Before he was the pastor of the largest of church in London, president of the Pastors’ College, founder of an orphanage and dozens of other charitable institutions, and read by people from all over the world, C. H. Spurgeon pastored a small Baptist church in the village of Waterbeach, about five miles outside of Cambridge. At that time, few could have predicted what was to come. And yet, God used his faithful ministry to bring about a transformation to that village during his short time there.Read More
The value of the Kingdom of God is unparalleled in these two short parables of Jesus. Here are some brief illustrations and quotes that will help reinforce the priceless treasure Jesus offers you and me.Read More
When we think of some of church history’s great preachers, we naturally think of them at the height of their ministries: preaching to thousands, organizing conferences, publishing books. But this is not where their ministries began. At one point in time, the greatest of men were unknown and inexperienced, and they had many things to learn before they became the preachers we know.
One such person was J. C. Ryle. As the Bishop of Liverpool, he would defend orthodoxy within the Church of England against modern theology, Anglo-Catholicism, and the growth of the Keswick Conference. But long before he ever became a bishop, his first ministry position came in 1841, the curacy in the district of Exbury within the parish of Fawley, “a dreary, desolate, solitary place.”Read More
No longer serving as the human gateways to God, these men and their office became reborn as shepherds of the flock of Christ. In this era, we see the rise of the pastor as we know them today. By the end of Hudson’s “Puritan Age,” it was firmly established in title, practice, and clothing that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” and the congregation looked to their “minister” to point them towards Him.Read More
Augustine, perhaps church history’s most towering figure, didn’t think his work would be remembered. In his widely read and celebrated autobiographical Confessions, he wondered: “But to whom am I telling this story? Not to you my God; rather in your presence I am relating these events to my own kin, the human race, however few of them may chance upon these writings of mine.”Read More
Historical theology is a scalpel: both dangerous and vital. In the right hands, it breathes life into the everyday truths of our beliefs. It stretches human skin onto abstract doctrines and warns of errors long passed. But without the proper filter, the historically-minded theologian waits like a nineteenth century Roman brigand among shadowy ruins flush with their crusty bag of anecdotes. The unsuspecting sermon that does pass by doesn’t stand a chance as the words of God are forced to fit into a clever, human narrative.Read More
The story is familiar: A bright young theologian agrees to pastor a church torn by factions and needing reform. Before long, he is plunged into controversy and conflict as he seeks to implement change. The congregation appreciates his preaching at times, but his call to discipleship seems too zealous, even extreme. His attempts to re-organize the church for better pastoral care are met with opposition. Theological controversy arises as he responds to false teaching harshly, raising concern from the other leaders. In the second year, the young pastor pushes for the right to practice church discipline and this proves to be too much for the church. The young pastor is fired, and the church is left worse off than before.
Is this the story of some young, restless, and reformed pastor? Perhaps a fresh seminary graduate who came across some 9Marks materials and sought to implement them in his church?
Actually, this is the story of John Calvin.Read More