There is nothing more important for the health of the church today than pastors, churches, leaders, young people and even children coming to a fresh understanding and appreciation of the Gospel. Until what we do is vitally and deeply rooted in what we believe and confess, evangelicalism- especially in my tradition- will increasingly become a movement of shallow pragmatists producing disciples without serious depth, love for God or commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Lastly, and only lastly, Homiletics. This to me is almost an abomination. There are books bearing such titles as The Craft of Sermon Construction, and The Craft of Sermon Illustration. That is, to me, prostitution. Homiletics just comes in, but no more. What about preaching as such, the act of preaching of which I have spoken? There is only one thing to say about this; it cannot be taught. That is impossible. Preachers are born, not made. This is an absolute.You will never teach a man to be a preacher if he is not already one. All your books such as The A.B.C. of Preaching, or Preaching Made Easy should be thrown into the fire as soon as possible. But if a man is a born preacher you can help him a little — but not much. He can perhaps be improved a little here and there” (Lloyd-Jones, Preachers and Preaching, pp. 118-119).
– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones via Doug Wilson
Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus’ costly grace. The number one leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don’t need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn’t based on their performance.
– Tim Keller via David Wayne
Paul was willing to take a beating for the church because Jesus submitted to a brutal murder “to make her (the church) holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:26-27 HCSB) Seems like fewer and fewer people are willing to take the church seriously, let alone take a beating for her…
Today’s collective church made up of thousands of local churches is so distracted by anger at each other: emerging churches are mad at mega-churches; contemporary churches are mad at traditional churches; Arminian churches are mad Calvinistic churches; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There are of course exceptions and I’m making an overarching statement that unfortunately is becoming truer by the day. On a daily basis, we witness the attack blogs where we can attack other churches like the pajamahadeen: sitting in pajamas, not reaching anyone, but being an expert on how everyone else is wrong… Isn’t it ironic that the very remedy for our sinking, drifting Christianity is found in the very institution we are walking away from, weakening and marginalizing? We have the institution through which the Risen Christ plans to capture the hearts of rebellious men yet we scamper here and there after some wispy spiritual experience. Amazing… Now, let me say that the church is not the center of God’s plan. Jesus is. But, the church is central to God’s plan. Jesus places the church in a position of great importance… If you claim to be a disciple of Jesus, then love his wife. Don’t be guilty of going to great lengths to show your love for Christ while ignoring, marginalizing, or attacking the Bride.