No Other Foundation -- By: Luke L. Keefer, Jr.

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 40:0 (NA 2008)
Article: No Other Foundation
Author: Luke L. Keefer, Jr.

No Other Foundation

Luke L. Keefer, Jr*

In the mid 1530’s Menno Simons felt called of God to minister among the Anabaptists of Holland and ultimately to become a leading minister among them. Over-zealous Anabaptist prophets had caused many followers to take over the city of Muenster and try to jump-start the Kingdom of God upon earth by destroying God’s enemies. Many perished as the bishop’s armies recaptured the city, executed the leaders, dealt severely with the misguided Anabaptists, and reestablished order in the city. Simons felt called to collect the scattered sheep and restore them to Christ’s order. He felt their leaders had deceived the innocent in getting them to leave the true foundation in Christ and to try to build the church upon a false foundation. Over time he brought many back to the true foundation, but he did more. He repaired the tarnished image of the Anabaptists in the Netherlands. In fact, he succeeded so well in getting new converts into the Anabaptist fellowship that the Anabaptists (who would later be called Mennonites in honor of his name) became the largest Protestant Church in Holland until the early 17th century, when the Reformed movement became the dominate faith in Holland. Having the right foundation, Christ Jesus, is the key to building a faithful church. Simons knew this truth, and used 1 Cor. 3:11 as his signature mark upon every treatise he published. His story inspires the title I have chosen for my remarks.

I. Christ is the Foundation of Ministry

I believe you already share this conviction, so I shall not try to justify its truthfulness. What is surprising about this assertion is the context that led Paul to declare it. Corinth was both spiritually gifted and torn apart by division and strife. This unleashed leadership tensions at Corinth, and Paul was at the middle of it. It was probably Paul’s worst ministry problem of his entire career. I & II Corinthians read like his personal diary. One page reveals him to be so low that he despairs of life itself. The next day he exalts in the all-sufficient grace of Christ.

Now, the point of it all is this. Corinth is one example of every place and every time. I have the task of announcing to you on this joyous day: “Get ready Corinth has an appointment with you.” Why? All of us have egos, and sooner or later we will be clashing with other egos in the church. Now, it is right in the middle of a discussion about leadership conflicts in the church that Paul asserts that the only foundation for ministry is Jesus Christ, whom he has already described in the preceding chapters as Christ crucified. How does Christ crucified relate to leadership ...

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