The 96th Thesis (1): practical advice needed

The 96th Thesis (1): practical advice needed

When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” He willed the entire life of the Church to be one of reformation.

Recently, an email asked, “Can you write a ‘My denomination/church/session/pastor has major flaws and I don’t know what to do’ post?” Regularly, we receive requests similar to the following from the past month or so:

Please help me. I am terribly disappointed in the PCA which is my denomination since childhood. I started researching my concerns after the 2019 General Assembly. I have learned almost too much to bear.

What is happening now and is anyone going to take a stand? These are men and elders that I depend on to represent truth. Is there anything a regular person can do? Just doesn’t seem like it.

My pastors aren’t thoroughly informed or called to any type of action. We will lose so much to these twists of the Bible and lies. I have few people to talk to. No one is informed or well taught on this subject. It feels like I shouldn’t think about or read on my own.

Thanks

And:

My name is (John Doe) and I live (in Anytown, USA). I spent about 11 years down the road in (another church) prior to my current situation.

Historically speaking, I’ve matched rather well with the PCA. I have some concerns about the denomination. I’ve had a chance to speak with my Pastor about my concerns and quite frankly they have deepened.

I would be honored if I could meet with you and discuss. From personal experience I can also share with you how I believe these postmodern views of Scripture and Orthodoxy have impacted my family and me.

If you’d like, I’d be happy to take your call.

And:

If one has a pastor who is generally sound in many ways, but has started peppering his sermons with some concerning indications of compromise–these things happening over several sermons rather than any one, big, alarm-bells statement in any single sermon–what would you say is the right way to go about confronting this?

Understanding that this is sensitive: the most recent situation concerns some “off notes” words during a sermon where the pastor told the ladies in the congregation…

I am an elder… I feel like a moron when confronted with the PCA’s complicated bureaucratic square dances for basically… everything. My concern is that I do not want to appear a nitpicky, divisive man by pointing out problems (in sermons). Yet, I cannot help that my theological (discernment is sounding an alarm) with increasing frequency. I do not know if bringing it up in Session is the right way to do it. I have addressed things directly with the pastor before, but it begins to kind of feel (useless).

…I need some experienced guidance in this area and I do not know how to ask other Session members for it without appearing to be fomenting dissent within the Church—something I do not want to do.

This coming Lord’s Day Protestant churches will celebrate the 502nd anniversary of Luther’s posting his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This was the departure point for the Protestant Reformation and three days prior to Reformation Sunday seems a good time to begin posting a series addressing questions concerning the reform of the Church. Not five centuries ago, but today.

Please stay tuned for the second in this series.

One other thing: since we’ve just released the book Church Reformed detailing the reforms needed today in our churches, this series of posts will follow that book’s outline and it would be helpful if you’ve read it.

You might want to start a study group that reads the book and each of these posts as they work through the book, chapter by chapter. This would be a good method of building a movement of reform within your own fellowship. Church Reformed is already available in hard copy and on Kindle. We hope to have it available on Audible.com soon, also.

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NOTE: This is first in a series of posts on practical matters related to the reform of your church and denomination. Other posts in the series may be found here. The series will have reference to the book Church Reformed and it would be helpful to get a copy and read it as you go through these posts.

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About The Author

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Tim has been senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana since 1996. Married to Mary Lee, the Baylys have five children and twenty-something grandchildren. Tim's book on fatherhood is "Daddy Tried." Co-author of a book on homosexuality, "The Grace of Shame," his latest book on the Church is "Church Reformed."

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