Martin Luther on Predestination

I came across this on J.D. Greear’s blog on predestination:

I was reading through Martin Luther’s Commentary on Romans the other day when I re-encountered a jewel of a passage in his introduction about predestination. Regardless of your view on Calvinism, I think this a very important insight.

“Follow the order of this Epistle. Worry first about Christ and the Gospel, that you may recognize your sin and His grace; then fight your sin, as the first eight chapters here have taught; then, when you have reached the eighth chapter, and are under the cross and suffering, that will teach you the right doctrine of predestination, in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters, and how comforting it is. For the absence of suffering and the cross and the danger of death, one cannot deal with predestination without harm and without secret wrath against God. The old Adam must die before he can endure this subject and drink the strong wine of it. Therefore beware not to drink wine while you are still a suckling. There is a limit, a time, an age for every doctrine.”

Preaching a Balanced Diet

One of the dangers of preaching is repetition. Repetition in one sense can be good because people need to hear things several times before they understand it or get it, and a church should have a nice flow of guests coming in that need to hear specific things about Jesus and faith.

Repetition can also be dangerous because communicators can get into the habit of saying the same thing over and over, always finding a way to make a passage about their soapbox, or just repeating sermons. I knew of one church planter that repeated his sermons, really repeated them, every 18 months.

One of my jobs at Revolution is setting the preaching calendar, what topics we will study, what books we will preach through, etc. I submit those ideas to the elders to make sure that we are in agreement on what our church needs to hear, get feedback on topics from them, etc.

Here is what makes me excited about the next 18 months at Revolution, we will study a wide variety of topics. Such as:  Jesus, the trinity, mission, evangelism, community, marriage, dating, being single, heaven, hell, the afterlife, the wrath of God, predestination, free will, election, suffering, does God cause suffering, hospitality, prayer, money, generosity.

We will touch on books like Malachi, Daniel, Jonah, Ephesians, Proverbs. We will preach through Titus, Jude, and Romans.

Pastors, one of your jobs is to make sure your church is getting a balanced diet of Scripture. Do you have a plan for that? Do you know what topics you will cover over the next 12-18 months? What books you will preach through? How will you make sure you don’t just preach from the New Testament or the gospels?

Links of the Week

  1. Steve Jobs on the branding of Apple. Branding is so important and churches miss the boat so many times. Branding can have to do with mission, your church name, logo, etc. Pastors need to think through branding more because it is how you can be easily remembered and identified in your city. This is why we named ourselves Revolution and use 3 dots for our logo.
  2. How Christians can be faithful and politically present in our culture. Interesting interview.
  3. John Piper spent 224 sermons preaching through the book of Romans, but you can listen to these 11 messages and get the big picture overview. You can download the 11 key messages here.
  4. Forbes on Nextflix killed Blockbuster, but Apple, Amazon and Microsoft won’t be so easy.
  5. Mark Galli on Insignificant is Beautiful.
  6. The next Acts 29 boot camp is in Phoenix next week. So excited about spending the week at it.
  7. Kevin DeYoung on What’s wrong with theistic evolution. This is an interesting interview with the editor of the new book God & Evolution.
  8. One year later: an interview with Matt Chandler and what having cancer has taught him.
  9. What pastors and business leaders can learn from each other.
  10. Al Mohler on What we know from the elections on Tuesday.
  11. Download the audio from Acts 29 Seattle Boot Camp. Great stuff.
  12. Have you bought coffee yet to support our adoption? You can do so here (it’s really good).
  13. Watch this video of Andy Stanley talking about momentum. Anything with Andy Stanley on leadership is worth listening to or reading.
  14. Will Mancini on The tyranny of more. He lists out the 6 myths that cause churches to try to do everything. Revolution is a simple church, which means we only do 5 things (worship, groups, mission, students and children’s ministry). It is this clarity that I believe is one of our strengths as a church. I just preached on it if you are interested.
  15. Changing a church culture. Cultures are hard to change because they are so natural in how they come about. You have to change thinking, not just what you do to change a church.
  16. Ed Stetzer’s thoughts on Jim Swilley (a Prominent megachurch pastor) who came out of the closet this week. Stetzer raises some great questions that churches and leaders have to wrestle through in terms of how we respond to homosexuality and what Scripture has to say. While Scripture is clear where God stands on it, we have often missed the boat in communicating that and all the layers to the discussion. We need to do better at communicating truth.