroad. (p. 79)

Trueman ringing a warning bell for almost everyone who cares about the church and church's stance in the world:
there is a breed of Christian out there for whom the doctrine of the church and 2K are all they ever seem to talk about. They are, it appears, the number one priorities for Christians. Such advocates often seem, at least on the surface, to disdain the basic elements of Christian discipleship - fellowship, loving one's neighbor, protecting and honoring the poor and weak - and spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about their pet ecclesiological and 2K projects.

The Lord God Almighty, via the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 10:31--"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

I thought Mike McKinley's challenge to open our lives as examples to others was helpful.  He's reflecting on his time at two churches where the pastors and leaders invite other pastors and leaders to come learn from their mistakes and practices:
There is a lot to be commended when churches and pastors invest themselves in others like this. Both churches sacrificed money, time (staff and volunteer), and the use of their facilities for no other purpose than serving other pastors.

But what I especially appreciate is the humility of putting yourself forward as an example. It's counter-intuitive; you normally think that it might be proud to hold up your hand and say, "Look at me!"

But it actually takes a lot of humility to say, "Hey, our church isn't perfect but by God's grace we've learned a few things that we think might be helpful to you." It makes you vulnerable; you open yourself to criticism of the "Who does that guy think he is? He's not that great!" variety.

So I wonder if you might be able to do the same thing. Maybe you can't pull off a full-scale weekend conference. But if you're a pastor who has been down the road a little ways, maybe you could look around your area and see how you could serve the other pastors in your area.

This is neither a paragraph nor a point.  My father-in-law's favorite gospel quartet was The Swan Silvertones.  If anybody is feeling ol' school and wants to hear some good gospel quartet, you might check this collection out.


Bill Wright

March 26, 2013 at 08:05 AM

Brother Thabiti,
It's been a solid 9 months since this post and if a man follows twitter closely enough, the tribalism is still alive, well, and firmly planted.
As a man saved at the age of 24 (12 years ago), I can confidently say that these factions are dangerous to new believers. I got caught up in the intellectualism and nearly ignored the wealthy waters of God's Word. I heard men I admired speaking against each other so I constantly searched for the opinions of other intellectuals, which didn't amount to anything at all--it was completely circular...argumentative ping-pong.
There is a failure among men, even with men with multiple letters after their names, to adhere to a 1 Peter 3:8 exhortation. This is dangerously confusing and discouraging to a new believer.
And the Swan Silvertones get plenty of play in my house. "In that Upper Room" is a regular. What do you think of the Soul Stirrers rendition of, "Were you there?" I find the heart-cries of the men on that song genuine and moving.
Appreciate you, Brother.
In HIS grip