It’s a Wonderful Life Conference 1c – What to do when the Bible is silent

Pastor James Emery White on:

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Play Session 1c – What to do when the Bible is silent

This session was recorded at Milton Keynes Christian Centre

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What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary – James Emery White

Conference Description

In the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey was given the chance to see what life would be like if he had never lived. In like manner, James Emery White was given a chance to see what life would be like without serving as a church pastor.

He experienced what he believed to be a dream opportunity, taking a position that would allow him time for teaching and writing and reflecting on ministry, God, the Bible, and the church, without the headache of weddings, deacons’ meetings, raising money, or dealing with how regularly Sundays always seem to come around.

He resigned within two years and returned to the church he had left. And he was so glad. In his most recent book, What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary, he emphatically states, ‘for those of us who are called to ministry in the local church, please hear me say: no other vocational pursuit will satisfy.’

In a day when the demands upon church leadership seem higher than ever, where stress is on the increase and the tension of fight or flight is keenly felt, veteran pastor James Emery White brings a vital message to leaders on the front lines.

About James

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Church and Culture, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture; and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.willowcreekevents.org.uk/ministries/leadership/its-a-wonderful-life-notes-2-if-biblical-authority-is-your-top-core-value-what-do-you-do-when-it-is-silent/

1 comment

  1. Willow

    Notes from James Emery White’s ’It’s a Wonderful Life’ seminar at Milton Keynes – Will Salmon

    The Bible can speak very specifically to issues, but in other areas it gives us the background material for what is in essence the pursuit of theology – taking what the Bible has to say and extrapolating it out for doctrinal statements and application to life.

    Sometimes we don’t have clear statements but background contexts. So for example, Bioethics… right now the cutting edge issue for theologians, pastors, teachers, apologetics and reaching this generation is the doctrine of humanity, because this doctrine covers everything related to stem cell research to homosexuality and gay marriage, and so this is the issue of our day where church and state and culture and religion is trying to figure it out…

    So if the Bible seems unclear, what you do is go through the authority of the Christian faith:

    • The triune God as revealed in Scripture,
    • as conveyed through heritage,
    • as made real in experience – corporate and personal
    • …in that order.
    • So…
    • Scripture trumps church history… (…the role of church history is informative, not normative…)
    • and scripture and heritage trumps experience… (These days people turn it upsidedown and say that experience is everything – if your personal experience of God contradicts what Scripture says then you make the Holy Spirit a liar…)

    Thus, if in the case of Stem Cell Research scripture appears to be silent, consider what context it does provide e.g. on the sanctity of human life or the value of a human being… Then you can move on to the theological discussion about when life begins…

    So the Bible may give some general direction, if not specific. So then consider what church history says… ‘Church history is going back through time and listening to its better minds’… For 2000 years, the best minds have considered issues and come to unity… so this is informative (bearing in mind the cultural context of their day etc)…

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