Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bryan Chapell on ministry founded & fashioned on grace

Bryan Chapell is president ("principal") of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Covenant is the official national training training college of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which is one of the major Evangelical Reformed denominations in the USA. Best-selling author Tim Keller, of Redeemer Presbyterian Church New York, is probably the PCA's best-known minister.

So, Bryan Chapell's the guy in charge of the training college of one of the major Evangelical Reformed denominations of the largest Christian nation in the world. That means his personal impact will be multiplied all over the world, for a significant period of time - just because of who he is & where he happens to be.

Well, here's a sample of what he says about ministry.

Alarm over the encroachments of secularism, while understandable, has led some too quickly to equate biblical spirituality with legalistic observance of Christian disciplines, cultural conservatism, or creedal compulsion. At the same time, concerns to boost the gospel’s impact have too often led to an unreflective promotion of worldly satisfaction or success as evidence of God’s blessing (demonstrated in churches promoting themselves through consumer strategies indistinguishable from secular appeals).

As contrary as these legalistic and consumer approaches to faith may seem, they actually spring from the same source – the error of attempting to establish one’s standing before God on the basis of human achievement or acceptance. […] [T]he corrective for such deviations […] [is] a return to the heart centre of our historic faith – the message of sola gratia [grace alone]. By reminding ourselves and others that grace alone is the source and sustenance of our salvation, we turn the heart to Christ for initial justification, continued sanctification, and ultimate glorification. Self-serving and performance-driven spiritualities die when we preach the gospel to ourselves each day.
Bryan Chapell, ‘Here We Stand: Rooted in Grace for Reformation and Transformation’, in All For Jesus: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Covenant Theological Seminary, Ed. Robert A. Peterson & Sean Michael Lucas, Mentor, 2006. Pages 14-15

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