Ministry Imagine #5

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…” (2 Cor 5:21).

  • Other than the ridiculous sinner’s prayer nod at the end, I like how this Jesus Tattoo video depicts Paul’s remark at the end of 2 Cor 5.
  • We need good metaphorical ways such as this for expressing the Christian faith among the emerging generations.
  • Here’s the video:

This shouldn’t be an epiphany but churches are dying…

  • Read this article Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore.
  • There’s a lot to think about in the article.
  • Regardless of how much you agree or disagree with the article, it’s hard to deny that churches have often hurt themselves.

So what’s on your mind that can help us live as better ministers?

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18 responses to “Ministry Imagine #5

  1. The “why nobody wants to go to church anymore” article sounds like just another attempt to be more inclusive. I would like to see the denominations fail, my only concern is with the Lord’s church. Why are you concerned about the denominations and not just the Lord’s church?

    • I’m not a sectarian and fully embrace the original restoration plea to be “Christians only but not the only Christians.” So my concern is with the Lord’s Church, the church of Jesus Christ, which is much bigger than the Churches of Christ you and I are a part of.

  2. I would totally disagree with that. God designed only one, Christ died for and built only one. In the New testament we see only one. In many cases it is referred to “the church” it really needed no proper name because there was only one. We didn’t start see anything else until man started falling away. This apostasy was predicted and came true. Now we have hundreds of man made organizations that are called the church. All having different teachings, organization and worship, “churches” that look nothing like what Jesus built. Jesus prayed that His followers would be one, be of the same mind, have all things in common, people who would hold fast to the pattern of sound words. That prayer has yet to be realized. Just because someone says they are a Christian, doesn’t mean they are. What has man done? They say, I will follow Jesus, but, I will do so my way. I will determine what the terms and conditions are. May we remember, God adds those who are obedient to His church. It’s His church we must seek after, not a man made group called a church.

    • Jeff,

      You correctly say, “Just because someone says they are a Christian, doesn’t mean they are.”

      But I ask, what makes you so sure that you are a Christian?

      You are so quick to indict other professing Christians for teaching things which you believe are contrary to the scripture, as though salvation hinges on doctrinal perfection (a correct understanding of the Bible). In doing so, you also express yourself as though you perfectly understand the Bible and teach it correctly without seemingly a shred of humility to consider that it might be you who are wrong.

      You better hope you are right because according to your logic, if you are wrong then you too stand outside the church of Jesus Christ. But then again, to hope you are right is a misplaced hope in self rather than the grace of God manifested in Jesus Christ.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

  3. Can’t you have a civil conversation? Are you not apart of the church of Christ, which teaches that there is but one church? I know that I am a Christian because I have followed the teachings of the New Testament. It teaches if one desires to be a Christian, he becomes one by 1. believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. 2. By repenting 3. By making that great confession before men. 4. By being baptized for the remission of sins. 5. By living faithfully unto death, which means living and worshipping by the teachings found in the New testament. So explain to me, how can someone be a “Christian” and not have done these things? How can someone who has only invited Christ into their hearts and said the sinners prayer be a “Christian”. How can someone who was baptized as a baby be a believing “Christian”? Salvation does hinge on knowledge, knowledge of what is required to be a Christian. We can’t decide for ourselves what that is. The bible can be understood. God in His wisdom gave all of us the same play book, so that we can all know His will. And with it we can test the spirits, to see if they are from God, or not. Do you really believe that God gave us the bible, a book that can’t be understood? It says that we can know the truth and the truth will set us free. According to 2 Timothy 3:16,17 it is all sufficient. If we follow it and obey it, it will produce Christians, not Baptist, not Methodist, not Catholics or Lutherans etc, just Christians. In other words, you have to obey the doctrines of men to become a Baptist, Methodist etc.

  4. Jeff,
    And you believe that the cofC doesn’t have a doctrine too? I am sorry you still believe in doctrinal perfection as a requirement for salvation.

  5. Mark,
    Yes the church of Christ does have a doctrine, the doctrine of Christ. “Doctrinal perfection!” God has given us His “doctrine” all we have to do is obey it. Or are you suggesting that “doctrinal perfection” is following the word of God and it alone? How presumptuous of me to think that God expects me to be obedient to His will. Or that I can change that will to suit my own desires. And worse yet, I believe that God has provided me with instructions in how I can be faithful! Now I know that you probably think I am a legalist and Pharisee. Legalist, not in the biblical sense, but yes in the sense that you have changed the meaning. Pharisee no, The Pharisee’s knew the law, they expected everyone else to obey it, but they themselves didn’t keep it, they even added man made law to the devine, I think everyone should obey the law, even me. Now you tell me who the Pharisee is. The One who desires to follow God’s law or the one who skirts the law and adds man made doctrine to satisfy human desires? On the other hand, how hard is it to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? In Acts 2, the first gospel message by Peter, those there were pricked in their hearts and asked that very important question, “what MUST we do”? Peter said, repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord for the remission of your sins. Those who accepted those words were baptized. Then the Lord added those who were being saved to His Church. 3000 souls were obedient that day, after hearing it one time. Now, how hard is that? We can come to the knowledge of truth, IF we want too. You make the word “doctrine” sound so nasty something that should be avoided. Doctrine simply means “teachings” We have and can understand the teachings of Christ. God once said “my people are destroyed due to their lack of knowledge.” Knowledge of what Mark? The lack of knowledge that will save their souls.

  6. I go back to the tenets of Christianity including love of neighbor, care for the sick, forgiveness, grace, respect, slow to anger, etc. All churches have some of their components made by man. Christianity is not a religion of laws requiring absolutely perfect obedience while disregarding the aforementioned tenets. I sense a little hostility in your response.

  7. There was a mention of grace in the cofC vs legalism. The late K. C. Moser was a leader of the Jesus side of the “man vs plan” controversy.

    This article is well worth reading.

    http://www.acu.edu/sponsored/restoration_quarterly/archives/1990s/vol_37_no_3_contents/hicks.html

  8. Mark,
    Grace, is what God has done for us. He has provided the way. We must be obedient to that way. We show others our love and grace by showing them God’s truths. He has told us what it takes on our part to be a son of His. We can show others, forgiveness, grace, respect, be slow to anger etc. But these things will not save their soul. They may feel better, about us, but until they obey the gospel they remain lost. We can’t even begin to live as a Christian, until we become one. And the gospel of Jesus Christ directs and instructs in doing that. Give me the man not the plan? How is that even possible? How do I follow Jesus without knowing How? Do you not think that God had a “plan” to save mankind? And that it hinged on our obedience? Jesus said, he who loves me will keep My words. What He is saying is, he who loves Me will follow my plan.

    • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).

  9. That’s right Rex, works that I have devised, I can’t boast or glory in, but there are works of God that must be done, in order to be saved. Grace is God’s part, the through faith is our part, a working obedient faith. Remember Rex, faith is a work of God, and it comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, Rom 10:17 or in other words, following and understanding the plan. Repentance is a work of God, confessing is a work of God, baptism is a work of God. Living faithfully until death is a work of God, in other words He has commanded it. I can’t boast in these things because I didn’t come up with it, God did. Out of love for Him I obey, that would be through faith. Now what could be a “work” that I could devise and boast in? The sinners prayer and faith only maybe? Infant baptism? Ignoring the command to be baptized calling it non- essential? Now those are just some of the works that man has come up with and they are boasting. I recommend we read the book of James to understand works and faith. If faith is only a simple acknowledgement that Jesus is the Christ, then the devils and demons will be saved, would you say they have a saving faith? Our faith is to be active. You say, I’ll show you my faith without works, I say, I’ll show you my faith by my works, book of James.

    • Good! Now that you understand it is God’s work and not ours, maybe you can realize that it is God, out of his love and grace, who will get it all right in us even when we don’t understand it all as he teaches in his word. And for your information, other than a small minority of exceptions, all professing Christians believe that baptism is essential even if they don’t hold the same convictions about baptism as we in the Churches of Christ typically have. But as we both agree, baptism is God’s work in us all and God will always get it right!

  10. Rex, you beat me to it. Cheers.

  11. I would have to disagree again Rex, very, very few outside the Lord’s church believe that baptism is essential. The Baptist don’t, Methodist sprinkle, Presbyterians don’t, and most Christian churches, the Lutherans and Catholics practice infant baptism. All practice man made doctrines and therefore cannot be Christians. I have always understood the difference between God’s work and our work. God’s work yes, but man must act, and be obedient to those works, they are not things that God just does, they are things that God requires man to do, man must respond. If God has given you a work to do, you have a “task” to accomplish. If you have a work to do, you have an obligation to complete it. You say God will get it right in us? Pray tell what does that mean? Do you not believe in free will? Do you not understand that man, must come to the knowledge of truth, and then obey? God is not going to make you do anything, you have to decide to do, by your own choice. And yes, God will always be right, but man won’t. lets remember those of Matt 7:21f.

    • You still don’t understand the grace of God! That Baptists, Methodists, etc… share a different understanding of baptism than the Churches of Christ doesn’t mean they don’t believe baptism is non-essential; it just means they have a different understanding than the Churches of Christ. But this not them practicing something they know to be wrong, for their practice of baptism (just like ours) is done out of conviction and therefore with faith in what God is doing in Christ.

      Where their is honest misunderstanding and error, we trust in God who is right. But the moment you make a distinction between God’s work and our work, saying that we must have the right understanding to respond, you then turn from faith in the grace of God and place the burden of being saved back upon human effort—a burden that nobody will ever accomplish.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

      P.S., this is my last comment on this thread; I’ve enjoyed the dialogue but it’s time to move on.

  12. So shall we continue in sin so that faith may abound? God forbid!

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