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Feb 15

Peripheral Questions, Music Styles, Strategic Planning, and the Cross

2012 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Books,Clarus 12

In the weeks ahead of Clarus we will share a bit from each of four books that conference attendees will receive for free. One of our books, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians,  is authored by one of our speakers, D.A. Carson. It should be said, though, that this book is not a book written even primarily for vocational ministers but for all of God’s people.

In his review of Carson’s book, Bob Kauflin pulled together a number of memorable quotes under several helpful headings:

Replacing The Primary with the Secondary

“It is at least possible that we are the generation of believers who will destroy much of historic Christianity from within – not, in the first instance, by rancid unbelief, but by raising relatively peripheral questions to the place where, functionally, they displace what is central.”

Are we Drawing Crowds or Converts?

“If the church is being built with large portions of charm, personality, easy oratory, positive thinking, managerial skills, powerful and emotional experiences, and people smarts, but without the repeated, passionate, Spirit-anointed proclamation of “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” we may be winning more adherents than converts.”

Broadening our Musical Palate

“Must we have fights over church music? We should have the best, the most God-centered, the most truthful, the most edifying. But must it all be in one style? Is there nothing to be gained from wide exposure to the company of saints in many parts of the world who have expressed their adoration of the Savior with richness of hymnody we can never exhaust, but which we ignore to our detriment?”

Leaving the Gospel Behind

“Do not think that you can adopt the philosophies and values of the world as if such choices do not have a profoundly detrimental impact on the church. Do not think you can get away with it. Do not kid yourself that you are with it, and avant-garde Christian, when in fact you are leaving the gospel behind and doing damage to God’s church.”

The Inconsistency of Admiring the World

“It is idiotic – that is not too strong a word – to extol the world’s perspective and secretly lust after its limited vision. That is what the Corinthians were apparently doing; that is what we are in danger of doing every time we adopt our world’s shibboleths, dote on its heroes, admire its transient stars, seek its admiration, and play to its applause.”

Strategic Planning or the Cross?

“All of us need to understand the people to whom we minister, and all of us can benefit from small doses of such literature. But massive doses sooner or later dilute the gospel. Ever so subtly, we start to think that success more critically depends on thoughtful sociological analysis than on the gospel; Barna becomes more important than the Bible. We depend on plans, programs, vision statements – but somewhere along the way we have succumbed to the temptation to displace the foolishness of the cross with the wisdom of strategic planning.”

Clarus is a Regional Conference of The Gospel Coalition taking place March 9-11 with speakers D.A. Carson and Fred G. Zaspel. Visit the Clarus page for more information or to register for this year’s conference.