Posted tagged ‘Reformed’

Nathan Finn on Reformed Baptists

July 19, 2010

Nathan Finn has written a helpful four-part series on being Reformed and Baptist that I would like to commend to you.  While those with a historical consciousness and theological acumen understand the symbiotic nature of being Reformed and Baptist, there will always be those within the SBC who will attempt to present the two as mutually exclusive alternatives.  To that end, Finn has given us some great commentary:

* Part 1
* Part 2
* Part 3
* Covenantal Credobaptism

Ray Ortlund on “Truly Reformed”

June 5, 2010

If you are not reading (or have not subscribed to) Ray Ortlund’s blog, you are missing some of the best devotional commentary on the Internet.  Most recently, he has taken up the issue of being “truly Reformed.” Generally, this title is attributed to fundamentalists in the Reformed camp who have a hard time with Christians who are not five-point Calvinists.  Here’s an excerpt of Ortlund’s post:

What unifies the church is the gospel.  What defines the gospel is the Bible.  What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike.  What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love (Galatians 5:13).

My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them?  Do you admire them?  Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them?  What is the emotional tilt of your heart – toward them or away from them?  If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology.   The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level.  Let it reduce you to Jesus only.   Let it humble you.  Let this gracious doctrine make you a fun person to be around.  The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed.   Amazing people.   Heroic people.  Blood-bought people.   People with whom we are eternally one – in Christ alone.

These are excellent words, and for those of us who are Reformed and Southern Baptist, they are timely words as well.

Church Planting in Europe

October 15, 2008

It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult areas of church planting in the world is the same turf that fostered the Protestant Reformation–Europe.  Nevertheless, the call of the Great Commission is to take the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations, make disciples, and plant churches in His name, no matter how apparently difficult the ground may be.  This past week I had a conversation with an IMB missionary who serves in a devoutly Muslim country where his decade of labors have produced two converts.  He informed me of a conversation with a missionary who served in Bangladesh for 38 years where he did not see one conversion in the first eleven years of his labors.  A couple of decades later, however, it is reported that over 300,000 Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ.  When we give in to the temptation to measure faithfulness to the mission on purely pragmatic scales, then we will also give in to the mindset that embraces the peoples who we perceive are most ready to receive the gospel.  This is where a theology-driven missiology makes all the difference.

When you believe the promise that Christ will redeem for Himself people from every nation, tongue, and tribe, then that promise does not afford us a license to think otherwise.  If, like David Livingstone, you are convinced that there are “other sheep” who will hear the voice of Jesus and will follow Him (John 10:16), then you can share the word of Christ with confidence that some will hear, repent, and believe.  Because the heart of a man is in the hand of the Lord (Prov. 21:1), because it is He that opens sinner’s hearts (Acts 16:14), and because it is God who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6)–then we should go to all men everywhere calling them to repent (Acts 17:30).  Standing on the solid foundation of the sovereign purposes of God, going forth with a resolute faith in the promises of God, and uncompromisingly declaring forth the powerful Word of God, missionaries driven by clear understanding of God and His gospel are theologically equipped to represent God as lights in a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).

This leads me to some recent posts (here and here) by Ed Stetzer who has been traveling through Europe to meet with church planters to understand their vision and strategy in reaching the cities.  Rick White, pastor of City View Church (a jointly-affiliated Acts 29 and SBC church), is traveling with Stetzer and discussed how a missional strategy can reach the city of Krakow, Poland.  Trey Shaw, a Strategy Coordinator for Budapest, Hungary (see team blog), identifies the three greatest needs in northern Budapest: the arts, the business world, and the university.  Being “missional” and “Reformed,” Shaw recognizes these avenues or platforms as means for Christians to actively engage the lost  in Budapest.  The intentional and incarnational living out of the mission as seen through these church planters in Europe is something we can and should learn from here in the United States.

I encourage you to check out Stetzer’s blog to see how church planters are seeking to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.