Interesting Observations and a Question from a New Reader

August 28, 2008 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

A new reader, who goes by the handle of “non-sgm believer,” posted the following comment just now.  I thought it was full of great observations and contains a question that perhaps someone out there might be able to answer better than I could.  Here it is:

Okay, I have been reading this blog and several others over the course of three days. My friend attends a church that is affiliated with SGM but supposedly not ENTIRELY SGM. They use their same statement of faith, but yet somehow they are independent. In either case, my friends description of this church has been bothering me for the past 4 years. This person has no problem with the teachings of the church but , I see red flags all over the place.

Anyway in my quest for the real truth about what is going on, I have also turned to the SGM blog because even those at SGM believe you should get the information from the source. I came across a blog called “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” written by none other than C.J. Mahaney. His blog is ridden with non biblical references and a complete lack of understanding about the grace of God.

First, Mahaney brings up great intellectual and pastoral MINDS and then refers to ordinary christians as “sorry” individuals compared to these great minds.

“But at times, reading these biographies is discouraging, rather than edifying, as we are reminded afresh about the difference between the great leaders in church history and our sorry selves.”

First, Mahaney is blatantly saying that if we are not “great church leaders” then we are sorry people. And if that is not what he intended he is still elevating these REGULAR MEN who, yes were gifted by God, but do not need to be worshipped.

Next as Mahaney is trying to explain that he is an average person, he cites his sinful pride and then proceeds to discourage his congregation from reading biographies because then they will not think he is so great.

“As I read their biographies I know I should be inspired, but at times I find myself increasingly discouraged (and let me be clear—this is because of my pride). Rather than filled with faith to charge into my day and prepare a sermon, care for God’s people, and preach, I feel a bit hopeless.

And while reading these biographies I also hope my church members never read these books because they could only compare me to this individual and that would prove unfavorable!”

Perhaps he did not mean this (although I am sure he did) but he is literally asking for people to not look elsewhere for information because it will change their view of the church. NOT HEALTHY

THEN the kicker–his recommendation for pastors who may be struggling with their “average gifting” IS NOT BIBLICAL

He refers them to a biography written by Don Carson about his father who also happens to be an “ordinary pastor.” Why on earth would a pastor refer other pastors to a biography as a way to clear up any prideful feelings regarding their preaching?

“What’s a pastor to do? Here is one recommendation. For pastors like myself with average gifts, Dr. Don Carson has given us a unique biography of the life and ministry of an ordinary pastor—his dad. It’s titled, Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson (Crossway, 2008).

If you are like me, this book will provide you with an invaluable reminder of what is most important to pastoral ministry—faithfulness.

This new book will provide you with a biblical perspective if you envy those pastoring large churches…”

Wouldn’t the better biblical perspective actually be THE BIBLE??????? And if someone wants to read a biography on John Calvin rather than some random PhD’s father, shouldn’t they be allowed?? It is again, like many have said, if the books are not stamped with SGM approval than they must be the wrong books….so silly and ridiculous.

Sorry, I just had to share.

And if anyone has any information on the metro life churches sponsored by SGM that would be great.

© 2008, Kris. All rights reserved.