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We first ran this post in September of 2012, shortly after a weekend service with on-the-spot baptisms.

A few times a year we issue an invitation for hearers to be baptized on the spot. The gospel is preached, an invitation is given, and people come, Acts 2 style. We have each baptismal candidate meet with a counselor trained to ask a number of diagnostic questions to ascertain whether the candidate actually understands the gospel and embraces the Lordship of Christ. We end up turning a considerable number of people away, but we baptize a whole lot as well. This past weekend [September 2012] we baptized 180.

Failing to determine whether someone understands their profession of faith before you baptize them is, in my view, recklessly irresponsible. Declaring someone “saved” when they aren’t not only gives them false assurance, it makes them that much more immune to future calls to repent and believe. God help us never to put the excitement of large numbers ahead of the safety of people’s souls. My ego is not worth someone else’s eternity.

For this reason, many pastors require a waiting period between a profession of faith and baptism–attendance at a class, etc.–before they will administer baptism. Some won’t baptize children growing up in their churches until adulthood because only then can they be sure that a sound decision has been made.

I believe this to be a well-intended, but unbiblical and dangerous, solution to the problem.

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Everyone who has been in ministry will tell you there are times that are simply grueling: days that wear you out, beat you down, and leave you feeling empty. But there are also times when seeing God at work can take your breath away–again. I’m incredibly thankful to be at a church in which I’m constantly hearing stories of God moving in people’s lives. And I never want to take that for granted.

So when Jason Gaston, our Family Ministries Pastor, sent me a draft of our “Family Ministry Pipeline,” I got downright fired up. I’m simply thrilled to have my kids grow up in a church that has this kind of missional intentionality when it comes to our student and kids ministries. After all, if we’re going to plant 1,000 churches in this generation, then many of our future missionaries are in our kids ministry right nowThis document (still a work in progress) represents a huge step of faith and will prove to be an indispensable roadmap for the years ahead.

Check it out: Missions Pipeline_Summit Family Ministries

Can Women Teach in the Church?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on May 25, 2015

Our elders have been working on a statement explaining the roles God has given to women in the ministries of our church. (The short answer is, “Many!”) That statement is still in the works, but our recent invitation to have Elyse Fitzpatrick share during weekend services has led some to ask whether we believe a woman can preach and teach in the mixed-gender gathering of the church. While we are working on the more comprehensive statement, we thought it prudent to take a moment to address that particular question.

Introduction of the Issue

In 1 Timothy 2:12 the Apostle Paul commands that a woman is forbidden to “teach or to exercise authority over a man” in the church. Some suggest that Paul only had one situation in one church in mind, where the women were unruly. But the reasoning Paul uses—that man was created first, then Eve, and that she was deceived first while he overtly rebelled first—excludes such a possibility. Paul bases his rule for Timothy’s church in the created order, which means it applies to all churches.

The grammar Paul uses indicates that he has in mind two things he wishes to forbid, teaching and authority (We find Andreas Köstenberger’s grammatical analysis compelling here). In other words, Paul was not only saying that a woman could not rule as an elder, but that there is a certain kind of teaching she must not do in the assembled church.

But it is clear, however, that women are given the gift and responsibility to teach in God’s kingdom. Certainly, as Paul commands in Titus, they are to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). Throughout the Bible, however, we see women instructing and exhorting mixed audiences also, both publicly and privately. In the Old Testament, Deborah dispensed wisdom to Israel by her tree (Judges 4:4), and both Miriam’s and Deborah’s songs were given publicly to instruct and edify Israel (Exodus 15; Judges 5). In the New Testament, Priscilla, together with her husband, tutored Apollos (Acts 18:26). Women prophesied publicly in the New Testament church (Acts 2:11, 17; 1 Corinthians 11:5; 14:26), and the whole congregation, men included, learned from those prophecies (1 Cor 14:31; Romans 15:14). Furthermore, Paul commands the congregation to admonish and teach one another, and these “one another” commands are given without gender distinction (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19–20;[1] 1 Cor 14:28).

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