Coronavirus and the Assembled Church As the Communion of the Saints
The church, as the communion of saints, is a concrete reality, and not simply another social imaginary that can be reconfigured as we please depending on the situation.
The center of this concrete reality is the local church. The universal church is present within each local expression of the church. There is no universal church without the concrete local church. The local church embodies the universal, and not the other way around. This is evident by the fact that there is no universal... Continue Reading
What I’ve Missed While Not Gathering With My Local Church (Part 1)
The absence of our gatherings has made it very difficult to fulfill the one another commands as well as we should.
I’d rather see the performance of Sibelius’s violin concerto in person than listen to a recording. When face-to-face experiences are impossible, I am thankful for the technology that bridges the gap–whether correspondence or phone calls or video calls. But life is better in person. This fact should not surprise us, for the Word of God... Continue Reading
I Miss the Ordinary the Most
The very means meant to sustain us in times like this are the means we cannot have.
As I consider the stress and anxiety I feel deep within, and as I speak to others, I have been encouraging them as I’ve been encouraging myself, to understand that some of this must stem directly from what, in the providence of God, has been denied to us in this time. We should not expect... Continue Reading
Pastoral Letter to the Congregation About Virtual Communion
Since the Lord’s Supper is meant to be a picture of the gathered body of Christ, it would be improper to hold ‘private communion’ in our homes.
The conviction is that as soon as we are a gathered community again, whenever that may be, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We are already planning—with anticipation and hope—what that first regathered Sunday worship service will look like. And it will be joyously appropriate for that worship to picture our tangible union through the... Continue Reading
Sorry, I Can’t Promise It Will Be Any Different
Most people are not looking to move churches because of a genuine gospel issue, but tend rather to have a fringe issue writ large.
I know what I like to believe about our church, but if it’s not an objective doctrinal issue (that your old church denies and we affirm or vice versa) it is a subjective matter. ‘My last minister wasn’t very pastoral’ is hard because, much as I’d love to believe our church would be better, fact is... Continue Reading
Who Defines Success?
What vocation has to do with being a woman.
Women are caught in the tug of war between two views. Both sides seem fully convinced they’re right, and there’s no middle ground. Women are made to choose their priority: career or family. It’s interesting to me, as a mom of boys, that men don’t have to make a similar choice. My sons, for example,... Continue Reading
The Puritans’ Passion for Doctrinal Purity
Rich doctrine, doctrine that reflected the depth and beauty of the gospel, was essential if the church was going to survive difficult times.
Reflecting Paul’s warning in Ephesians 4:14, the Puritans knew that if men and women remained immature in their knowledge of Christ, they would be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning…” The Puritans understood what Paul taught—that sound doctrine was the antidote the world... Continue Reading
4 Reflections after Listening to 18 Hours of Sermons in America’s Biggest Churches
The point of this project is to provide a snapshot of what a large percentage of American church-goers might hear when they darken the doors of a church building on Sunday morning.
As I listened, I found several common threads (click here for the complete notes from every sermon). These threads will make up most this article—a state of American preaching, if you will. Most of it will be negative. But first: what positive feedback would I give these sermons? What’s the preaching like in America’s biggest churches? That’s the... Continue Reading
The Grieving of the (Non) Gathering of God’s People
There is something about our nature that seeks rhythm and regular structures in our lives.
I’ve been involved in church life all my life. Being born into a pastors family means church is part of my life and lifestyle of my weekly rhythms–as it is for many Christians around the world. And it is in this time of uncertainty and alleviated stress where we seek the rhythms of familiarity. ... Continue Reading
Corona Cannot Prevail Against Her
We are not the church in the coronavirus age. We may be enduring a global pandemic, but we do so as the church in the church age.
Wherever else human heads may be turning, the angelic and demonic hosts are watching the church. God is channeling his work in the world through his church. And not just one channel among others. The church is the only channel mentioned here. Epidemiologists and economists have their part to play, but the main thing happening in... Continue Reading