Author Archives: Grant Gaines

Room in the Inn

Part of Calvary’s local mission strategy is our involvement in a ministry called Room in the Inn.  We team up with Jackson’s Area Relief Ministries to serve the homeless of our city by opening up our church once a month during the months of November through April.  We provide our guests with good food and a warm place to sleep.  Our goal is both to show and to share the love of Christ and the message of the gospel.

Our guests arrive at the church at 6:15 pm, set up their cots, and eat dinner.  After dinner, our volunteers hang out with them until bedtime.  In the morning our guests receive breakfast and are then driven back to the Area Relief Ministries office.

Highlight of Room in the Inn, 2009-10

Schedule of Room in the Inn at Calvary

Sign up to volunteer on the bulletin board in the main hallway, or by calling the church office at 668-8619.

  • November 12, 2011
  • December 10, 2011
  • January 14, 2012
  • February 11, 2012
  • March 10, 2012
  • April 14, 2012

Marriage Counseling Notes Based on the Book “What Did You Expect??” by Paul David Tripp

I condensed Paul David Tripp’s excellent book on marriage, What Did You Expect?? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, into six handouts/sets of notes that can be used for six counseling sessions.  Here are the links to the PDF downloads:

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 1. Confession and Forgiveness)

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 2. Growth and Change)

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 3. Trust)

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 4. Love)

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 5. Appreciation & Grace)

Marriage Counseling Notes (Commitment 6. Protection)

New Sermon Series on Philippians

On September 25, I’ll be starting a new sermon series through the book of Philippians entitled “To Live Is Christ: Verse by Verse through the Book of Philippians.”  Join us at Calvary as we seek to learn what Paul meant when he said “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

WBBJ Coverage of Calvary Loves Jackson Workday

This aired on WBBJ, August 14, 2011.

Calvary Loves Jackson Workday (August 13, 2011)

Mars Hill Now Calls Their Multiple Sites “Churches”

Today (August 8, 2011) Jamie Munson (Executive Pastor and President of Mars Hill Church) announced via blog post that Mars Hill Church

decided to put an end to the word “campus” in the Mars Hill Vocabulary.

What will they call their sites now?  Answer: “churches.”  Why the shift from using the word “campuses” to “churches”?  Answer: it’s “more biblical.”

Munson writes that

the Bible does give us a word to describe a body of believers gathered together on mission for Jesus: church.

Does this mean that Mars Hill has rejected the multi-site structure in favor of (what I would argue is) a more biblical church structure?  Answer: No.  Munson explains:

Though by definition we may be many different churches, the Mars Hill Network of churches remains a single, united church.

They’re different churches by definition, but remain a single church(?).  In other words, Mars Hill has recognized that it’s not biblical to call their multiple sites “campuses” (they’re more than that; they’re churches) but will still leave what they are now calling their multiple “churches” under one, unified church-governmental structure.  It’s still multi-site; only, now, it might be more accurate to call it multi-church.

It was only a matter of time before someone in the multi-site movement admitted that their multiple sites were actually multiple churches.  Props to Mars Hill for being the first (that I know of) to do this.  It’s honest.  But it’s also telling.  If Mars Hill is right, and multiple campuses are actually multiple churches, then we really are dealing with the age-old question of whether local churches are supposed to be autonomous or whether its okay for multiple churches to be governed by a hierarchy that functions at a higher level of authority than the local congregation itself.  It really is the old debate between Congregationalism (e.g., Baptists) and Connectionalism (e.g., Presbyterians).

In my opinion, this is the most significant development in the multi-site movement to date.  Will other multi-siters follow suit?  Time will tell.

Are Multi-site Churches Biblical? A Response to Gregg Allison’s Resurgence Post

Recently, Dr. Gregg Allison posted an article on the Resurgence website entitled “Are Multi-site Churches Biblical?”

Dr. Allison is one of my professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I have the utmost respect for him.  He and I have had plenty of friendly back-and-forth on this issue in seminars, so what I’m writing here is nothing I haven’t already talked to him about face to face on numerous occasions.

My response to his post is threefold:

1) Dr. Allison says we’re making a methodological error.  According to him, we cannot simply say that ekklesia means assembly and think that this settles the multi-site issue, because “we do not define a concept by defining a word.”  My response to this is that I agree with him, and that I don’t know anyone who claims that multi-site is wrong simply because ekklesia means assembly.  There’s a whole biblical theology of the people of God as the “assembly of the Lord” (from OT to NT) that stands behind ekklesia and that plays a major role in the way I, at least, approach the question.

2) Dr. Allison says we’re making a lexical error.  He states that ekklesia doesn’t always refer to a literal assembly, and then cites texts that demonstrate this, arguing that this gives folks warrant for using the word to refer to groups that don’t assemble.  I actually agree that there are instances in which ekklesia doesn’t refer to an actual assembly–Acts 9:31 for instance.  Where I don’t agree with him is in concluding that this serves as warrant for a multi-site structure.  Obviously ekklesia can refer to the church in its scattered state.  I see this being true on two levels.  At one level, a local church is still an ekklesia even when they aren’t in their gathered state.  So, Calvary Baptist Church is still an ekklesia on Monday morning when the people are scattered, but they are capable of being referred to as an ekklesia because they are characterized by actually gathering together.  The other level at which I see ekklesia being used abstractly is when it refers to a group of Christians that don’t necessarily make up one church.  Again, Acts 9:31: “The church throughout the region…”  I think this is like saying, “the church in China,” or “the church in Southeastern Indiana.”  I don’t think it means that there was literally one church in the region made up of multiple campuses.

3) Dr. Allison wants to see a city-church as one local church made up of multiple house churches.  I agree with him that the phrase “the church in the house” is in some sense distributive, but I don’t think that this means that there was one church in Corinth distributed among many houses churches.  First of all, I don’t think there is any evidence of multiple house churches in one city.  Dr. Allison’s attempt to argue that there were multiple house churches in Corinth is very weak.  He mentions 1 Cor 16:19, Acts 18:7, Acts 18:8, 1 Cor 16:15, and Rom 16:23.  The problem is that most of these texts don’t refer to a house church at all.  The only ones that do are 1 Cor 16:19 (Aquila and Prisca) and Rom 16:23 (Gaius).  In 1 Cor 16:19, Aquila and Prisca’s house church would have been in Ephesus, not Corinth, which means that the only meeting place in Corinth that is mentioned in any of these texts is Rom 16:23, where it says the whole church met in Gaius’ home.  But for sake of argument, let’s say there were multiple homes in which people met.  That could have easily been something like what the Jerusalem Church was doing in Acts 2–“meeting in the temple and from house to house” (large group/ small group).  It doesn’t mean that the church in Corinth would have only met in those house groups, because even as Allison points out, the “whole church” in Corinth is said to have come together at least on occasion (1 Cor 14:23; Rom 16:23).

In conclusion, I don’t think the arguments put forward in Dr. Allison’s post show that there is “strong biblical warrant for multi-site churches.”

An Approach to Memorizing Whole Books of the Bible

A while back, Dr. Andrew Davis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Durham, NC, wrote a booklet entitled  “An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture” (PDF download).  If you’re at all interested in memorizing large portions of the Bible, I commend it to you.

A Little Bit about Our Move to Jackson, TN

On Sunday morning, May 22, Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, TN voted to call me as their new pastor. Melisa, the kids, and I will be moving down the first week of June. We’re excited about this new ministry opportunity, and are ready to get to work for the Kingdom of Christ in Jackson and the surrounding areas.

We’re also thrilled with the way God’s been working at Brushy Fork Baptist, where I’ve been pastoring. Midway through our candidating process with Calvary, the Lord led a godly man and his family to Brushy Fork as a potential candidate, and it looks like there could be a seamless transition from my pastorate to his. God is good.

Please be praying for us as we begin our service at Calvary, and please pray as well for the transition at Brushy Fork. God loves both churches, and our prayer is that he would bless them both during this time.

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Answers to Common Objections to the Resurrection

Easter has always been one of the Church’s greatest days of celebration—and rightfully so.  To quote the apostle Paul, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:14, 19).  But, Easter is also a time when many critics of Christianity raise objections to the claim that Christ rose from the dead.  Historically, there have been three major objections to the resurrection.  This article will present those objections and give brief apologetic responses to each.

1. The Swoon Theory

One of the major objections to the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the swoon theory.  Those who hold this theory claim that though Jesus was hung on the cross, he never actually died; he just “swooned”—kind of passed out or something.  The soldiers took him down (so they say) and put him in the tomb, unaware that he was still alive.  Then Jesus somehow escaped.

There are at least two major problems with this view.  First of all, it ignores the gruesome details surrounding Christ’s death.  The Romans were known for perfecting the art of torture and capital punishment.  What Jesus went through would have certainly killed him.  Second, there is no way a half-dead Jesus would’ve had the strength to role away the stone from the tomb by himself; and even if he did, he would have never been able to make it past the guards.  Jesus didn’t “swoon”; he died.

2. The Conspiracy Theory

Another common objection to the resurrection is the conspiracy theory.  This theory holds that Jesus really did die, but that after the burial his disciples stole his body from the tomb, and lied to everyone, telling them that Jesus had risen.  They did this, so the argument goes, because they wanted the Christian movement to continue.  If everyone knew Jesus was dead, then they wouldn’t be able to draw a crowd anymore.

Again, there are at least two major problems with this view.  First, it would have been nearly impossible for these men to have gotten past the Roman guards surrounding Jesus’ tomb.  Second, and most important, is the fact that most of these disciples wound up being martyred for their faith.  Are we supposed to believe that these men would be willing to face death without denying Christ all in the name of a lie they had concocted?

3. The Hallucination Theory

A third major objection to the resurrection is the hallucination theory.  This theory says that the disciples merely thought they saw the resurrected Jesus, but really they were just hallucinating.

One problem with this theory is the fact that Jesus’ body would’ve been in the tomb.  Are we supposed to believe that the disciples hallucinated about the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances?  Second, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to multiple people in multiple places at multiple times.  Are we supposed to believe that all of these people had the same hallucination?

Brothers and sisters, these objections are lame.  Let’s celebrate this Easter with the confidence that Jesus really is risen!


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