Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness: Equipping the Church to be truly Christian in a non-Christian world
Publisher – Regal Books: Ventura, California, 1979
Author – Jerry Cook
Jerry Cook went to heaven this year. He was a major leader in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. This book happened to be his classic volume in explaining his philosophy of ministry. His gift is teaching, and his tone is loving.
In his early years, he believed that people ministry could only be effective in small church, but this all changed as the church where he ministered grew to 4,500 people.
Here is a sample of his thoughts which caught my attention:
- “Most preachers have so garbaged up the book of Revelation that they have nearly lost the whole thing” (63). I chuckled when I read this.
- “All I take to read is a Bible and linguistic help—a Greek testament and lexicon perhaps. I take no commentaries. I don’t want my thinking restricted nor my preaching to be just a revamp of someone else’s ideas. A lot of pastors would save time and energy for everyone concerned if they’d just buy their people commentaries and tell them what page to read each Sunday instead of going the sermon route” (64). This is a good way to start our study of the Biblical text, though I would not disparage the use of commentaries by other faithful expositors.
- “Good preaching is opening the Word and communicating to the people what we see. That’s all it is. I do not need to be quotable. I’m not interested in being quotable. I want my preaching to be walkable” (65). It’s is exegesis and not eisigesis, and let the exegesis bring us to life application. We do not craft sermons for our own glory.
- “Many pastors are trying to get the community into the church. I cannot conceive of that. How am I going to get a million people into my church? But I can conceive of getting the church into the community. That’s a simple matter. Just let the people go. They touch every cultural strata and they can plant seeds that will produce life” (77). Excellent point concerning the church as the witness in the community. Release the brothers and sisters to be the evangelists in the city.
- “We do not appeal to families to support the church and its programs. Instead, we structure the church and its programs to support the family. We believe the family unit is central in God’s plan” (94).
- “Our visitation program has the simplest structure in the world: you see the need, you meet it” (105). I like it. Simple.
- “I believe a pastor needs to focus his ministry where his strength is. That is, he needs to operate in the area of his gifts and calling” (105). This is very important to prevent burn-out. A pastor should not try to be what he is not.
- “The church-as-a-force is person-centered. If the big church stays person-centered, it will increase its effectiveness with its size. If it ceases to be person-centered, it will begin to die from within. The big danger that confronts a growing church is institutionalism. Organizations are forever trying to usurp the place of people, to minister by committee, to structure and channel and control and direct and swallow up people” (111). The church is a living organism and not a mere business organization.