Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Pet Peeve and a Challenge

In the early days of this blog I made a post (no, I am not inclined to hunt it down and link to it) in which I argued that calvinists have a high doctrine. And having a high doctrine brings with it added responsibility. If our doctrine is as good and as pure and as God-glorifying as we claim it is, then we ought to be the best examples of Christians that are alive. That is, if we are living out the things that we say we believe.

But, let us be honest, a lot of times that is not the way it is. Now, let me caveat this post by admitting there are good calvinistic Christians who ought to be held up as examples to us all. The names of Christians like John Piper, Albert Mohler, Tom Ascol, and others should be familiar to us for their examples of true Christian living. But instead of living what we say and following the examples of scripture and of the good men and women the Lord has gifted to us, too often our high doctrine is an occassion of pride and sin to us. Paul warned us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

And I write today about calvinists, but I think this charge can rightly be made of many Christians, not just calvinists. The more pure you think your doctrine is, the closer you ought to come to getting Christianity right. But what are calvinists (and more broadly Evangelicals) known for? For pride, schism, anger, meanness, shrill voices, anti-intellectualism, harsh treatment of people, slander, rumor mongering, and so on. The very things we should not be known for are the very things people often attach to our names.

I offer these few suggestions, and yes, I speak to myself here, because I am often known for the very things I hate as much as I am known for the things I love. First, we need to remember that Christianity is a life to be lived, not only a doctrine to be professed. We say "Right belief leads to right living." And so it does. But note this thing, the two items are connected. If there is right belief there must be right living. They are not separate things or divorced from each other, but integral parts of each other.

Second, knowing that the first thing is true, we must determine to live our profession, and I would start with this ... simple Christian courtesy. I mean, can we not start by simply learning to be nice to people? We live in a day when civility seems to be a foreign concept. Young people have forgotten (or never have been taught) what common courtesy is all about. I confess many older people have forgotten too.

Third, I offer a reformation of the mind. Let's set our minds on things above, on heavenly things. Let's practice thinking the best of people and assigning pure motives to people. We have become worldly in our thinking and in so far as we have let our minds become filled with worldly things we have taken to ourselves the world's way of reasoning. We think the worst of people and assign perverse and profane motives to everything we see. Instead of being pure minded we let our minds live in the gutter. If we are inclined to think the best, we will be quicker about demosntrating that simple civility I mentioned a moment ago.

I am sure many other things can be mentioned, but what a change could be made if we did just the few things I have mentioned here! The world and the Church is filled with false professors and hypocrites. Isn't it time we started to become the people we say we are? I say yes. I have heard the term "Christian statesmen" used. I have also heard that there are so few of them around today. But I think every one of ought to be a Christian statesman, if in fact, we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our homes, our workplaces, our cities ought to be better places because we are Christians. Calvinists and non-calvinists, I implore you, let's make it so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello John,

I just wanted to say Amen. While I do believe that the church should always be "reforming" itself back to Christ, we should be doing this in a loving and caring way. Although we as we look at Timothy and the other pastoral epistles, we do get a sense of or we are exhorted to defend right doctrine. But as we look at 1 Corinthians 13, we know that knowledge will pass away when we come face to face with Christ and only love will endure.

It's been my personal experience that loving service and words of encouragement and prayer are often times more effective then always pointing out whats wrong.

Thanks for your encouraging words brother! May His grace and peace be abundantly with you.

In His grace,


7:14 PM  
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Good comments John. When ever I hear these kind of comments it always reminds me of that quote by Spurgeon. I know I have shared it with you before. I know I have failed in this many times... the flesh is so powerful if we let it take over.

My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me."

7:53 AM  

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