The Church as a Community of Hope: Restoring the Family, Serving the Community at New City Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Because training the church to show mercy is both a privilege and responsibility of discipling people for kingdom service, mercy ministry becomes a tangible way for churches to put hands and feet on the gospel of the kingdom.
This year, 2009, marks the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birthday. Why should we take the time to remember someone of so many years past? Simply because of how God used him to impact the Protestant Reformation and to shape theology with his life, teachings, writings, and emphasis on the sovereignty of God. His system of theology set the course for Protestant thinking. God used John Calvin in a most remarkable way and enabled him to clearly define Christianity in its purest, most biblical and Protestant form.
Recently, I was asked to serve on a committee for my presbytery dealing with the role of deacon and to explain the Book of Church Order’s position on the topic. Since I helped to write the Book of Church Order, I was a good source to explain our original intent. On making the presentation to the presbytery, I realized that some of my brothers present were not even born at the time the book was written. In our officer training at CEP, we are often asked this same kind of question. Here is a very brief summary of what I said.
Welcome! We have chosen this issue to highlight our 2008 Discipleship Conference, Making Visible God’s Invisible Kingdom, which took place Nov. 13-15, 2008. This conference was strategic to the PCA not simply because of the speakers, program, or arrangements, but because it was about the kingdom of God, remembering that our Lord came preaching the Good News about the kingdom. You can read the summary inside, but you can also take advantage of CDs and DVDs from the conference.
From the beginning, the PCA has had things that have made it special; and I have had hopes that our denomination would set the tone for others to follow: It has been my positive experience to see the PCA grow from its small roots in mainly the southeastern part of the country to a church that has spread all over North America… The PCA has not only had unity of commitment to the Sovereign Lord, His Word, and His church, reflected by a common confessional commitment, but it has had diversity within that framework.
In Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin says, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” It has also been said this way, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Both statements express great truth. Unfortunately, the church has a great reputation for not planning. Instead we live on activity and hope it is accomplishing something. Remember the last seven words of a church? “We’ve always done it that way before!”