The Trellis and the Vine

There is a book I have been reading the past few days that has been very helpful in thinking through discipleship, leadership and church ministry in general.  The book  is entitled The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne.  It was graciously given to me by Mark Dever.  I can confidently say I haven’t read a book that gets to the crux of the challenges we face in the church in the 21st century like this one does.  The solutions are both biblical and practical.

At Woodlawn, we are currently in a series on discipleship on Wednesday nights and I fully intend to assimilate some of the information I am gathering from this book.  It is that helpful.  I am sharing some of the ideas with our leadership and it only compliments what we have been striving to give attention to recently.  I will post some of the thoughts on this in future posts.  For now, watch the recommendation from Mark Dever:


Begg Declines Manhattan Declaration

Alistair Begg has released a statement explaining why he cannot sign the recent Manhattan Declaration.  Some evangelicals like Al Mohler have given reasons why they can sign the document with a clear conscience.  Begg gives good reasons why that the gospel message should not be overlooked when considering ecumenical agreement on social issues.  It is a tough call in the times in which we live.  The cultural ground is shifting beneath us forcing us to make choices.  Upon which hills will we die?  Begg gives a good historical/theological reason why we must take care with what we endorse:

In accord with others who have chosen not to sign, my reservation is not with the issues themselves, or in standing with others who share the same concerns, but it is in signing a declaration along with a group of leading churchmen, when I happen to believe that the teaching of some of their churches is in effect a denial of the biblical gospel. I wonder whether it might not have been more advantageous for evangelicals to unite on this matter, rather than seeking cooperation with segments from Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy and the Latter Day Saints.  The necessary co-belligerence, as far as I’m concerned, can never be rooted in a Gospel other than that which has been given to us.

Keller Descends Upon DC

Tim Keller visited Washington, D.C.  last week speaking in a couple of different venues.  Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  The church which he pastors has experienced tremendous growth in a city that is notoriously godless.

Keller gave a thought-provoking talk at the National Cathedral related to his new book Counterfeit Gods.  The audio/video of his message is available at the National Cathedral website.

A person who attends our church and works on Capitol Hill told me that he attended a Keller talk in another venue.  One of his colleagues who happens to be a practicing Buddhist, attended the lecture and was affected by what she heard.  She is now asking many questions.

Woodlawn to Host Eric Redmond

We are looking forward to a special day of worship this Sunday, October 4 as Pastor Eric Redmond comes to speak at Woodlawn Baptist ChurchEric Redmond in our 10:45 Sunday morning and 6:00 evening services.

As founder of Reformation Alive Baptist Church in Temple Hills, MD, Pastor Redmond’s passion is to see lives transformed by growing in love an under­standing of the Lord Jesus Christ. His book, Where Are All The Brothers? Straight Answers to Men’s Questions About the Church, is one of Pastor Redmond’s attempts to help strong men give Christ a second look by addressing some of their modern day concerns. He feels a burden to reach all generations for Christ, so that a generation yet unborn might be raised up to know and love God. Pastor Redmond also serves as an Associate Professor at Washington Bible College in Lanham, MD.

In the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), he has served as the 2007-2008 Second Vice-President. He also has served on the Trustee Board of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Executive Board of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he maintains membership in the Evangelical Theological Society. Rev. Redmond holds degrees from Washington Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary.

Pastor Redmond and his wife Pam reside in Lanham, MD and are the parents of five children.

Evangelical Forum Hosts Derek Thomas & Conrad Mbewe

This weekend the Evangelical Forum will host its 8th annual conference in Charlottesville, Virginia at Jefferson Park Baptist Church.   The featured speakers are Derek Thomas and Conrad Mewbe.  The theme will be “Of God’s Decrees.”

Conrad Mbewe, known as “The Spurgeon of Africa” is Pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia.

Derek Thomas is Professor of Practical and Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.

This conference is always a powerful time of worship and fellowship in the Word of God.  The meetings are free to attendees.

More details are at the EF website.

Gospel-Lite Family-friendly Radio

In the D.C. area, we are fortunate to have some good Christian radio stations that have a decent format.  There are two (WAVA, for example) which still have a majority of their content devoted to preaching and teaching with the likes of Alistair Begg, R.C. Sproul and John Mac Aurthur.  There are also a couple that are predominately music-only stations.  Many stations across the country  have adopted to a “family-friendly” format.  A recent study examines what is said between the songs.  According to Paul Butler:

There are thousands of radio stations across the country today which play Christian music. A recent study looked at Christian Music Radio to determine what sets it apart from its mainstream counterpart. But the study didn’t look at the music itself, but what was said between the songs—and what they found may surprise you.

You can listen here to the feature with Mark Seignious (Associate Professor of Electronic Media Communication at Northwestern College  in St. Paul, MN) and Ripley Smith (Professor of Communication at Bethel University, also in St. Paul).