With Halloween upon us, Christians everywhere are faced with the choice about whether or not to partake in this annual holiday. Some will choose not to do anything even remotely related to it, while others may opt for more limited participation. A couple of weeks ago this issue arose in my small group, and so we talked about it this past weekend.
I would like to direct you to a good talk by Sinclair Ferguson (1948 – ). He is a Scottish preacher from Glasgow, but now serves in South Carolina. He’s a very good preacher. I have listened to his series on Ephesians, James and 2 Timothy numerous times (they’re available at firstprescolumbia.org and sermonaudio.com). John Piper, when asked who is the preacher he’d sit under, if he were not a church pastor himself, mentioned Sinclair Ferguson at once. And Hughes Oliphant Old in his monumental 7-volume work wrote the following about Sinclair Ferguson:
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Every once in a while a company is so deeply impacted and shaped by a single leader that this person becomes the very identity of the entire organization. There can be no doubt that such has been the case with Apple and the recently deceased Steve Jobs. Newspaper headlines were overflowing with discussions on how Apple will continue without their charismatic genius and their most creative brain. There was one article in particular, published in the New York Times, which I found very interesting and relevant. One must not stretch analogies too far but I immediately had to wonder whether there are parallels between how to run a company and a church. The question is: can churches be (functional) one-man shows as it had been the case with Apple and Steve Jobs or Microsoft and Bill Gates? And the answer to that question is a very emphatic “yes”.
Recently, a friend and member of West Loop UBF asked me about my wife. He and his wife were wondering if Christy, my wife of 30 years, had any sins, since they were not able to detect any obvious sins whenever they meet or interact with her. Though it is obvious that my lovely wife is also a sinner, I was quite awed by what he said. I told him that it is one of the highest compliments that any man has ever given me. For to regard my wife as “sinless” in her public persona indirectly and partially points to the husband who has loved his wife by the grace of God and by the strength God provides (1 Pet 4:11). But I do know without a shadow of a doubt that the ONLY reason I have been able to love my wife for 30 years is because Jesus has loved me far, far more than I can ever deserve! This is the profound mystery of marriage (Eph 5:32).