Monday, September 30, 2013

We're Not the Ones God Has Been Waiting For

Too many of us think we are the last hope of the world.  By Daniel Darling.

I don't think any temptation more sweetly seduces young evangelicals. It seems every new wave of church leaders seeks to rebrand Christianity over and against its previous generations or misguided contemporaries. As the Religious Right has lost influence, traditional evangelicals have become a big target. As Timothy Dalrymple wrote last year "if you are selling scorn of conservative evangelical Christians, the market is hot."

But I'm not necessarily sure the problem is so one-sided. I find in my own heart the constant temptation to brand myself as "not one of those Christians," and the targets can be anywhere on the liberal/conservative spectrum.

Every generation tends to think of itself as the one that will finally "get it right." So we're not going to be like those legalistic fundamentalists. We're not going to be like our fathers who were too closely aligned with conservative politics. We're going to have better answers on the homosexual question. We'll "do church" a lot clearer and cleaner than those stodgy models of the past few decades. We tell ourselves that our generation represents a new kind of Christianity.

Some adjustment is necessary. We should, as a movement, self-correct. We should adapt to changing cultures. And we should reject unbiblical expressions of Christian faith.

But there is a subtle danger in seeing ourselves as the last best hope for the church. Like Peter on the night of Jesus' crucifixion, what we give up to warm our hands by the fire of acceptance will leave us burned. Seeking to evade the scorn that comes from standing with Christ, we can deny Jesus altogether.

As I survey my own heart, I see three motivations that drive this tendency to constantly reframe and rebrand our faith.

1. We make an idol of cultural acceptance.

As missionaries to an increasingly hostile West, it's wise to adapt our strategies to communicate the gospel to those who most desperately need to hear. Yet there is a tendency to make cultural acceptance the core value of ministry.

Christians should speak with grace (Colossians 4:6). We should seek the favor of our community (1 Peter 3:15-18). And yet even the most Spirit-filled, silver-tongued representatives of Christ will, at some level, clash with the world (James 4:4).

This is the part of the gospel call that makes us young evangelicals a bit queasy. Jesus told us true disciples would suffer persecution (John 15:18). We shouldn't strive to be hated, and we shouldn't intentionally be incendiary. But when being liked is prized, we're not far from denying Christ. True disciples embrace Jesus' costly call to come and die.

2. We think we can do ministry better than our fathers.

It's good to learn, both good and bad, from older models of ministry. We don't honor our forebears in the faith by repeating their mistakes. And yet we must fight the arrogance that says our generation will be judged more favorably by God than previous incarnations of the church. In his book The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis reminds that every generation has blind spots. That's why it's useful to learn from, not discard, the work of those who have gone before us. Lewis says "the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age."

We can press for innovation and embrace technology even as we appreciate tradition and preserve faithful methods. And we must be humble enough to recognize that one day our work will be considered out of date, fueling a new generation's reactionaries.

3. We put too much weight on our own abilities.

In seeking to be a "different kind of Christian," we're tempted to think we can accomplish more for Jesus if we could just be less offensive, more innovative, more missional/gospel-centered/seeker-friendly. Yes, our ministry can and must grow with every generation. But we must not succumb to the Satanic idea that we can build the church through strictly human means. The church is a Spirit-powered endeavor so often built by those respectable society overlooks (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Now and forever, the church hopes in the promise Christ made to build his body in this world (Matthew 16:18). He accomplishes this work through human, sinful, weak means. God does not sit in heaven with white knuckles hoping for one more young pastor to create the most acceptable expression of the gospel. So in seeking to spread the gospel, let's resist the temptation to fashion a faith warmed by the fires of cultural acceptance but burned by denying Christ.

Daniel Darling is the Vice President of Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the author of several books, including Real: Owning Your Christian Faith and iFaith, Connecting to God in the 21st Century. He regularly blogs here. Daniel and his wife, Angela, have four children and live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The 3 Privileges and 3 Temptations of Leadership

Rick Warren is too pragmatic but he does have good insight. - David
Temptations of LeadershipDo you think it’s easier handling success or failure?  Thomas Caryle once said, “For every one hundred people who can handle adversity there is only one who can handle prosperity.”  I think most people can’t handle being at the top.  It changes them.  In fact, success destroys some people. There are several legitimate benefits of being in leadership.
  • Position — you can become more
  • Power — you can do more
  • Privilege — you can have more
The extra effort and work you put in you get more position, more power and more privilege.  With each one of these comes a very great temptation that can be your downfall as a leader if you misuse it.  I Cor. 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
We’re going to look at the temptations of leadership, an appropriate thing if you read the newspaper.  The three greatest nations of the world often face turmoil because of the abuses of leadership. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Today we’re going to look at the temptations of leadership and the antidote.
1.  You will be tempted to misuse your position. 
Have you ever seen anyone get a promotion at work and they suddenly become a little dictator?  It changes them.  They’re a nice guy until they get the promotion.  Then all of a sudden they start treating everybody demeaningly, derogatorily, making excessive demands on people.  Unrealistic demands demoralize people.
Pastors are elders and overseers, and the shepherding of the church is in our hands. But this is not an excuse to abuse the influence granted to us and to exploit people. In fact, the Bible is clear that the church’s shepherd-leaders will be judged far more harshly because of their potential to influence people to move toward Christ or away from Him.
2.  You will be tempted to abuse your power.
You can be a driver or a motivator. Drivers have no appreciation for the people they oversee while motivators are constantly finding ways to empower the people around them. Your role as a Pastor isn’t to hold people down and have them to serve your needs, but to elevate them and equip them to serve Jesus and change the world. In other words, the power God gave you as a leaders isn’t for you, it’s for others.
3.  You will be tempted to profit from your privileges. 
When The Purpose Driven Life went global, two things came into our lives that we never expected – a new global influence and a new financial affluence. Kay and I had to make a decision about what we would do with those resources. We decided to start reverse-tithing. We started giving away 90% of the income we were receiving and living off the other 10%, and I stopped taking a salary. I’m Saddleback’s busiest volunteer!
When you decide to profit from the privileges of your leadership, you give people a reason to question your motives. That doesn’t mean Pastors can’t be compensated in a generous way. It simply means that we have to check the motives of our heart as leaders to avoid any question about why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Next week, I want to talk about three ways to keep your integrity as a leader. Until then, beware of these three temptations of leadership.
photo credit: Toastwife

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One More Way to Outline a Sermon

As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat!
Adrian Rogers outlined sermons using four phrases:
  • Hey You! (Get the audience’s attention)
  • Look! (Examine the Scriptures)
  • See! (Explain the passage)
  • Do! (Make application)
Andy Stanley is famous for one-point preaching, but really breaks his messages into five movements:
  • Me (How do I struggle with this?)
  • We (How do we all struggle with this?)
  • God (What does the Bible say about this?)
  • You (What should you do about this?)
  • We (How can we all live this out together?)
And I’m not sure who came up with it, but another well-known system is:
  • Hook (Get attention)
  • Book (Examine the Word)
  • Look (Expound the passage)
  • Took (Make an appeal)
The Puritans jumped right into point one of 27ish as they preached for several hours and there are plenty of other outlining methods as well. I’ve changed my system several times over the years, which I think is important to keep us out of a rut. Lately, I’ve been outlining my messages around three movements..
In the first part of the message, I speak about the problem or issue that the message addresses, hopefully in a way that motivates my hearers to identify with the problem personally as in, “Oh yeah, I struggle with that too!”
In the middle part (the longer part), I dig into the passage, or sometimes several passages, that address the issue, provide a historical context and expound on the meaning. Sometimes there are three or for “points” here, but not always.
Finally, I move to how we need to live out the solution that God’s Word has provided. I try to be as concrete as possible such as challenging people to go sign up for a ministry, buy a particular book, talk to their next door neighbor, etc.
I’ll probably tweak and change it up again soon, but for now, this system works quite well for me right now.

Friday, September 13, 2013

5 Types of Sermon Illustrations and How to Use Them

I used to never bother with sermon illustrations because I believed their number one myth. I thought the purpose of illustrations is to help explain the passage you are preaching. I figured if I did a good job teaching the text, I could avoid the work of crafting modern-day connections. The result was sermons heavy on explanation, light on application, and empty of illustrations.

My perspective took a 180-degree turn after listening to Bryan Chapell's lectures on Christ-centered preaching. He argues that illustrations are not for the head so much as the heart. They don't primarily explain, they motivate.
At that point it became abundantly clear that the preacher must connect emotion to cognition in order to get action. There is no motion without emotion. It's as true in the underdog's locker room at halftime as it is in your pews on Sunday.
I no longer had an excuse to neglect the work of applying audible paintbrushes to mental canvases.

Various Illustrations for Various Purposes

One reason I neglected illustrations for so long was that I operated with a narrow definition. As far as I was concerned, illustrations were limited to stories that brought out the point of the sermon. But it wasn't long into my efforts to improve as an illustrator before I realized that illustrations are not "one size fits all."
While a fourth grader can get away with one brush in art class, anyone beginning to take painting seriously knows she needs brushes of various breadths and sizes. It is the same with the preacher beginning to take illustrations seriously. Some sections of the sermon call for thick brushes like stories while others require only thin dab from an analogy.
The question, then, is which illustrations are most effective for which parts of the sermon?

5 Effective Sermon Illustrations

1. The story. This is what most people think of when it comes to sermon illustrations. Examples include personal experiences, accounts from world history, and current events.
One-paragraph stories work well for transitioning from exegesis of the passage to application of it. Anything much longer and your audience might forget the point you were trying to drive home. But longer stories can be effective for conclusions, when you're trying to pull together the points you want your church to take home.
No matter the length, stories work best when the problem or conflict of the story raises the need for a solution the passage provides.
2. The word picture. This illustration elaborates on something figurative or metaphorical in the passage in order to show its significance.
For example, I was recently teaching on Ephesians 5:15 where Paul says, "Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise." I went on to tell about my 2-year-old son who, during a game of tag, was running at full speed, looking everywhere in the room except where he was running. That is how many of us go through life, foolishly not paying attention to the way we live.
Next time during your sermon prep, list out the figurative phrases in the passage and consider ways to expand on them by painting a word picture.
3. The analogy. Analogies in general highlight points of comparison, but the best analogies end with unexpected punch lines that draw out a surprising connection. Forrest Gump is famous for this kind of analogy: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." The surprise punch line sticks with the listener.
Analogies are especially effective for communicating cultural aspects of biblical times that would be lost on readers today. I once heard David Helm say, "When God tells Joshua, 'Take off your sandals,' he's saying, 'Don't track your dirt on my carpet.'" Again, the key is a good punch line.
4. The list of examples. Examples illustrate contexts where your church can apply the sermon. Instead of giving steps for application (they won't remember them anyway), provide a quick list of examples to show how one might apply the message in various contexts. Your church can work out the steps themselves if you show them where the passage can bring change in their lives.
The key with lists is not to be cliché, superficial, or painfully obvious. Don't say, "This applies to lust, finances, and impatience." Those are examples, but they are not illustrative examples. Instead say, "This applies when an attractive coworker walks into the break room, when the calculator won't give you the numbers you need for your budget, and when your kids are setting a world record for the slowest meal ever eaten."
5. The split story. An effective way to bookend your sermon is by telling one half of a story in your sermon's introduction and then the other half in the conclusion. In the introduction, cut off the story before the problem is resolved. Then connect the unresolved conflict to the main spiritual need the passage addresses.
This approach leaves your audience under the assumption that the story doesn't have a happy ending, compelling them to listen in order to avoid a similar fate. Then, in your conclusion—to everyone's surprise—tell the happy ending your church didn't anticipate.
This technique is effective because it gives a satisfying closure to the sermon. We are wired to desire a happy ending to stories. Even better, you give listeners who still think they can't change an example of someone who overcame a seemingly insurmountable problem. Hopefully this illustration will help convince them that—with God's help—they can change, too.

Putting the Tools in Your Belt

Categorizing illustrations is helpful because it gives you certain tools for certain purposes. It would be frustrating to use a hammer on a screw instead of a screwdriver, although if you pound hard enough it could do the job. Similarly, it can be frustrating to write an extended story to illustrate a Bible verse that only needs a word picture or an analogy. When you match the right illustration tool to right job, it gets easier and more enjoyable.
So before you resign yourself to being a preacher who doesn't bother much with illustrations, experiment with the different types. You might find illustrations to be more effective than you think.
Eric McKiddie serves as pastor for gospel community at the Chapel Hill Bible Church in North Carolina. To grow more as a sermon illustrator, download his free ebook Show Then Tell: 52 Illustrations for Believing and Living the Gospel. He blogs at and you can follow him on Twitter at @ericmckiddie.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I was listening to a lecture by Andy Naselli on "Do we Have a Free Will?" found here.  It was a very good and well reasoned argument for free agency against free will.  He mentioned middle knowledge and I wanted to refresh my memory so did a quick search.  Here is a quick definition:

If Aristotle had not been a student of Plato, then would Aristotle have chosen to start his school at Lyceum? If you believe God knows the answer to this question, you probably believe God has middle knowledge.
Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge first attributed to God by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (pictured to the left). It is best characterized as God’s prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. This knowledge is seen by its proponents as the key to understanding the compatibility of divine providence and creaturely (libertarian) freedom (see Free Will).

You can find the whole article here

Monday, September 9, 2013

When the Popular Youth Pastor Gets Arrested Again

This analysis could describe some other mega ministries as well.  -David 

The city of Birmingham, Alabama, has been buzzing in recent weeks over the second arrest of the city's most well-known youth evangelist.  Matt Pitt, founder of The Basement, first ran afoul of the law in the early 2012 when he was arrested for impersonating a police officer while flashing blue lights at cars on the interstate. Pitt pled guilty and continued to lead his large ministry, which had as many as 7,000 in attendance at monthly gatherings, until a warrant was issued for his arrest two weeks ago. He was arrested again last week and now sits in jail for violating his probation. Why was he booked this time? He impersonated a police officer a second time, though in this case he flashed his honorary sheriff's badge at a concerned resident while telling him that he was police officer.

Until last year, the press for Matt Pitt, 30, had been overwhelmingly positive. His testimony began when he left college in 2004 because of a drug overdose. At the end of his rope, he cried out to God while lying on the floor of his parents' basement. Pitt says he is not exactly sure what happened in that moment, but he wanted his friends to experience the same thing. He met with a few friends in the basement of his parent's home for prayer and Bible study. Within a year, more than 100 cars lined the street as crowds worshiped in the basement of the Pitt's home. They later moved from church to church, only to find that they outgrew every venue. 
The Basement attracts teenagers with high-energy music, stirring dramas, and Pitt's rapid-fire style of preaching. He has described himself as "an ADD kid trying to reach an ADD generation." The crowds made him famous. He has been featured on CBN and TBN. The Basement moved to monthly meetings to accommodate Pitt's busy outside speaking schedule, and the crowd began meeting at one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the United States, Church of the Highlands. They left that location in 2011 to meet in large civic venues in downtown Birmingham. So in a short period of time Matt Pitt went from praying with some guys in his basement to one of the nation's most prominent youth evangelists and then to being arrested twice in 18 months.

How Did This Happen?

As a pastor in the Birmingham suburbs, I have been drawn to this story. But my fascination has little to do with his arrests or the bizzare 12-minute local news station interview where he compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and accused the police of targeting him when he started reaching "black kids." Nor am I mostly intrigued by the drama of that same TV station reporting his parole violation to the police, who chased him down after he jumped off a 45-foot cliff. Instead, I want to know how we got here. How did this happen? 
Southern church culture, including Birmingham, celebrates nearly anyone who claims to reach teenagers. We often assume the inherent goodness of any ministry that draws large numbers. And we idolize reaching the next generation to the point that we largely ignore what we are winning them with and what we are winning them to. Despite warning signs, youth pastors continued to take busloads of teenagers to The Basement and Christian radio relentlessly promoted Pitt's meetings.
All the while The Basement's theology was largely ignored. Viewing the videos on The Basement's website reveals an exciting atmosphere that lacks substantial understanding of God as revealed in his Word. Pitt's sermons might have been "in your face," but they did not point teens to the Bible and the gospel message revealed in it. Much of the public also ignored the Bible's teaching about character in leaders because Pitt claimed to have a "calling" from God to lead this ministry. And who could question his results?
But internal calling is only part of what it means to be a gospel minister. The apostle Paul insisted that a man who would lead must not be a new convert. He knew young leaders can become puffed up with conceit and fall into the snare of the Devil. Unfortunately this concern seems to have been valid in the case of Pitt, as members of his board said he refused accountability as more mature men sought to mentor him.
Southern churches rightly desire to reach teenagers, as we should want to see every person in our region come to Christ. But this aim will not be accomplished with a more exciting atmosphere, louder music, and a central charismatic figure who can rouse teens. Churches would better reach the next generation if they emphasized compelling biblical preaching and intergenerational discipleship, and if they empowered parents to teach the gospel to their own children.
Our teenagers do not need someone who can put on a great show so much as they need people to love them, teach them, and model the Christian life for them. Such faithfulness would do more to grab the hearts of our teenagers than a large, loud event ever could.
* * * * *

Editors' note: Learn more about the kind of churches we need in the American South when you attend Engage the South, an Acts 29 conference hosted in Birmingham by Beeson Divinity School and co-sponsored by The Gospel Coalition. This one-day event on September 24 features talks from Matt Chandler, David Platt, Bryan Loritts, Kevin Smith, and Ray Ortlund.
Scott Slayton is the lead pastor at Chelsea Village Baptist Church in Chelsea, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Mobile and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to Beth for ten years, and they have three daughters. He blogs on life, theology, the church, and mission at

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Pastor, Bring Your Bible to Church

I have thought about using my iPad but have not for a number of reasons.  The author make some compelling points. - David

I enjoy using an iPad. It is, in my opinion, one of the most impressive devices yet invented. In one light-weight, travel-sized tablet the user has everything at his fingertips. That includes not only the typical social media apps that every user has on his smartphone, but also countless tools that have characterized the laptop or even the home television.

And yet I am finding that cutting-edge, 21st-century technology is subtly but quickly changing important, even indispensable aspects of Christianity. Consider just one example: the ever-growing tendency to substitute a physical, visible Bible (remember . . . the ones where you lick your finger and turn the pages) with a tablet in the pulpit.
To clarify, I am not against pastors using a tablet in the pulpit for, say, sermon notes. Rather, I'm concerned about replacing the physical Bible with a tablet in the pulpit. As the pastor enters the pulpit to bring the Word of God to the people of God, no hard copy of the Bible is to be found in his hand, gracing the top of the podium, visible to the entire congregation as the book at the center of attention. Instead, the congregation sees a tablet. While this may seem harmless enough, I believe there are several potential dangers this subtle shift generates.

Different Message

First, the tablet as a replacement for a hardcopy of the Bible sends an entirely different message to the congregation. Yes, this tablet contains the digital text of the Bible, but visually that tablet represents so much more. It is an icon of social media and a buffet of endless entertainment. Ask my children. The sight of an iPad screams instant access toSesame Street on Netflix. For the adult, the tablet is an immediate window into his or her social life. As advertised, the iPad is ESPN Magazine, a Visa card statement, decorating ideas on Pinterest, hotel reservations in Hawaii, the latest college football scores, Adele on iTunes, directions to the nearest Starbucks, instant tracking of the stock market, and, oh yes, the Bible, alongside thousands of your favorite e-books.
In contrast, how simple, and yet profound, is a hardcopy of the Bible, perhaps leather-bound and worn from constant use. Carried by Pastor Steve into the pulpit, this large, even cumbersome book, reveals he is ready to bring to the people a message from God himself. In short, a print copy of the Scriptures in the pulpit represents something far more focused and narrow: a visible symbol of God speaking to his people, the master Shepherd feeding his flock.

Biblical Illiteracy in the Pew

Second, the tablet may, oddly enough, unintentionally and indirectly encourage biblical illiteracy in the pew. This no doubt sounds shocking. After all, how could a tablet that provides us with gobs of biblical research tools, a digital manuscript of the Scriptures, and countless other resources create a culture of biblical illiteracy? One of the severe limitations of a digital text, as you sit there with your iPhone or smartphone, is the unnecessary task of passing by books of the Bible as you find the sermon text. When the preacher says, "Turn in your Bibles to . . . ," the layperson simply clicks on a link or enters the text into a search box. As a result, I am increasingly discovering as a professor at a Christian university that students do not know where books in the Bible are located, let alone how the storyline of redemptive history develops. Many laypeople do not possess the ability to see the text in its context. Consequently, these old-fashioned, basic, Bible-learning skills are being lost.
Even secular scholars, such as Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) and Mark Bauerlein (The Dumbest Generation), get this when it comes to reading a book digitally. As John Bombaroexplains, these authors, and many others, conclude that we have adopted a "truncated approach to texts, with no peripheral vision of what the next page holds or orientation to the linear progression of the entire text," which only "trains the mind's learning plasticity to think in pragmatic, detached, fragmented ways." Therefore, when it comes to Scripture, we have lost by abandoning the printed text a "linear progression to the total story," since "digital texts militate against a big-picture perspective and comprehension of the whole story of the Bible."

Flesh and Blood

Third, the tablet may undermine the spatio-temporal nature of church. When a member stands before the congregation, reading the sermon text from a tablet, there is something missing, something lifeless at play. Again, John Bombaro observes, "Digital texts are ephemeral; they are ontologically diminished." There's no "there" there, Bombaro laments.
Surely this should rub us wrong, as physical beings who gather together as an assembly in a tangible place. We see with our own eyes a standing, breathing minister preach about a God who is, yes, invisible, but is really with us as Lord of space and time. This God has made himself known by sending his own Son in flesh and blood.

Visual Reminder

Fourth, when the spatio-temporal nature of Scripture is replaced with a digital, even ephemeral, cyberspace text, there is an awkward inconsistency at play given the physicality of baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the lineage of the Reformation, evangelicals have long affirmed at least three marks of the church and means of grace: the proclamation of God's Word, baptism, and the Lord's Supper. Why not perform a baptism in private or take the Lord's Supper alone? There is an essential corporate dimension to these somatic means of grace, as the church witnesses the gospel in the waters of baptism and together partakes of the flesh and blood of Christ represented in the elements. The materiality of these means visually remind us that we are accountable to this gospel and to one another.
Likewise with God's Word. The Scriptures, preached and read, teach us, reprove us, and train us in righteousness so that we are equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If baptism and the Lord's table become lifeless when we disintegrate their materiality, do we not risk a similar danger when we remove the spatio-temporal presence of the Word of God for the people of God? And should an unbeliever walk in for the first time, would he know that we are a people of the book?

Nonverbal Communication

Fifth, when the smartphone or iPad (or name your mobile device) replaces a hardcopy of Scripture, something is missing in our nonverbal communication to unbelieving onlookers. When you walk to church, sit down on a bus, or discipline one another at a coffee shop, a hard copy of the Bible sends a loud and bold message to the nearest passersby about your identity as a Christ follower. It says, "Yes, I am a Christian and I believe this book is the Word of God telling us who we are and how we should live."
If you don't believe me, take a physical copy of the Bible with you on your next plane flight, and when you sit down next to your neighbors place the Bible on your lap for all to see. Notice the reactions; you might as well have shared your social security number with the whole plane. Typically, for the person on your left just the sight of the text makes them uncomfortable, defensive, and reclusive. But for the person on your right, it may instantaneously create a conversation that leads to the gospel. My point is simple: if we, as Christians, abandon the physical text in our own assembly, what is lost when this text does not warm our hands in front of a lost and dying world?
No doubt, my warning touches an uncomfortable and irritable nerve. To insult our use of technology is one of the seven deadly sins in the 21st century. Technology infiltrates and saturates everything we do, and therefore defines everything we are, for better or worse. But is this subtle shift changing the way we read the Scriptures? Is it ever-so-quietly removing the visual centerpiece of the local assembly? I think so. And while I never imagined I would have to say this, I close with the following admonition: Dear pastor, bring your Bible to church.
Matthew Barrett (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of Christian studies at California Baptist University (OPS), as well as the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. He is the author of Salvation by Grace: The Case for Effectual Calling and Regeneration (forthcoming, P&R) and co-editor of Four Views on the Historical Adam (forthcoming, Zondervan). He also edited Whomever He Wills: A Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy.