mgpcpastor's blog


More Classic Material From The Koorong Catalogue

Some days you just have to wonder if Koorong believe anyone reads their catalogue blurbs (or the Old Testament):

The Minor Prophets: 3 Volumes In 1
Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey
Except for a few well-known passages, the twelve Minor Prophets are often neglected by Bible exegetes due to their focus on doom and judgment. This handy 3-in-1 volume seeks to remedy the situation, featuring detailed notes from today’s top evangelical scholars covering the original text of the books, plus practical life applications drawn from them.

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Unbiblical Preaching – Problems And Solutions (via Karl Dahlfred in Thailand)

Helpful series by Karl Dahlfred who is a church planting missionary, originally from the US, now working in Thailand.
What made this series interesting and helpful was Dahlfred’s illustrating the challenges to biblical preaching he identifies with examples from Thai culture.
This helped me to better understand that our preaching needs to reveal, teach and model our attitude to Scripture just as essentially as presenting the Gospel and seeking to help people grow as Christians.

Unbiblical Preaching – Part 1: Missing the Point

Unbiblical Preaching – Part 2: Moralistic Preaching
Unbiblical Preaching – Part 3: Allegorical Preaching
Unbiblical Preaching – Part 4: Gnostic Preaching
Unbiblical Preaching – Part 5: Consequences
Unbiblical Preaching – Part 6: Sources
Unbiblical Preaching – Part 7: Solutions


Australian Presbyterians And Multi-Campus Models

The closest situations I’ve heard of to a multi-campus church in Australian Presbyterianism have different Congregations functioning on the one site. This can be achieved by either having distinct meeting times on the one site or by a preacher moving between meetings being held at overlapping times.
It’s more multi-Congregation than multi-campus.
Another is really a more direct church planting model. The local Congregation plants a group of its own, along with a designated leadership team, in a locality and provides them with financial/logististical support until they become fully self-supporting.
It is notable that there is not really the equivalent of the ‘name preacher’ system here in Australia that there is in the U.S. People are prepared to go and watch Mark Driscoll talk on a video screen for 50 minutes because he’s Mark Driscoll. In Australia the attitude may be more along the lines of ‘Who is he to think he’s so special that we’d watch a video recording of him?’ Australian evangelicalism is well served by numbers of highly competent biblical expositors, but our national character doesn’t like recognising individuals.
Challenges for both within the Presbyterian system, as currently practised, is that geographic boundaries of parishes are assigned by the collective oversight of a Presbytery. A local Congregation can’t just establish a campus over the road from an existing Presbyterian Church. Whether you think that congregation is doing a reasonable job or not. Growing churches can find themselves hemmed in, and growth areas can be assigned to Congregations that lack the resources or will to foster Gospel work.
Sometimes these lacking Congregations will contend that personell and resources from stronger works should be allocated to them without the slightest sense of concession that their current situation of lack is due to their own choices and management skills and that people should be generally hesitant to provide scarce resources when the only promise is for more of the same.
Geographic markers are also used to tie pastors/elders to a specific location for purposes of accountability. Again, for reasons that have more to do with institutional administrative ease and historical factors than sound biblical principles pastors are bound to serve one locality rather than a number of localities. Australian cynicism would probably view the use of video or visits from ‘lead-pastors’ to campuses as suggesting that the guys they’ve got are not up to the standard of the centre campus.
I’ve encouraged my co-leaders here at mgpc to take the view that we’re not going to allocate our resources to propping up works that we don’t believe in. If we were going to invest in a church revitalisation or a church plant it would be one into which we could have meaningful input and from which we would have sound accountability. We’d need to have a say in how it ran.
This brings me to a final thought.
The rules by which Presbyterian pastors have nothing to do with identifying their successors has more to do with Scottish politics in the 19th century than it does with any biblical principle. It continues to create some sort of perception that pastors are visiting consultants rather than organically part of the Congregation. I do everything I can here to ensure that those who have served as pastors at mgpc are recognised as being part of our community. Their ongoing involvement in the lives of the Congregation here should be a given, not a concession. I don’t think the discretion of the choice of new pastor should be taken away from local Congregations, but the present system of:

  • pastor leaves;
  • small group chosen to carry out pastoral search from scratch;
  • time without pastor while process occurs;
  • pastor is identified accepts and (usually) has to leave former church; and then, finally,
  • pastor arrives and is installed;

strikes me as being administrative and about as non-organic as you can get.
Succession planning should mean that leadership transitions, not lurches from one to the next.

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It’s A Book! Again!!

It’s A Book!
My daughter just bought this in town.
It is utterly charming.
If you surf over to Booko you can check out prices.

Here’s the trailer again.

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Multi-Site Church Planting Conversation (via The Gospel Coalition)

Mark Dever converses with Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald about multi-site churches.
It is an interesting video to watch. Dever listens and tries to unpack how multi-site eventually becomes multi-church. The numbers of people they talk about make it challenging to relate to local circumstances, but the idea of a significant amount of Bible teaching being ‘brought in’ is challenging. Dever is resistant to concepts of focusing in personalities. The other two seek to convince him that their model actually is more protective against this than Dever’s own.
I particularly found MacDonald’s statement that when he dies or finishes broadcasting of his material will cease fascinating.
These days newspapers continue to run comic strips of ‘Peanuts’, ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and ‘The Far Side’ though no new strips have been produced for years, in the case of ‘Peanuts’ since Charles Schulz’s death.
Television has whole new channels showing repeats of old television shows.

Who is say that in twenty years some Christian congregations are going to decide that they’d rather watch videos of sermons by Mark Driscoll and John Piper than listen to messages delivered live and prepared for them by a pastor?


Worshipping In Gospel Unity (via Tullian Tchividjian)

Tullian Tchividjian writes a follow-up post explaining how the combined worship Services are working out at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in a post called ‘Ongoing Oneness’. A couple of months ago the church ceased conducting separate contemporary and traditional services. The rationale was that separately themed services poorly demonstrated the power of the Gospel to break down barriers between people.

God is clearly doing something new in bringing us together around a shared theology of mission, worship, and ministry. As I said in an earlier post, this is NOT first about music–it’s about the gospel. While I certainly don’t claim to know each and every situation in each and every local church, I don’t think a local church can experience the degree of deep, rich gospel unity that Jesus prayed for the night before he went to the cross by having a “traditional/contemporary” split in worship. I think by segregating ourselves this way we miss out on some choice blessings that Jesus intends for his one body to enjoy. Coral Ridge has turned a big corner and everyone on board is praising God for the gospel revolution we are experiencing.
Read the rest here…

The article contains a link to an online copy of the Coral Ridge’s order of Service.
Personally, I’m a little underwhelmed at the absences of much prayer and Scripture reading. Singing and preaching are strongly presented, and the structural elements of the service which I’ve noted in past orders from Coral Ridge (nothing at hand to show you, sorry) remains, but in a much more sparse form. These elements may be more included in the actual services, but just aren’t showing up in this order.

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Windows Migrates Live Spaces Bloggers To WordPress (via

Interesting direction for Microsoft to take. Usually they purchase the platform they like and migrate everyone to themselves.

Welcome Windows Live Spaces Bloggers We're excited to announce that is now the default blogging platform for Windows Live Spaces users. We've worked with our partners at Microsoft to create a simple migration service for Spaces bloggers to easily bring all their posts, comments, and photos to Over a six month period, beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users will have the option to move their blogs to To make this possible, we've created … Read More

via News