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People like top ten lists. I like top ten lists. I've read a few over the years ranging from the top Christian music and sermons to more ambitious top best things happening in Christiandom. This list will be in the latter category. But with a twist...
Top Ten Christian People & Organizations
1) Banner of Truth: The work of this organization has not been praised enough. They brought me to the Reformed faith through their book, The Forgotten Spurgeon. Their magazine and books are found wherever there are thoughtful Christians seeking Reformation of their doctrine and lives.
2) Founders Ministry: Although I am not intimately knowledgeable of this organization, I do know they are trying to infuse the gospel of free grace back into the Southern Baptist Convention--that is inestimable.
3) White Horse Inn: Another group that helped me along my path to Reformation. They have dialogue with a Reformed baptist and a Lutheran, but always in the context of self-conscience confessionalism, while not downplaying their differences. A must in this day of public compromise. The Gospel of free justification is already transforming the lives of general Evangelicals.
4) Ligonier Ministries: Although mostly associated with R. C. Sproul, Sr., this ministry should last beyond him. His winsome style and uncompromising public stand for the Reformed faith in all its offensive glory has influenced many souls toward a revival of doctrine and manners.
5) Reformed Worldview Thinking: The Reformed denominations, OPC, RCUS, etc., are officially dedicated to thinking God's thoughts after Him. These sister denominations, even with their differences, are a small but strong witness in the face of the withering Protestant branch known as Evangelicalism. Their churches are small but their hearts are big. Determined to stand for the truth in love, I pray the Lord to use them in a mighty Second Reformation.
6) Reformed Presence: Both locally and internationally, through the radio and internet, in publishing and lectures, schools and seminaries, the Reformed doctrine and practice is surely spreading. It includes not simply the big names but, in many ways more importantly, the little names. We easily forget, that although Luther was the straw that broke the Roman Catholic back, he was not alone.
7) Faithful People: The leaders of faithful churches depend upon the prayers and support of faithful members. No man is an island and no pastor is an island. The people need to faithfully attend the means of grace, seeking God's will in the Commandments. It is in the pews, amongst the laymen, that the Gospel of our Sovereign Lord is propagated among the masses through private luncheons, email debates, neighborhood picnics and everyday witnessing.
8) Everyday Pastors: It is easy to hitch the wagon of revival to the big, noticeable names because they draw the crowds. But in reality God's revivals of yesteryear spread simultaneously amongst faithful preaching of the Good News. Such pastors stand unswervingly upon the Truths of the Reformation, in public and private. They counseled with one another, admonished one another, and reinforced each other's ministries. Oh, that the Lord of the Harvest would bring unity amongst the leaders to preach and teach all of God's counsel, especially against the reigning heresies of this day.
9) Faithful Churches: It is not enough to have individual piety, or church piety, there must be collective sanctification as well. When the churches work in harmony (both publicly and privately), casting out hate and suspicion in their hearts by the power of the Spirit, there God is working mightily. Corporate prayer and church cooperation is imperative: God is not pleased with a divided Church any more than with the divided Israel of old.
10) Faithful Understanding of Reformation: This last point is about the sum total of what Reformation entails--it is the organizational and organic, individual and collective, doctrinal and moral revival on a larger scale. It is returning to the Word without shame and a clear trumpet call. It is preaching, teaching, writing and admonishing, through all mediums possible, the truth of man's total depravity and God's total sovereignty. It is radically returning the church to her roots in the free righteousness of Christ. The church in America today does not need more "does" and "don'ts"--it just needs the Ten Commandments as a means of convicting them of their sins and need of a Savior. The church needs the Gospel crystal clear.
Reformation is not reformulating old truths, refocusing on doing, or revamping the family. Judgment begins in the house of the Lord, so reformation will begin in the house of the Lord. As Elijah the prophet was to bring the hearts of the family together, so the preachers of today must preach Christ and Him crucified to bring the heart of the church together.
Pastor Shawn Mathis was raised by God-fearing parents, served in the Air Force, worked as an electrical engineer and then entered the ministry by Godâ€™s grace....