Training for lay ministry

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cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
My church offers training for those who are doing lay ministry. It is a two year program that consists of reading books including the entire Bible, memorizing Scripture, writing papers, and listening to lectures. I started going through the training a couple of months and I have been enjoying it so far. The books that I have to read deal with such topics as Christian living, hermeneutics, and systematic theology. I finished reading J.C. Ryle's book, Practical Religion, and now I'm reading, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. Just out of curiosity, do you have this type of training at your church?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
My church offers training for those who are doing lay ministry. It is a two year program that consists of reading books including the entire Bible, memorizing Scripture, writing papers, and listening to lectures. I started going through the training a couple of months and I have been enjoying it so far. The books that I have to read deal with such topics as Christian living, hermeneutics, and systematic theology. I finished reading J.C. Ryle's book, Practical Religion, and now I'm reading, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. Just out of curiosity, do you have this type of training at your church?

It is going to happen....:lol:
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
uh oh....why?

Well, for a couple of reasons I don't think I'd point anyone to it.

First, it's very low on substance. Nothing Alcorn says in it is particularly
striking or insightful, that I recall. It's quite mundane, and the lengths
to which Alcorn goes to stretch the simple, single concept into multiple
'lessons' is amazing. I found the book frankly quite shallow and uninstructive.
The core good (as opposed to the robe of poor teaching that covers up this
small good) message of "don't hoard your treasures on earth because they
are fleeting" could be said in about five minutes. Instead, it's designed for
a multi-month study. Why all the hot air?

Second, and this is far more serious an objection - Alcorn is very, very
close in this book to arguing that our primary reason for giving generously
is so that we may reap greater and greater rewards in heaven. Can anyone
honestly say that this is a legitimate reason for giving? "Give so that you
might pile up more for yourself in Heaven"? I think he tries at times to
soften this kind of argumentation (perhaps he knows it's improper, and
doesn't want to come off this way), but no amount of smoothing over what
he says can hide the fact that somewhere deep down I think he really believes
this. He may not even realize it, but this is what he seems quite clearly
to be saying.

I am very disturbed to hear folks "aiming for big castles in the sky". Why
should we be motivated in doing ANYTHING on earth by a notion of gaining
greater rewards in Heaven? The pervasive view that I see in Scripture is
that we will be happy with Heaven itself, because it is eternity with Christ and
an unabated experience of the Love of God forever. Who gives a flying leap
whether my Heavenly home has golden doors in it, or silver, or brass? How can
this motivation (of earning gold accomodations instead of silver, by means
of giving more generously here on Earth) motivate anyone but the selfish? How
can this be good in any way at all?

Ranting off.

I found the book really quite objectionable, and cannot fathom why such a
book is needed in order to teach the simple truth that it does contain.

Todd
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
hmmm....interesting. Thanks for the rant Todd. I loved it, but what you see is true: It is light reading and it does speak of our rewards in heaven. Will there be no rewards then?


CURT: Sorry to hijack the thread. What sort of papers will have to be written?
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
hmmm....interesting. Thanks for the rant Todd. I loved it, but what you see is true: It is light reading and it does speak of our rewards in heaven. Will there be no rewards then?


CURT: Sorry to hijack the thread. What sort of papers will have to be written?

I have to write papers on my reading assignments- summarizing the reading material, stating whether I agree or disagree with the material and why, and explaining how the reading material applies to my life and to the church.

Later on, I will do a hermeneutics project where I have to select a Scriptural passage, do a background study of the passage, write an outline and summary of the passage, write down how I would interpret the passage, and explain how the passage applies to my life and to the church.

Next year, I will have to write a six to ten page paper about some issue in the area of systematic theology.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
This is great. More churches should be doing this sort of thing for the men in their congregations.

As to rewards in heaven - I don't want to highjack the thread either, but I would like to offer some counterbalancing comments. Though I have the book and have heard great things about it, I have not read it. But I have to think it's possible that Todd's concern is a pendulum swinging in the other direction. His observations and concerns are good, but one must keep a proper balance. We are to seek treasure in heaven.

Matthew 6
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Mark 10
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 12
33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Luke 18
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”​

Simply put, to seek God's glory is to build up treasure in heaven. It's another facet of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. We should look forward to the treasure awaiting us in heaven and strive to build it up. However, if the motive is personal treasure then the glory of God is demeaned and the treasure becomes temporal if not non-existent. If glorifying God is what brings us the most pleasure then we can't help but to heap up treasure in heaven; and we should look forward to it (whatever heavenly treasure happens to look like :wow:).
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
This is great. More churches should be doing this sort of thing for the men in their congregations.

As to rewards in heaven - I don't want to highjack the thread either, but I would like to offer some counterbalancing comments. Though I have the book and have heard great things about it, I have not read it. But I have to think it's possible that Todd's concern is a pendulum swinging in the other direction. His observations and concerns are good, but one must keep a proper balance. We are to seek treasure in heaven.

Matthew 6
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Mark 10
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 12
33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Luke 18
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”​

Simply put, to seek God's glory is to build up treasure in heaven. It's another facet of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. We should look forward to the treasure awaiting us in heaven and strive to build it up. However, if the motive is personal treasure then the glory of God is demeaned and the treasure becomes temporal if not non-existent. If glorifying God is what brings us the most pleasure then we can't help but to heap up treasure in heaven; and we should look forward to it (whatever heavenly treasure happens to look like :wow:).

Certainly I can be swinging too far away from what I perceive as Alcorn's over-emphasis
on gaining heavenly gold.

One note of caution, though, with all these examples... and they are the usual passages
offered in support of Alcorn's teaching. But in context, every single one of them is offered as a
counterbalance to the evil of hoarding things and "treasures" here on Earth. I think it's
an exegetical error to look to these passages as supporting the idea that we should
aim for building up some kind of 'heavenly savings account'. I quite honestly think that
is an offensive goal, and I don't see it supported in Scripture.

I don't think any of them can be offered as a "quid pro quo" arrangement, i.e. an exchange by
which we, by doing good works, or giving alms while here on Earth will gain some proportionate
treasure in Heaven. I don't think any of these passages says that at all, or even hints
(when considered in the context that they are set) that there is any kind of way in which
we should be seeking to establish some amount of heavenly treasure by our good deeds on
Earth.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Todd:

Yes, I think you make a good point.

Even IF we get rewards in heaven, we are not working for rewards but out of love for Christ.

Many times people say correct things, but emphasize them in a wrong way. IN Alcorn's zeal, perhaps, he might have done this.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Todd:

Yes, I think you make a good point.

Even IF we get rewards in heaven, we are not working for rewards but out of love for Christ.

Many times people say correct things, but emphasize them in a wrong way. IN Alcorn's zeal, perhaps, he might have done this.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Todd,
You're probably right on this. That's why I qualified the quotes with my comment. I wouldn't want to throw out he bathwater, baby and all. We do know there is reward in heaven.
What exactly are treasures in heaven? Alcorn does not say in his book.
A million dollar question. He can't know exactly.

We can know that the greatest treasure in heaven will be/is Jesus.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
What exactly are treasures in heaven? Alcorn does not say in his book.

A very good question - and neither does the Bible, which is why we ought not to speculate too deeply - and it's a good thing he doesn't say such things in his book.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Heaven: A World of Love by Edwards addresses some of these questions. And Moses had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
My church offers training for those who are doing lay ministry. It is a two year program that consists of reading books including the entire Bible, memorizing Scripture, writing papers, and listening to lectures. I started going through the training a couple of months and I have been enjoying it so far. The books that I have to read deal with such topics as Christian living, hermeneutics, and systematic theology. I finished reading J.C. Ryle's book, Practical Religion, and now I'm reading, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. Just out of curiosity, do you have this type of training at your church?

Going back to the original question, our church conducts an "adult class" prior to the main worship service. The topics include an in-depth study of the London Baptist Confession over a number of years, addressing hermeneutics, systematic theology, Christian living, philosophy, epistemology, church history, and other things. As our pastor has said occasionally, our discussion is generally limited to the Christian's view of the universe and related things.

In addition, our pastor has conducted Greek and Hebrew classes for a smaller number of interested members. One fruit of his work is that he has supervised numerous men who have gone on to become well grounded and faithful pastors of other solid churches.

I know another reformed Baptist pastor who has essentially started an in-house seminary taught by well educated elders. It serves those who have great interest and promise, but lack the means to leave for a brick and mortar seminary. They don't get an accredited degree, but they are very well prepared in the languages, systematic theology, history, etc. It is a tremendous and valuable work--sort of like Spurgeon's College on a small scale.
 
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