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Christian Living / Cross / Discipleship Archives ~ Aletheia Baptist Ministries Skip to main content

Men and Women in the Church

Men and Women in the Church

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 2021 book by Kevin DeYoung on the role of male and female at home and at church. DeYoung is a traditional complementarian who believes in the leadership of men with the obligation of husbands to love their wives and the followership of wives with the obligation to be submissive. He says, “So what is this book about? In simplest terms, this books is about the divinely designed complementarity of men and women as it applies to life in general and especially to ministry in the church” (p. 15). Also, “If you are among those who are looking for an introductory and non-angsty walk through the requisite biblical texts on men and women in the church, with an eye toward clarification and application, then this might be the book for you” (p. 16). Noteable things covered in the book are: the biblical difference between being made male or female; what “headship” means biblically; how physical appearance should say male or female; a great chapter on what biblical slavery was all about and not about; and why it is important to teach boys and girls to understand that they are boys and girls. DeYoung’s one appendix is given to answering John Dickson’s book, Hearing Her Voice: A Biblical Invitation for Women to Preach. Dickson sees “teaching” in a very narrow light of only transmitting the words of Scripture but not in proclaiming or exhorting. DeYoung does a good job of debunking that thinking. This is a timely book needed for today.

 

21st Century Seniors

21st Century Seniors

by Rick Shrader

Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) became “seniors” in the year 2011. According to the Pew Research Center, Baby Boomers at this time in their lives are still 29% of the work force compared to 21% of the Silent Generation at the same time, and only 19% of the Great Generation. Though we are also retiring at a fast pace (28.6 million in 2020-high due to covid), we have stayed active longer than any generation born in the 20th century. Also, because 76% of Boomers identify themselves as Christian, we have stayed in church longer than any current generations.

I was born in 1950. I’ve always been glad for that even year because it has made it easy to figure how old I am! I will be 71 this year and am still pastoring full-time. I will attend my 50th Bible college class reunion and will see many of my classmates still either working in ministry or very involved. Health situations or other circumstances may have altered activity for some, but we Boomers are a hard lot to keep down.  However, of the generation before us, the “Silent” generation (born 1928-1945), 84% still consider themselves Christian and, by my observation, are still some of the most faithful attenders to the church services.

Now, I’ll be realistic, our hair has turned white or fallen out, and we wear a lot hardware just to keep up daily functions, and our doctors seem to look a lot like our grandkids.  I had a hard time accepting Medicare at 65 and then being forced to take Social Security at 70, I thought, this is for old people. My wife and I updated our living trust because the people who were supposed to take our kids if something happened to us, died years ago, and now no one wants to take responsibility for four middle-aged adults and their families. When I turned 65, I changed my life’s verse from Eph. 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” to Mark 8:18, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

Since we are the seniors of the 21st century, do we take our God-given responsibility seriously? Psalm 71 is titled in my study Bible, “A Prayer for the Aged.” Verse 18 reads, “Now also, when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”  I have to ask if we are ready and able to meet that challenge? Psalm 78:4 reads, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done . . . That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children” (vs. 6).

As the family declines in our time, so does the influence that should be passed on from generation to generation. Our children have faced unprecedented obstacles in their lives and are now trying to raise children in even more dire circumstances. Our government, our schools, and even many churches, have become adversaries rather than adjuncts to the family. So it falls to our generation, to the grandfathers and grandmothers to be strong and pass on the faith which was once delivered to the saints. We can do this by being faithful to what we know, what we value, and what we worship. We’re not popular anymore nor do we need to be. We need to be godly and people of prayer and good counsel. If this is your desire, I hope you will continue to read this monthly column and join me in praying for one another and the generation to come.

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Post Christian

Post Christian by G.E. Veith

Post Christian

by Rick Shrader

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I have read Gene Edward Veith, Jr. since I first learned of postmodernism from his book Postmodern Times in 1994. Veith considers this book to be a follow-up of the previous work. He has also written numerous other books on related subjects. This is a 2020 book and is a great update on the current American situation. Are we “post-Christian?” Vieth says yes and no. We are in the sense that postmodernism has morphed into a time that has taken our country and culture beyond what Christianity has normally been. He writes, “Postmodern Times discussed the sexual revolution in terms of extramarital sex; now the issues are homosexuality, pornography, and sex robots. In the 1990s we were deconstructing literature; in the twenty-first century we are deconstructing marriage. In the 1990s we were constructing ideas; in the twenty-first century we are constructing the human body. In the 1990s we had feminism; in the twenty-first century we have transgenderism; in the twenty-first century we are warned about committing cultural appropriation. Pluralism has given way to identity politics. Relativism has given way to speech codes. Humanism has given way to transhumanism, the union of human beings and machines” (p. 17).

But Veith also contends that, no, we are not entirely “post-Christian.” In various ways Americans (and other worldlings) are retaining older and ancient forms of religions even if they are not Christian. He writes, “So scholars no longer accept the ‘secular hypothesis,’ the assumption that as a society becomes more modern, it becomes less religious. The global religion explosion–which is happening not only among Christians but also among Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus–proves that.   . . This has given rise to a new term that is gaining currency among scholars in multiple fields. It is another post– word. Not postmodern. Not post-Christian. But postsecular. What is emerging or is already upon us is a postsecular culture” (p. 289). In other words, the “nones” and millennials are adopting various forms of pagan cultures and using them in their selfish life-styles–everything from self-help spiritualities to back-to-earth food and medicine to yoga. But, Veith reminds the reader, “Christianity has a high success rate evangelizing the heathen.” But also, “If postsecular non-Christians are ‘spiritual but not religious,’ the church would do well to recover its own heritage of Christian spirituality” (p. 299).

This is a great update to Postmodern Times, and well worth the money and time to read.

 

Biblical Handbook for Dealing with the S...

Shane Belding Book

Biblical Handbook for Dealing with the Sexual Revolution

by Rick Shrader

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Pastor Shane Belding is a Canadian pastor living in International Falls, MN and pastoring across the border at Victory Baptist Church in Ft. Frances, Ontario. I have been with pastor Belding and the church many times. Shane is a competent counselor and serves both lay people and local pastors, especially on the Canadian side. Canada has been inundated with the results of the moral revolution, especially same-sex marriage and same-sex attraction. This book is a great help with both the details of these things biblically, and also with the hermeneutics of them. The book is available locally and one would have to contact Pastor Belding personally for a copy of the book.

 

Grandparenting with a Purpose

Grandparenting with a Purpose

by Rick Shrader

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Of a growing number of books on grandparenting, this is a 2019 book by Lillian Penner which is an update of a 2010 book. This book majors on how to pray for grandchildren. It is more a book of methodology rather than exposition. Penner gives numerous examples of how you might pray for this characteristic or that having to do with your grandchild and contains long lists of suggestions for wording your prayer. Mostly for those who have trouble praying specifically.

 

Disciplines of a Godly Man

Disciplines of a Godly Man

by Rick Shrader

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I have always enjoyed R. Kent Hughes and his writings.  This is a 2001 Crossway book thta had escaped my notice.  As is typical of Hughes, he takes the reader through an examination of thoughts and motives to being godly.  The chapters are simple, relationships, soul, character, ministry, and discipline.  The book is full of quotable material as well as many helpful illustrations.  My only disappointment is that Hughes, like many, takes the space to give a caricature of “legalism” as anyone who wants to please God by human merit or “gain favor” with God by making “lists” of things to do or not do.  A tired mantra.  Especially since the book is full of those things, but I guess from a “proper” motive.  But that is only a small portion.  The book is good and well worth the reading.

 

Parenting God’s Way

Parenting God’s Way

by Rick Shrader

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I read this new but short book (2017, just 41 pages) while researching material on grandparenting.  I have watched Alistair Begg’s career from afar, being distantly knowledgable of Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh where Begg once served as associate pastor.  This book was probably a printed sermon Begg preached from Ephesians on the family.  It is good and solid teaching about husbands and wives.  These sources sometimes supply good information for all generations of the family.  Begg includes a number of quotes from other authors as well.  This description by E.F. Brown was taken from Wm. Barclay on Titus chapter 2: “The greatest need was godly grandmothers ‘who have lived out the principles of the book, who have reared their families, who have known a measure of success, having faced the challenges and the disappointments and the failures, and who then are able to provide the instruction necessary for young women living in a confused culture and looking for clarity from the Bible.’”  Begg also adds, “Paul is speaking, obviously, of older women and their special ministry.  These women have the advantage of their years of experience.  They have the opportunity to offer the value of their accumulated years to the younger mothers, who are establishing their homes for the first time.” This is what I was looking for.

 

Biblical Grandparenting

Biblical Grandparenting

by Rick Shrader

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Josh Mulvihill wrote his PhD on this subject for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and then published this book in 2018 (Bethany House).  It is a much needed book on an important topic.  He writes in the first chapter, “There are millions of Christian Grandparents in America today with few resources to equip them to accomplish the role God has given them in Scripture.  At the time of my study, there were fewer than a dozen books, one DVD series, and one ministry that existed to support all Christian grandparents.”  He is here speaking of resources from an evangelical Christian point of view.  The great benefit of this book is the amount of information, surveys, comparative research, and interviews done by the author.  The book is loaded with quotable material.  For example, “The U.S. population demographic growing most quickly is those over the age of sixty five.  They represent more than a quarter of the entire U.S. population, seventy-eight million in total.  Approximately 7,918 people turn sixty-two each day” (p. 52).  But Mulvihill says, “In scholarly literature, the religious/spiritual facet of the grandparent-grandchild relationship has been neglected.  Research of this topic is limited to the sociological and psychological arenas and is almost nonexistent in the pastoral-theological perpective” (p. 53).

The author gives a solid view of the biblical role of parenting and grandparenting in chapter 2.  He then brings the reader up-to-date on culture’s perspective in chapter 3, with an informative section on the history of grandparenting in America.  In chapter 4 he breaks down four general approaches among believers to the role of grandparent.  These are: the encouraging voice, the supportive partner, the loving friend, and the disciple-maker.  Mulvihill’s point of view is that a grandparent must place the last approach, disciple-maker, as the first priority.  He has shown that it is a distinct biblical role that the grandparent teach salvation and Christian growth to the entire family, especially to grandchildren.  By chapter 7 he is discussing how to disciple grandchildren giving 8 general ways:  asking questions, blessing, intentional meals, prayer, teaching, reading and memorizing the Bible, telling God-stories, sharing the gospel. Some testimonies of parents are given emphasizing each method.

My negative to the book is that it very much reads as a dissertation.  It is first a book of information on the current status of grandparents in America and the church.  Less time is spent on practical ways to be a good grandparent and those are mostly given in general terms.  The book is needful and well worth the price and time to read.  It will pack your head full of facts, but those facts are a good place to begin.

 

10 Commitments for Dads

10 Commitments for Dads

by Rick Shrader

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I have read Josh McDowell all my life, especially his books on apologetics.  This was a different kind of book from him, however, but a good addition to his list.  He describes his own “disfunctional” childhood and how he learned all he knows about parenting from being a parent and a student of God’s Word.  McDowell gives ten “commitments” (“I will do my best to…”) that he asks fathers to make when raising their children.  They are good and yet common: “I will do my best to be an authentic model,” for example.  In much of the book one benefits from his apologetic background, especially in those chapters where the commitment is to explain the Word of God to our children.  If there is any weakness in his approach it would be in the occasional use of psychology.  Whereas other biblical approaches would base our accountability on our servanthood to God and His Word (MacArthur, Tripp), McDowell basis that accountability on our relationship  and acceptance toward our children.  In the end he brings it back to our fear of God but he takes a while to get there.  Overall, I benefited from the book and found a lot of practical helps for fathers.

 

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

by Rick Shrader

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Tedd Tripp wrote this book in 1995 and I have read the 2005 edition.  It is also available in a 2012 edition and also on Kindle.  Tripp and his wife have also authored, “Instructing a Child’s Heart”.  Though Tripp sometimes uses worn out criticisms of “rule keeping” as legalism and likes to use Christian School kids as bad examples, the main propositions of the book are very good.  His constant theme is that the parent must realize his stewardship before God and the child must also realize his own.  The parent guides, instructs, and disciplines because God has instructed him to.  The child obeys and follows because God has instructed him to.  If both understand this stewardship from God, living out their roles becomes a faith journey.