“The Church Has Ample Reason for Hope”   1 comment

(I really didn’t want to post anything just yet. I’m writing a paper for a law school class on Title IX and the applicability of the “actual notice” requirement in the context of intercollegiate athletics, and I’m still not done yet. So I wanted to abstain from blogging… but… for those of you who know me… you will know that I don’t work that way, for better or for worse. I get the itch to write, and I can only stop that itch for so long. So… here’s a brief scratching of my itch. BTW… if you’re interested in Title IX or gender equality in intercollegiate athletics and want to read my paper, let me know. It’ll put most to sleep, but to each his own.)

Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently finished the final broadcast of the Albert Mohler Radio Program. It was a great program that provided a biblical Christian viewpoint on many of the world’s issues. Issues ran the gambit–from moral issues such as abortion, divorce, and homosexuality to religious issues such as atheism, Islam, and Roman Catholicism; Mohler even discussed seemingly random and trivial–but nonetheless culturally relevant–issues such as art and sports. Mohler’s final broadcast looked back over the years and identified ten lessons he had learned through his radio ministry.

I wanted to highlight his sixth point, to which I have entitled this post, and to which Mohler elaborates: “The most important ground of the Church’s hope is Christ–who assures that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church.”

The end of Mohler’s radio program has nothing to do with his age (it was merely a matter of changing with the changing times), but I can’t help but think of the end of the sparks who began a revival of Evangelicalism in the 20th century that is still gaining momentum in the young adults of this day. Those between the ages of 20 and 40 have spiritually matured on the lessons of some great church fathers. But I look at some of those who sparked this movement, and my heart breaks at the thought of losing, within the next decade or two, men such as J.I. Packer (soon to be age 84), Jerry Bridges (soon to be age 81), age R.C. Sproul (age 71),  John MacArthur (age 71), and John Piper (age 64). Now, I don’t want to make it seem as if these men are all dying, or on the death beds, today. Bridges preached just a few months ago at my church, and he’s going pretty strong for a guy who was telling us stories of his childhood during the Great Depression. And MacArthur recently played a game of 3 on 3 that went on for over an hour against three students at Southern Baptist Theological Semminary; his final stats (yes, someone kept stats): 33 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds. But, let’s face the facts… there is a good chance that the Christian community will lose these treasures–these fathers of the faith–before I turn 40 (I’m currently 25).

I first thought of this reality when I was at the 2010 Together 4 the Gospel Conference, and I was disappointed that Sproul was not making a live appearance due to his deteriorating health. He was preaching over video-feed and, although his voice was strong and he was passionate, I could see his age on his face. And it broke my heart to think that Sproul would be leaving this world soon. (Dr. Sproul’s book, Defending Your Faith, was one of the first books I read after I became a Christian.)

And, while we still have men such as Mohler (soon to be age 51), C.J. Mahaney (soon to be age 57), Mark Dever (age 50), and Ligon Duncan (age 50) ready to take the mantle as the men who will shape and mold the church, I couldn’t help but think of the next generation. Men like the aforementioned four will lead me into my later ages, but… Who will be the ones that teach my children? Who will be the ones whose books will line the shelves of my children? Who will speak truth into their lives and lead them into battle against the world?

This long introduction brings me to my main point. We have some amazing pastors ready to lead the next generation of Christians into a humble orthodoxy. Here’s a short list of preachers under the age of 40 who will shape the minds and souls of the coming generation… and I must confess that, though these men are not finished products, I am thankful to God for raising such men and I am confident that the Gospel will continue to be magnified in the next wave of this revival. The following list of men is not an exhaustive list… just a few men who have already spoken truth into my life.

Kevin DeYoung (age 37)

DeYoung, the pastor of University Reformed Church near Michigan State University, is a man with a great desire to learn more about God and to proclaim those truths to other believers. He has two books which have impacted my life: Just Do Something and Why We Love the Church. Actually, I haven’t read the books, but I’ve heard his sermons on the book, and those are good. I firmly believe that DeYoung will be one of the men of the faith that we will look to in the coming decades.

Joshua Harris (soon to be age 36)

Josh Harris is my senior pastor, at Covenant Life Church; and I have been truly blessed to sit under his ministry. This past week, after spending a few weeks away to be with his mother who has stage four cancer (who is now with Jesus), Harris spoke on 1 Peter. And while I was blessed by those who preached in his absence, I found myself talking with friends about how refreshing it was to have Josh back. His humility and his love for God are evident in the lives of those who serve under him and those who have been ministered-to by him. And, after service, Josh exemplified a servant’s heart by doing security duty for the church… or, at least, I think he was doing security. Why else would he be wearing a security uniform to church? 🙂

Thabiti Anyabwile (age 39)

Anyabwile is the only pastor I listen to who doesn’t live in America. Anyabwile is a great teacher; and he loves rap music and plays basketball. I’m so thankful for Anyabwile’s understand of, and love for, the local church. Check out the new “The Church: Called & Collected” CD, which is a compilation rap CD. Anyabwile and Dever were involved in the production of it, and it’s solid teaching and good music.

Mark Driscoll (soon to be age 40)

Some of you don’t like Driscoll. Some of you think he’s arrogant and crass… and he is, sometimes. But I believe that Driscoll has an amazing appetite for the Word of God and for Christian theology. And I think he has placed himself under the influence of men, such as Piper and Mahaney, who are continuing to speak truth into his life… and he is growing in maturity in those areas that worry some. Yes, he’s still a sinner… unfortunately, he’ll be a sinner until the day he dies. But I’m thankful for the fact that he is a light in the God-less city of Seattle. (Who knows, if they turn to the Lord, maybe He will bless them with another basketball franchise. R.I.P. Sonics.)

Matt Chandler (age 36)

I first learned about Chandler when I heard of a pastor who proclaimed his hope in the gospel just hours before he went into surgery for a brain tumor that could have killed him and left his wife a widow and his children, bastards. (Words like this can be used and not be vulgar… so please don’t rebuke me about this.) Chandler is not emergent, for those of you who think he might be. He preaches the Word, and he is an effective communicator of truth. Thankfully, he seems to have made a strong recovery from his brain surgery and his chemotherapy. I pray and hope that God grants Chandler many more decades of fruitful ministry, so that he can continue to preach the gospel to the religious, but unsaved, people in Texas.

Justin McKitterick (definitely under 40… anyone know how old Justin is?)

Finally, on my list of preachers under the age of 40 is McKitterick, shepherd of the college ministry of Grace Community Church at the University of California, Los Angeles. Some of you might be thinking… who is Justin McKitterick? I can’t find any of his books on Amazon or any of his podcasts online? It’s because he hasn’t written a book, and I think you need a special login to get his sermons off of the UCLA Grace on Campus website. But McKitterick is having a tremendous impact in the future of the Christian church… he preaches every week to a group of between 300-400 students at UCLA. Under his leadership over the past 4 years, between 100-150 students have graduated from college and was deployed into the world with minds full of truth and hearts eager to proclaim Christ. McKitterick is important precisely because he doesn’t write books and doesn’t preach at conferences and doesn’t preach at a mega-church. McKitterick represents the everyday pastor. He wasn’t just a distant figure who preached to me during my years at UCLA. Rather, he was a loving and caring shepherd who spent his afternoons at the food court so that he could talk to students on a whole variety of issues (although most of them probably had to do with dating). He was the man who took a few younger men under his wings to invest in them by meeting with them weekly to discuss all sorts of spiritual issues; consequently, his life has been a model to these men of true discipleship. As much as I am indebted to the other men, it is McKitterick who has spoken truth into my life most often and most deeply. Although I will read the books of those other men, it is McKitterick who has spent time playing catch with me (baseball rocks!), discussing books with me, shepherding me through struggles and sins, and laughing at me (at me, not with me… hehe). (Gosh, I hope Justin doesn’t read my blog. If he did… he just might end up killing me.)

And it is because men like Justin McKitterick are being raised up by the fathers of our faith such as John MacArthur that I can wholeheartedly agree with Mohler in stating that “the church has ample reason for hope.”

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Posted July 6, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

One response to ““The Church Has Ample Reason for Hope”

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  1. Mitchell J Kim(25)-keep preaching

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