We’ve been speaking about the challenges facing those responsible for admitting people into the church. We noted that some sort of standard and procedure for church membership are necessary: without a standard you could find everyone claiming membership, without a procedure no one could claim membership. We know that membership is a Biblical concept because the Bible provides for being put out: you can’t put out what was never in.
In our last UN update we began to frame the problem of “doorkeeping.” We noted that there must be some mechanism whereby church membership is regulated, else anyone could, with impunity, claim to be a member or, alternatively, no one could legitimately claim to be a member. Let’s talk now about who determines admission and next time how that determination should be made, that is, by what standard.
First, let's clear up a misconception. When the Psalmist says, I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (84:10), he was not making reference to an official position. The word there is saw-faf and it refers to someone at the threshold of the tabernacle, somebody just peeking in on the fly or perhaps begging for alms. The Psalmist's sentiment, then, is that the most marginal position in relation to the house of God is more to be desired than the most central position in the dwellings of the wicked.
The official number of immigrants in New York City is just over two million, but those of us with two eyes and two ears open know the number is closer to three. One only has to add up various New York Times estimates of this and that ethnic group to come up with a much higher total than that provided by the U. S. Census Bureau.
A prime element of that unique set of circumstances which Urban Nations seeks to exploit is the capacious freedom we enjoy to disseminate the Word of God. In no other nation is this liberty as large as it is in America. In no other city are as many nations represented as are present in New York.
Urban Nations seeks to seize the mission opportunity given by God in His bringing millions of immigrants from all nations to our city (New York). We can fulfill the Great Commission, representatively, in a single generation, with His blessing.
By the grace of God, Urban Nations has now launched a ministry among the Spanish-speaking community of New York City. Phase One is teaching Bible-based English as a Second Language. Phase Two will be a correspondence course in the Reformed faith, operated in cooperation with a Dutch ministry.
Neil Diamond may be Andrew Sandlin's second-favorite Brooklyn-born Jew, but The Jazz Singer is a movie Diamond should have left as part of the legacy of Al Jolson. That is, except for the redeeming feature of Diamond's otherwise tedious remake: the visually and aurally stunning opening/credit montage. While Neil'eleh belts out They're Coming To America, a flood of images of NYC immigrant enclaves and neighborhoods, close-ups and pans, pours out on the screen.