"A revitalized pastor, renewed in heart and spirit to serve God fully"
The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter was one of those books that I kept bumping into and hearing about for years, but never actually got around to reading it.
by David Bercot
Most professing Christians today have the mistaken notion that a man needs to go to seminary in order to be an effective preacher. However, the New Testament Christians had no seminaries. Yet, they raised up effective preachers and teachers all the same. As David Bercot argues in his most recent book, Plain Speaking, the Holy Spirit can use ordinary Christian men today to preach and teach—just as He did back in the first century.
Bercot attends a church that has no seminary-trained ministers, just as do many of our readers. Yet Bercot believes that the quality of preaching in churches like ours should not be one bit inferior to that of conventional churches with professionally trained ministers. If anything, it should be better.
However, if we are honest, I think we would all have to admit that too often this isn’t the case. We’ve all heard many excellent sermons and devotionals in our churches. But, we have also heard many rambling messages with no clear theme or goal, delivered in unenthusiastic, monotone voices.
I think one can sum up one of the root problems of the modern Evangelical concept of the church with a single trip to Burger King. I’m envisioning the one off the turnpike on the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a big one. It is made of big stones and has a nice, high, cathedral-like ceiling. If it’s your misfortune to eat there, after you pay your small fortune and sit down with your family at one of those little tables, take a minute and look around. It kind of reminds me of a modern American church.
With the ever increasing occurrence of wars, terrorist attacks, and political corruption, even the secular world is beginning to ask the question—what’s going on? Not that war and corruption are anything new, but more and more, many are beginning to notice an exponential increase.
Compounding this anxiety is the fact that modern society is finding fewer areas to place the blame. In the past, the church took the blame; but as America moves farther and farther away from Biblical-based principles of right and wrong, and deeper into a neo-Christian, humanist-based secular society, the only ones they have left to blame are themselves.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Co. 5:10)
What’s the boldest example of evangelism that you have ever seen? For me, it was when I was fresh out of anesthesia school. I was working in a hospital that employed a lot of foreign medical students and residents. Because of all the students, the operating rooms there were usually bustling with all kinds of people—not just the surgeons and their residents, but the X-ray people had their trainees, the scrub techs had their trainees, the lab techs had theirs, etc … I guess you get the idea—the operating rooms were packed!
Let no man deceive you with vain words. Ephesians 5:6
Certain men crept in unawares . . . turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. Jude 4
The funny thing about a broken clock is that it is perfectly right twice a day. Think about it … that old clock might have been dead for years, but nonetheless, two times a day its little rusty hands proudly proclaim the time as accurately as the space program’s best atomic clock. However, despite this brief momentary accuracy, for all practical purposes a broken clock is still worthless. And that’s a bit the way that salvation is commonly taught and preached these days. It’s often completely right for a moment...but by and large it is still broken.