How important are the Doctrines of Grace for healthy local church ministry?
In the May issue of Credo Magazine, “Chosen by Grace,” our usual “From a Scale of 1 to 10” asked four pastors the following question: “How important are the Doctrines of Grace for healthy local church ministry?” Here is what they had to say:
9.5. The doctrines of grace are not quite synonymous with the gospel, which alone deserves a 10. But they are the golden prongs that hold the diamond of the gospel on the ring of our faith. Nothing supports the gospel and makes it sparkle more than the truths of sovereign, divine grace.
–Joel R. Beeke, Pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation
9-9.9. The doctrines of grace are the loftiest peak of theology, the unchanging high ground for the church. From this towering vantage point, one can most fully behold the supreme beauty of God’s sovereign and saving grace with greatest clarity. Nothing will so intensify one’s worship, walk, and witness as these transcendent truths. Simply put, this Mount Everest of theology has inflamed hearts with greatest passion for the gospel, bolstered preaching ministries, launched global missions, and, thereby, altered the course of church history.
–Steven Lawson, Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church
6. I am a five pointer, but we do systematic exposition, rather than preach a system. So we seek to share the gospel of God’s grace in Christ for lost sinners, wherever the flow of the particular Scriptures in front of us leads. That said, God’s sovereignty in all things often emerges as both pastorally important and challenging. And the fact God has his chosen ones yet to come (2 Tim 2:9-10) and that he knows who are his (2 Tim 2:19) keeps us going in evangelism and disciple-making.
–Sandy Grant, Senior Minister, St Michael’s Anglican Cathedral, Wollongong, Australia
7. Many factors contribute to the health of a local church, including biblical theology, and the degree to which these factors are rightly understood and practiced will determine a church’s health. While non-Reformed congregations can be genuinely gospel centered and truly healthy, I believe a right understanding and experience of the doctrines of grace is an important component to healthy church ministry.
–Joe Thorn, Lead Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship (Acts29)
Read other fun and practical interviews in “Chosen by Grace.”
Chosen by Grace
The biblical doctrine of election is offensive. It collides with our demand for human autonomy. It removes our will from the throne. And it exposes our nakedness, revealing us to be the sinners that we truly are, undeserving of divine grace and mercy. But when our eyes are opened to its glory, we begin to see that the doctrine of election leads us to worship, praise, and give thanks to our Sovereign Lord. We recognize that we, as sinners, deserve nothing less than eternal condemnation. And yet, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world! In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, not on the basis of anything we have done, but purely according to the purpose of his will (Eph 1:3-5). It is this doctrine of election that Paul says is to lead us to praise the glorious grace of God (Eph 1:6). Therefore, the title of this May’s issue of Credo Magazine is “Chosen by Grace.” Contributors include: Timothy George, Paul Helm, Matthew Barrett, Bruce Ware, Fred Zaspel, Greg Gilbert, Thomas Nettles, R. Scott Clark, David Murray, Thomas Schreiner, Graham Cole, Greg Forster, and many others.