Posted tagged ‘Confession’

Upsetting the Christ-Centered People

April 12, 2008

JT pointed me to the article on Out of Ur, following up on Willow Creek’s repentance and now confession.  Check it out (emphasis mine):

Today, Greg Hawkins, executive pastor at Willow, recapped the study and then shared some changes that the church is now making in response to the research. He said they’re making the biggest changes to the church in over 30 years. For three decades Willow has been focused on making the church appealing to seekers. But the research shows that it’s the mature believers that drive everything in the church—including evangelism.

Hawkins says, “We used to think you can’t upset a seeker. But while focusing on that we’ve really upset the Christ-centered people.” He spoke about the high levels of dissatisfaction mature believer have with churches. Drawing from the 200 churches and the 57,000 people that have taken the survey, he said that most people are leaving the church because they’re not being challenged enough.

Because it’s the mature Christians who drive evangelism in the church Hawkins says, “Our strategy to reach seekers is now about focusing on the mature believers. This is a huge shift for Willow.”

You can read more here

For background info, check out “Willow Creek Repents” (Part 1) (Part 2)

I’ve Got a Confession to Make

January 4, 2008

Ready?

Here goes.

I like Tim Challies.

And I endorse his book.

Even though he is a Canadian.

And no, he did not ask me to write this.

But seriously, all this jib-jab about Tim’s book release is immature and unwarranted. The fact that God has used Tim in such a way in the past five years through blogging, reading, and writing should be a cause for rejoicing, not credential-checking. I have had the privilege of getting to know Tim offline and in person since the first Band of Bloggers where I had him, JT, and Drs. Mohler and Moore on the panel. After the T4G conference, I spent the day riding around town, having lunch, and perusing bookstores with Tim and his pastor, Tall Paul (Martin). Since then, we have met on several occasions, including the 06 DGNC and 07 NA Conference as well as correspond via phone on a regular basis. I say all that to say Tim is a humble, genuine brother in Christ who is seeking to honor God and serve his fellow Christians with the gifts and talents God has given him.

The success of his book will not depend upon those who have endorsed it or the size of his blog; rather, it will be a reflection of what Tim has done day in and day out as a personal discipline and practice. Rather than engaging in knee-jerk reactions to fleeting controversies to build a readership, Tim has built, not only his blog, but also The Discerning Reader upon substantive reviews of books that Christians are currently reading. I have never seen Tim try to prostitute his blog for influence or promote himself for popularity. Rather, he has consistently sought to draw attention to other bloggers and use his influence to bring greater exposure to their lesser known blogs. No, he does not have the pomp of a Ph.D or the credentials of a megachurch pastor. To the contrary, I have found Tim to be a normal guy like you and me.

And that is why I find the criticisms so ironic. It is not from the elitists of academia challenging him, but his fellow bloggers and blog readers. If you ask me if I have read his book, I will tell you that I have not. But what I have read and watched is his life, and in my book, that’s credentials enough for me.

Unreasonable Folly and Madness – Concluding Commentary on “Ask Anything”

November 9, 2007

Cotton Mather, writing about the sin of young ministers, shared his own personal experience with the peril of spiritual pride.

“I found, that, when I met with enlargement in prayer or preaching, or answered a question readily and suitably, I was apt to applaud myself in my own mind. I affected pre-eminence above what belonged to my age or worth. I therefore endeavored to take a view of my pride–as the very image of the Devil, contrary to the grace and image of Christ–as an offence against God, and grieving of his Spirit–as the most unreasonable folly and madness for one, who had nothing singularly excellent, and who had a nature so corrupt–as infinitely dangerous, and ready to provoke God to deprive me of my capacities and opportunities. I therefore resolved to carry my distempered heart to be cured by Jesus Christ, that all-sufficient Physician-to watch against my pride–to study much the nature and aggravations of it, and the excellence of the contrary grace.”

It has been almost a month since I hastily jumped into the fray to “ask anything” with a question that had been burning on my mind for a long time. I feel that I have sufficiently explained the rationale behind the question and posited it with all sincerity and respect. I quickly found out, however, that the very presence of such a question would not be well-received by some. What I did not imagine, however, is that it would denigrate to questioning people’s salvation and impugning people’s motives. The discussion has continued to grieve me as it has turned away from the question itself to the ones asking and (presumably) answering the question on other blogs.

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