20pluscommunitydigestion

There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for regarding membership

let’s really define our terms here: fellowship

if you’ve been in the evangelical sub-culture for any length of time, you’ve probably heard a word bandied about that people outside that sub-culture tend not to use: fellowship.

It’s definitely a biblical word so its use is warranted, but so is having a clear definition, lest we dilute its meaning into something less potent than its intended meaning. For fellowship certainly entails a warm and welcoming environment, but it has purposes much larger than just being together.

I don’t want to sound like a drill-sargeant about a kind of gathering that many times has no structure or noticeable purpose other than coming to know one another more fully, but fellowship, as the following words argue, does have an ultimate goal beyond “having a good time together.” Read the rest of this entry »

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For Christ’s sake, love your Mother

If you love Christ, you will love his word. If you love Christ’s word, you will love his church. We dare not mock or treat as dispensable that for which Christ died. As the church, we are the bride of Christ. Let us labor, therefore, to make it our own, since Christ himself has made us his own (Phil. 3:12).

Justin Taylor has a brief piece on the relationship of Christ to His Church.  It’s one more voice speaking against the increasingly fashionable choice to withhold commitment from a local Body of believers.  She’s your Mother, complete with imperfections, but the One for whom Christ died.

one last thing before we transition

For the next two Sundays we’ll set up the retreat by dwelling on the notion of Calling. Before we do, there’s at least onesiimage002.jpg loose end from our series on Tripp’s book I have to tie up here in these pages.

We’ve discussed for a couple months now about what’s within our realm of responsibility for pursuing change and for involving ourselves in one another’s pursuit of change. One thing I’ve intended to include each week but didn’t leave myself time for is how one moves into a community in such a way that 1) you come to benefit from the kind of loving involvement that leads to change and 2) that you come to contribute to that pursuit of change in others thusly involved. In other words, if we were to write a story of how someone came to benefit from (1) and contribute to (2) this community of change and maturity, the basic plot line, roughly outlined, might go something like this: Read the rest of this entry »

spiritual exfoliant?

Here’s a comment from Tim Challies (of challies.com) in a review of one of George Barna’s oft-quoted books, Revolution.  Having only skimmed Barna’s book, I can’t say if Challies’ appraisal has merit, but considering Tim’s not in the business of selling books (at least not yet, his first is coming out in a few months), he has, prima facie, a little more credibility than one who’s all about marketing strategies in the church like Barna. (Forgive me if even that assessment of the pollster isn’t generous enough.)  Anyway, this comment from Challies’ review struck me because too easily does the church unwittingly profliferate the consumer-orientation to church-membership–that is, turning the choice of submitting to a Body of believers purely on the basis of how comfortable it makes you.  So here’s his comment: Read the rest of this entry »

in case you’re still on the fence

for those who have contemplated membership in the local church, but have never left their contemplative repose, here is one more reason why we so strenuously encourage membership. It’s not too late to sign up for this weekend’s Intro to PCPC Class, just email Debbie Blanton and you’ll be on the list. There will be no blood-test, body-cavity search, or inquiry into how your mother treated you. Nor will there be pop-quizzes on how much of the history of the Reformation you’re conversant in. This weekend is full of information but helpful in your thinking about why you keep showing up here week in and week out. Without that grasp of purpose and process, you will wander here, become bored, and end up setting a precedent in your own soul for attaching to a church in a half-baked way.

There are three things “dangerous” about PCPC. Read the rest of this entry »

To Church!!

This from Gary Thomas, author of, among other things, Sacred Marriage, but the following comes from a more recent work, Authentic Faith:

When God calls us to himself, he calls us to his church, to a purpose bigger than ourselves. This may sound shocking to some, but biblically, living for God means living for His church. There is a glory in the presence of Jesus Christ, seen when believers come together, that will necessarily be missing in an individual pursuit of God. When the gospel is turned from a community-centered faith to an individual-centered faith (“Jesus would have died for me if I had been the onle one!”), we eclipse much of its power and meaning.

Your Momma does dance…

in case you haven’t gotten your fill of our exploration of the Church, your “mother,” have a look at this essay by Derek Thomas, aptly entitled, Mother Church. And while you’re there have a look around a whole new website called Reformation 21.