California Dreamin' & Church Polity

March 6, 2006

Was it a week ago I set out for California?  Time flies.  Tempus fugits.  I’m reminded by your ruminations Lig of much I have to thank God for in this past week.  The past always looks so past when it’s past.  (Bet no one links to that line!)

Monday was flying out there.  Good time all week with Mike Law, who accompanied me.  Dinner that night with you, Al, Greg Gilbert & Mike was great.  Thank you for getting the ties.  Sorry I forgot.

Tuesday was all day down at Westminster California in Escondido.  Good to catch up with Mike Horton, Bob Godfrey, Scott Clark, the rest of the faculty and also meet the Jones’.  At night, again, was hanging out with you, Al!

Wednesday was Master’s College.  This was the most impressive Christian college chapel I have seen.  Hundreds of students obviously eager to hear God’s Word.  That afternoon was a good time with Tom Ascol over at Fuller Theological Seminary’s Bookstore. That evening was dinner with Al, Steve Lawson & John MacArthur, and then hearing John M preach a wonderful treatment of Luke 15.  Clayton did an amazing job with the music that night, and all week.  That night it was hanging out in Al’s room with CJ Mahaney on our laptops with me re-tooling my message after John’s good work that night.

Thursday I was up first in the morning at the conference.  If you’re reading this and you were there, let me just tell you that you guys were a GREAT congregation to preach to!  My thought on preaching on unbelief was that it is an interesting way to get to the gospel, and a way in which I hope pastors would particularly be helped.  That evening was dinner again with John MacArthur, Steve Lawson & Al Mohler.  Then I got the opportunity to introduce Al a little bit for the evening, and he did a wonderful job for us on Colossians 1, and the importance of preaching.  Later that night, I had a little time with Al, and some other friends.

Throughout the week Matt Schmucker (9Marks) & Paul Medler (Sovereign Grace) were there, getting expert help from Dan Dumas in preparing for the Together for the Gospel Conference.  If you don’t know what that is, slow down on your way to this blog!!

Friday was Steve Lawson in the morning and R C Sproul in the evening.  Two excellent messages.  A late morning meeting with Dave Doran of Detroit.  Great conversation.  Lunch with Jim & Steve, on staff for evangelism at Grace Community Church.  Good fellowship.  Q&A panel that Friday afternoon, well-led by John M.  Then dinner with RC & Vesta Sproul, John & Pat MacArthur, Steve & Anne Lawson, Lig, John & Mel Duncan.  The afternoon was spent listening to RC talk about the Steelers and Lig & John Duncan rap.  That evening, a special after time organized by Dan Dumas & Eric Bancroft was fun, humbling & incredibly kind.  I kept thinking that there was some mistake, me sitting there being honored with CJ, Lig & Al.  Dan & Eric, thanks so much!  And then, later that night, a great couple of hours with just the 4 of us hanging out and talking.  Thanks for the fellowship.  Lig, Al, CJ, you are each providing tremendous leadership.  People are being blessed by you guys in ways they have no idea of!  I love to see something of how the Lord works for the good of His people!

OK, since it’s March, here’s another Luther matter.  Martin Marty in his little book (on p. 115) observes that  “As for governance, Luther judged that if a pattern of polity or policy did not stand in the way of the gospel there could be flexibility in church order.”  2 questions:  1)  Is this what Luther thought (I think it is).  2) Do you three agree with this?  (I do only sort of.  I think there are more givens than Lig thinks and probably than Al thinks.  I don’t know how exactly to read CJ on this!)

It was an honor to be asked to preach by John M, and great to see you guys and so many others.