The Necessity of Acknowledging Authority (repost)

Another repost after an interesting week of response to a sermon on Ephesians 5:22

Do you believe that the Word of God in the New and Old Testaments, discerned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the supreme authority for the faith and conduct of all God’s people?

Authority is not something that human beings are naturally comfortable with. All around us we see the consequences of people claiming the supreme authority in their lives. Broken families are often the result of fathers declining to take on their role of authority in the family. School teachers cannot exert authority in the classroom. Politicians lose authority and democracy suffers as a result. And to even assert that there is a greater authority than yourself will result in a puzzled look as if you’ve just spoken fluent Swahili.

As a minister, you’re different. Your allegiance is to Christ. By your initial confession you have declared that there is a God. As one of his creatures you acknowledge that you come under his authority. Now you will promise to base your whole ministry on that authority.

This promise may not be as strong as an inerrantist may want but it is still a strong and vital promise that you are making. The “discerned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” is a good explanation of the role of the Spirit in sanctification as he opens your eyes to his truth in his word. However, we have seen in the URC how that phrase has introduced a bit of wriggle room for liberals which makes them functional charismatics.

Don’t let that be the case with you, dear minister. The Bible is the Word of God. There is no other place for you to find the will of God. There is no other place for you to go to hear how God has saved you and how you are to live in gratitude for that salvation.

The Bible is your supreme authority for your faith and practice. Everything in your ministry depends on this. No more sermons from Opinions 7:12. No more sanctioning of moral behaviour that is clearly unbiblical. When you do that you are in rebellion against the promise you made before God and the church.

You are under authority. Conduct your ministry as if that is true.


Recovering the Reformed Confession (repost)

I had a Facebook conversation last week that touched on the issue of what’s acceptable in worship. I felt this post from a couple of years back would help to keep the conversation going. If anything, I’d say my convictions in this matter have firmed up.

Hall Gate Sanctuary

At my ordination service the first song was Psalm 100, “All people that on earth do dwell”. We sang it to the tune Old Hundreth which was written to be sung in the church in Geneva in Calvin’s day. Despite the efforts of some (tapes of the Vaughan-Williams setting being posted to me, etc) and the uneasiness of a few more we sang it unaccompanied. It was great. For many it was a novelty to sing without the organ/piano/praise band. But why? Especially when Reformed churches have sung a capella psalms from the beginning? Continue reading