But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

9Marks - Apologetic Report
Thursday, 23 May 2019 22:51

4 Reasons You Should Preach Through Haggai

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One of the biggest challenges of preaching Haggai is simply finding it in our Bibles. When people spend time in the Old Testament, they usually gravitate toward the Pentateuch, maybe the Psalms, or one of the major prophets. Few venture into the labyrinth of minor prophets and, once there,...

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Jeffrey D. Arthurs, Preaching as Reminding: Stirring Memory in an Age of Forgetfulness. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. 166 pages.

What is preaching? How you answer that question determines not only what you do as a preacher but how you do it. While affirming commonly-accepted definitions...

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Friday, 17 May 2019 00:59

4 Reasons You Should Preach Through Zephaniah

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We can take great joy in the God who takes joy in us. Nestled in a little-read part of the Old Testament, the book of Zephaniah calls God’s people to relentless hope in the God of justice and joy.

If you preach Zephaniah to your congregation, what will they hear?

1) They’ll hear about the...

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019 19:00

Book Review: Disruptive Witness, by Alan Noble

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Alan Noble, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age. InterVarsity Press, 2018. 180 pages.

What should evangelism look like in the modern world? How can believers work to make the gospel heard above the din of smart phone notifications and competing visions of the good life? And...

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Monday, 13 May 2019 16:10

Episode 87: On Church Membership

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In this episode of Pastors’ Talk, Jonathan chats with Mark about our new Journal—Church Membership: Following the Lord Together.

Authors: Daniel Gardner

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Wednesday, 08 May 2019 18:05

Book Review: Mere Calvinism, by Jim Orrick

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Jim Scott Orrick, Mere Calvinism.P&R Publishing, 2019. 219 pages.

Calvinism is cool. The TULIP is a fashionable flower these days.

Collin Hansen chronicled the emergence of the reformed resurgence nearly a decade ago in Young, Restless and Reformed. Since that time, a number of pastors have...

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The word “gospel” gets thrown around a lot these days. But what does it mean? What is the gospel? What common misunderstandings are popular among Christians?

In this episode of Pastors’ Talk, Jonathan sat down with Greg Gilbert—author of our book What Is the Gospel?&mdash...

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If you’re looking for the words “thou shalt be a church member” in Scripture, you won’t find them. But if that troubles you, let me encourage you to think a little differently about how to arrive at biblical conclusions. The Bible doesn’t necessarily provide us with a...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:59

Church Membership Is an Office and a Job

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Christians have a long tradition of referring to elders and deacons as church “officers.” The nomenclature rightly recognizes the role and responsibilities that Scripture gives to our leaders. It also points to the honor due to pastors (1 Tim. 5:17). People show respect to officers,...

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Ask a pastor today what he plans to do to build community in his church and you’ll probably get a quick, confident reply: “small groups.” For many churches, small groups are central, even essential. This kind of prominence is novel, given that modern small group ministries only...

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So as to begin on the surest footing, allow me to list all the verses that directly address the topic of young people (that is, under 18 years old) and church membership:

 

That’s right. There are none. Never does the Lord tell us: this is how the new covenant people of God ought to...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:05

Why Russian Churches Need Membership

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Church membership, once a prominent practice among Russian evangelicals, has been largely abandoned by Russian churches. This severing from biblical practice has had negative effects on the health of our churches. At the same time, by looking at our past, Russian churches have the opportunity to...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:01

Why African Churches Need Membership

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I’m always astounded by the number of people in my country who flock to churches on Sunday. If you asked the average Zambian whether they go to church, they’ll almost always answer in the affirmative. I assume their answer would remain the same if you then asked them if they’re...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:00

How to Conduct a Membership Interview

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The popularity of individualistic, private Christianity creates and perpetuates serious challenges. For instance, Christians have little sense of their collective responsibility for one another’s discipleship. Nominalism abounds. And few Christians fully grasp what it means to be a church...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:00

Considering 7 Membership Exceptions

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Normally, the members of your local church should be willing and able to attend regularly (Heb. 10:24–25), and to serve and build up the body (Rom. 12:3–13; Eph. 4:15–16). But pastors know that life is not normal. Pastoring is as much about the exceptions as it is about the rules....

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If you’re persuaded that church membership is biblical, then you must have a process for taking in new members. A church’s membership process matters not only because of what it seeks to accomplish, but because of what itcommunicates about the importance of church membership.

At...

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There’s something about the design of an object that helps you understand its purpose or function. No one vacuums a carpet with a toaster because a toaster is not designed for that purpose. A toaster is designed for the purpose of toasting bread.

Likewise, the local congregation is designed to...

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Editor’s note: We asked three pastors to share a story of restoration—that is, someone who had been restored to membership after being disciplined for unrepentant sin.

* * * * *

By Phil Newton

While visiting with a man to rebuke him for disrupting his marriage over pornography, another...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:00

Why East Asian Churches Need Membership

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“Membership? What are you talking about? I don’t find words like ‘membership’ in the Scriptures.” “This is a worldly idea rather than a biblical one. It turns the church into a club.” “Churches should be family, and membership is too formal and...

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I can still remember my excitement at seeing my name on the final basketball roster. I made the cut. High school basketball tryouts were over, the team was set, and my name was on the list. I got the shoes, the jersey, and a locker in the team locker room.

Now the real work was about to begin:...

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Sadly, many professing Christians today see little need for “organized” religion. In fact, we regularly have to make arguments in our new members class for why church membership is both biblical and personally beneficial.

And yet, pastors committed to the importance of church membership...

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I pastor an international church. That means that we’re primarily a church for “expats”—expatriots—folks who no longer reside in their home country. Our members come from a broad array of cultural backgrounds, in addition to living in a culture that few (if any) of us...

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Mark Dever and I were conducting a typical membership interview at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. As always, Mark asked if the prospective member was willing to sign the church’s statement of faith, indicating his willingness to be held accountable to the truths confessed by our church. The...

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Monday, 06 May 2019 11:00

Two Prooftexts for Church Membership

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In my previous article in this Journal, I noted that not every theological question can be answered with a prooftext. At the same time, as a professor of mine used to say, “there’s nothing wrong with a prooftext… as long as the text proves what you say it does.”

Having a few...

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Let’s begin with a parable:

A man had a hundred sheep, and one of them had gone astray. As he sat out to leave the ninety-nine in search of the one he paused and thought for a moment. Wait, maybe I had ninety-nine to begin with. He turned back and went about his business. The End.

Mean...

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