Field Notes – 12/7/W
Essentials of Biblical Eldership (Above Reproach – 1 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 1:5-9)
Basic Message Preparation (Able to Teach – 1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 2:24)
Systematic Theology (Sound in Doctrine – Titus 1:9)
Church History and Apologetics (Refuting Error – 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 1:9)
Biblical Survey OT & NT (Grounded in the Scriptures – 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17)
Pastoral Counselling (Equipped to Counsel – Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Introduction to Pastoral Ministry (Eager to Shepherd – 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Church Administration and Leadership (Skilled to Lead – 1 Timothy 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:2)
“As with all dogmatics, disputatio is subordinate to exposition. Dogmatics has a twofold task: an analytic-expository task, in which it attempts orderly conceptual representation of the Christian gospel as it is laid out in the scriptural witnesses; and a polemical-apologetical task in which it explores the justification and value of Christian truth-claims. The latter external orientation is necessary but derivative from the first; it may not without serious damage become the ground of exposition. This is, once again, to prevent the problematization of Christian doctrine in which material dogmatic content is suspended rather than applied to make headway with disputed questions.” (John Webster)
If we were to apply this quote to evangelism, it means we teach and state the truth of the Bible before we raise potential objections and gives answers to them. Too often we begin with the problem.
One of the things that annoys me about Christian songs for children is all the non-singing stuff you get on the tracks. Yeah they might be good for car journeys, but using them in Sunday School… so I appreciate what Michael J. Tinker has done with his Michael’s Sunday Sing-Along album.
Michael McClenahan has suggested that preachers have this quote on their desk as they prepare sermons:
“The aim of our orator, then, when speaking of things that are just and holy and good – and he should not speak of anything else – the aim, I say, that he pursues to the best of his ability when he speaks of these things is to be listened to with understanding, with pleasure, and with obedience. He should be in no doubt that any ability he has and however much he has derives more from his devotion to prayer than his dedication to oratory; and so, by praying for himself and for those he is about to address, he must become a man of prayer before becoming a man of words. As the hour of his address approaches, before he opens his thrusting lips he should lift his thirsting soul to God so that he may utter what he has drunk in and pour out what has filled him.” (Augustine)
“Being widely read is not the same as being well read. The more effort and skill we put into reading, the greater our understanding.” (Mortimer J. Adler)
In the Notes section of Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller has included a helpful list of idol categories:
- Theological idols – Doctrinal errors that produce such distorted views of God that we end up worshipping a false god.
- Sexual idols – Addictions such as pornography and fetishisms that promise but don’t deliver a sense of intimacy and acceptance; ideals of physical beauty in yourself and/or your partner; romantic idealism.
- Magic/ritual idols – Witchcraft and the occult. All idolatry is in the end a form of magic that seeks to rebel against the order of transcendent reality rather than submitting to it in love and wisdom.
- Political/economic idols – Ideologies of the left, right, and libertarian that absolutize some aspect of political order and make it the solution. Deifying or demonizing free markets, for example.
- Racial/national idols – Racism, militarism, nationalism, or ethnic pride that turns bitter or oppressive.
- Relational idols – Dysfunctional family systems of codependency; “fatal attraction”; living your life through your children.
- Religious idols – Moralism and legalism; idolatry of success and gifts; religion as a pretext for abuse of power.
- Philosophical idols – Systems of thought that make some created thing the problem with life (instead of sin) and some human product or enterprise the solution to our problems (instead of God’s grace).
- Cultural idols – Radical individualism, as in the West, that makes an idol out of individual happiness at the expense of community; shame cultures that make an idol out of family and clan at the expense of individual rights.
- Deep idols – Motivational drives and temperaments made into absolutes: a. Power idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I have power and influence over others.” b. Approval idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I am loved and respected by __________.” c. Comfort idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life.” d. Control idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of __________.”