“In one way or another, virtually every troubling trend in the current world of evangelical Christianity is rooted in misunderstanding about the church. What is her proper mission? What is her role in an increasingly secular culture? What should her priorities be? How should a local church function? Why is church membership necessary? or is it? What is the basis for true unity? This excellent book shines the clear light of Scripture on those and many other questions. Since Christ loved the church enough to die for her, every believer ought to share that passion. Jeffrey Johnson clearly does, and I believe you will find his enthusiasm contagious.”
– JOHN MACARTHUR, Pastor/Teacherof Grace Community Church in Sun Valley,California and President of The Master’s College and Seminary
The Christian Post-The nation’s largest Protestant denomination reported a decline in membership for the second year in a row, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2010 yearbook of churches.
The Catholic Church, meanwhile, rebounded from last year’s reported membership loss with a 1.49 percent growth, joining church bodies including the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ as the few large U.S. denominations with reported growth.
Also reporting growth in NCC’s 78th annual Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses – though a significant number of the two organizations’ core beliefs are considered by conservative Bible scholars as contradictory to historic orthodox Christianity.
Notably, the NCC reported in its announcement of the 2010 yearbook’s release Friday that eleven of the 25 largest churches did not report updated figures.
Keller’s PCA denomination proclaims classic Puritan doctrine. Keller not only adheres firmly to that doctrine, he also is a student of it, with a first-class knowledge of such luminaries as Jonathan Edwards. Yet he balances this doctrinal narrowness with catholicity, appreciating not only the Reformed theology of his heritage, but also actively supporting the efforts of charismatics, Lutherans, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Of the 65 churches that Redeemer has helped to plant in the New York area, only 10 are PCA. The largest is Southern Baptist.
Pastor Gyger puts it this way: “He has a practical understanding that if we are going to reach the whole city, we need a wide spectrum of the church.”
Much of Redeemer’s impact has been through friendships, word of mouth, and sermons passed on from one person to another. Redeemer resisted publicity, avoiding reporters. For years, Keller did little writing or speaking outside the church.
But now Keller is writing and speaking extensively, and has also put formal mentoring programs in place. For example, four young pastors who are on the verge of planting churches in the New York area spend an hour with Keller every month, going through a syllabus. “Redeemer Labs” was launched a year ago to spread the church’s vision through books, online downloads, curricula, and other media approaches, and to attract a new generation of leaders to carry it out.
Mike interviews Dr. Mark Dever on the subject of a book he co-authored with Paul Alexander entitled The Deliberate Church-Building Your Ministry on the Gospel. Dr. Dever explains how this book provides a model of a biblical church and how it is a highly practical resource that proposes an attitude of complete reliance on and submission to the Gospel in building a healthy church.
We are here in northern Alabama, at First Baptist Muscle Shoals, for the second True Church Conference, presented by Anchored in Truth Ministries. The theme of the conference this year is Church Discipline, the missing key to church growth. There are great preachers, a humble spirit and I am honored to be here. You can listen or watch the conference sessions online at the Anchored in Truth website. We will be doing the Mike Corley Program from FBC today and tomorrow, so tune in and listen live, or to our delay broadcast. Timmy Brister once again is blogging the entire conference with commentary and photos at his website www.timmybrister.com.
Many of you know that I have made several lengthy and controversial trips recently, to Seattle and St. Louis, to meet two very controversial figures in the church today, Mark Driscoll and Darrin Patrick.
Each journey was a great blessing to me personally and very positive and productive for our ministry. I learned a lot about these two men who previously I have only read of or exchanged emails with. In the case of Mark Driscoll, Mark and I had done several radio interviews together prior to actually meeting. I like these two men personally and consider them brothers in the Lord.
I have said many times, all I have to do is whisper the names of Driscoll or Patrick and it immediately sparks emails and phone calls, and lends to accusations of compromise and ignornace from listeners towards myself.
However, it has always fascinated me that even while these two men are sometimes accused of blasphemy and heretical teachings or methods, they both maintain close relationships with godly men such as John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Tim Keller and now Mark Dever.
What are we to make of it when such respected men of God tie their wagons to other minsitries that many feel are wrong? Apart from his relationship with Driscoll or Patrick, John Piper is considered one of the most important voices and ministries of our time, by many of the same people and organizations that condemn Mark and Darrin.
Mark Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washing D.C and founder of 9 Marks Ministries. Dr. Dever is the author of two great and very important books, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church and The Deliberate Church. Mark Dever recently spoke to a session of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, started by Mark Driscoll and where Darrin Patrick is Exec V.P. In his message there, Dever said, Continue reading
I made the trip to St. Louis for a couple of reasons, but first and foremost to meet Darrin Patrick for myself. The lead pastor of The Journey and I had exchanged several emails over the course of a year and at some point he extended an invitation to me to come and see for myself.
As much as I looked forward to meeting Pastor Patrick, I wanted to look him in the eye and apologize for a harsh and judgmental spirit. I wrote a blog article back in January 2007 concerning an event hosted by The Journey called Theology at the Bottleworks. Although I would still strongly disagree with any ministry that would incorporate any tool to reach people that would detract from the message and integrity of the Gospel, Further research and conversation, and prayer, led me to the conviction that I jumped to conclusions in some ways. I also was convicted of the Lord that I was not exhibiting the compassion and mercy I should have as a believer. Continue reading