Friday, July 12, 2013

THE PRAYER OF A MINOR PROPHET
...recovering the reverence of God in ministry

Too much is being made of postmodernism today. It's not that difficult to figure out, comprehend or confront.

The issue in ministry is what it has always been--a right view of God: of His character, of His gospel and of His Word - proclaimed. No one ever lives greater than their view of God.

So much of ministry today is focused on methodology rather than the Master; and everyone is trying to be the smartest guy in the room, trying to figure out new ways to figure out how to breakthrough the postmodern mindset in evangelism today. This is not that complicated beloved. How "culturally-correct" was Elijah when calling down fire on Mount Carmel; when Paul called the Stoic Athenian philosophers to repentance on Mars Hill; when Moses commanded Pharaoh to "let My people go"; when John the Baptist called the Pharisees coming out to see those being baptized as “a brood of vipers”; or when the Lord shrunk Gideon’s armies of 32,000 to 300 against a foe of 135,000, etc.? They weren't; that wasn’t their concern, focus, or preoccupation. They were not concerned with bringing the times into eternity; but brought eternity into time by proclaiming the truth of God's Word and calling people to live in the fear of the Lord.

But today, the face of evangelicalism has been altered so dramatically that it looks "doctrinally disfigured"
suffering from one too many "botox injections" of pragmaticism and ecumenism; with severe "soteriological 'nips and tucks'" that gifted "plastic surgeons" skilled with the scalpel of New Perspectivism, Inclusivism, Open Theism and Postmodernism have cut away so much of authentic gospel "tissue" that what's left is just a synthetic, artificial substitute. The "religious legislative laser technicians" have almost completely burned away the aged wrinkles of faithfulness to God's Word trying to give a "new face of influence" through political activism--turning the body of Christ into just another lobbyist group or political action committee. Seminaries are having "theological lypo-suction" done at such alarming rates that even the doctrinal positions of the Emergent/Emerging Church are looking strangely... "orthodox" by comparison. And "full body makeovers" of local churches are being done so effectively as to not have to look like church, sound like church, act like church, be called a church, or function as a church that they could be featured on a special ecclesiastical episode of "The Swan."

All sardonic metaphor aside,
here's the plain truth: the rule of faith is no longer the Scriptures, but experience; the goal of faith is no longer holiness, but happiness; the purpose of faith is no longer the glory of God, but being 'in conversation' with the culture; and the object of faith is no longer Christ, but self. In other words, 'Evangelical Christianity' is becoming completely unrecognizable.

What's the solution?
We need to recover biblical ministry in the church today; the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (sola fide - justification and imputation); and a high view of God calling people to live in the fear of the Lord. The Lord never lowers His call on His people because of cultural vacillations or proclivities. IOW, you don't need to pepper church ministry with sponsoring "poker night" this week in order to appeal to pomos in your neighborhood.

The right priority of biblical ministry can be summed up in one phrase beloved:
"It's not about us, it's all about Him."


As you read the following prayer written by A.W. Tozer at the beginning of his ministry, may it encourage you to recover the reverence of God in ministry once again.

"O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou hast called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou hast stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou hast said, 'I knew thee - I ordained thee - I sanctified thee,' and Thou hast also said, 'Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.' Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done. Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou wilt honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should become a religious scribe and thus loose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offerings.

Help me to remember that I am prophet not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to the crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or, if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And, if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen."

-this has been an encore presentation-

35 comments:

Noldorin_Calvinist said...

Amen and Amen! Soli Deo Gloria

Carla said...

Well said brother. Even with the typos. ;o)

SDG...
Carla

SJ Camp said...

Carla:

I'm at a Youth Conference and was hurried in the titling... My bad. Corrected. Thank you for pointing it out.

Campi

PS - The people attending last evening loved the T-shirt. Very nice--thank you!

Mike Ratliff said...

Great post brother Steve. Also, very timely. I sent you an email about the continuing battles I have had with my pastor about the Purpose Driven Church model. He is convinced that our church must come up with a different solution to fill the pews. I am leaving.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Carla said...

Steve - just teasing you about the typos. It'd be great to have a built-in spell check.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the T.
:o)

Telika said...

Excellent post. Can you tell me how did you personalize your blogspot? thanks
Blessings

SJ Camp said...

Telika:
I think like most--trial and error.

Steve

donsands said...

Our Lord answered A. W.'s prayer didn't He.
He was a faithful servant of the Lord. And Aiden Wilson Tozer is still serving the Lord in his testimony and teachings.
Thanks for the encouraging post. I really believe the Lord is going to turn His Church around. It may take a generation or two, but it's like the battleship that changes it's course, it's very slow. That is my earnest prayer, that our children's children will see a revival and reformation within the Church, and it needs to start in the pulpits.

Mike Ratliff said...

donsands,

Well said. That is my prayer as well.

The Armchair Theologian said...

So the solution to the problems of Christendom is:

"We need to recover biblical ministry in the church today; the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (sola fide - justification and imputation); and a high view of God calling people to live in the fear of the Lord."

Thanks, but can we be a tad more specific? I had a counselling session with a pastor friend who's being run out of his church, and that church THINKS that they're doing all of those things.

Don't take this the wrong way, but every heretic THINKS that they are recovering biblical ministry. Every nutjob thinks they're standing for the "true" gospel and I know more than a few quacks that THINK they are calling people to live in the fear of the Lord.

I understand that from a certain perspective (reformed baptist, or something along those lines) your 'solution' seems to make sense but I can also interpret your 'solution' multiple ways. IMHO it seems to be a very general solution to what seems to be seen as a very general problem.

I can think of a dozen people who would fully agree with everything you said in your post, and yet you'd most likely lump them in as "part of the problem".

Is there a more specific root issue in this all? Is there something that will draw a more specific battle line?

SJ Camp said...

1. The solution is specific in regards to recovering the biblical gospel (sola fide, justification and imputation). Those are huge issues right now. The New Perspective of Paul and The Emergent Church attack the heart of this gospel.

2. A high view of God and the character of Christ is specific in regards to combating Open Theism--which believes that God is not omniscient, is stunted or limited in His knowing, and is "learning" along side the rest of us. (The future is as uncertain to Him as it is to us,)

This also addresses the newly resurgent Sabellianism that is raising its ugly head (anti-Trintitarianism) these days. They serve a different god than the God of the Bible (T.D. Jakes; Phillips, Craig and Dean to name a few).

3. Lastly, living in the fear of the Lord goes to the recovery of the authority of God's Word which combats the seeker-friendly, emerging church, political activism movements still very much alive and well in our land. When we live daily in the presence of His glory, in reverential awe and respect according to the Scriptures, then our church services, missional efforts, and daily involvement in culture--being salt and light in a lost world--is not given over to pragmatism, but to what pleases the Lord. IOW, doing God's work, His way according to His Word. That IS living in the fear of the Lord.

I know that these are general in nature, but when looked at closely, they do provide the framework for dealing with many of the aberrant and sometimes downright heretical issues facing us in the church today.

Remember, Satan doesn't want to fight the church, he wants to join it to infiltrate it with error. Satan always attacks the character of God, the character of Christ and His gospel and the authority and veracity of Scripture. He has not changed tactics since being exiled from heaven. Sadly, the battle is now within the church walls instead of outside the church as a distant thunder.

I hope this helps a bit more and thank you all for your comments here.

Guard the Trust,
Steve
1 Timothy 6:20

Greg in Colorado said...

Hi Steve,

Could you expand a little on the "Sabellianism" if you have time, especially as it relates to PC&D. Not to make you feel old or anything, but I used to listen to songs like Fire and Ice and Shake Me to Wake Me with my walkman as a young teenager...then I would make my parents listen to me as I recited the words back...anyway, MANY of your songs have and continue to minister and challenge me today. THANK YOU!
I say that because, several songs PC& D have sung have also ministered to me, but now I have an uneasy feeling after reading what you wrote. What do they believe? AND, how long have they believed it?

Thanks for any clarification you can bring. If you don't have time, I understand and I'll try to do my own research!! :)

In Christ,
Greg
Jude 24-25

Mike Miller said...

If I may, I'll comment just briefly on Sabellianism. Sabellius was third century heretic who taught the doctrine of "modalism," which might be a term you are more familiar with. The United Pentecostal Church, for example, is modalistic in its doctrine. Basically, what modalism (a.k.a., Sabellianism) teaches is that God, being only one person, merely reveals Himself in three different modes (or forms, or manifestations) at different times. Frequently (though not always), you will hear that He revealed Himself as Father in the Old Testament, as Son in the human ministry of Jesus, and as Holy Spirit since Pentecost. The difference between modalism and trinitarianism is that modalists, while affirming the fact that there is only one God, deny that that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct, eternally existing persons. They would explain such things as the baptism of Jesus (where all three appear distinctly) or Jesus praying to the Father as simply some kind of illusion (perhaps Jesus teaching us how to pray?). It is easy to see where modalism falls short in Scripture, but nor more profoundly so than in the atonement. The modalist cannot believe that the Father sent His Son, that the Son bore the wrath of the Father, or that the Father was satisfied in His Son's suffering.

This is meant to be only definitional and not expositional. I would be happy to dialogue on the biblical basis for the Trinity (and lack thereof for modalism) any time :-)

Anwyay, T. D. Jakes and Phillips, Craig, and Dean have publicly stated their modalistic beliefs. They try to be subtle, but when you hear words like "three dimensions of God," or that God is "triune in His manifestations," the red flags should go up.

Greg in Colorado said...

Thanks Mike!

I am saddened to hear that this heresy is what PC&D believe!

Anyway, I appreciate the comments very much, and yes, I had heard of "modalism" but was totally unaware that PC&D believed it.

Any thoughts as to why people would go down this path?

In Christ,
Greg
II Peter 1:16-21

Mike Miller said...

BTW, Steve, do you think that perhaps the reason so many errant doctrines are infiltrating the church stems from the fact that so many preachers are doctrinally shallow? I just listened to an audio clip of the White Horse Inn guys interviewing pastors at the National Pastor's Convention. They asked, "How important to your life and ministry is the doctine of imputation?" I estimate that fully half of the pastors didn't even know what imputation is. One even repsonded, "Amputation?" It was truly shocking.

I don't know how we can refute works salvation, including Rome's "infused" righteousness (which I've even heard taught by some evangelicals!), if we ourselves can't even define imputation. And what about the other core doctrines of the faith. Can pastors--many of whom are seminary graduates--really be that uninformed?

Of course, some of the pastors interviewed said that they think imputation is an important doctrine, but that they don't bother their people with doctrine. Oh, man. Is it any wonder we're living in Laodicea (a reference to my favorite song of yours, by the way)?

Mike Miller said...

Greg--I think people accept modalism because the Trinity is a hard doctrine to understand. As Alister McGrath said in his book, Unterstanding the Trinity, "To many people, the doctrine of the Trinity is a piece of celestial mathematics--and bad mathematics at that!" Philosophically, modalism is easier to grasp, but biblically, it won't hold water. Nevertheless, many people today (even Christians) base their beliefs on what they think, what they feel, or what makes sense, rather than on God's Word. Indeed, the Trinity is a hard concept for the human mind, which is why only the regenerate mind can accept it. See 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 and 2 Peter 3:15-16.

Greg in Colorado said...

Mike,

Again, thank you for your comments. By way of encouragement, before our time of communion this past Sunday AM, I talked about the doctrine of imputation! Just know, not all pastors are ignoring this necessary doctrine!

In Christ,
Greg
Rom. 3:23-26

Bill said...

Excellent!

Let me highlight one aspect. Toser said, "'Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.' Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done."

This to me is the issue. We are not willing to go and speak as God leads us. Rather we would like to invent a new way of being attractional. We want to attract people to ourselves and our churches. Let's listen to God and go to all the earth. All the earth is a short distance from your church building. Don't invent ways of attracting the yet-to-be Christian to the building. Go and proclaim to them where they are.

Jack Brown said...

I'm wondering if anyone here has read any of Robert Webber's works, such as "Ancient Future Faith?" He is one of a group of folks who, I believe, are addressing our postmodern context through a lens of Biblical faith. They are in the process of putting together a statement defining their positions and hopes, it's found at

http://ancientfutureworship.blogspot.com

Definitely worth checking out!

Jack in Michigan

PuritanCalvinist said...

Steve,

Well, it's about time I heard some common sense when it comes to the fear of God in ministry. That is why I don't think I could ever be a pastor. The responsibility is so great. Our teachers at college always tell the pre-sem majors that they need to do well in their work, because just like they would not want a surgeon to operate on them who got D's in medical school, we should not want people being surgeons of our heart who got D's in College. I just wish we saw more hard work than we do pandering to popular culture and theological fads.

God Bless,
PuritanCalvinist

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

The misunderstanding of the Trinity itself is not the most dangerous aspect of that theology. That "oneness" doctine usually is accompanied with a salvation by works teaching also.

jrr said...

Steve,

The prayer by Tozer really spoke to me. I can especially relate to the "puttering around the house" comment. Would that all church members and leaders would make that their prayer.

As much as the prayer spoke to me, your comment, "...here's the plain truth: the rule of faith is no longer the Scriptures, but experience; the goal of faith is no longer holiness, but happiness; the purpose of faith is no longer the glory of God, but being 'in conversation' with the culture; and the object of faith is no longer Christ, but self. In other words, 'Evangelical Christianity' is becoming completely unrecognizable." rings true. It's a great summary of what seems to be prevalent today.

BTW, I enjoyed hearing you minister in song and preaching at the SBFYC in Boliver, MO this past week. I'll be encouraging others in our congregation to listen to the recordings of your messages and the after lunch seminars. I appreciate the short conversations we were able to have.

-Jim

N. L. White said...

-sorry had to reformat-

After reading the Tozer prayer, my heart was burdened that I do not pray for my pastor enough. I am challenged to pray both for his ministry and "personal" life.

P.S. I also heard the first section of this preached but it's more challenging with the humble prayer of our brother, Tozer.
(Don't worry I'm not saying that Mr. Camp has been recycling preaching material. I go to church and am friends with "4given".)

boxcarvibe said...

Mike Ratliff said: "I am leaving"

Mike, we dialogued a few posts back where both of us were considering leaving our current churches due to the PDC model. Since then, I left my church home of 13 years and am in the process of visiting others...narrowing it down to two.

So now I'm in prayer big-time! I know you are as well and I will lift you up.

This was a great post - as well as the new post from Spurgeon. Thanks, Steve.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

A well written post. I think the most FRUSTRATING thing nowadays is the obsession with postmodernism. Reading Chris Wright's "The Mission of God," Chris Wright says something to the effect of "the church has dealt with postmodernism for 2 millenia." I mean seriously, who REALLY thinks pluralism is new?

It's just that we've been in a modern culture since the reformation and people aren't sure how to evangelize with this major philosophical shift. However, I think postmodern people are much more similar to the people of the Roman Empire. That was the setting where the church experienced its original tremendous growth. I think a postmodern cultural shift is a blessing in disguise, and we just have to be true to the Bible in order to overcome it.

Of course we need the Holy Spirit to act. But He will. God is not the relucant evangelist, we are.

SJ Camp said...

Brian
I think a postmodern cultural shift is a blessing in disguise, and we just have to be true to the Bible in order to overcome it. Of course we need the Holy Spirit to act. But He will. God is not the relucant evangelist, we are.

Bingo!

The impact of the gospel is not depended upon man but upon the regenerating ministry of the Holy Spirit and the power of the living Word of God in the proclamation of the gospel (Roms. 1:16; Heb. 4:12-16; Titus 3:5-7).

Thank you for your comment brother. May the Lord send us revival and renewal once again!

Grace and Truth,
Steve

PDS said...

I am somewhat disappointed. Perhaps it's been stated and if so, I sincerely apologize. But, as it's been seen on this blog, individuals are very quick to point out the negative with Mark Driscoll, but seldom say anything positive. I'll explain.

In Mark's last sermon, he made the following comments:

"Pastor C.J. Mahaney sat me down respectfully, not mean in any way - said I love you - I love Mars Hill - here's what I'm excited about - here's a few things that I think you need to grow in, pray through, work on, consider...so you could be a better pastor to your people that they would know your heart more clearly."

Mark responds..."Praise God - that's a grace to me - that's a total gift that helps."

He continues..."Pastor John Piper did the same thing - sat me down and said I love Mars Hill. Mark, I love you - I'm for you - here's some things in your character that you need to repent of - here are some ways you need to grow - here are some things you need to consider."

Mark responds..."I received those and I thought...this is the grace of God to me."

To ALL: First, I know some have listened to the sermon and not made comment. I think that's testament to your heart and it's unfortunate. Second, for those who have genuinely been in prayer for Mark, this should be a wonderful blessing.

Could it be that some despise Mark so much that when God softens his heart, it angers them? I hope not.

I will say that it would have been nice to see this as a headline to a blog - and words of encouragement to Mark...perhaps stating that we are thankful to God working in His life and we will continue to pray for him and his ministry...that God would be glorified in all that is said and done.

SJ Camp said...

pds
I appreciate your comments here always; BUT, this thread is not about Driscoll. Let's keep it on theme here.

I will say this concerning your post about Mark and then move on. I would be thrilled if the Lord was really working in his life and that Piper and CJ were having any impact at all. It would be great joy to see him acting with the propriety afforded a pastor and undershepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ and that his pulpit was not used to shock, incinerate, use the Lord as punch-line to his adolescent jokes, his language honoring to the Lord, etc. (And remember, we are just talking about Mark in the pulpit--that is the total area of concern here._ It would be great and we would all shout a loud praise the Lord!

I saw the sermon you are referencing; I heard Mark's announcement and confession. Two things: humility doesn't promote ones own repentance; and two; genuine conviction over sin doesn't make us vocal, it makes us quiet before God in brokenness and contrition. So, it's hard to take Mark's self-promoted words about himself as genuine, when he says those things and then releases the crass irreverent video I showed here just a few days later.

Here is a brief example of what I'm talking about:
If I said to you "PDS, the Lord is really been convicting me of my language that I use toward you and that is hasn't been filled with grace as it should. Faithful men of God like John MacArthur and Jerry Bridges have met with me privately and shared some similar concerns. But man I appreciate them speaking into my life so much, it is a grace to me. I love those guys - I thank the Lord for them. So pray for me in this... and know I am really going to try hard in this area of my life."

But then three days later, say I called you up, got in an argument with you and cussed you out, dropped the f-bomb a few times, and told some sarcastic, demeaning story about someone you really cared about and then hung up on you.

Now, be honest, would you say the same kind words about me that you just attributed to Mark, OR would you say, "you're all talk man. you said you were repentant and all, but you just keep doing the very thing week after week after week. Just kept quiet and if it is real, I will know... we all will."

In a very real way that is how Driscoll is. He makes these self-scripted announcements about himself, and people actually believe it - they blog about it - even have blog titles about it. And mind you, there is no evidence or fruit of any change of heart except his own words. But people still choose to believe the rhetoric over the reality.

That is sad and unfortunate.

I do pray for my brother Mark. My advice to him would be simple: step down from the pulpit for a season; get along with the Lord and some trusted men of God and deal with these things. And in the meantime Mark - just shut up! Be quiet. No more self-promoted press release confessions. If the Lord is really working in your life, and Piper and CJ have really confronted you on some important issues you are facing personally, and you are really convicted about those things; and in God's sanctifying grace He is granting you victory over those things, then PTL, that will be evident in time and YOU don't have to draw attention to yourself by yourself and for yourself - others will and should speak for you.

Isn't is interesting that Piper and CJ didn't say anything publicly at all about their meeting with Mark. Not a word. And that speaks volumes.

Now, back to this thread and Tozer's important words for those called in ministry.

Grace and truth,
Steve

PDS said...

SJ,

You wrote, "Let's keep it on theme here." Will do. I didn't know the best place to post it. Feel free to move it to the right location and perhaps link us to where you put it.

You wrote, "Two things: humility doesn't promote ones own repentance; and two; genuine conviction over sin doesn't make us vocal, it makes us quiet before God in brokenness and contrition. So, it's hard to take Mark's self-promoted words about himself as genuine, when he says those things and then releases the crass irreverent video I showed here just a few days later."

First, was the video done before or after his meetings with CJ and Piper? Or do you know? If you don't know, perhaps that issue was addressed?

I think your position is dangerous. I tend to opt to believe him unless he repeatedly sins and shows no over that sin.

You wrote, "Now, be honest, would you say the same kind words about me that you just attributed to Mark, OR would you say, "you're all talk man. you said you were repentant and all, but you just keep doing the very thing week after week after week. Just kept quiet and if it is real, I will know... we all will.""

I think from a human standpoint, it would be easy to react as you articulated above. Clearly, if it happens over and over, one should be concerned. But, lest we show pride in our own lives, we each struggle with some "sin". Have we committed to the Lord to turn from sin, only to find ourselves sinning again? Sure. So, I think we should show grace in the situation -- but also expect to see growth in his life. I don't expect him to necessarily turn 180 degrees immediately, but I believe that if God is truly working in his life, then we should see the sanctifying work of the Lord in his heart. There should be progress -- not the fact since he has repented he will not fail in that area of his life. I think that is an important distinction.

I don't believe CJ or Piper's lack of comment is proof of anything. I'm sure it was done in confidence. If they had come out and said we sat down with Mark and confronted him with such-and-such, I don't know that would be the best thing. I think they are graciously working with him in these areas we've discussed a number of times.

As far as public confession? I think if he feels convicted about things he has said or done (publically), then I see no reason to share the fact God is working with him, through godly men, to address such sin. I think it should be commended versus saying such expressions of repentance or grace in one's life is not geniune.

Thanks for the dialogue, but I think we should continue to pray and ask God to work in his life. But, also be careful to throw rocks at him if he fails and sins. He's a work in progress...as am I.

SJ Camp said...

PDS
Good to hear from you.

1. Did you hear Steve Lawsen preach today at the Shepherds' Conference on the authority and veracity of God's Word and the pastor's duty to proclaim it? It was nothing short of incredible!!! Now that is an example of a man of God rightly dividing the Word of God from the pulpit.

2. I have just listened to a powerful message by my friend and mentor John MacArthur tonight on being a slave for Christ. It was one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard. My soul was refreshed and challenged.

3. I had a longer post up a few hours ago to you; but I have now deleted it. I am so weary of Driscoll and his antics... I am going to take a break. I will continue to pray for him and for the many who are unfortunately exposed to his brand of pulpiteering.

May we all submit ourselves daily to the sanctifying grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to be conformed to His likeness, by the power of His Spirit, according to the truth of His holy Word.

Grace and Truth,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Fred said...

Steve,

Thank you so much for your ministry here. I am so joyful to see a leader stand up for the reverencing of our Lord and God as you have done here, even if that pits you against other leaders. You have been so gracious, but yet unwavering to the truth. I pray that many others will take up this banner, frequently and continuesouly, as the worker of evil does so on the otherside of the issue, hammering away at the minds and emotions of our young and our society. Thank you and many, many blessings. Hope to hear you in Toledo, as I did last year.

PDS said...

1. Did you hear Steve Lawsen preach today at the Shepherds' Conference on the authority and veracity of God's Word and the pastor's duty to proclaim it? It was nothing short of incredible!!! Now that is an example of a man of God rightly dividing the Word of God from the pulpit.

I listen to him weekly on my IPOD. He was also my pastor, as I mentioned previously. No, I have not listened to this specific sermon, but will.

2. I have just listened to a powerful message by my friend and mentor John MacArthur tonight on being a slave for Christ. It was one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard. My soul was refreshed and challenged.

He has a series on this awhile back that I listened to on GTY. I may try and check that one out since you think it was really good.

3. I had a longer post up a few hours ago to you; but I have now deleted it. I am so weary of Driscoll and his antics... I am going to take a break. I will continue to pray for him and for the many who are unfortunately exposed to his brand of pulpiteering.

Perhaps that's the best approach.

On a side note: Weren't you part of organizing some Conference in Nashville a number of years ago? It was the first annual when I attended. I heard MacArthur, Olford and I believe Goetz did music. Anything going on with that still?

littlegal_66 said...

"I have just listened to a powerful message by my friend and mentor John MacArthur tonight on being a slave for Christ. It was one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard."

I have that one recorded on my DVR...a potentially life-altering sermon to be sure....definitely one to keep. When it originally aired, I remember it being "just what the doctor ordered" for me. (In fact, since you've brought it back to mind, I'm going to view it again later today--perfect television fare for a chilly Saturday afternoon! Thanks).

Kirby said...

Wow. How weird is this? I'm not trying to self-promote, here. This really is neat.

Steve, take a look at the date/time on this (your) article (the first two paragraphs), and then go take a look at the date/time on this article of mine:

http://www.kirbywallace.com/KirbyWallaceIndex.asp?action=&articleid=59

How strange is that? We were sitting and writing on the same subject, at the same time.

That's just bizarre.

;-)