Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who Said It?

'Tony Blair has my prayers and good wishes as he takes this step in his Christian pilgrimage.'

- Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, leader of the Anglican church on former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to become a Roman Catholic.

And you wonder why the Anglican Church is in rapid decline? J.C. Ryle where are you?

What to Do with Your Unsaved Relatives this Christmas

The Blazing Center: What to Do with Your Unsaved Relatives this Christmas

Mark Altrogge has some really wise advice on how to love your unsaved relatives. This is good stuff no matter what the time of year, but with lots of family gatherings approaching for many, you need to read this and be encouraged.

I love that Altrogge guy! (You know, in a very manly and appropriate kind of way!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Lumps: Is There a Crisis in Evangelicalism?

New Lumps: Is There a Crisis in Evangelicalism?:

My friend, Terry Stauffer, has a very thoughtful article on what is really needed in churches that are a part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada. In reality, what he identifies as weakness and suggests as antidote are accurate regardless of our denominational link. I think he strikes at the heart of "Hybels-we-repent (based on a recent survey)-mega-church-madness..."

"If we see a turnaround in the Fellowship and 70% of our churches are growing by at least 5% in 10 years (as opposed to 30% today), who will be the watchmen that are dilligent to promote sound doctrine and moral purity? If we have big churches without integrity in life and doctrine, we will go the same path as the United Church of Canada in the 60s. I will be branded as an extremist because of that last comment, but we need to think about it. We need to sound the alarm regarding new persepectives on justification, emergent churches, open theism and gender confusion. These doctrinal issues must be confronted and refuted. We must also urgently appeal for reform regarding the moral compromise that is becoming commonplace among professing evangelicals."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Book Review - A Christian Leader's Guide to Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch

My first exposure to Alexander Strauch came back in 1987 when my friend Bob Hodel urged me to read a copy of a new book called Biblical Eldership. I loved the concept of the book and ate it up that summer back in Canada as I prepared to return to The Master’s College, now feeling more called than ever to pastoral ministry.

Strauch’s new book, A Christian Leader’s Guide to Leading with Love is another excellent offering in the realm of Biblical leadership. This book is very simple, yet very profound in it’s premise. Concentrating primarily on the writings of Paul, Strauch looks at the descriptions and commands of love and applies them to pastoral leadership. I don’t know, maybe others have thought in this category before, but Strauch’s disarming style, careful exegesis and balanced application were rather groundbreaking for me!

I chose to read this book slowly, working on different aspects of love as I progressed, and found it a wonderful study. Strauch knows churches – sheep and shepherds – and he writes this book as a seasoned soldier who smiles through his battle scars. I kept having the sense that my old friend Walter was writing!

I would recommend this book for every church leader – but elders in particular. It would make an excellent study to be used at the start of each elder meeting. The chapter could be read at the meeting and discussed or one of the men might make a summary of the contents and present that to the others. If nothing else, it would be a great book to buy all your elders for their own encouragement.

You don’t need to limit this book to the “set apart” leaders in your church, though! Far from it. “Love” is a central topic to Christianity as a whole, thus any believer would benefit from this careful study.

I hope Mr. Strauch writes more. He has already blessed the church with much!