Last weekend we were at Lincoln Berean in Lincoln NE. Wonderful experience — they have just finished a series of sermons called “Simply Jesus” and they asked me to tie some of this together into the gospel, so I spoke about the gospel of Peter in Acts 10:34-43. We were kindly treated by Mark Mathewson, the theologian in residence (and it shows).
If your church is a megachurch, you need a theologian in residence — not the senior pastor — but a person whose responsibility it is to attend to the theology of the church. Without giving names I can think of a number of churches that would benefit from a go-to person when it comes to all things theological. Mark is an excellent example of what we need: he has a theological degree as well as a PhD in philosophy but his concern is the church. So he is thinking through such issues as a theology of vocation, he helps the church think through theological issues that arise (like universalism and hell), and he is a go-to person for folks with questions.
We really enjoyed our time there, and someone said “We are a reading church,” and I suspect Mark has played a part in that — and we are of course delighted that a few of my books are making their way around the church. But it has to do with the whole teaching team. The questions and comments I got after each service (Sat PM, two Sunday AM) were among the most intelligent and thoughtful comments I’ve had in all my years of speaking.I was so happy to hear from Tim Bohlke that Lincoln Berean has found One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow to be helpful in their ministries. That books sketches the vision of Jesus for the Christian life — a life of surrendering to him as our Lord.
What the Berean folks didn’t know was that by leaving us alone for a few hours Saturday afternoon we were refreshed after two long weeks of working on my next book on Paul, which included some long days reading and writing (and not attending to this blog as much!) … and those three hours were a godsend.
The worship team was awesome, led by a male worship leader, Mike Stelzer, whose voice soared for us — a nice mix of upbeat music and hymn and a good gospel-rich song after communion. (I don’t know names of songs in churches anymore.) Excellent drummer, too.
Must mention this: I have a pastor friend in Pekin IL named Mike McLeod (say “McLeed”) who grew around another group of young guys — the Mathewsons. Well, they had a friend named Jay Greener and these folks are now coming together: Steve Mathewson is the pastor here in Libertyville at the Free Church, Jay down at Redeemer Anglican in Highland Park, Mark in Lincoln, and Mike in Pekin. There’s at least one more Mathewson — thank you Mr and Mrs Mathewson for your sons!