T4G: Thabiti Anyabwile   Leave a comment

I first heard Thabiti Anyabwile speak at the last T4G conference. (I listened to it online, not live.) Since then, Anyabwile has become one of my favorite teachers, through sermons, blogs, and books. On Tuesday night, Anyabwile spoke to us about the issue of engaging the culture. The passage he used was a long one, Colossians 1:24-3:4. In it, he found four points about pastoral ministry that address whether we should engage the culture and how we should engage the culture.

1) Pastoral purpose
He asked us to consider Paul’s purpose in his ministry, and look at our main purpose. “How do we grab their ears by the Word and press them up into Christ? That is our task.” He warned us about straying from that purpose; instead, be rooted to the gospel and proclaim it. He gave a great illustration of this through the apostle Paul. Paul lived in a complex time with many societal issues… including slavery. And yet, he never made a plea to the government or to society to end slavery. Instead, what Paul did was to address the church and tell them how they are to be different from the lawful. Paul recognized that it was only the church that could think in two categories: “consistent with the gospel, inconsistent with the gospel.”

2) Pastoral philosophy
“When it comes to our philosophy… Are we captured by Christ? Or are we captured by worldly philosophy and tradition? Is it the world’s philosophy we hear, or is it Christ’s gospel we hear and attend to?” Anyabwile took that to it’s logical end and said, “If we adopt the world’s philosophy, we’ve just switched grounds.”

3) Pastoral practice
Our practices should look fundamentally different from the rest of the world because “every human culture is fundamentally apostate.” He said that our churches should be multi-ethnic, but they should not be multi-cultural. That is because we do not adopt a particular human culture, but we adopt Christian culture. He gave the example that, unfortunately, we’re all too often like the NFL Pro Bowl teams. We all wear the same jerseys, but our true allegiances are with another team, and it’s represented with our helmets. (Hope that illustration made sense.)

4) Pastoral perspective
“The only way to be of any earthly good is to be increasingly heavenly-minded.” Look up to Christ and look out to Christ.

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Posted April 15, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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