Hope everyone if off to a great start to the week. This recap talks about the second Christian Morals & Ethics class & “More Than One Way to Shep” sermon from July 29th. The audio links are below –
Class Link – “Ethics #2 – Consequential Ism & Authority”
Sermon Link – “More Than One Way to Shep” – July 29th
- Sermon in a sentence: Shepherding is more than tending & protecting the sheep, but following Jesus’ example through your relationships in also being a mentor & equipper.
- Again, remember that while these principles talked about the last two weeks do apply to our congregational leadership, they apply to every Christian.
- I pointedly forgot the book Mentor Graham recommended to Abraham Lincoln. The book was Kirkham’s Grammar, an incredibly boring & thick book, but this was the book Lincoln walked 6 miles to and 6 miles back to get, and is credited with directly influencing Lincoln’s prose, best seen in the Gettysburg Address, experts say.
CLASS REFLECTIONS & NOTES
This second class was one I’ve been looking forward to since we first decided to do a class on ethics. We looked at some -isms that have influenced our culture – multiculturalism, pluralism, relativism – some influences in ethics – situational & emotive ethics – & finally ended with the source & authority for Christian ethics. The answer wasn’t what the class expected it seems, and I’m not going to go into great detail of the answer here. If you weren’t able to make it to the class, I invite you to listen to the recording. We’ll continue that direct thought & expound upon it in two weeks, the Sunday after camp.
I would like to just elaborate with one thought on how “Because the Bible says so” isn’t a valid source for ethics. I believe this is particularly important in modern culture as the Bible is arguably less ‘valid’ for more people than ever. I know from my personal studies with people of all ages, with Science claiming to be able to answer every question, and the aforementioned abuse of multiculturalism more rampant, the Bible is being relegated to just another ancient text from some other ancient writer about some other ancient god. Most of us who attend class have been a Christian for a while and might not even stop to consider how God & Scripture, and therefore what He & it says, would be viewed by someone who views it simply as another outdated book. Not to mention that it is fairly easy to remind Christians of the myriad of historical abuses in the name of Scripture which we can’t deny.
Indeed, especially in this culture of faux-tolerance and blind acceptance, any writing, whether 2000 years old or last week, that condemns behavior and holds people accountable to moral ills, thereby acknowledging they even exist, is not to be tolerated or accepted, and any charge against it must be exploited. After all, Scripture itself says quite plainly, “There is no God….”
This is why it is exceptionally important to realize the proper source for authority & ethics, not only to have the right exegesis of Scripture, but our authority is who or what we’ll live by and therefore show to the world. I’d much rather be able to explain, talk about, & show the character of God than be beholden to explanations of irrelevant, non-contextual criticisms, wouldn’t you?
SERMON REFLECTIONS & NOTES
This sermon may have been something many of us already knew or were aware of, and I’ll grant that the things we’ve talked about the last two weeks have been simple, but not at all simplistic. The standard of shepherding to which not only our leaders are held but indeed all of us is a high one. Three thoughts that you may also know, but I still feel necessary to say.
- As blunt as it may sound, I do indeed mean it when I say no Christian has an excuse for not fulfilling their Kingdom role. This isn’t because I said so, but if we’re all members of the body of Christ, every part of our body is useful and essential at some point or another, even if not necessarily all the time. We all have a Kingdom role in shepherding, mentoring, or equipping someone. For some of us that looks like parenting, and for some who they can do this for is obvious. But for others it’s not so obvious. I encourage you to, if you’re not sure who & how to start or go about this, to just start trying, prayerfully asking God for an opportunity & the will to act when it comes.
- As blunt as that last one was, I do want us to remember that not all of us are the complete picture of shepherding, of leadership, Scripture describes. And it very well may be that you’re entire Kingdom role is to equip one person, or mentor one person at this one time. That may well be, but we’ll not know that until this life is done, so our work continues. Don’t try to be all of them if you’re not, but, much like skills and gifts, I imagine you already know if you can tend, mentor, or equip someone best. Or two out of the three, or the other two out of the three. If you need direction, please ask one of your shepherds or myself, and we can talk through it.
- I write & preach these things never to make us feel bad about our inaction or lack of confidence in knowing when, how, why to use who we are for God, nor ever to imply you’re not doing it already or not doing enough. But I do to teach those who may not know, to encourage those who do, to convict those that won’t, and to walk with those who are.
We’re all in this together, and I’m praying for you. Grace to you.