Why Train Women to Teach the Bible?

Taylor Turkington begins the conversation by highlighting that both men and women in the church can have the gift of teaching the Bible, and because of this, it is important to equip them—just like all the saints should be equipped for the work of the ministry as described in Ephesians 4:12-14. Jen Wilkin says that she notices churches have a lot of pathways for men to teach but not as many of those for women, often leading to an imbalance due to access to tools and resources. Wilkin wants to see churches develop a category of training specifically to equip women to teach the Bible with excellence and precision, understanding the weight of what they are teaching. Wilkin and Turkington both agree that teaching the Bible comes with a certain weightiness and, as Wilkin argues, the cost for teaching the Bible incorrectly is high. Because of this, Turkington says the church should help both men and women excel at both their interpretation and also communication of God’s Word. Wilkin says she believes women in the church want to get trained on teaching the Bible, they just don’t always know where to go. Wilkin suggests women need to see an example in the church of other women who are properly teaching the Scriptures. Ultimately, they need permission and tools to do so. Turkington agrees and adds that it is essential for women to see a model of what it looks like for a woman to teach the Bible. For women who are wanting to grow in teaching the Bible, Wilkin recommends reading books that explore the metanarrative of the Bible, explaining the bigger story of the Scriptures. Wilkin also suggests delving into a systematic theology text and trusted commentary texts. Last, Wilkin recommends the yearly conference in Dallas, Texas, called Proclaim… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 18

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 18:1-14; Acts 25:1-12; Psalm 40, Leviticus 8-10. Psalm 40 has always been a favorite of mine, not least because of David’s humility and his willingness to humble himself before God in his neediness. But no one captures the sweetness of the opening verses like Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne does. Let his observations soak in. R.M. McCheyne: The difficulty of conversion.—So difficult and superhuman is the work of turning a soul from sin and Satan unto God, that God only can do it; and, accordingly, in our text, every part of the process is attributed solely to him. “1He brought me up out of an horrible pit, he took me from the miry clay, he set my feet upon a rock, he established my goings, and he put a new song in my mouth.” God, and God alone, then, is the author of conversion. He who created man at first, alone can create him anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. And the reason of this we shall see clearly by going over the parts of the work here described. The first deliverance is imaged forth to us in the words: “He brought me up out of an horrible pit;” and the counterpart or corresponding blessing to that is, “He set my feet upon a rock.” Now how can we help but add our “AMEN!” to that? Share this: Like this: Like Loading… Visit ResponsiveReiding

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Assessing Elders in a Digital Age

The calling of the elder is an honorable one, and the need for churches to identify and install worthy men to this role is as crucial as ever before. This need isn’t new, but the context into which elders are called to serve is. One seismic shift from previous generations is that we’re now considering men who are digital natives—they’ve grown up in the digital age. How should this reality affect the ancient work of calling elders? It doesn’t change what we’re looking for, but it should affect how we go about testing today’s candidate. As we test men in this digital age, watching and considering their lives, we’re going to discover that some have “gone native”: they’ve run headlong into the jungles of the internet, mobile tech, games, apps, and more. Some may even resemble their lost friends in their relationship with technology. When we read a passage like 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the contexts we often consider are the home, the church, and the workplace. Is this man quarrelsome at work? Is he self-controlled at home? Is he gentle around God’s people? But in this digital age we must also ask: What sort of man is he online? Is he above reproach in his use of technology? To help us think about this, let’s consider Paul’s instructions using some sanctified imagination: The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach online; the husband of one wife, so therefore never seeking out explicit or inappropriate images; sober-minded in online searches; self-controlled when scrolling social media; respectable in the comment section; hospitable to all his online neighbors; able to teach, that is, using technology to spread truth and never lies; not a drunkard, addicted to hits, likes, and retweets; not violent toward… Read More

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1 Corinthians Pt. 23 – Spiritual Immaturity and Disunity in Christ’s Church

Reid A Ferguson 1 Corinthians 14:20–25 AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE Coming to a letter like this one to the Church at Corinth should always cause us both as individuals and as an assembly to ask ourselves where we might fit in the on the spectrum of the issues the Holy Spirit raises here through Paul. We cannot just set the letter aside and think: We don’t have the exact problems cited here, so we can pass over it quickly. Certainly, as we’ve seen throughout, at least some of what they wrestled with we share at least in part. While I think I can say with confidence that we are not at present a church in division – especially over personalities, we’ve certainly had seasons of that in the past. I am grateful to say I don’t at present see the jealousy and strife among us as plagued them at that particular time. It doesn’t appear that we have those seeking power and reputation among us – though we do not know each one’s heart. We may be more inclined in the current cultural climate of American Christianity to seek for legitimization and standing in the eyes of the World – too concerned with their opinion of us. There’s a danger we certainly need to be on guard about. We do not appear to have a case of the open and scandalous sexual immorality that was so prominent in Corinth. But this is certainly the age for it and again we really need to be on our guard that we do not fall into the Cultural normalizing of sexual sin in any of its forms. We don’t appear to have factions vying for prominence or a trend of Christians suing other Christians among us – though sadly… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 17

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 17:14-27; Acts 24; Psalm 39. Leviticus 5-7. Leviticus 7:1 uses a curious phrase about the guilt offering: “It is most holy.” Not just holy, but most holy. What we learn here is that “holiness” may admit of some sort of gradation. We’ve seen this before. In the Tabernacle itself, there is the courtyard, then the holy place and the MOST holy place. All are holy, and yet not all are the same. Now there is something here of sweet importance to us as Believers. While we are called “holy” now, saints or the sanctified – it is not as though we are yet “most” holy as we will be. But holy nonetheless. Trying to be holier than we can be in this present life leads to impossible tensions. And it can lead to a crisis of anxiety for many who dearly want to walk as uprightly as they can, and yet find themselves still sinning. Thus many in the perfectionist movements either ending up lying to themselves or others, or bear the mind weakening effects of a mental dissonance that can lead to even greater emotional or mental breaks. We are not what we were before we came to Christ, wholly sold under sin. And God forbid any of us become comfortable with our sin. But we do need to be comfortable with the reality of sin until the day when in the Resurrection we shall at last be most holy. Yes, sin is to be hated. Yes sin is to be fought. But no, we cannot chase the fool’s gold of imagining a holiness that is… Read More

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Faithful Reason and Reasonable Faith

Surely you’ve heard this exchange (or been a part of it yourself): Skeptic: The Christian faith doesn’t make sense. It’s just not reasonable. Christian: But that’s the thing. It’s not supposed to be reasonable. You have to take it all on faith! Both the skeptic and the Christian are mistaken. Faith is more than mere intellectual assent, but it’s not less. If a Christian thinks his faith is supposed to be unreasonable, then he doesn’t understand what he’s saying. The doctrine of atonement isn’t put forward as a spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling, but as the clear teaching of Scripture. But the skeptic isn’t right, either. Christianity is the worship of the one true God, and the faith is reasonable not because some subset of human inquiry has declared it to be true but because God is himself supremely reasonable. Many Christians should think more carefully about the relationship between faith and reason. When we exercise our reason, we sharpen and clarify our beliefs. The Westminster Confession of Faith, for example, talks about deducing beliefs “by good and necessary consequence” from what is explicitly stated in Scripture. That’s not the language of emotion but the language of logic. Christian theology’s embrace of faith and reason delivers an unexpected gift to the world. In Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization, Samuel Gregg explains how this right understanding of the relationship between faith and reason generates recognizably Western ideas, commitments, and institutions.  Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization Samuel Gregg Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization Samuel Gregg Gateway Editions. 256 pp. We can all see that faith without reason is benighted at best, fanatical and violent at worst. But too many forget that reason, stripped of faith, is subject to its own pathologies. A supposedly… Read More

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Why Christians Should Never Retire

Christians may be free to “retire” from their occupation, but as disciples of Christ we aren’t ever free to retire from serving God and others. If we’re fortunate enough to be freed from the demands of working for a living, that opens a door of opportunity to do more work for the kingdom using the wisdom, experience, talents, and resources the Holy Spirit has given us through a lifetime of discipleship. If this sounds like “retire but don’t retire,” that sums it up well. Retire or don’t from your job or career; but if you do retire, then imagine and plan for a retirement that is different than the world envisions. What Reimagined Retirement Looks Like In my book Reimagine Retirement: Planning and Living for the Glory of God, I look at the biblical and historical perspective on retirement and then describe what a Christian “reimagined retirement” might look like. I describe it this way: A reimagined retirement is one that is planned, structured, lived, and continually re-examined in light of sound biblical doctrine, principles, and practice. It is a retirement lived for the glory of God, his kingdom, and the good of his people. (44) Retirement may mean a new season of life, but it doesn’t mean we should stop growing and investing our time, talents, and treasure in God’s kingdom-building work. All our personal and material gifts, whether we have much or little, are good gifts from God that can be used in retirement for our joy, others’ good, and God’s glory (1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10–11; 1 Tim. 4:14). All of us have been given gifts in various measures from God in the form of skills, talents, resources, and abilities.  Here are four kinds of stewardship. 1. Stewardship of Time: Serving and Mentoring One of the… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 15

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 16:13-28; Acts 23:1-11; Psalm 37:23-40, Exodus 38-40. Upon first gloss, the seeming tedious detail regarding the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus doesn’t seem to hold much for the New Covenant Believer. But contained throughout is the portrayal of a God who is involved in the building of His “Temple” Down to the smallest details. A. There is nothing in your life or mine that escapes His notice or attention. B. There is no accident in how we were wrought, and in what settings He has placed us as pleases Him best and ​optimizes ​us for His glory. Note that some materials needed to be cut, some polished, etched, shaped, spun, twilled, hammered, sewn, and otherwise formed. He does this all through the events of our lives. Not only is there workmanship, but each material is also specially chosen with its unique characteristics. Does the thread bemoan it is not the overlaying gold? Does the lampstand fret it is not the altar of incense? Do the curtains wish they were the laver? Father forgive us. C. There are the many who all make their contributions, and there are the several gifted who are utilized to bring it all to pass. Christ is building His Church today with no less care or attention to detail. If you are born again, it is no accident. Your self, your individual characteristics are part and parcel of how He has deigned to construct this perfect edifice for His glory. No one too small, too insignificant, too tall, too fat, too ugly, too talented, too smart, too uneducated, too broken, too old or too young. In His hand and with His skill, each chosen for their part, their role – and without a single one, the whole would not be… Read More

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9 Things You Should Know About Family Structure

In a new article for The Atlantic, David Brooks argues that “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake.” Brooks claims that, “The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.” The article has provoked a wide range of responses (see, for example, this symposium at the Institute for Family Studies) about the best arrangement for families. Here are nine things you should know about family structure. 1. A family is commonly defined as the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of either two parents rearing their children, or various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family. The three primary types of family structure are nuclear families (two parents and their child or children), extended families (a family that extends beyond the nuclear family, consisting of parents like father, mother, and their children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, all living in the same household or in close proximity), and single parent families (a parent or guardian who lives with a child or children and who does not have a spouse or live-in partner). 2. The term “nuclear family” originated in the 1920s, and was originally used in academic fields such as anthropology and sociology The Oxford English Dictionary claims the term was coined by Bronisław Malinowski, considered a founder of social anthropology. At the time, the word nuclear was associated more with the Latin nucleus, meaning “kernel,” than with atomic energy. Thus, when applied to the family, it refers to the core members, usually parents and children. 3. Despite a common assumption, the nuclear family wasn’t created after the Industrial Revolution. Using English parish records and other demographic sources, some historians discovered that the nuclear… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 14

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 16:1-12; Acts 22; Psalm 37:1-22, Exodus 35-37. There is so much to be gleaned from these 12 verses in Matt. 16. Some background might help.  First, the Pharisees. They were Evangelical Fundamentalists of their day and had great sway among the masses. They were Legalists – but also held strongly to the oral tradition. Second, the Sadducees. They were religious Liberals and the ruling Elite. They gave authority only to the Torah – the 1st 5 Books of Moses and recognized no other prophets, etc. They Rejected oral tradition but we’re steeped in ceremonial exactness. Josephus says they were boorish and vulgar. (A parallel to Hollywood – elite but vulgar) In league with the Romans. Acts 23:8 tells us they believed in no resurrection, no angels, no spirit. That body & soul dissolve @ death. God is not concerned with right or wrong doing. Pharisees & Sadducees: Both opposed Christ AND each other. And here, both came to “test” Jesus by asking for a sign from heaven. NOTE:  1. There will always be those who demand that God prove Himself to their satisfaction or they will not believe. This was central to the temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness, and it will be central to the temptations the Enemy still lays on the shoulder of the Church in our day. This betrays a fundamental upside down reasoning on their part. God as Creator has every right to demand what He will from the Creature. We have no right to demand anything of Him The one “sign” which transcends all the rest, is His rising from the dead. The sign… Read More

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6 Ways to Watch Your Heart in Ministry

Ministry can be tough and wearying in this broken and painful world. What does it mean to entrust our souls to God while serving as caregiver or mentor for hurting and brokenhearted women? Ellen Dykas addresses both the dangers and also the joys of being poured out into the lives of others, with a focus on Christ-centered practical wisdom for our own hearts. Transcript The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.  Ellen Dykas: I’d like to begin our time this afternoon with a letter. “Dear friends and faithful supporters, I want to thank you for your years of support in so many ways. But I do need to share some news that is both very sad and humbling for me. I was removed as a women’s ministry director of Harvest USA last month. While I can’t share all the details, I want to confess that I’ve lived with several secret sin struggles for the past two years, including an ungodly relationship that came to light a few months ago. I’m sorry for the shock and disappointment of this. Will you forgive me?” This, my friends, is fake news. By God’s grace, this never happened, but it could or it could have been alcohol or TV or buying addiction. I could have just been being so exhausted from the ministry that I just wanted to quit. Maybe just getting to that place of “You know what? It’s not worth it. Who cares?” Or maybe just a place of burnout and just not believing the Bible anymore. I’ve learned over the past 30 years of ministry how important it is to have not only a loving heart but a wise heart as a woman in ministry, in… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 13

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 15:21-39; Acts 21:27-40; Psalm 36, Exodus 34. Exodus 34 is an astounding chapter on a number of fronts. The grace of God in His restoring the writing on the tablets. His stunning revelation of Himself while hiding Moses in the cleft of the Rock. The renewal of His covenant. More actually like making an entirely new covenant after the first was shattered – a precursor of the New Covenant to come. And this almost off-handed comment in vs. 20: “None shall appear before me empty handed.” Set in the context of God outlining certain sacrificial regulations, we might be tempted to run over it too quickly. But the phrase contains an absolutely critical element of true worship. No one is to approach God in worship “empty handed.” In other words, without a fitting sacrifice. And here is how that applies to you and me today in our present context: No worship of God is acceptable apart from the context of a sacrifice for sin. The sacrifice we bring, is the Lamb slain at Calvary. There can be no true worship of the living God apart from Christ. He is the one mediator between God and man, the one acceptable sacrifice for sin. In a generation where we tend to think of worship only in terms of the music portion of a church service, this insight is vitally important. For if our worship is devoid of recognizing and depending wholly upon the she blood of Jesus Christ on our behalf – our worship is unacceptable drivel. Oh it may be pretty. It may appeal to our senses. But if the cross… Read More

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Church Planting in (Spiritually Desolate) Dublin

Acts 29: Churches Planting Churches Ireland has a rich history of faith in the living God. At one time, it was one of the highest church-attending nations worldwide. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Ireland’s modern population is suffering from spiritual famine. While other world religions like Islam and Romanian Orthodox are on the rise in Dublin, the fastest-growing religious worldview is that of the “nones,” those with no religion at all. Contrastly, evangelical Christian denominations are steadily declining. Today there is approximately one church for every 40,000 people living in Dublin. Church planting in this postmodern context is difficult. The required financial investment is high. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Yet, for pastors like Mark Smith and others, the commitment to disciple-making and church planting in Dublin is unwavering due to their unshakeable hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, I’m excited to have Mark Smith with me on the podcast. Mark is married to Philippa and serves as lead pastor of City Church Dublin. He also serves as the Acts 29 Ireland Area Lead. Listen to this episode of Churches Planting Churches. Transcript The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Tony Merida: Welcome to “Churches Planting Churches,” a podcast on the theology and practice of church planting. I’m your host, Tony Merida. Ireland has a rich history of faith in the living God. At one time, it was one of the highest church-attending nations worldwide. Sadly, it’s no longer the case. Ireland’s modern population suffers from spiritual famine. While other world religions like Islam and Romanian Orthodox are on the rise in Dublin, the fastest growing religious worldview is that of the nuns or those with no… Read More

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Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 12

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 15:1-20; Acts 21:1-26; Psalm 35, Exodus 32-33.  ​Make no mistake, seeking the Lord always requires some sort of “going out.” Of stepping aside from the ordinary in time, thought, and yes, at times even place. It is true that God is with us everywhere. It is true that God is not found in a specific location. And yet, seeking God takes us beyond the mundane. You may live with your spouse or children, but you know full well that such day-to-day living is not the same as closeness and intimacy. For these, one must go out – step aside from the norm. So let me ask, do you ever go out from your normal routine to seek God? Is there time set aside for just that? Is there effort made to be with His people for the purpose of seeking Him in worship and to hear His Word preached? Is there time for more than just passing chit-chat with God so that prayer is a true meeting, face to face? As our text notes, everyone who sought the Lord, took time to break off from the norm – to go outside “the camp”, the ​regular​, the routine? And it is so even today. He is there. But you need to step aside in seeking Him. Or you will not know Him. Know His ways. Know His heart. Know the reality of another of today’s texts: When His Spirit says directly to your soul “I am your salvation.” Such assurance comes to those who step outside their day – to seek Him. If only for a few minutes. Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) — “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Share this: Like this: Like Loading… Visit ResponsiveReiding

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