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Mar 9

Session 6 Recap: Tripp and Lane, Panel Discussion

2013 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 13

Editor’s Note: Nathan Sherman is Minister to Youth and Families at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of the Panel Discussion with Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane on Saturday afternoon at Clarus, March 9.

•••••

Following an extraordinary weekend, the Clarus conference enjoyed a panel Question and Answer time with Dr. Lane and Dr. Tripp.

Recapping the conference, Dr. Lane explained that we are really just talking about interpersonal ministry. We aren’t trying to do wacky things and uncomfortably force Jesus into relationships. We are simply talking about a raised-level of shared-life and fellowship.

Dr. Tripp agreed that living in this kind of authentic, gospel-community is the biblical definition of friendship—this is what God calls us to. Typically what we call friendship is not at all what God calls friendship. Our ultimate example is Jesus, a friend of sinners. Dr. Tripp uses this question to diagnose where he puts his energy: What set of values determines how I spend my time? Often the American dream dictates a schedule that gets so busy that we have little time for relationships. This must be challenged.

Question: What’s the relationship of our interpersonal relationships with church?

Dr. Tripp: Preaching is the formative direction of the church. Interpersonal ministry takes this formative direction and adds correction; it takes the general foundation and gives specificity. Church membership is a localized and concrete way that we give ourselves to God’s Kingdom—giving ourselves to the work of the church, while submitting ourselves to the leadership and the ministry of the church. There is a critical difference in attending a church and giving myself to the ministry of the church.

Dr. Lane: The church is where you are brought into covenantal relationships. We commit to a body of believers, whether we like every particular detail or not. The sacraments are fundamental—we are baptized into a body of believers, and we must recognize the horizontal element of the Lord’s Supper – forgiveness and reconciliation with others.

Question: How are the “one-anothers” practically played out within the church?

Dr. Tripp: Everyone in the church (elders, staff, leaders, members) must be able to teach, preach, admonish, and counsel. We call everyone into commitment to these “one-anothers”. Then we train our people to do these better. We need to raise the bar for potential gospel-counsel opportunities. We ought to be concerned about those thousands of conversations that happen every week, which will either benefit or harm others. We set life-long trajectories of individuals, families, and churches in these small, daily conversations.

Question: Is it possible to be too introspective and suspicious of ourselves?

Dr. Lane: It is certainly possible of becoming a morbid introspectionist. After we look inward, we must be moved outward toward Christ and his grace, but then outward in new ways toward others. If these outward trajectories are not present, it’s likely you are dangerously introspective.

Dr. Tripp: – In all other human cultures, my well-being is dependent on my performance. But as a Christian, my well-being is not dependent on if I measure up, but that Christ already measured up. If I keep beating myself up, I’m rejecting the sacrifice of Christ. I am essentially back to a works-righteousness religion, and this is dishonoring to God.

Question: Is there a point to end speaking into another’s life when you only receive manipulation and meanness. Is there a point where Proverbs 26:4 (“Do not answer a fool in his folly”) applies?

Dr. Tripp: Yes. There must be a point where you must realize you’ve done everything you can do. Once you go past this point, you are taking on God’s job to change the person. You have become a person-mechanic rather than an ambassador of his grace. This doesn’t mean that you give up—you trust the power of Almighty God.

Dr. Lane: Just like parenting teens, wisdom dictates that you pick your spots well. One of the wisest and most godly things you can do as a parent is to keep your mouth closed and not see every moment of your child’s life as an opportunity to interject your opinion.