In the second of two episodes on theonomy, Jon and Justin consider some of the practical fallout of theonomy: the gospel tends to be obscured, the mission of the church is confused, and burdens are placed on the saints that we were never meant to bear. How should we respond pastorally to these concerns and the assertions of theonomy?
Note: Semper Reformanda is included in today’s episode.
1689 Baptist Perspective: Confessionalism and Theonomy
Covenant Theology: Introduction & Overview
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1 Thessalonians 5:14
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Semper Reformanda Transcripts
Jon Moffitt: Welcome to Semper Reformanda.
Justin Perdue: I’m going to launch us into this by giving a little anecdote from my past with respect to a buddy of mine. It would have been almost 15 years ago that I had this conversation with a friend and he was going here, there, and everywhere doing itinerant ministry with a youth organization. He was speaking regularly. His motivations, I trust, were good and all those things. I remember having a conversation with him where I encouraged him that he would be profited by doing a little bit less of that traveling and speaking stuff, and joining a local church where he can be anchored and rooted, where he can have depth of relationship, where he can encourage others and they can encourage him, and he can just be present. I thought it was going to be better for his Christian life long-term. His response to me —and again, very sincere, and I assume his motivations are good—was basically, “I’m out doing all this really good ministry and I’m out doing all this good stuff. If I tether myself to a local church, all that’s really going to do is slow me down.” And I looked at him and said, “But brother, even if that’s true, even if you joining a local church slowed you down, as you put it, have you ever considered that in God’s plan and in God’s economy, maybe he has set it up in such a way that he would use you to help other people?” We’ve been so conditioned to think that being strong or being mature is all about our own personal strength, our own personal growth, our own personal fruitfulness—however in the world, we define that—rather than looking to the New Testament to see that really what defines success and maturity and strength are these things that are corporate. They have everything to do with how we’re loving our brothers and sisters, how we’re bearing burdens, and how we’re being gentle and compassionate and seeking to restore those who have fallen. You just can’t do that when you’re living life in isolation and you’re in the itinerant speaking circuit and you’re not in a church. How do you do these things?
Jon Moffitt: Even Paul was an itinerant speaker, in a way, and he himself was cared for and was underneath the leadership of elders, was sent out by them, and had multiple men around him that were caring for him and that he was caring for.
Ravi Zacharias is another great example of a man who, I think, for many, many years openly has not been a part of a church underneath the church leadership and cared for. There’s so much that has been said out there and I don’t want to get into that. The one thing I want to say is I think if he was a part of a good local church that was caring for him, that maybe some of these sins and struggles would have been exposed as Galatians 6:1 says, much earlier than this longevity. I know a lot of people questioned his salvation and all that kind of stuff, and that’s not what this is about, but a man who was doing the work of Christ in isolation is just not the design.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, it’s not the design. For people that give their lives to parachurch ministries that are not also in a local church, that’s not good for them. I agree with that completely. Also, what I think is sadly, parachurch ministries have really served to do so often is just distract Christians from what really matters. Because peop