How do we keep ministries accountable?
After the evangelist D.L. Moody died at the end of the 1800s, he left behind a series of lieutenants, guys who carried on the work of sharing the gospel and shaping culture. It was these men who went on to set the foundation of the fundamentalist movement in the United States. James Gray, Arthur Pierson, A.J. Gordon, Charles Blanchard, and William Erdman, C.I. Scofield, and William Bell Riley. These guys went on to found schools, start radio ministries, spearhead publications, and amass large followings. They wrote the influential (if under-read) pamphlet series “The Fundamentals” and would fight the rise of Darwinism in schools and liberal theology in denominations.
In this episode, we’ll explore the emergence of fiefdoms in evangelicalism—ministries with little or no denominational oversight. This method of ministry was crucial in landing us where we are today. Could the evangelicals Church of today use a Magna Carta of sorts to keep ministries under accountability?
The value of creeds
How do we keep ministries accountable? One option would be to return to creeds. Creeds are short professions of the faith and are often used to anchor our theology. If you were to write a creed for evangelical ministries, what would it look like?
Helpful Sources and Links:
- D.L. Moody: A Life by Kevin Belmonte
- The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
- A helpful article on the Magna Carta https://www.britannica.com/topic/Magna-Carta
- Fundamentalism and American Culture by George Marsden
- Short bio on Reuben Torrey
- Forbes article about Christianity in Ivy League Colleges
- Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley
- Do you think that ministry leaders should be held accountable?
- Should accountability be external or is it okay to limit it to internal accountability?
- Are there steps that Truce can take as a show to introduce accountability without bogging Chris down with too many requirements?
- Do you live in a Christian “bubble”? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the bubble?
- Would you let your kids go to a secular school? Why or why not?
- It’s interesting that Reuben Torrey was seen as snooty. Do you think that attitude is compatible with humble Christian service?