John Ewart on Partnership in the Gospel

As I write this, I am sitting in India waiting to meet with potential partners who are passionate about discipleship and leadership development. I have the privilege of doing this quite often as part of Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiative (GTI). We are engaging in strategic partnerships all around the world to train trainers. We have a similar partnership missiology for the North American church which we implement through the Spurgeon Center. The EQUIP Network is the field based arm of the center and has partnered with hundreds of churches across America. The church and the seminary working together in a way that brings Him glory and makes disciples. It is a worthy endeavor.

Partnership. It’s a good word. Intentionally serving alongside one another, sharing in a synergistic cooperation that makes the two stronger together than they were apart. A two-way relationship that pulls together purpose and process to produce something greater than the partners could ever do separately. Both partners bless and are blessed. They share mutual benefits. Together they accomplish more.

I have been reflecting lately on the various partnerships I have had and currently have in my life and how formative and vital they have been. My greatest earthly partner, my wife Tresa, makes ministry a joy. Then there are other family members, friends, staff, colleagues, teachers and mentors…the list goes on and on. The idea that we are not alone, that we struggle and succeed together is comforting and motivating. The fact that we are partners in the gospel tells me I have the responsibility to bless others and the privilege of being blessed by others.

What partnerships exist in your life? Who are your partners? With whom are you intentionally seeking to serve alongside in synergistic cooperation? Who are you blessing and who is blessing you?

I challenge you to reflect upon your past and present partnerships. Celebrate those that assist you in being a greater Kingdom servant. Take time to acknowledge and appreciate these healthy, godly partners. Intentionally seek out partnerships that draw you closer to Him and drive you farther out into His mission.

Acknowledge, learn lessons, and move on from those that have not been so healthy. We can be thankful for learning that comes from bad influence and failure but we have no business abiding in it. Establish healthy partnerships.

I began thinking about this last Saturday morning. I had the privilege of helping lead our annual EQUIP breakfast. Dr. Danny Akin and Pastor Alistair Begg shared about equipping leaders in the context of the local church. We shared about church and academy coming together. I thought how wonderful it was that pastors and professors could partner together to help that happen. We will continue to seek the best ways to facilitate that.

It is now time for my meeting here in India. It is with the leadership from a great local church and another denominational entity. I pray we find a way to work together to equip people to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, I pray we can be partners.

Greg Mathias on the Non-Essentials of Life

Wednesday mornings at Between the Times feature the work and writing of the good folks at Southeastern’s Center for Great Commission Studies. This week, we highlight a recent blogpost by Greg Mathias on the non-essentials of life.

Here’s an excerpt:

I often tell missionaries-in-training to cultivate a simple spiritual life. I’m not advocating for a simplistic walk, but for a God-ward life that doesn’t depend too much on the easiness of our American Christian subculture. Podcasts, Christian books and music, and Christian community are not problematic in and of themselves, but if your walk is adversely affected when there is not the same level of access to these things, you may need to reassess and reconnect to the true vine of John 15.

Read the full post here.

Your Coffee May Be Heretical

When my Theology 2 students take midterms in a couple of weeks they will struggle with remembering and describing the various Christological heresies that plagued the early Church. They would do well to check out Andrew Stephen Damick’s post, “Coffeedoxy and Heterodoxy” at his website. He warns that “your local coffeehouse may be a hotbed of heresy.” Damick has posted a syllabus of coffee errors designed to protect the unwary from aberrant brews. With tongue planted firmly in cheek he declares:

  • Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.
  • Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced.
  • Frappuccinos are essentially a form of Monophysitism, having their coffee nature swallowed up in milkshake.
  • Chicory is Arian, not truly coffee at all but a separate creation.
  • Irish coffee is Nestorian, being two natures conjoined solely by good will.

The list goes on. I always suspected that Fair Trade Coffee was Donatist, but who knew that the overuse of sugar was Pelagian? I don’t know if Damick intended for his blog to operate as a teaching tool, but I think it serves as a great (and funny) way to help remember the different early heresies. Even if you’re not studying for an exam you’ll enjoy his post, which can be found here.

This blog is cross-posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com