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Archive for June, 2013

Bonhoeffer’s 7 Ministries of the Church

Adapted from Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World by Stephen J. Nichols.

“Lord, what would you have me to do?”

If Bonhoeffer were to meet a person with such questions he would say:

Do something. Serve somebody. That is ministry. That is God’s will.

Certainly there is legitimacy to taking stock and being strategic and asking soul-searching questions. There’s also a place for waiting on God, for times of withdrawal and personal meditation. But sometimes we overthink it, and sometimes we overindulge the self.

In Bonhoeffer’s thinking, every child of God is a minister; all Christians are called to ministry. Bonhoeffer sees our task of ministry in seven particular ministries in the church (listed in Life Together). All of us can do at least one of them well, many can do a few of them well, and even a few gifted individuals in the church can do them all well.

In other words, we can all do something. We are all called to ministry.

For Bonhoeffer, ministry is not about power and authority, but service. The word itself, diakonia, means service, a word held in high esteem by Bonhoeffer. His list of ministries, then, reflects this fundamental starting point of what ministry is about.

  1. The ministry of holding one’s tongue

    Bonhoeffer pegs silence as a self-discipline worthy of highest virtue. “Where the discipline of the tongue is practiced right from the beginning, each individual will make a matchless discovery. He will be able to cease from constantly scrutinizing the other person, judging him, condemning him, putting him in a particular place where he can gain ascendency over him.”

  2. The ministry of meekness

    “He who would learn to serve must first to learn to think little of himself.”

  3. The ministry of listening

    Listening—attentive, sympathetic listening—comes far too hard for us. Comparatively, talking comes far too easy. It’s the reason James the brother of Jesus had to warn us to be “quick to hear” and “slow to speak” (James 1:19) and not the other way around. As Bonhoeffer points out, “He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too.”

  4. The ministry of helpfulness

    Bonhoeffer challenges us here to “be interrupted by God,” to put our plans on hold and to help those who come across our path and need help.

  5. The ministry of bearing

    Not only are we called to help, but we are also called to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Bonhoeffer speaks of it as our duty; in fact, he says, “It is the fellowship of the cross to bear the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian. If any member refuses to bear that burden he denies the law of Christ.”

  6. The ministry of proclaiming

    Once these first five ministries and their respective obligations are in place, then Bonhoeffer turns to the “platform” ministries. Bonhoeffer stresses the need for authentic Christian living before the action of proclamation. To put this colloquially, one needs to “walk the walk.”

  7. The ministry of authority

    The exercise of pastoral authority—the second of the “platform” ministries. Bonhoeffer makes the case that without the first five ministries, the platform ministries, just like the preaching in the opening scene of his novel, become little more than the bellowing of hot air.

For a more in-depth look at these ministries and other reflections on Bonhoeffer’s understanding of the Christian life, learn more, download an excerpt, or buy now.

 

June 27, 2013 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:38 am | (2) Comments »

Nancy Guthrie Introduces “The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books”

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

What kind of king and what kind of kingdom are we asking for when we pray this prayer Jesus taught us to pray? Nancy Guthrie’s new study, The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, encourages readers to see the kingdom of God not only as it once was, but also as it is now, and as it will be one day.

Over ten weeks of guided study, relevant teaching, and group discussion, Guthrie traces the history of the people of God from the time they entered the Promised Land through a series of failed kings, exile, and finally their return to await the true King. Readers will see Jesus as:

  • the greater Joshua who leads his people into rest;
  • the greater Boaz who has done all that is necessary to redeem;
  • the greater King who will sit on David’s throne forever;
  • the greater Restorer who is building his church from ruined stones.

Watch the introduction to the study as well as a few clips from the companion teaching DVD:

Learn more | Download an excerpt | Buy now

 

June 26, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News,Video | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:43 am | 0 Comments »

Weekly Ebook Special: Books on Preaching

Loving, teaching, and rightly dividing the Word of God is every pastor’s privilege and responsibility. If a pastor understands what the Bible says about God, man, and the curse, about Christ and his substitutionary atonement, and about the call to repentance and sacrifice, he’ll develop and preach a sound theology. And sound theology is, in the words of J. Ligon Duncan, “essential to faithful pastoral ministry.”

This week’s ebook specials feature a selection of titles which encourage, teach, and model the preaching of God’s Word.

To learn more about each discounted ebook, click on the covers below to find them at Crossway.org. You’ll also find them at their reduced prices on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshout, Christianbook.com, eChristian, ibooks (apple), Vyrso, or your participating independent bookstore’s site. Discounted prices available through 7/1/2013.*

This Week’s Ebook Specials:

Preaching for God's Glory

Preaching for God’s Glory

By Alistair Begg

$5.99 $1.99

A veteran pastor discusses the current state of Bible-based preaching, its distinctions, its importance to the church, and how it is used for the ongoing vitality of the body of Christ. Newly repackaged.

Preaching Christ in All of Scripture

Preaching Christ in All of Scripture

By Edmund P. Clowney

$14.99 $6.99

Clowney lays the theoretical foundation for preaching Christ in the whole Bible and offers up practical tips for preparing such a sermon. Book also contains many of the author’s own sermons as examples to draw from.

Proclaiming a Cross-centered Theology

Proclaiming a Cross-centered Theology

By Mark Dever, J. Ligon Duncan III, R. Albert Mohler Jr., C. J. Mahaney

$16.99 $6.99

The four authors, joined by Piper, Sproul, MacArthur, and Anyabwile, powerfully elaborate on the essence of pastoral ministry and the necessity of proclaiming a fully biblical theology.

Inductive Preaching

Inductive Preaching: Helping People Listen

By Ralph L. Lewis, Gregg Lewis

$17.99 $6.99

This book gives workable ideas that will help preachers capture and maintain the interest of their listeners without sacrificing the spiritual content of their message.

Heralds of the King

Heralds of the King: Christ-Centered Sermons in the Tradition of Edmund P. Clowney

Edited by Dennis E. Johnson

$12.99 $6.99

Eleven preachers with different gifts, backgrounds, and personal emphases show how they proclaim Christ from all the Scripture in a variety of contexts, in the tradition of the late Edmund P. Clowney.

Contributors:

  • Timothy J. Keller
  • Joseph “Skip” Ryan
  • Iain M. Duguid
  • Charles D. Drew
  • William Edgar
  • Dennis E. Johnson
  • Arturo G. Azurdia III
  • Julius J. Kim
  • Joseph V. Novenson
  • Harvie M. Conn, Brian Vos

Coming Up Next Week: American Theologians

Don’t miss what’s next! Subscribe to receive our weekly ebook specials right in your inbox. (Be sure to check the “Weekly Ebook Specials” box)


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*Note: Some discounts may be unavailable outside the United States due to international rights agreements.

June 25, 2013 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 2:18 pm | 0 Comments »

Video: “Christ + City: Why the Greatest Need of the City Is the Greatest News of All”

Why does God seem to be calling so many people to cities? How should we think about and engage with the cities of the world?

Christ + City not only reveals to us an incredible opportunity, but also explains why God loves cities, how and why we should live in them, and what we can do to reach them for his glory.

Listen in as Pastor Jon Dennis, author of Christ + City, and others share their love for these cultural centers and their desire to see the kingdom of God take root in the city.

Learn more | Preview an excerpt | Buy now

 

June 20, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News,Video | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:55 am | 0 Comments »

Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity (book excerpt)

Denominations. The word itself can spark strong reactions, leading us to consider the strengths and weaknesses of our factions. Is unity even possible?

Showing how denominational affiliation can be natural without being negative, and how evangelical diversity can help rather than hinder Christian unity, Why We Belong explains both the personal and doctrinal reasons each of the following contributors fit not only in their church, but also in the Church:

  • Gerald L. Bray (Anglican)
  • Timothy F. George (Baptist)
  • Douglas A. Sweeney (Lutheran)
  • Timothy C. Tennent (Methodist)
  • Byron D. Klaus (Pentecostal)
  • Bryan Chapell (Presbyterian)

Demonstrating why Christians have legitimate reasons for identifying with a particular denomination, Why We Belong also helps us appreciate something much larger than our own traditions—the family of God.

Preview an excerpt from the book:

Download PDF of the excerpt Learn more | Buy now

 

 

June 19, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 10:36 am | 0 Comments »