The bells of Notre Dame will be silent this Easter. The iconic gothic cathedral burned on Monday. The cathedral’s stone architecture trapped heat like an oven as the spires of Notre Dame collapsed on themselves. This conflagration interrupted a recent effort to restore the eroding cathedral. Lacking major renovation for two centuries, nearly all areas … Continue reading The Bells of Notre Dame Will Be Silent This Easter
The assimilation process of a church is vital. If a pastor or the church leadership does not know how the people are to progress from guest to member, it is guaranteed that the guests do not know how to get involved in the church. For many churches, the assimilation process is ambiguous. Guests have to … Continue reading What Does An Assimilation Process Look Like?
Southern Baptists as a people are confessionally complementarian. Articles 6 and 18 of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which speak of the church and the family respectively, make this explicit. VI. The Church . . . While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited … Continue reading Let’s Talk about Complementarianism and Humble Dialogue
A 1993 study (holy cow! can that really be 25 years ago!) by the Home Mission Board (now termed, North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention found that in that year, the majority (60%) of adult baptisms in Southern Baptist churches could be termed rebaptisms. While some were legitimately the baptism of those … Continue reading Let’s Talk about Guarding the Purity of Church Membership
Any discussion with someone from a paedobaptist faith tradition (infant baptism) concerning the meaning and proper recipients of baptism soon turns to the issue of household baptisms. In the book of Acts, Luke wrote in verse 15 that Lydia "and her household were baptized." Mere verses later, he recorded, the Philippian jailer "and all his … Continue reading Household Baptisms and the Danger of Inference
I was listening to a podcast several weeks ago and a pastor was providing a number of solid ideas on leading a church through change. That’s something that many pastors have been faced with and no doubt the episode was well-received by their listeners. I found myself identifying with the pastor, appreciating his wisdom, and … Continue reading Church Polity vs. Church Politics
Recent years have seen an increase in discussions concerning polity. Historically, the leadership of any given church has taken on one of several forms: an episcopal church structure wherein the leadership of a given local church is overseen by a bishop or bishops outside the local church, a presbyterian form of church governance wherein the … Continue reading The Underlying Premise of Congregationalism
Several years ago I found myself in a difficult conversation with some leaders in our church about women teaching and preaching in the church. Though I taught complementarianism, these men believed that the church should be more inclusive and cease its historic “oppression” against women. I insisted that the offices of the church—elders and deacons—were … Continue reading Authority, Submission, and Scripture