Posted in: Theological Clarity
Tyler Jones on Theological Clarity in the Church
Tyler Jones is preaching pastor at Vintage21 Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and leads the East Coast Region of Acts 29. Last week, he hosted and Acts 29 boot camp and Scott Thomas was able to sit down with Tyler and ask him about the importance of being theologically clear with the church body.
Summary of video:
Story of Vintage21
- Started as trendy & reactionary without clear communication about theological concepts. Shallow teaching, mildly humorous, and “of zero help.”
- Result: Constant conflict in leadership, no life transformation among people. There was no cohesion, so tension just mounted for seven months.
- One day, they made a radical change to preach through books of the Bible and be theologically clear with their people.
- Result: most of the original people were lost. But many people started dealing with Jesus and the hard, real-life questions. Jesus and the Bible became the authority in their church instead of ‘the lead pastor’ – and people started meeting Jesus and growing and changing.
- Gospel-centered preaching is not simply biblically accurate teaching; if you are missing Jesus and gospel transformation, you are just a theological neatnik.
- The first job of the preacher is to deal with the text on a gospel level – not accessing commentaries first, but asking “where is Jesus in this?”
- The outcome of the teaching should be “how does the gospel affect us personally?” (not necessarily an application of ‘go do’.)
- Gospel-centered preaching should be interesting, deep and life-changing.
- “Snippets” to present the gospel biblically can be a helpful tool. Tyler gives teaching on Mark 10 as an example. “Instead of spending 45 minutes cramming how God hates divorce down their throats – present 10-minute snippets: ‘here’s the ruin that divorce brings in your life; here are the idols that allow the divorce to happen, here’s the beauty of God’s intention for marriage,’ and let that bring you to ‘marriage is a great image that points to your communion with God’ – and this leaves us with the beauty of the gospel at the end.”
Relying on the Spirit rather than our own Giftedness
- Preachers need to spend time developing their preaching and growing in their giftings in obedience to Jesus (Tyler has 22 goals in preaching and men who check in with him and give him feedback in these areas).
- Many preachers are very gifted – and sin by trusting in their own strengths first rather than spending hours in prayer and in the text they are preaching on.