I’ve been thinking a lot about the doctrine of election. Mainly because I have been doing a lot of research in the Minor Prophets. The Prophets were addressing the nation of Israel, which was elected by God to be his nation among the many nations. The problem though was that even though they were an elect nation Israel was made up of a bunch of people who disobeyed God and were punished for their sin. How can individuals be elect and not obey God? This is a troubling place to be.
The doctrine of election as played out in traditional reformed (calvinist) theology makes election sound like God is electing individuals to salvation. But there are no individual examples of election to salvation for individuals. Election is always talked about corporately.
I am an individual who has placed my faith in Jesus’ saving work on the Cross. And I am saved. But am I elect?
If I’m reading scripture through a lens that says that election is corporate, then it changes from I am elect, to we, the Church, are elect. The Church is God’s chosen plan to carry out the mission of rescuing humans from sins and we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
This underscores the notion that our job as Christians is not to just secure our individual salvation. Instead it is about trying to help as many people as possible receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to become part of the Community of Faith, through which we are encouraged and equipped to help others find grace and so on.
Is election a biblical idea? Yes. But instead of I am among the elect. It may be better to say, we are working in God’s elected plan to rescue humanity from sin.
I have been focusing a lot of reading and thought about how to help Creekside develop disciples. It’s not enough to just gather a crowd. Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples, not just have a lot of people around.
Why is making disciples so important? Because part of being a disciple is that you will make more disciples. Discipleship is not just for the individual.
So what was the model that Jesus gave us?
Be with – Jesus called disciples to follow him and spend time with him.
Do with – the disciples did ministry with Jesus. They were there when he healed people, when he fed the 5,000, when he taught the multitudes. They saw Jesus do ministry and then worked along side him.
Go and do likewise – Jesus sent his disciples out to do ministry and they came back and reviewed what happened. But when Jesus ascended to the Father he commissioned his disciples to go and do like wise.
When thinking about discipleship today, those same principles still apply. The problem that I think I (and probably many church leaders) fall into is trying to do more than be with, do with and do likewise. We want to get everyone to do our thing, we want to have all these steps and programs and initiatives for our discipleship plan. We want to give everyone a binder that they can keep their notes in. We want so much, and instead of creating space to be with, do with and go do likewise, we create a bunch of busy people who feel like they can’t keep up with all the work of discipleship and they don’t want to bring other people into this. And they just give up.
It’s so simple, and yet so difficult.
Today is my first day back to the office.
What an incredible blessing this sabbatical has been. It was great to spend so much time with Kathy and the kids. It was great to read, rest, reflect, and recharge.
I am deeply grateful to Creekside Church and the Elders and Deacons who saw the great benefit of extending Sabbaticals to the pastoral staff. Working in the Church is an incredible joy but there a lot of things that can wear a person down. This sabbatical came at just the right time.
So thank you Creekside for your generosity. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for loving my family. It was great to come to the 6pm service last night and to see my church family, to see some new faces, to worship together, to celebrate communion together. I missed you all so much.
I’m looking forward to what’s next for Creekside. And I’m honored to be part of the journey!
This week Kathy and I will be travelling to New York City. I’ve never been to New York. Neither has Kathy. We are really excited to go see the sights, hang out with some friends, visit two churches, enjoy so food, etc.
But the thing that I am most excited about is that this is the first trip that Kathy and I will be taking without kids (excluding missions trips) in 6 years. We are pretty excited to get away and spend some time together.
I love being home when I’m in town but I love to get on a plane and go to new places. I hate actually being on the plane, but I it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make.
I love that Kathy and I will be doing this together. Both of us being first time New York Tourists it’s going to be fun to experience all this new stuff together. And it’s our 9 year anniversary while we are away. Bonus!
SInce there will be so much new stuff that Kathy and I will be experiencing there will probably be loads of pictures and stuff. So if you are interested you can find my feeds here:
Where are you travelling this summer? Leave a comment.