This is not how it should beThis is not how it could beBut this is how it isAnd our God is in controlThis is not how it will beWhen we finally will SEEWe'll SEE with our own eyesHe was always in controlAnd we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our GodAnd we will finally, really understand what it meansSo we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our GodWhile we're waiting for that dayThis is not where we planned to beWhen we started this journeyBut this is where we areAnd our God is in controlThough this first taste is bitterThere will be sweetness foreverWhen we finally taste and SEEThat our God is in controlAnd we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our GodAnd we will finally, really understand what it meansSo we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our GodWhile we're waiting for that dayWe're waiting for that dayWe'll keep on waiting for that dayAnd we will know our God is in control(Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy)Our God is in control(Holy, Holy, Holy)Our God is in control(Holy, Holy, Holy)
What he meant was that Scripture was free to deliver its truth only to the extent to which the church's teaching authority was in agreement with it. Where it was not, Scripture had to remain silent.
Many today marvel at this attempt by the Catholic Church to mute the full authority of God's Word by its own authority, but they then fail to see that something rather similar is happening in the Western evangelical church. It is not that evangelicals today, or Catholics then, actively oppose the authority of Scripture. Catholics did not oppose biblical inspiration, nor to evangelicals today. Rather, then as now, the church's practice belies its profession of belief in the Bible's authority.Scripture cannot function authoritatively if the church is not willing to put itself under its authority and learn from it as God's sole, authoritative guide for its belief and practice. The Catholic Church could not claim that it believed in Scripture's authority while it was also negating that authority by its own teaching. And we today cannot claim we believe in the Bible's authority if we set it aside to build the church in our own way.
Unless evangelicals recover their confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture, their claim that Scripture alone is authoritative will remain empty. It will remain a charade.
Today, prodigious amounts of energy are being poured into this effort (rethinking the church). Everything about the church must be rethought! We must rethink how it becomes successful! We must rethink it all because this is what businesses do! Their products are all the time dying as new niches and needs arise. So it is in the church! Rethink or die!In my view, so much of this rethinking confuses rethinking the nature of the church with rethinking its performance. For the multitude of pragmatists who are leading churches in America today, these are one and the same thing. The church is nothing but its performance. There is nothing to be said about the church that cannot be reduced to how it is doing, and that is a matter for constant inventories, poll taking, daily calculations, and strategizing.I beg to differ. These are two entirely different matters. We intrude into what is not our business when, in our earnest pursuit of success in the church, which we think we can manufacture , we confuse its performance with its nature.The church is not our creation. It is not our business. We are not called upon to manage it. It is not there for us to advance our careers in it. It is not there for our own success. It is not a business. The church, in fact, was never our idea in the first place. No, it is not the church we need to rethink.Rather, it is our thoughts about the church that need to be rethought. It is the church's faithfulness that needs to be reexamined. It is its faithfulness to who it is in Christ, its faithfulness in living out its life in the world, that should be occupying us. The church, after all, is not under our management but under God's sovereign care, and what he sees as health is very often rather different from what we imagine its health to be....Christ not only constitutes the church (Matt. 16:18), but God has given us the blueprint for its life in Scripture. What we need to do, then, first and foremost, is to think God's thoughts after him, think about the church in a way that replicates his thoughts about it. We need to ask ourselves how well, or how badly, we are realizing our life in Christ in the church, how far and how well churches stand as outposts of the kingdom of God in our particular culture.
Listen folks, we’ve got the money. Just look at the budgets of our state conventions and agencies. The question is can Southern Baptists prioritize their monies so that they are more focused on church planting and less on good, but secondary concerns? Is it possible that Southern Baptists might be able to grade their monies, pouring more money into urban church planting in cities outside of the south? Would it be possible to take the millions and millions of dollars that we are spending on things in the south and redirect those monies towards church planters who are ready to leave momma so that pagans will praise Christ?
Our Gospel is safe. The Gospel isn’t safe.
Our Gospel is predictable and familiar. The Gospel is flying in a new direction.
Our Gospel is familiar and affirming. The Gospel overturns the status quo and shakes us up/down.
Our Gospel is the scenery for our little play. The Gospel runs us all out of the theater because the world is on fire…or could be.
Do we need to know more? Or do we need the courage to stop taming and neutering the announcement that turns the world upside down?
While we’re still tying the Gospel down with the Lilliputian legalisms of culture and religion, the Gospel doesn’t need our entourage around. We need to stand back and let the Gospel go places, do things and set precedents that testify to a whole new Creation brought about by a death-defeating resurrection.
We need to repent of being cowards with the Gospel.
"The sweetest fellowship you can have with your Savior is in the fellowship of His suffering."