>The Congregational Reformation – Shepherding the Flock

>We’ve all heard of the Protestant Reformation, especially given all the attention it has received lately since this past Saturday was the 492nd anniversary of its beginning. One of the hallmarks of the Reformed branch of the Reformation is the idea of semper reformanda, which is the conviction that the church should constantly be seeking to bring itself into alignment with the teachings of scripture. The Reformation is a reformation that should never end.

So what does this look like in the every day life of a local church? What is involved? What does it take? What practical steps should a pastor and session take to faithfully shepherd their flock into increasing conformity to the word of God?

Over at Letters From Mississippi, David Strain shares 11 recommendations “based on sometimes painful experience and the sanctifying process of still trying to live out these lessons once learned.” Here is a summary:

  1. It must be truth led.
  2. It is a long term venture/ministry.
  3. It is a must to understand that it is an emotional issue, not just cerebral.
  4. It is wholly dependent on pastoral visitation.
  5. It requires humility, consistency, and teachability.
  6. It requires loving attention to the older members of the congregation.
  7. It must be done in a Presbyterian fashion–the session must work together.
  8. It requires patience and maturity.
  9. It must be pursued trusting God to accomplish his ends through his ordinary means of grace.
  10. It must be centered on preaching Christ.
  11. It must be founded on genuine love, fellowship and the congregation’s shared life together.

Pastor Strain provides a wealth of wisdom that will benefit every pastor, elder and church member. It is worth serious consideration. You can read the entire post here.

>Interview on the Church and the Public Square Completed

>Over at Letters from Mississippi, David Strain has posted the last installment of his four-part interview with Darryl Hart. Of particular interest to me is part of his answer to this question: How would you suggest 2K thinking should play out so as to avoid sounding like we are advocating a laissez faire attitude to real social ills?

Second, I do not see why J. Gresham Machen is not a good example of how individual believers can be involved in politics or society while still affirming the spirituality of the church and the enormity of the church’s burden to preach the good news. Machen was active in Democratic politics, wrote lots of letters to editors, joined political organizations, testified before Congress to oppose the Federal Department of Education. He was an active citizen, even while saying the church should not be engaged in politics. Here the distinction between the church’s calling as a corporate body versus the calling of individual Christians was key.

Also, his response to David’s request for Darryl to ground the doctrine of the spirituality of the church from scripture is good. If the interviews get you thinking and you want more to chew on, you can find Darryl’s book here. All four parts are helpful, you can find the first three installments here:

Part I
Part II
Part III