Church & Ministry

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Posted 7/3/15 at 2:16 PM | Damon Rambo

Premillennialism is not the Problem: A Response to American Vision

This morning, as I sat on the couch drinking my first cup of coffee, catching up on the day's news, I happened upon an article by Joel McDurmon, writer for American Vision. For those who do not know who this is, or who are involved very little in theological circles, let me catch you up.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
American Vision is a group of reformed pastors, preachers, and teachers that teach Christian Reconstructionism.
Christian Reconstructionism is a movement founded by Rousas John Rushdoony, based on a theonomic, postmillennial understanding of scripture.
Theonomy is the belief that the civil law of God found in the Old Testament is applicable to all nations (not just Israel, as dispensationalists believe).
Postmillennialism is a view of eschatology (end times theory) that sees the Church as playing a central role in bringing about the "1000 year kingdom" spoken of in Revelation 20:6. Also, they believe that Christ will return physically at the end of this 1000 years rather than at the beginning, like premilllennials do.
Whew! Are you caught up, yet, or confused?
If you are confused just know this; Joel McDurmon and American Vision are Christian brothers who believe the Gospel will conquer the world, including world governments, without any of the normal events you think of when you think of end-times Bible teaching (the Antichrist, rapture, False Prophet, Great Tribulation, etc.). They believe we (the Church) will "win" and we will win (this is the important part, so pay attention), BEFORE Christ returns. FULL POST

Posted 7/2/15 at 4:15 PM | Song Quichocho

Church Gets $80,000 Knocked Off Of Their Priciple

Churches can have a particularly difficult time finding financing. This tends to be the rule rather than the exception whether it is their first time seeking financing or later financing. Griffin Capital Funding just had a Baptist Church in MD approach us looking for a loan of $750,000 to refinance their debt from a large national bank. The church had been making all of their payments on time to the lender, but when their loan came due the bank was unwilling to refinance their loan. The bank’s lending philosophy had changed, and they were exiting the church market. As a result, the church had tried to get a loan through several local banks, but they were declined. The national bank was getting frustrated that the church was unable to refinance their loan and offered the church a discount of $80,000 if they could find a new lender.

“From my initial conversation with the church, I could tell they were not happy with the way they had been treated by the national bank. They were being forced out, and for no good reason”, stated John Berardino, President of Griffin Capital Funding. After their financial statements were reviewed, Griffin presented an offer to the church which would reduce the interest rate they were currently paying while allowing them to take advantage of the discount they were being offered from their current lender. The church accepted the proposal and Griffin set about gathering the necessary documents. “I submitted the loan to underwriting and very quickly got an approval which made the church extremely happy. What had seemed to be a negative situation for the church ended up being very positive for them.” Ultimately, Griffin closed the loan for the church reducing not only their interest rate and monthly payment but also reducing their principal balance in the process. The church has been left in a better position and a stressful situation has now been placed behind them. FULL POST

Posted 7/1/15 at 12:28 PM | George Sarris

Rethinking Hell Conference Challenges Beliefs

“Historic? I’m not sure it’s too strong a word. I can’t think of anything quite like this!”

That’s how Dr. Jerry Walls described the second Rethinking Hell Conference that was held at the prestigious Fuller Theological Seminary June 18-20.

It brought together scholars, pastors and laypeople from the US, Canada and as far away as the UK to discuss an issue that has been the subject of debate and division during most of the history of the Christian Church:

What happens to sinners after we die? 

Three very different views have existed from the early church to the present day – each represented by respected leaders . . . and each claiming the authority of Scripture for its beliefs.

The Traditional view states that the righteous will go to heaven, and the wicked will experience endless, conscious suffering in hell.

With Conditional Immortality, eternal life is conditioned on salvation, and only some will meet that condition. The saved go to heaven. The rest die, perhaps suffering for some time after death, until they finally cease to exist. This view is sometimes called Annihilation. FULL POST

Posted 7/1/15 at 10:21 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Humor and Grief in Ministry Go Hand in Hand

“There is….a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The doctors at Houston’s M. D. Anderson Medical Center confirmed to Ted that the lung cancer had indeed metasticized to his brain. “Perhaps six months, more or less,” said the doctor when Ted asked how long he had. The worst news imaginable.

However, that night the doctor called his room.

“I’ve been studying the brain scans,” he said. “And I believe yours is Primary Lung Cancer which has moved to the brain.” He went on to say that Primary Brain Cancer is not treatable, but a metasticized Primary Lung Cancer behaves differently in the brain and is often treatable.

There was hope, after all.

When he got off the phone, Ted explained this to his family. He was quiet a minute, then said, “Well, you know it’s your basic bad situation when you’re praying for lung cancer!”

And they laughed. FULL POST

Posted 6/30/15 at 3:36 PM | Paul Pettit

8 Questions You Can Comfortably Ask A Christian Person

8 Questions You Can Comfortably Ask a Christian Person
Many Christian people (including myself) speak and train in a variety of venues, and we do so because it is important to us to educate non-Christian people about who we are. We get a lot of comments and a lot of questions in those settings, and unless we have specified that a particular topic is off-limits (I never do), we expect and are happy to answer any and all questions that come our way. In that situation, as the old cliché goes, there are no stupid questions.
But there is a big difference between a training session or educational setting and a social or workplace environment. When we speak or train, we make the choice to answer questions, respond to comments, and so on. When we’re eating fast food, shopping at the mall, or just meeting someone for the first time in a social setting, we’re sometimes caught off guard.
So we present “8 Questions You Can Comfortably Ask a Christian Person” (all of which have been said to me at one time or another) as an encouragement to those non-Christian folks outside of a formal educational or training setting.

1. “What did it feel like when you first became a Christian”?
There is no one “feeling.” Christian people have many feelings or sometimes no specific feelings at all when they cross the line. We know what you’re asking, but we just don’t like to pretend that we speak for all Jesus followers. Most Christians who have come out describe the born-again experience as a “settled peace,” or “becoming a new person.”
But Christian transition is not all about feelings – in fact, the social aspects of transition can be far more complicated, complex, and compelling. To ask about feelings alone is to disregard every other aspect of a person as a human being. In addition, some Christians are still quite closeted. Deciding to become a Christian is about adopting a whole new lifestyle…an entirely new way of thinking and acting. FULL POST

Posted 6/30/15 at 1:22 AM | Joseph Duffus

Presbyterian responses to the SCOTUS ruling

The reaction to Friday's Supreme Court decision by the various presbyterian denominations revealed the deep divide between the mainline and the offshoots.

Eco logo

ECO was very prompt in its response, sending an email to its news followers highlighting three anticipated needs for local churches. First, they restated ECO's orthodox belief in Christian marriage as the union of one man and woman. Next, they promised to share practical advice about how the ruling might affect local congregations in a practical way. Finally, they urged their congregations, members and friends to respond in the spirit of the Gospel:

How do we respond now? I think the answer to this question is easy. Preach and live the gospel! Whenever church finds itself at odds with culture, we have the opportunity to thrive in new ways as we live out the gospel in a conflicted context. Let us be people who live the model of Jesus by being welcoming and transforming for all people, in all aspects of our lives. Each of us has places in our lives that need to come under the Lordship of Jesus and the transforming power of the Spirit. Can we be people that welcome and love one another wherever we are, and yet love one another enough to work for mutual transformation? I think we can, and I think that as we do, the gospel will flourish! Let's pray together to that end. (Email from Dana Allin, Synod Executive, ECO) FULL POST

Posted 6/25/15 at 8:58 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

How I Would Pastor Differently

“Keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

The editor’s last question was “What would you do differently if you were going back into the pastorate today?”

After responding to his other seven questions at length (see the previous article on our website), I felt this one needed more reflection and its own space. So, this is my attempt to answer that good question….

Well, first, I’m highly tempted to say….

–I would wonder about that church. Why in the world does it want a 75-year-old has-been as its shepherd? They must be really hard up.

–I would have my head examined. (If Margaret were still living, she might say, “And you’d have to find yourself another wife!” lol)

But seriously.

The question is, if I were to re-enter the pastorate today, what things would I do differently?

A lot would depend. It might depend on the size and demands of the congregation. As with any workman, the size and nature of the task would dictate the number and kinds of tools I brought to the job.

Nothing about what follows should be seen as a complete renunciation of what we did over fifty-plus years of ministry, serving six pastorates and the SBC churches of the New Orleans Association. I did a few things right, if I may say so. I loved the churches, I preached the Bible, and I have loved and honored other ministers. I stayed active physically, trying to take care of the body. After my body protested against jogging, I became a walker, and still am. That has made a world of difference. FULL POST

Posted 6/24/15 at 11:22 PM | Joseph Duffus

C.S Lewis on Schism

C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis believed in a dogmatic Christianity

In a collection of his writings called "God In the Dock," C.S. Lewis answered a question posed to him about possible re-union within the fractured Christian church world.

Lewis: "The time is always ripe for re-union. Divisions between Christians are a sin and a scandal, and Christians ought at all times to be making contributions towards re-union, if it is only by their prayers. I am only a layman and a recent Christian, and I do not know much about these things, but in all the things which I have written and thought I have always stuck to traditional, dogmatic positions. The result is that letters of agreement reach me from what are ordinarily regarded as the most different kinds of Christians; for instance, I get letters from Jesuits, monks, nuns, and also from Quakers and Welsh Dissenters, and so on. So it seems to me that the ‘extremist’ elements in every Church are nearest one another and the liberal and ‘broad-minded’ people in each Body could never be united at all. The world of dogmatic Christianity is a place in which thousands of people of quite different types keep on saying the same thing, and the world of ‘broad-mindedness’ and watered-down ‘religion’ is a world where a small number of people (all of the same type) say totally different things and change their minds every few minutes. We shall never get re-union from them." FULL POST

Posted 6/22/15 at 7:57 PM | Daniel Levite

Make A Friend For Life

‘Make A Friend’ is a tactic that is imperative to the ordinary Christian who wants to make disciples. It is so important to me, that I am going to write this blog in first-person and share my challenges with this part of 'Evangelism For Life'. You see, I have always been content with working, studying, worshiping, praying and learning by myself. It is not an introvert personality, but perhaps close to it. I am happy and content spending time alone, with my wife, with my family or with a special friend or two. Oh, when I am in groups or crowds I can interact and have developed an ability to engage in small talk. However, to really make a friend you need to be a friend and this is where I fall short.

If you are the kind of person who never meets a stranger and can talk to people like you have known them since childhood, this blog entry is probably not for you. Evangelism for Life requires you to learn how to make and keep friends. So right up front I claim to be an amateur in this area.

There are two skills I have learned and developed to make this work for me. First, learn to ask questions. For me, this started in school. I would frequently attend classes that were boring. It was always a challenge to stay awake and I had to find a way to overcome this tendency. So I discovered that listening with the intent of asking questions of the speaker worked like a charm. If I am listening to someone talk and figuring out what questions to ask to better understand their point, I would not get drowsy and found I was no longer bored. As I grew older, this worked in church as well. Even if I was listening to a pastor preach and could not ask questions, the exercise kept me from sleeping. My wife will testify this does not always work, but when I put my mind to it, it is usually successful. Then I learned that sales people ask a number of questions of their prospective customers and these questions were personal in nature. In various classes over the years, I learned asking questions was a great way to show interest in the cares and life of another person. So I started applying it to my evangelism efforts. FULL POST

Posted 6/22/15 at 5:06 PM | Song Quichocho

New 20 Year Fixed Rate Loans for Churches

The world of finance is an ever-changing market. Financial institutions must stay educated about current market information and be willing to make changes to their programs that best reflect the economy while helping their customers.

Griffin Capital Funding, one of the most well-known and respected church financing companies in the country, recently launched a new 20 year fixed loan program with no balloon and totally fixed rates for the entire term of the loan. This distinct program is not available in all markets and is currently only available for loan amounts of $1mm and less. We just closed our first loan under these new terms, and the church received a fixed rate of 4.29%. This program is just like most of our others in that it does not require personal guarantees and it is not a bond, there are no bond fees.

Griffin Capital Funding is currently offering loans to churches ranging in amount from $75,000 to $30,000,000 in most parts of the country. If your church is looking for a loan to purchase, refinance, renovate or construct a building, then please call one of our church loan specialists at (800) 710-6762 to discuss your needs. You can also visit us on the web at www.churchloan.net FULL POST

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