Elsewhere in Issue #413 Archie Poulos masterfully isolated the scriptural DNA of gospel ministry, centred around the conversion of sinners. (The article can be viewed here.) This article is the counterpart to that one, examining how we can corrupt this DNA. Can we identify stress points in ministry that could compromise the gospel of Jesus and bring it into disrepute? Let’s look at three areas: not watching our lives closely, not watching our doctrine closely, and not loving one another well.
I’ve been wondering: should I get a tattoo? At this moment, it seems like a pretty important question to me. I’m pretty sure it’s a question for others too. I’m a church pastor, and I’ve just entered my fortieth year of life. And my question is specifically for those who are also pastors (or ministry leaders) and who are at a similar stage: is it time for you to go and get a tat? (more…)
Tim Challies reflecting on Christian leaders who slide into gross moral or theological failure:
Did it begin with becoming a professional Christian instead of a man who communed with God day-by-day? Did it begin with allowing doubt to become a virtue and belief to become a liability? Did it begin with a desire to read the wrong books, to listen to the wrong preachers? Somehow, over months and years, he drifted away from the truth, he began to believe and then teach the lies. And then he followed those lies and celebrated them and destroyed his ministry.
It has been some time since I posted last. I am supposed to be posting a short piece every week. Further, I am to be writing one longer piece every month. I haven’t lived up to either commitment yet. I haven’t come close. (more…)
When my grandfather was a boy, porn was something that was, for most people, hard to come by. It was the postcard passed around, the naughty story shared. While there was a sex industry—prostitutes, strip clubs, and the like—for most people this was the dark side of society, a place they never visited, rarely talked about. It was certainly not mainstream. (more…)
Thinking of leaving your church? Simon Flinders takes a look at what church is, why you’d leave (and why you wouldn’t) and how to leave well. (more…)
I’ve argued in a previous post that self-knowledge is critical for anyone who is serious about pursuing godliness and serving others. It is the junior partner to the knowledge of God, but it is still essential. As I stated there, the basic reason for this conviction is theological. However, I also think that self-knowledge is important because of observation. Over the years, I have witnessed people come unstuck, and it often appeared to me that many of these cases were because they didn’t have a good understanding of themselves.
What’s the most dangerous excuse for avoiding a conference?
I reckon it’s the one that says, “I’m not going to that conference because I’ve heard what they’re going to say before”.
Maybe you don’t go because because the particular conference speakers are not going to say anything new! But I go because the conference speakers are not saying anything new!
Just over a year ago, I started a blog. I was full of enthusiasm and daring—the kind of enthusiasm that only comes from an almost complete ignorance of the project you’re about to embark upon. I guessed it would be a great opportunity for ministry. What I didn’t anticipate is how God would use this new ministry to perform surgery on my heart.
What do you get when you mix up a megachurch sex scandal, a Reformed pastor in a fistfight, an ambitious blonde TV reporter, a zealous but slightly misguided youth worker who likes Brandy (a girl, not a drink), an officiously small-minded middle-ranking accountant, a seasoned detective and an ageing ex-Christian New Ager called Mystic Union? The answer is Evangellyfish, a web novel by American author and pastor Doug Wilson. (more…)
Every year Christian denominations see a slow, but sad, trickle of ministers leave their ranks by premature resignation. They leave for a variety of reasons, but often because of marriage break-up, serious moral lapses (usually sexual), and severe disagreement over denominational (but not necessarily gospel) distinctives like baptism and the like. It is a waste, in both human and Christian terms. It is a waste, not only of three of four years intensive training at tertiary level, and ten years or so of practical ministry, but it also means starting again near the bottom of life, around age forty, with incredible heartache and pain amongst family, friends and congregation, and mud on the public face of the gospel.
NB The procedures and requirements for Anglican ministers have changed since this article was published. For an update, visit the Anglican Diocese of Sydney website.