Pastor Albert N. Martin [pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, New Jersey for 46 years] regularly taught Pastoral Theology at the Trinity Ministerial Academy in Montville, New Jersey. His lectures, spanning eight semesters of material, have assisted many pastors unable to obtain this type of training through other avenues.
Is it important for pastors to be on social media platforms?
Pastor Marc Grimaldi answered:
I think the best answer is, “It depends.”
In God’s providence, we have advanced to a time where we can impact the world at the click of some buttons. Through social media such as Facebook, blogs, emailing, sermonaudio.com… etc, our outreach can be enormous. Furthermore, by these means, we can minister to and exchange profitable communication with our local church members, as well.
That said, social media can be a drawback, if it is abused. It is important that we do not allow social media to become so preferential, that we lose the essential importance of street level, face-to-face ministry and fellowship. Factoring in the online temptations with which some may struggle, and the very successful ministries of others who simply refuse to use social media, I think each individual pastor has to personally address this matter in accordance with their own conscience before God.
The closing statement of the Baptist Confession (1689) reads:
“We the MINISTERS, and MESSENGERS of, and concerned for upwards of, one hundred BAPTIZED CHURCHES, in England and Wales (denying Arminianism), being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider of some things that might be for the glory of God, and the good of these congregations, have thought meet (for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point of Baptism) to recommend to their perusal the confession of our faith, which confession we own, as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice, and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith.”
Living in a day where theology was all over the air that was breathed, confessing truths about God, His Word, His Work and World was so important. And so they wrote. Is it any less important to us some 300+ years later? Hurting people need to be heard, cared for genuinely, and assisted as they seek to understand suffering, ailments, traumas and dysfunctions in this broken world which through Christ is being redeemed. I don’t suggest reading them a Confession, but I do wholeheartedly recommend knowing theology well, and wielding it well in the loving care of people. God’s revelation of Himself in His Scriptures is not just for Christians who are on mountaintops, but for Christians who are in valleys are well…confessional care and counsel is a helpful enterprise as it provides curbs for us on the road.
J. Ryan Davidson has been serving at Grace Baptist Chapel since August of 2008. Ryan is married to his beautiful wife Christie, and they have four wonderful children: Micah, Lydia, Shaphan and Magdalene. Ryan holds degrees from Samford University (B.A.), The College of William & Mary (M.Ed.) in Counseling, and Southern Seminary (Th.M.) in Louisville, KY and he is completing a (Ph.D.) from The Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is a full member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a member of the American Society of Church History.
Driscoll has been among the most vociferous and voluble of those sailing under the flag of the New Calvinism. Toward the latter half of 2014, significant concerns and charges began to accumulate around him…
What do we make of all this? There are several things of which we must take account. The New Calvinism is far bigger and often better than Mark Driscoll, although he has epitomised or been connected with some of its biggest dangers, worst excesses and greatest failings as a movement. Visitors to the website are encouraged to make donations to help ‘support the ministry’, hosting and distributing past and promised future Bible teaching and resources, with a non-profit launch assured. But Mr Driscoll, though down, was not out. In December, he launched a new website with a very familiar design (and the Mars Hill name attached), a well-laundered resumé (containing nothing of the recent and well-attested allegations), and the vast majority of his preached and written material, all under the title ‘Pastor Mark Driscoll’.
We should avoid tarring all with the same brush, even if some have been spattered with the muck. None of us — myself included — are in possession of every relevant fact. Most of us are not in possession of many relevant facts. If we are to speak to a matter, we must speak to what is clear and evident, and avoid imputing evil without definite evidence.
Another thing to avoid is the kind of vindictiveness and viciousness that gloats in the downfall of another. No Christian should gleefully revel in someone else’s disgrace, even if you think you saw it coming. There may be a righteous sense of the vindication of God’s honour, but we do better to weep over another’s sin than wallow in our own pride.
So, what principles are enforced and what lessons should be learned from this situation?
We should learn the value of a robust ecclesiology
We should learn the importance of maintaining biblical standards for pastoral ministry
We should learn the necessity of real friends
We should learn the significance of true repentance
We should learn the blessing of doctrinal standards
We should learn the ugliness of celebrification
We should learn the worth of hearing our critics
Finally, we should learn the danger of our own circumstances
In addition to Scripture and sound doctrine, what should young pastors today be studying? Is that any different from what you would’ve recommended 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago?
Conrad Mbewe answers:
I would urge pastors to study one vital area (other than the Scriptures and sound doctrine). That would be church history, with emphasis on Christian biography. I find that this practice answers a number of needs. First, as a pastor you learn from others who have gone before you on how to maintain personal godliness and domestic competence in the heat of a growing and demanding ministry. Second, you learn from others how to remain faithful to your calling in the long haul, despite the weariness of the fight of faith you must maintain. Third, reading biographies gives you a wider perspective of what you’re called to do. This could relate to the current stage in the spread of the gospel and thus help you put emphasis in the right place. The wider perspective can also make you consider your own mortality. Most biographies are on men and women who have gone to their reward and have left us their legacy. It begs the question: What kind of legacy do I wish to leave behind?
Ken Jones answers:
There are two directions that I’m inclined to take. The first is Christ-centered preaching/metanarrative. Greg Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology in conjunction with works like Sidney Greidanus’s Preaching Christ from the Old Testamentand Dennis Johnson’s Him We Proclaimcapture the sense in which I combine these two distinct areas of theological study. Much evangelical preaching tends to be either therapeutic or moralistic, regardless of theological persuasion. A firmer grasp on Scripture’s particular underlying and overarching message—centered on the person and work of Jesus—would change the substance of what’s being preached. I see that more clearly now than I did 20 years ago. The second direction is toward material that outlines different models for Christians engaging culture. In Reformed circles we talk about Abraham Kuyper or two kingdoms as expressing what it means to be salt and light; unfortunately the differences between the camps are so fiercely debated that the substance of the positions are often lost. Granted, much of our understanding of how the church engages culture is grounded in one’s ecclesiology, but a more thorough understanding of the prevailing positions would be useful, especially in light of the cultural and social issues of the day.
Watching the discussion between Joshua Harris, Kent Hughes, and Voddie Baucham, you realize there’s no special secret to success. As Baucham says about family devotions, “If you don’t keep it simple, you won’t keep it going.”Repetition reaps long-lasting rewards.
I’ve been bi-vocational for some time and I wish I had something positive to say about it. The reality is, you’re going to be put into impossible situations where you can’t possibly see to the needs of the church, your other occupation, and your family at the same time…
What I am saying is…it is going to be HARD, especially as the years roll by and the bi-vocational situation remains. My advice is, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTIN INTO! Discuss these matters with your wife. Lead hr and pray that God grant her commitment to this as well as yourself. You are going to need her understanding and support and never forget that she is the most important congregant you need to shepherd. If the burdens become to great for her, it will likely cause you to need to step out of the ministry.
So…my number one bit of practical advice to the bi-vocational pastor, love your wife fervently, and lead her into the joys of Christ…
We’ve been hard at work converting Conrad Mbewe’s Foundations for the Flock: Truths about the Church for All the Saints over to eBook, and today we’re happy to announce its release. Please check it out over at our website.
A Brief Introduction to Conrad and this book
In recent years Conrad Mbewe has become well known as a preacher around the world. His clear exposition and powerful application of Scripture has earned him a broad and attentive international audience. But what many do not know is he is also a prolific author in his own country of Zambia. He has written numerous articles and booklets to address the spiritual needs of his nation and its churches. This writing ministry, together with his powerful preaching and his experience in church-planting efforts, have made him one of the leaders of African evangelical Christianity. From the wide assortment of his work we have gathered together his more substantial material dealing with the church. This title, Foundations for the Flock, is an effort to take some of his previously published material and make it available to the rest of the world. We are confident it will edify Christians of other nations just as it has done in Zambia.
This book is one of the very best on the subject of the church. Added to that is the fact that it covers some practical matters of church life that are only very rarely addressed, such as local church partnerships, etc. Any person serious about following Christ in a local church should consider reading this book. Please head over here to read our full recommendation.
What’s so special about the Granted Ministries ebooks?
Glad you asked. We’ve spent hours and had multiple people review and catch errors that may come from converting to eBook. And finally, as always, if you purchase at Granted Ministries you get both an ePub and Kindle version, enough licenses for your entire household and pay a lower price.
Now we encourage you to go get this incredibly unique, helpful, practical book for church life. A full Granted Ministries Our Take, pdf samples, and purchase page may be found here.
*While it is more advantageous to purchase directly from us, the book is also available directly from Amazon Kindle and from Apple.
[P]astoral qualification is never merely a matter of apparent giftedness and effectiveness. It has at its root a question of character…
He concludes with a sober, always needed, reminder:
Finally, let there be no gloating: “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). You may believe you saw this coming. You may have mourned over the painful trajectory that developed, and perhaps the failure of those who publicly applauded phases of Mark’s career publicly to address the change in tack. You may have your suspicions and fears about what comes next. But to revel in the sin of another is a demonic thing. To rejoice in a man’s public downfall is to join Satan’s company. When you see another man, any man, sinning and stumbling, remember that – but for the grace of God – that is you, and pray with tears that it might never be.