Friday, October 06, 2006

Scott Brown on why the church should adopt this reformation

I had a call from home during the break so came into Scott Brown's breakout session already in progress. He was teaching from the life of Gideon about the church's need to embrace this reformation in family/church relations.

The wickedness that Gideon confronted in Judges was nothing different that what is happening on MTV, with lewdness, godlessness, profanity -- nothing different that what we see today. And then Gideon touched the idol.

Scott said we have a number of idols of our own in the American church. He listed "church growth", tradition, support for public schools, and numerous church programs. "The idols are inside us," he warned.

Reformers, he said, experience tenstion and collateral problems. "There is always a backlash when you confront your father's idol. People feel threatened," he said, when their closely held but unbiblical traditions are challenged.

Reformers sometime suffer family problems when they confront particular idols. Jonathan Edwards experienced this in 1750 when family members worked against him for challenging “the half-way covenant”, and his congregation voted 230-30 to remove him from his decades-long tenure at the Northampton church. Scott read a long and touching quote from Edwards' farewell sermon, concluding:

“The minister may be removed to a distant place and they may never have any more to do with one another in this world. But if it be so, there is one meeting more that they must have, and that is in the last great day of accounts.” -- Jonathan Edwards, July 1, 1750

Times of reformation are times of testing; we need to understand clearly the laws of the tongue, of loving one another, of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, to repay no one evil for evil, [and] if it is possible, "as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” In times of reformation, there may be many unforeseen circumstances in families, churches, and nations.

We can look back on surprising methods God uses to get His work done, such as reducing Gideon's army from 32 thousand to 300. It is hard to realize how important we are individually in this process. God is able to work mightily through small groups of people. “Not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord God of hosts.”

We can observe the miracle of God's help in the midst of the conflict. Gideon's strategy was questionable but God desired to work wonders.

We have to admit that the reformations do not last very long, such as chapter 8 shows. “So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals ...”

Scott said, "In every reformation, the next generation falls off the wagon. The secret to revival is for fathers to rise up and equip the next generation, or the reformation will not survive his death. The role of the father is critical to the continuing of the revival into the next generation.”

We need to identify the reforms that we are convinced of. What are the key reformations that are important for our day, and why should we be faithful to fulfill them?

= The core reformation is the father who will overcome all obstacles to draw his family together as a church. We may find similar oppositions to this reformation [as Gideon did].

= An understanding and a practical belief in the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture ... that all of life shall be governed and regulated by the life-giving stream of Scripture. We need the reforming ministry of God so we don't find ourselves wickedly angry with one another because we are only doing “all that we know”. The church desperately needs a refresher course in the sufficiency of Scripture, and from that, expository preaching.

= A defense of the creation order doctrines, which are under serious attack. The biblical doctrines of manhood and womanhood, marriage, sexuality. Why are they so attacked? Because they are the foundation of the delivery system of the Gospel

= A return to Biblical educational philosophy. Most people are not aware that what we do today, and have done for 150 years, departs from the Biblical model – which is to say, the Biblical content, the method (real world experience under the supervision of fathers), the objective (character growth), delivery (parents), location (home), context (age-integrated, not segregated).

= Admit a major driving force for a rolling trans-generational reformation is the influence of a father in his household. When Joshua and Gideon died, and will happen if we neglect this great calling?

"The work of a father is really for one purpose, to present to God at the end of the age millions who will enter his presence with exceding great joy.”

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