“Church Growth New Testament Style”

[Dr. Henry P. Hamann, “The Translation of Ephesians 4:12–A Necessary Revision,” Concordia Journal 14(1) (Jan., 1988), p. 49 (the whole article is good):]

If a pastor aims at a congregation whose members live by faith active in love–which is the only thing that finally counts in Christ Jesus (Gal. 5:6), and if he were sure that all his flock were doing just that, there would be no need at all for any further organization in his congregation beyond the barest minimum for the sake of order. There would be no stewardship and evangelism committees, no frantic searching and scratching of heads, so that every member in the congregation would have something to do, no elaborate programs to show that everybody keeps busy in some spiritual activity. But there would be a mighty spiritual, churchly movement, as all members of the congregation would live their free lives of faith, loving their fellowmen and serving them in freedom, heedless of self, as the whole body of Christ would grow and build itself up in love, each part doing its work. And that mighty spiritual movement would exert a tremendous attraction on the unbelieving world, as the Holy Spirit would, through it and the preached Word of the Gospel, add to the church daily those who were to be saved.


I Should Be Putting This in My Paper… (More on Matthew 28)

But why not get feedback from all the good people who are nice enough to read what we write?

More on Matthew 28: As I think about how it is that we’ve come to take it for granted that every individual Christian is supposed to carry out the “Great Commission” in the world, I think I know the cause of so much of the acrimony that goes along with the subject. That is, as soon as the issue is broached of the “who go” (as my professor likes to say), the hearer thinks that he or she is being told not to tell people “about Jesus.”

[Now, there is a question whether the New Testament even speaks that way, i.e., “telling people about Jesus.” In some ways, “sharing Jesus” is closer to, though not quite the same as, euangelizo-ing someone. Different subject, though.]

But the interpretation of Matthew 28:16-20 does not really have anything to do with who is allowed (a Law way of speaking, if there is one) to speak Jesus (in)to people. It is more about whom Jesus Himself put in place to deliver His gifts to people. The question is not: is it given to pastors or to the people? That’s “who is the greatest” nonsense. The gifts of God, namely, Jesus Christ and His forgiveness of sinners, are given to the big “C” Church catholic. But no one can give gifts to himself. So, Jesus gave the Church the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/teachers to: 1. equip the saints; 2. to do the work of ministry; 3. build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8ff.). It is a Gospel gift of the Lord that we have pastors to give us the Word and the Sacraments, to do the work of the Church as it makes disciples by means of baptizing and teaching.

For far too long, the “making disciples” has been discussed with little or no reference to “baptizing” and “teaching.” Or, because of the presuppositions about making disciples, we get into arguments about why everyone can’t baptize, and why everyone can’t teach (whether they know what they are teaching or not).

Just some thoughts on a cloudy St. Louis day. But this is very good for that.


To Gamble or Not to Gamble

Gambling–that issue has been discussed among some of my friends in recent days. Some will say that it is a form of entertainment, and, therefore, acceptable. How is it any different than paying in order to attend a baseball game, the argument will go. You receive entertainment.

Agree? Disagree? How would you respond?