Santa Claus, the Gospel & the Church + The “right way to fire your pastor” [Tom Ascol]

“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”
“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”

Tom Ascol:

It happened again last week. On Thanksgiving morning I received an email from a friend of a friend. The first line read, “It appears I am being forced out of my pastorate.” The story that unfolded in the rest of that email and upon further inquiry is filled with themes that are tragically too common…

Read the rest [7 min. reaout]

In this article he mentions the “right way to fire your pastor” [23 min. partial readout], which begins:

“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Timothy 5:19-21, NKJV).

Several years ago I preached a message with the same title as this article to the church I serve in Cape Coral. When I mentioned my intentions to a pastor friend, he said, “Tom, haven’t you heard that you never put a loaded gun into the hand of your enemy?” My response then remains my conviction now. First, I do not consider the church I serve to be my enemy. Far from it. Though some individuals from time-to-time have positioned themselves as my enemies, the church as a whole has been and remains the body of Christ and therefore a wonderful means of grace in my life. When a pastor starts viewing the church as his enemy it is a sure sign that he has outlived his usefulness to that congregation.

 

Secondly, in the sense in which my friend meant it, church members already have a gun. As one who is charged with the responsibility to lead and nurture the flock of God, I want to do everything I can to make sure that it is loaded with the proper ammunition and fired in a right direction.

 

Even the pastor who rejects any form of congregational government must face the fact that the members have a huge say in his tenure. Regardless of formal suffrage policies, all church members vote in two ways: with their feet and their pocketbooks. Many ministers who have never been officially dismissed have nevertheless been forced out of office by the withdrawal of support by the members.

 

The pastor-church relationship is a sensitive and vitally important issue. The proper dissolution of that relationship in difficult circumstances needs to be carefully considered in the light of biblical teachings…

Testing a Call to the Ministry [Basil Manly, Jr]

Basin Manly, Jr
Basin Manly, Jr

Founders Journal 78 · Fall 2009 · pp. 22-25:

Now we need numbers in the ministry. The plenteous, perishing harvest wails out a despairing cry for more laborers. But we need purity more than numbers; we need intelligence more than numbers; we need zeal more than we need numbers. Above all, we need consecrated men, men who have stood beneath the cross, till their very souls are dyed with Jesus’ blood, and a love like his for perishing millions has been kindled within them. We long for such men, but for such only, as are willing to “endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
 
If I address any young brother, whose mind may have been directed to this subject, allow me to present some practical inquiries, which may help you to come to a decision.
 
1. Do you habitually entertain and cherish the conviction that you are not your own; but, as dead with Christ, are bound to live unto yourself, but inform Him who died for you, and rose again?

 

2. Do you feel willing to serve Him in whatsoever employment you can most glorify His name? (sweeping floors, nursery worker, and the like come to mind)

 

3. Do you watch for opportunities of doing good, and avail yourselves of those that offer, in the Sunday school, in the prayer meeting and by the wayside?

 

 4. Do you sincerely desire to make it the business of your life to labor for souls? Is the desire habitually, disinterested, and prompted by love to Jesus, and compassion for the impenitent? 

 

5. Do you find that other employments seem comparatively uninviting, and this delightful, apart from any considerations of worldly ease or emolument?

 

6. Does your impression of duty with regard to the ministry grow stronger, at such times when you are most favored with nearness to GOD, and when you most distinctly realize eternal things? 

 

7. Is your willingness to engage in such service with a clear and cordial renunciation of self-seeking, and a simple reliance on Him whose grace is promised to be sufficient?

 

8. Is it joined with a humble estimate of your own powers, and with a willingness to use all necessary and suitable means for the improvement of those powers?

 

9. Is it a desire for this work, not as a temporary resort, as a refuge for indolence, or an avenue to fame, but as a lifetime of labor, in prosperity or adversity, in evil report and in good report, that GOD may be honored and sinners saved?

Read all [9 min. readout]

Spurgeon’s “3-R’s”: A Useful Paradigm for Evangelism & Preaching [Founders Ministries]

C H SpurgeonJeff Robinson:

One question some of our members have posed during our community outreach is a good one, but it is a question which makes many of us of a certain theological tribe a bit squeamish: Is there a good outline we may use to help us recall the Gospel when we are witnessing to lost people? There are many such outlines that are thoughtful, careful and biblical which have been used effectively—“Two Ways to Live” and “Evangelism Explosion” (Both arise from sound biblical/theological perspectives) come immediately to mind and I am certain there are others. But recently, in my regular reading of Spurgeon’s sermons, I have discovered an excellent and pithy approach to the Gospel, one that is fully biblical and establishes well both man’s universal dilemma and God’s antidote in Christ: Spurgeon’s “Three R’s,” Ruin, Redemption and Regeneration. This past weekend, I taught this to my people to help them understand the entire scope of the biblical story of God’s redeeming love for sinners in Christ. I commend it to our readers for evangelism and to fellow pastors as realities that must permeate their preaching.

 

Spurgeon called them “three doctrines that must be preached above all else” and he drew as his text for them “Three third chapters (of Scripture) which deal with the things in the fullest manner:” Genesis 3:14-15 (Ruin), Romans 3:21-26 (Redemption), John 3:1-8 (Regeneration). Why do I think it makes a good evangelism method? Because each of Spurgeon’s three words begin with “R,” making it easy to recall to memory and each text is a key chapter 3 in the Bible, making the references easy to remember, especially in the nerve-busting throes of personal, face-to-face evangelism. Spurgeon’s three R’s…

Read the rest. [6 min. readout]

Does “All” Ever Mean “All” in Scripture? Tom Hicks Answers [Founders]

Eric Hankins
Eric Hankins

Eric Hankins preached a sermon on September 26, 2013 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in which he said, “All means all and that’s all all means.” Jump to 17:23 in the linked video to hear this claim. But is Hankins’ statement true? Does the Greek word “pas” (each, every, any, all, the whole, etc.) ever mean “all” categorically and apart from any limitation? There are over 1,200 occurrences of the word “pas;” so, it’s not practical to list them all here, but an examination of a concordance will show that the term “all” is almost always limited to some category. The meaning of “all” in Scripture is always determined by the context, and rarely, if ever, means “all without any kind of limitation.” Consider the first ten occurrences of the term “pas” in the Greek New Testament.

 

  • Matt 1:17 – “There were fourteen generations in all”
  • Matt 2:3 – “All Jerusalem
  • Matt 2:4 – “All the people’s chief priests
  • Matt 2:16 – “All the boys in Bethlehem
  • Matt 2:16 – “All that region
  • Matt 3:5 – “All Judea
  • Matt 3:5 – “All the region of the Jordan
  • Matt 3:10 – “Every tree that does not produce good fruit
  • Matt 3:15 – “Fulfill all righteousness
  • Matt 4:4 – “Every word that comes from the mouth of God

 

In each of these occurrences of the word “pas,” there’s some kind of categorical limitation…

Read the rest or listen to seven minute readout.

Faith Of Our Founders: An Interview With Tom Ascol [Ligonier]

tascol_web

TT: How did you first hear the call to ministry, and how long have you been a pastor?

 

TA: I was sixteen years old when I first sensed God calling me to pastoral ministry. It was through the preaching of a guest preacher during a “youth revival” at my home church, South Park Baptist in Beaumont, Texas. Though I had grown up in the church, I had a very jaded view of pastors, so I thought God was playing a cruel joke on me. After several months of prayer, reflection, and counsel, our pastor asked me to preach for the church. Afterward, on November 7, 1973, the church licensed me to the gospel ministry.

 

I accepted a call to pastor Rock Prairie Baptist Church in College Station, Texas, on October 31, 1978. I have served two churches since, including Grace Baptist in Cape Coral, Florida, where I have been ministering since 1986. [read more or listen 9 min]

 

 

More on Tom Ascol.

podcastpromo10

Founders Ministries: 30 Years of Working for the Recovery of the Gospel

founders ministry logoDirector of Founders Ministries, Tom Ascol writes about a milestone  for Founders and what drives them:

For thirty years Founders ministries has worked for the recovery of the gospel and the biblical reformation of local churches. Our doctrinal commitments set that agenda for us. Because theology mattes to us, the message that is proclaimed in the name of Jesus Christ matters to us as does the nature of the church that He has established…

 

This conviction is what has driven Founders Ministries from the beginning. It is what continues to direct us into the future. We rejoice to see a growing resurgence of gospel-centrality through the efforts of various groups and across many denominational lines. That bodes well for the future because as the gospel is recovered it will be more carefully proclaimed. And as it is more carefully and widely proclaimed we can expect the Spirit to more widely bless its proclamation. It is, after all, the gospel that is “the power of God for salvation to all everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

So the effort to see the gospel recovered and faithfully proclaimed is far from an academic exercise. It is a matter eternal life and death. 

Read the rest or listen to five minute readout.

Also, keep in mind today is the beginning of the Southwest Founders Conference [be on the lookout for the Texas Confessors].

Learn more about Founders from the podcast we did with Tom Ascol:

podcastpromo10

Are you quarrelsome? & Important Principles in Theological Discussion

Tom Hicks
Tom Hicks

Over at Founders Ministries’ “The Blog”, Tom Hicks wrote an article asking Are You Quarrelsome? It begins:

A “quarrel” is a verbal fight. Not all conflicts are quarrels, but a conflict becomes a quarrel when it’s sinfully combative or contentious.  I’ve been thinking about my own quarrelsomeness, and this is some of the fruit of my study. The Bible has quite a bit to say about quarreling:

Read the rest or listen to five minute readout.

Tom Nettles
Tom Nettles

On the same note, at the same blog, Tom Nettles wrote Important Principles in Theological Discussion: Fuller Reflects on Rules of Engagement. It begins:

When, in The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, Andrew Fuller entered the lists of controversy with both hyper-Calvinists and Arminians on the issue of human inability and responsibility, he made a statement about controversy in general that seems an excellent principle to bear in mind. He wanted to avoid “the spirit into which we are apt to be betrayed, when engaged in controversy—that of magnifying the importance of the subject beyond its proper bounds” (1:11). Throughout his ministry he had abundant opportunity to check himself on this principle as well as to examine the details of controversial method. In light of the necessity of carrying on controversy within fraternal, and sometimes not so fraternal, bounds, it would be profitable to look at some of these ideas of a master Baptist controversialist. The three mentioned in this article are operative in Fuller’s engagement with the Socinians.

And concludes:

To deny the importance of principle is a path to infidelity. To argue by insult, corrects no opponent and brings no light to the point of disagreement. To take something as an insult that is intended as a salutary, truth-clarifying, gospel-manifesting, God-glorifying proposition of biblical doctrine does nothing to reconcile divergent positions and may be dangerous to the soul.

Read the entire post or listen to a 10 minute readout.

New Founders Ministries Blog!

FoundersTHEBLOGFrom the old Founders blog:

Readers,

 

The Founders Blog has officially moved to theblog.founders.org. We have relaunched with a new design! The folks at ChurchWeb innovations have done very well by us. And we know that you’ll like our new look.

 

Don’t worry about your RSS feeds, we’ve got that covered so you don’t have to do anything. Thank you for being such loyal and involved readers! If you prefer to subscribe via email, we have that for you as well!

 

Why have we relaunched The Blog?

 

1. Better functionality

The Blog is comprised of the voices of Founders Ministries. Founders exists to recover the gospel, and we want to continue doing so with the best tools available.

 

2. Room for growth

The Blog continues to add loyal readers every month. This relaunch will facilitate growth better by creating a sustainable platform for our readers.

 

3. Accessible communication

The new design highlights new features that enable the authors to communicate more efficiently and make the communication more accessible.

 

Enjoy our new look at The Blog!

Great work, good design, check it out!

Founders THE BLOG

1689 Confessionalism Posts from IRBS, Monergism, 9Marks & Founders [Roundup]

lbc1689As Dr. James Renihan told us, on our last podcast, he has written many post over the years on the topic related to Confessionalism and the Confession in general. Here is what our Bapti-bots gathered that we haven’t already posted:

What is “Full Subscription?” by James M. Renihan (1999) [5 minute readout]

Confessional subscription employs three main terms in its nomenclature: absolute, strict/full, and loose.  ARBCA has adopted the middle position.  According to Dr. Morton H. Smith, “strict or full subscription takes at face value” the terminology used in adopting a confession of faith

Unashamedly Confessional: Confessional Subscription and Ministerial Education By Stefan T. Lindblad (WSC/IRBS 2001) [20 min. readout]

As a confessional body, ARBCA is at a pivotal juncture with regard to ministerial education.  In fact, as we consider the prospect of expanding the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies (IRBS) our communion faces quite the challenge: not only maintaining, or perhaps first recovering fully, our distinctive (yet simultaneously catholic, Protestant, and Reformed) confession in an age of ever-increasing individualistic and idiosyncratic theologies and forms of piety, but doing so in the context of “the noncredal (sic), non-confessional, and sometimes even anti-confessional and anti-traditional biblicism of conservative American religion.”

 

For this reason Richard Muller argues, and rightly so, that one of the great issues facing confessional Reformed folk today is “the retention and maintenance of the integrity and stability of the Reformed faith in its confessions.” Scott Clark goes one step further, contending that the Reformed confession (its theology, piety, and practice) is in need of recovery. In such a context how are we to proceed with ministerial education?  Though the following essay is suggestive rather than exhaustive, we will contend that the only way for ARBCA and IRBS to move forward in this particular venture is to recover fully and to maintain our confession.

Confessional Faithlessness

History is full of examples of confessional faithlessness. I have coined this phrase to refer to men who give verbal consent to a Confession, or who promise to teach in accordance with a confession, and then fail to do so.

And here are some highlights from Monergism’s  link collection of 1689 Baptist Confession resources (includes linkage to Founders Ministries and 9Marks on the topic):

 

[source: The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, CA]

Founders Journal Issue 93 (Summer 2013) Out Now! “Can Baptists Thrive on Controversy?”

Download the most recent Founders eJournal

Available in two digital formats ($1.99 each):

  • ePub edition (for iBooks, Nook and other ePub readers)
  • mobi edition (for Kindle, Kindle Fire and other mobi readers)

Founders Journal Issue 93 (Summer 2013)
Can Baptists Thrive on Controversy?

The Founders Journal 93

 

Contents

  • Can Baptists Thrive on Controversy? (Tom Nettles)
  • Baptist Identity Crisis (Erik Smith)
  • J. Frank Norris: No Independent (Matthew Lyon)
  • Spurgeon’s Theory of Theological Controversy (Tom Nettles)

 

founders journal 93

Past Issues of the journal are available free online and in PDF format.

 

The Founders Journal is published four times a year as an eJournal. It is available for download in two digital formats: ePUB (for Apple iBooks, the Nook, and other ePUB readers) and mobi (for Kindle and other mobi readers). Now that the journal is in digital format, it is no longer necessary to purchase a subscription to the journal. New issues will be announced in our Founders eNews and made available for purchase and download in our online store.

 

[source: Founders Ministries enews]

God’s Rest as Prescriptive – Jon English Lee [Founders]

rest-work-after-millet-1890.jpg!Blog

 

In this post from the Founders Ministries blog, Jon English Lee looks at some reasons why God’s rest at the end of the creation week should be understood as a pattern for humanity to follow. Here’s a snippet:

That the Sabbath is a creation reality is also clear because unlike the other commandments, the fourth begins with “remember.” The command to remember is telling for two reasons: (1) this is not a new command, and (2) some were already guilty of not keeping the Sabbath, as is the sinful tendency of all mankind. As William Perkins wrote: “This clause doth insinuate, that in times past there was great neglect in the observation of the Sabbath.”  The call to remember raises another question: to whom or what are the Jews pointed when being reminded to remember? It was not to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. It was to the very beginning; specifically, the Lord’s rest at the end of His creative week. The Jews would already be aware of the pattern of work and rest that God has built into creation. While the Mosaic Law would bring peculiarly Jewish ceremonial and civil laws built off of the Sabbath commandment, the core of the moral law was derivative off of God’s example in creation.

Read Lee’s other arguments here.

Avoid Legalism: Emphasize the Law – Tom Hicks [Founders Ministries Blog]

Legalism

 

How do we preach the law of God without falling into the trap of legalism? Tom Hicks writes on the Founders Ministries blog:

We need a renewed emphasis on the law of God or else legalism will inevitably reemerge. Specifically, we need a clear emphasis on (1) the law as a covenant, and (2) the law as a standard or rule…

 

The gospel alone isn’t enough to keep us from legalism. The law of God, correctly understood as a covenant and a standard or rule, is a necessary and powerful protection from legalism.

Read this insightful post here. [4 min. readout]