In an article posted to reformation21, Phil Ryken observed that “Some theologians do not see how vital mercy is to the credibility of the gospel. And some mercy ministers do not take the time to go very deep in their theology.” I pray that Lakeshore Baptist Church, and those that come work with us would avoid both of these pitfalls. As I’ve often said, I believe that the deep biblical roots of sound theology will produce the life giving fruit of mercy to others. For those of us who have been ill-deserving recipients of God’s sovereign grace, how can we not overflow with mercy to those in need? The grace that flows from the cross of Christ drives Rebuild Lakeshore forward for the good of our community and the glory of God.
In his short article, “A Reformed Theology for Mercy Ministry,” Ryken flies through the doctrines of God, creation, man, sin, the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection, and the ascension. He touches on the doctrine of election, and the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. He looks at adoption, the doctrine of sanctification, and the theology of the final judgment. In the quick overview of each topic, he insists that from beginning to end, a gospel saturated Biblical understanding of the theology we profess requires a bold mercy outworking in our lives.
Ryken concludes, “it is not just part of our theology that calls us to mercy ministry; it is everything in our entire theology. We must never forget that every doctrine that is taught in every part of Scripture from creation to the final judgment compels us to show the mercy of God to lost sinners, in the gospel of His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” May we in Lakeshore strive for sound doctrine and to embody the gospel of Jesus Christ in tangible acts of mercy to our community in both word and deed, for the glory of God.