15 Quotes from Foundations of the Christian Faith

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James Montgomery Boice was the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until his death in 2000. He also wrote a book called “The Doctrines of Grace” which was heavily influential in my life.

To purchase a copy of Foundations of the Christian Faith, click here.

 

 

1. Knowledge of God takes place in the context of Christian piety, worship, and devotion (pg. 9).

2. A weak god produces no strong followers, nor does he deserve to be worshiped. A strong God, the God of the Bible, is a source of strength to those who know Him (pg. 12).

3. To know God would require change (pg. 19).

4. The church did not create the canon; if it had, it would place itself over Scripture. Rather the church submitted to Scripture as a higher authority (pg. 34).

5. The power of the living Christ operating by means of the Holy Spirit through the written Word changes lives (pg. 56).

6. A God who needs to be defended is no God. Rather, the God of the Bible is the self-existent one who is the true defender of His people (pg. 95).

7. Because God knows, believers can rest (pg. 134).

8. The blessings of salvation come, not by fighting against God’s ways or by hating Him for what we consider to be an injustice, but rather by accepting His verdict on our true nature as fallen beings and turning to Christ in faith for salvation (pg. 204).

9. The initiating cause in salvation is God’s free grace, but the formal cause is, and has always been, the death of the mediator (pg. 259).

10. In the act of propitiation, we have the great good news that the one who is our Creator, but from whom we have turned in sin, is nevertheless at the same time our Redeemer (pg. 322).

11. Only after we have come to appreciate the meaning of the Cross can we appreciate the love behind it. Seeing this, Augustine once called the Cross “a pulpit” from which Christ preached God’s love to the world (pg. 337).

12. To confess that Jesus is the Christ is to confess the Christ of the Scriptures. To deny that Christ, by whatever means, is heresy – a heresy with terrible consequences (pg. 445).

13. If we are secure in Christ, although we may stumble and fall, we know that nothing will ever pluck us out of Christ’s hand (pg. 464).

14. Living by grace actually leads to holiness, for our desire is to please the one who has saved us by that grace (pg. 492).

15. Perseverance means that once one is in the family of God, he or she is always in that family (pg. 534).

For more information on Foundations of the Christian Faith, visit Intervarsity Press here.


Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He serves as Minister of Students at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY. He also serves as the Executive Assistant of the Nelson Baptist Association. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies

 

The Shock of Sin and Grace in the Life of a Leader

By Mathew Gilbert

It’s always difficult to see someone you really respect fall deep into sin. Even the slightest accusation of moral failure in someone you respect changes the way you look at them forever. When we see crucial authority figures in our lives fall into sin, we struggle to trust not only that person, but that position in the future. If you catch one of your parents having an affair, you will struggle to ever trust them again. And you will also have a negative view of marriage, which likely means it will affect your own marriage if unchecked. If you hear about your pastor, teacher, or coach indulging in sin, your trust in them and their position will be shaken. It is so hard to think about people you respect sinning so deeply. It’s one thing to know we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but it’s quite another to see sin creep out of the hearts of those we most respect.

I think about popular pastors who have recently been relieved of pastoral duties due to moral or leadership failures. There was a literal shockwave that ran through my social media feeds when Darrin Patrick and Perry Noble were outed for deep, latent sin in their lives and ministries. In our celebrity pastor culture, it is easy to forget that even the most charismatic leader is not immune to sin. I have lamented the number of times I’ve seen “This doesn’t surprise me” or, “I told you so” in response to the meteoric fall of evangelical leaders like Driscoll, Tchividjian, Patrick, Noble, and others. There is no place in the church for this kind of proud posturing. The shock of sin has drastic immediate and long-term effects on a church when one of her leaders falls.

I believe the life of David is a testament to the shock of sin and grace in the life of a leader. There are many lessons to be learned from David’s fall into sin, but two that help us when leaders in our lives sin revolve around the shock and awe of sin and grace.

David was a man after God’s heart and handpicked by the Lord to lead Israel as king. God even promised that David’s kingly line would culminate in a kingdom that would never end. One day, a Davidic King would sit on his throne and never give it up. David was righteous and desired to obey the Lord. But, David surprised his own people and even us by falling into a deep spiral of sin. He fell for a woman who was not his wife, and was in fact someone else’s wife! Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, David had the woman’s (Bathsheba) husband (Uriah) killed. David gave in to temptation and brought everyone around him down with him. Failing to kill his sin led him to continue in his sin. Instead of confessing his sin and trusting God to cover it with his grace, David tried to cover his sin by killing another man.
Despite David’s shocking downward spiral into dark sin, God’s shows him tremendous mercy. When David was confronted with his sin by Nathan the prophet, he confessed his sin to God and received his compassion. David shares what this experience was like in Psalm 51. There are a couple things that do surprise us about David’s sin and God’s grace that really shouldn’t.

First, we are surprised that a man like David can sin the way he did. While we should expect to grow in Christlikeness throughout our Christian life, sin remains in our hearts until we die or Christ returns. Anyone is capable of dreadful sinful actions, because the dreaded enemy of sin has invaded the heart of every person. So, don’t be surprised when you or people you respect sin. Sin should always be unwanted, but it should never been unexpected.
It is a sign of either a healthy or deceived church when the people are shocked when a pastor falls into sin. It is healthy, in one sense, to be shocked at deep sin in the life of a pastor. Christians are on a path of righteousness. They are being conformed into the image of Christ. Day by day, sin is being rooted out of their hearts. However, sanctification isn’t an overnight process. It is a lifelong process. There are many battles–some won, others lost. But, we fight knowing the war has been won by Christ on the cross as he defeated the dominions of darkness and death. While we should expect sin to still be in the heart and life of ourselves and our leaders, our hearts should be broken and in one sense shocked by unrepentant sin in the life of leaders.

Second, we are surprised that God would show David such compassion in the midst of his deep and dark sin. But, we know the character of God. He is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love (Ex. 34:6). We should never be surprised at God’s grace, but we should always be amazed by it. Learn from David’s sin and God’s grace that covering your own sin with more sin will never satisfy. However, trusting God’s grace in the cross of Christ to cover your sin will always satisfy.

As deep as sin goes in the human heart, the grace of God in the gospel goes even deeper. Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, Darrin Patrick, Perry Noble, and any other Christian leader who has fallen into deep sin has not exhausted the riches of God’s grace in Christ. The tank of God’s benevolence toward them isn’t on empty. It is as full as it has always been. And assuming these men are in Christ, there is a fountain of mercy and forgiveness for the mountain of sin they have allowed to grow.

The fall of leaders in our lives is devastating. It is detrimental to the influence of a local church and the Church as a whole. No one is helped when a pastor bullies his way to power, commits an affair, or launders money from the church fund. We should guard our hearts from the treacherous lure of sin, knowing that none of us are beyond a Davidic descent into a pit of sin. But we should always marvel at the grace of God, which he bestows on unworthy and fallen sinners like us. As devastating as the fall of broken leaders is, the restoration of repentant leaders by God’s grace is an incomparably sweet reality. Whenever you see a leader in your life fail morally and fall into sin, don’t point your fingers and shake your head in arrogant self-aggrandizement. Instead, bow your head in humble prayer that God would restore these men to himself and their people.

God pursues us in his grace like a relentless mother searching for her lost son at the mall. He will not rest until his children are found! And for those of us in Christ, he will bring to completion the work he began in us (Phil. 1:6).


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

30 Quotes from “Church in Hard Places” by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley

Church in Hard Places is available on Amazon (here). It is an excellent new book by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley. Below are 30 quotes from the Church in Hard Places. 

  1. The one unique thing that a local church has to offer to people mired in poverty is the gospel of Jesus Christ (pg. 28).
  2. The gospel word is the message of God to people who are caught in the complex patterns of personal sin and systematic challenges that comprise poverty (pg. 28).
  3. The church is at the heart of God’s saving plan. His love does not rest on a multitude of isolated individuals, but it calls out and creates a people who can now be called “God’s people” 1 Pet. 2:9-10 (pg. 31).
  4. God has designed the church to be the vehicle that takes his saving message to the world (pg. 31).
  5. Local churches teach the Word of God week in and week out, both to disciple believers and to evangelize believers (pg. 31).
  6. A local church is a community of the reconciled-those reconciled to God and to each other (pg. 31).
  7. A false or even an incomplete gospel is like a sugar pill. It might fool the patient into thinking he will get better, but it doesn’t have the power to cure him (pg. 38).
  8. The gospel is profound and beautiful enough to occupy the most brilliant scholar, but it is also simple enough for a child to understand and believe (pg. 38).
  9. The Bible challenges us to own our sin and take responsibility for the things that we have done (pg. 45).
  10. Poverty, violence, and injustice are real problems at a personal and societal level. But they fare the symptoms of the spiritual disease we all carry around with us. Treating the symptoms is good and noble, but without the gospel cure, the patient will surely die (pg. 52).
  11. True doctrine is life giving and sanctifying; false teaching destroys the soul (pg. 67).
  12. The local church is God’s primary evangelism strategy (pg. 87).
  13. Local churches do local evangelism (pg. 88).
  14. God has chosen the local church, and no other human organization, to be his kingdom representative to the world (pg. 88).
  15. The church is central to the purposes of God and is of benefit to the world around us-even today in our increasingly hostile culture (pg. 88).
  16. A culture that despises any kind of authority needs to see healthy models of leadership and submission. And the best place for people to see this modeled is in the local church (pg. 92).
  17. We cannot transform sinners; we can only teach and persuade them of the truths of the gospel as revealed in the Bible. The rest depends on prayer and the sovereign, electing grace of God’s Holy Spirit (pg. 99-100).
  18. If a church hopes to see people from needy places come to Christ, then they must be sure that those people are welcomed into a full place in the life of the congregation (pg. 125).
  19. Healthy practices of membership and discipline play a crucial role in cultivating and protecting the distinctiveness of a church (pg. 128).
  20. We must be aware of our motivations because they can come back to haunt us if we don’t thin deeply before we engage in any kind of ministry (pg. 139).
  21. People are dying without Christ; that’s the bottom line (pg. 141).
  22. Micromanaging does not equip people or build a team; delegating authority does (pg. 148).
  23. Leaders in established positions can too easily project the sense that only they have the skills and knowledge necessary for leadership (pg. 161).
  24. Churches and institutional leaders need to stop overlooking those who lack professional qualifications or who don’t fit into their social circle (pg. 161).
  25. Our job is not to fix whole cultures, but to share the good news and to disciple those God draws to himself (pg. 166).
  26. Discipleship without deep friendship is merely club membership (pg. 170).
  27. Starbucks sells coffee, Listerine makes mouthwash, and the church holds out the gospel and trains people to obey by doing the work of ministry (pg. 174).
  28. Deeds of mercy can also show the power of the gospel to change us (pg. 174).
  29. Feeding a lazy man simply encourages his sin and enables him to avoid the consequences of his actions (pg. 177).
  30. Mercy ministry needs to be done in the context of relationships and accountability (pg. 179).

Evan Knies is married to Lauren and is a student at SBTS. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.