Does the Bible Support Slavery?

This past Sunday I preached from 1 Peter 2.13-25. In the text Peter addresses servants/slaves. Because the sermon was not primarily about the Bible’s stance on slavery I didn’t take much time to explain a Biblical theology of slavery. The following are links to videos and articles I’ve found helpful:

Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? An Overview

Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? Examining Difficult Texts

Why Is the New Testament Silent on Slavery—Or Is It?

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Blog Link: Are Recent Restroom Laws the Same as Jim Crow Laws?

Andrew Walker raises both questions and brings clarity to what may be the hottest topic in American culture. In a post for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention entitled Are restroom laws that respect privacy the equivalent of Jim Crow laws? Walker writes the following:

Jim Crow laws made arbitrary distinctions based on skin color. For example, the color of a person’s skin matters nothing to their hunger or ability to purchase food, but Jim Crow laws prohibited African Americans from entering certain restaurants. There’s no rational purpose to deny a person access to a particular restaurant because of an arbitrary factor like skin color. Those laws were senseless and irrational. HB 2, however, makes rational distinctions based on the very real differences between men and women.

Therein lies the rub. Are there “very real differences” between the sexes? Walker’s post hangs on that sentence. Astonishingly, one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves today is, “Is gender something?” While so many people fight over definitions of gender this question precedes all other questions. Is gender something? Or, is it nothing?

We should ask the same question about marriage. Is marriage something? Or, is it nothing? We can argue until we’re blue in the face over what marriage is and isn’t, when we should be asking, “Is marriage something, rather than nothing?”

This is the center of the debate. Our nation is dividing over this question. Part of our population agrees with the statement, “Gender is something.” Part of our population agrees with the statement, “Gender is not something.” As it relates to Jim Crow laws almost no one is arguing over whether race is something or not.

I believe the Scriptures teach that both gender and marriage have objective definitions. They are something. They can be defined. Notice, I haven’t defined them yet. I’ve just said they can be defined. I also believe the Scriptures account for a wide range of human experience, human sin, and divine mercy and patience for both me and those I disagree with on public policy. I believe asking the question of the possibility of objective definition can help Christians clarify their understanding of exactly what’s at stake.

My hope and prayer is that Christians learn how to be both unwavering in their commitment to the authority of Scripture and patient and loving and winsome to surrounding culture.

I highly recommend following the ERLC and its President Russell Moore as they model what I believe is a Biblically faithful witness to culture.

Sermon Manuscript: Psalm 9

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In Psalm 9 David tells us that God never forgets those in need, yet David himself is being pursued and attacked. Is David saying that God is inconsistent? How can David suffer and yet celebrate God at the same time? The following sermon manuscript was preached at Christ Community Church.

Psalm 9 Manuscript

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Loveless

4158UwZNr8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Having experienced the Jesus Movement first hand, Richard Loveless set out to fill a gap in evangelical scholarship, a theology of spirituality; specifically, an historical and theological analysis of renewal and spiritual dynamics. Loveless’s historical overview of renewal movements in the evangelical church, and his section on the primary elements of renewal are invaluable.

Lovelace, Richard F. Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, ©1979.

I’ll be going back to this well for years to come. Here are a few quotes to mull over:

Concentration on reformation without revival leads to skins without wine; concentration on revival without reformation soon loses the wine for want of skins.

Revival, in his [Jonathan Edwards] understanding, is not a special season of extraordinary religious excitement… Rather it is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which restores the people of God to normal spiritual life after a period of corporate declension.

But perhaps the root cause of the decay of evangelicalism in America was the replacement of the old comprehensive concept of revival, with the post-Finneyan machinery of revivalism.

Justification is the perfect righteousness of Christ reckoned to us, covering the remaining imperfections…sanctification is the process of removing those imperfections.

Paul… considered the gospel to be a transcultural message of repentant faith in Christ designed neither to bind people to a form of culture alien to their own, nor to eradicate the distinctive features of their own culture.

Apparently if the church has not fully appropriated the life and redemptive benefits of Jesus Christ, it will inevitably be subject to two forms of re-enculturation. Either it will suffer destructive enculturation, absorbing elements of its host cultures which it should discern and suppress as unholy, or it will try to re-create once again the Old Testament protective enculturation, fusing itself with certain aspects of Christianized culture until the gospel is thought to be indissolubly wedded to those cultural expressions.

 

 

Big Changes for the Homesleys

As you may already know, this morning I announced my resignation from the office of Pastor at Christ Community Church. It was a tough morning emotionally for us, but I’d love to share with you about what God has been doing in my heart and my family. On April 17th, 2016 Lake Wylie Baptist Church unanimously voted to call me as their Lead Pastor. How did we get here? The easiest place to begin is to post a copy of the announcement I made this morning:

Christ Community Family,

I just completed my 6th year as a pastor of Christ Community Church and I thank God for every moment here. In my time at CCC I’ve served in the children, student, discipleship, and now, lead pastor roles. Of course, my time here really began on July 15th 1990 when East Huntersville Baptist Church called Jack Homesley to be the Senior Pastor. I accepted Christ and my call to ministry here. You licensed and ordained me to the gospel ministry. Most of my life has been invested here at Christ Community. You have been my family and my home.

When Chelsea and I first came to CCC in May of 2010 we had no idea what God would bring us through here. Time and time again he has given me opportunity to grow as a pastor and build the deepest friendships we’ve ever had. I’ve served under leaders who have shaped and sharpened me for ministry. I’ve been able to baptize many of your children. Some of you I’ve led to Christ. Others, I personally mentored and discipled. I pray that God has used my efforts to draw you closer to Christ. I want you to know that he’s used you as an instrument to shape me for his purposes. I could not be the pastor I am without you

For well over two years Chelsea and I have sensed God moving us into a new season of ministry. We’ve always believed that God would eventually open a path for me to serve as a senior pastor and we now see that he’s made that path clear. Lake Wylie Baptist Church on the southwest of Charlotte has called me to be their pastor and I have accepted that call.

Today I am letting you, my family, know that on April 18th I gave my resignation to the personnel team from the office of pastor at Christ Community Church. My last day in office will be Sunday, May 8th 2016.

I know that Christ Community Church will continue to carry out the Great Commission of God for the glory of God. With the apostle Paul I can say with confidence, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” I believe that if you have eyes of faith you have already seen God refreshing and renewing our church.

Please pray for Chelsea and me as we make this transition. Thank you. I love you. I’m glad to have not only shared the gospel with you, but even my life.

 Pastor Jonathan

You may have a few more questions:

Where is Lake Wylie Baptist Church?

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Lake Wylie Baptist is located in the Steele Creek Neighborhood on the Southwest side of Charlotte, NC.

Why stay in Charlotte? Doesn’t Charlotte have enough churches?

No. Charlotte doesn’t have near the amount of churches needed to disciple the people God is sending to our city. I have long felt the need for thriving churches in the city of Charlotte. As Chelsea and I sensed God leading us to pursuing leading a church as a pastor we knew it had to be in Charlotte for a few reasons:

  • 2,000 people move to Charlotte every year. This means that if we planted a new church of 1,000 members every month we would only be keeping up with half the population growth.
  • 11 out of the 12 biggest pockets of lost-ness in North Carolina are in Charlotte.
  • By 2030 there will be 2.1 million people in Charlotte. With that kind of growth we desperately need God to send laborers, pastors, and Godly church members to our city. We need to see a church planting movement in Charlotte that plants and revitalizes between 450-600 churches in the next 15 years just to keep up with the increase in population.
  • My hope, in the coming years is to pastor a healthy church that is planting healthy churches and revitalizing unhealthy churches. We don’t need one more big church in Charlotte, we need a gospel movement. Part of how I fit in to that is the desire I have to shepherd other pastors. In the years ahead I pray God blesses Lake Wylie Baptist so that we can be a blessing to our city through acts of service and by training and planting young men and church members in new and established churches in our city.

Why Lake Wylie Baptist?

God has placed Lake Wylie Baptist Church in a unique place in our city. Out of several areas of new growth in the city, LWBC is positioned in one of the fastest growing zip codes.

Through the pastor transition at Lake Wylie God has gave the people there a purpose that is close to my own. We summarize that mission in three words:

  • Upward– We do everything for God’s glory. The first focus of our church is worship. We look up to Christ.
  • Inward– We are called to develop a spiritual community. Relationships and gospel accountability build us up and root us down into the gospel.
  • Outward– We aren’t a place, we’re a people on a mission. We set our faces towards Charlotte. We aren’t here just to have a great church, but to build a great city through service and faithful gospel presence.

Will you be moving?

Yes. I  won’t be driving an hour plus everyday through I-77 and 485 to that community. We’ve loved being in Mooresville, and we love our current neighbors, but we’ll be selling our home soon to live in the community God has called us to serve.

When do you start?

I have a few more duties to wrap up at Christ Community Church and then I’m going to take a little bit of a break between ministries. My first official Sunday at Lake Wylie will be May 22nd.

How can you help?

Pray for me: Though I have been serving in a lead pastor role at CCC for the past 10 months, this will be my first lead pastorate. I assured Lake Wylie that I’d make my share of mistakes. I’m not afraid of those. So, I hope you will pray for spiritual energy and endurance. The enemy hates it when God’s people submit to his will. I know that spiritual attack will come to me and the people of Lake Wylie as we seek God’s kingdom in Charlotte.

Pray for my family: We’re moving, but we’re also stepping away from many close friendships. CCC has been home for most of my life. Pray that God will unify us even more as we follow him. Pray for Chelsea as she will be standing beside me. Pray for my children. Lake Wylie will be their church home. I feel a great responsibility to be faithful for their sake. I want them to grow up in a church as wonderful as the one I grew up in.

Pray for Lake Wylie Baptist and Charlotte: LWBC is a wonderful church and I know that God is going to stretch us even more for his glory and our good. Ask God to give us patient endurance as enter the next chapter of our history as a church. Pray that God would help us disciple one another in order to make the name of Jesus non-ignorable in our neighborhood. Begin praying now for the movement of gospel filled churches we believe God is going to bring to the city.

Reach out to me: In the next few weeks I’d love to connect with you. I’m still a pastor at CCC. Stop by the office. My door is open and I will have time for you. I promise.