Monthly Archives: August 2013

  • White Grape Juice in Communion

    You probably noticed a couple of weeks ago that we started to use white grape juice in place of the red grape juice we used to use. The reason for this is simple. Not infrequently, the elders hear reports (complaints might be too strong, but not always) about people accidentally taking wine instead of grape juice. At our July Session meeting, one elder who had recently heard about the above situation suggested we go to white grape juice in order to make it clear which is wine and which is not. Since the decision to change from red to white grape juice a number of old discussions have come up, ones that I have been trying to educate you about through this very medium. Here are some of the questions that I/we have received:
    1. How does white grape juice represent … Read More »

  • Evangelism, part 4

    Telling people what to do and how to do it always gets a lot of attention. Just go to the self-help section in your local bookstore. I’m not knocking self-help books. I’ve bought them and used them before. When you are starting a new hobby or approaching a new subject, they can offer significant help in understanding the grammar of the subject you are tackling.

    When it comes to the subject of evangelism, you will find your share of how-to manuals. One of the more popular models in the last decade or so has been the incarnational approach to evangelism. Usually when we think of and use the word incarnation we think of and are referring to Christ and his incarnation (John 1:14). Not so with this group. They don’t deny the incarnation of Jesus, of course. Nevertheless, when they speak … Read More »

  • Evangelism Part 3

    The last two weeks I wrote about evangelism, but did so through the lens of baptism. Judging by some comments I have received, the thesis of evangelism was lost on some folk, mostly due to the assertion that infant baptism is baptism and that re-baptism isn’t. I don’t want to belabor that point here or revisit it. Instead, here I want us to think about evangelism through the lens of the church.

    To do so, let’s start by reflecting on something I have said a number of times publicly: Evangelism is not your (singular) job but ours. It is telling that when the great commission was given by Jesus that it was given to the “eleven disciples” who had gone to “Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them” (Matt. 28:16). The disciples were in no way numerically the … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Evangelism Part 1: Infant Baptism is Baptism

     If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times: so-called reformed Christians tripping over themselves with apology after apology about how poorly the reformed church does evangelism. Related to this is the tried and true self-deprecation: we need to see more adult baptisms. Perhaps the one that turns my stomach the most is when people say things like, “the evangelicals win people to Christ and we disciple them.” Not true. None of it. I’m calling what needs to be called. Here I’m going to challenge the assertion that the reformed church is bad at evangelism by thinking about baptism. Specifically I want to make two points. The first, this week, is that infant baptism is baptism. Then next week, the second point, that re-baptism isn’t baptism.

    It has been my pleasure and privilege to baptize more adult … Read More »