Firm Foundations

 

A 24 part teaching series looking at the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith. 

Please click on the PDF links to read each article in full.

 

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Part 1 – The Bible

 

It seems only right and proper that as we begin this teaching series dealing with the fundamental basics of the Christian Faith, we do so by looking first at the Bible.  After all, in answering the question what we believe and why we believe it, as a Christian, our only source of full reliability is the Bible.  Most certainly there are other credible sources from which to draw our knowledge, but all must be run through the litmus filter of God’s Word!   Since we are going to be building this teaching series upon the foundation of the Holy Bible, it seems only right therefore that in starting, we begin by answering the question, what is the Bible?  

 

In this first part of this teaching series, we take a look at the character and nature of this precious book.  We take a whistle stop tour through the Old and New Testaments before going on to look at the claims of Divine authorship.  We then conclude by looking briefly at the manuscript evidence to support the reliability of the Bible.

Part 2 – The Doctrine of the Trinity

 

The doctrine of the Trinity lies at the foundation of our understanding of God as Christians.  To deny this truth is to put one thoroughly outside the confines of true orthodoxy of what has been held and accepted as true by those professing Christianity down through the centuries.  However, because something has been held as true by many Christians for lengthy periods of time, does not mean that it is true.  As Christians, the question that we come back to each and every time is, what does the Bible say?  Is such a teaching clearly taught in the Bible?  If it is, then having agreed with Scripture, we are happy to agree with those coming before us of like faith.  Yet if it is not, then we have to reject such teachings on the grounds that they cannot be substantiated in Holy Scripture.

 

In this second part of the Firm Foundations series, we explore the doctrine of the Trinity providing many proofs from the whole of Scripture to define and articulate this great and fundamental doctrine.  

 

 

Part 3 – The Attributes of God

 

When speaking of the attributes of God, what we are really referring to are the characteristics of God, those qualities that describe who God is.  The God of the Bible is unique and His characteristics define His very nature.  By studying the attributes of God as defined by the Bible, we gain an understanding of who God is and what He is like.  Sadly, the tendency of many in our current day towards theology (the study of God) is one of apathy and even scorn.  Theology is seen to be too technical and unnecessary for the common Christian who hasn’t the time or care to pursue such academic matters.  Instead, what we see generally is that theology has been sacrificed on the altar of experience.  However, without the sound foundation provided by sound theology, one cannot truly experience God aright.  Thus it is essential that we grasp the character and nature of God which will inform a proper biblical experience!

 

In this important teaching, we shall look at thirteen core attributes of God and shall draw practical relevancies for each which shall serve to build our faith in the pursuit of drawing near to God.

 

 

Part 4 – The Doctrine of Angels

 

What are we to make when Christians become obsessed with angels? When a leading charismatic figure claims to have personal visitations from a female angel called Emma? Is it biblical to call down healing angels in a Church meeting or any type of angels for that matter? What do angels even look like and what is their function? Typically, in many artistic impressions they are depicted as winged chubby infants with ruddy cheeks floating around in play. One thing is for certain, much superstition surrounds the topic of angels, spurred on not least by the resurgence of interest in the occult via the New Age movement which has come into the mainstream over the last 30 years. The fascination with angels today has led many undiscerning enthusiasts onto dangerous ground as they actively seek to make contact with these spirit beings for spiritual guidance and insight. With biblical illiteracy at a high, sadly, even professing Christians have allowed the influences of Hollywood to inform their understanding of angels rather than the Word of God.

 

We intend in this teaching not to rest our understanding of angels in the realm of speculation, but instead, our desire is to open the Bible and to allow it to speak with authority into this subject so as dispel myth and inform a biblical worldview.

 

 

Part 5 – The Doctrine of Demons

 

Demonology, is the theological term given to the biblical study of demons.  One generally finds that when dealing with this particular area, one of two extremes tend to surface.  On one extreme there are the liberals, which refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the demonic realm in any meaningful way whilst at the other extreme are the hyper-spiritualists who overplay the realm of the demonic to such an extent that the devil gets the blame for everything.  All such extremes are to be avoided and highlight the importance of gaining a good solid foundation in this very important topic.  Whilst many sound believers would shun such extremes, there are notwithstanding, Christians who are so terrified by the demonic realm that they can’t sleep at night without a light on.    

 

In this fifth teaching part in our foundational series, we shall set ourselves the task of trying to gain a biblical understanding of demons; what they are and what their nature, function, and activity is in the world today.  We shall seek to answer the question of who Satan is, how he fell from grace and what his final state shall be.  In gaining such insight, we shall be emboldened to take a stand against the forces of darkness knowing who we are in Jesus Christ, the authority that He has given to us as believers and the victory that He has won for us at Calvary! 

 

 

Part 6 – The Doctrine of Man

 

Opinions abound today as to the purpose of man’s existence.  Through evolutionary thought, man has been reduced to nothing more than a process of random mutations over millions of years.  For some, man has no purpose except for the furtherance of future progeny; while for others man is making great leaps and bounds in his upward progression toward godhood!  In a world where suggested theories as to the purpose and meaning of life abound, what sense if any are we to make of them all?  Man finds himself, perhaps like never before, having to wrestle with the many competing voices and the Christian cannot take himself out of this struggle.  However, where natural man is left to his own thoughts and devices, the Christian turns to the Word of God to find answers to the great questions of life. 

 

We shall in this sixth teaching part seek to address the question of where we came from and who we are and shall conclude by answering the big question; what went wrong!  When one looks at the world today, one is confronted with death, disease, suffering and evil.  Is this how God created the earth?  Is this how He intended everything to be?   The answer to these questions is no side issue but is fundamental in laying the foundation upon which the gospel stands.

 

 

Part 7 – The Doctrine of Atonement

 

We are living in an age where Christians generally have no stomach for doctrine and consequently, the great doctrines of the Christian faith which form the very bedrock of the gospel are being undermined in our day.  The doctrine of atonement is one such pillar of the Christian faith towering above the landscape like a giant.  As when a gem is held up to light it shines forth its many facets of beauty, so this great doctrine is full of like splendour.

 

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they sought to clothe themselves with the leaves of figs.  However, such a covering was not sufficient and it was God who later clothed them aright, not with fig leaves (speaking of human works) but the skins of dead animals!!  This if you like, is the first insight into the doctrine of atonement, namely that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  The doctrine of the atonement comes under the theological umbrella of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and includes as part of this many other principle doctrines including the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of redemption and the doctrine of reconciliation.  We shall in the course of this teaching, touch on all of these as we look at the wonders of atonement in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Part 8 – The Doctrine of Sanctification

 

Having spent the last two teaching sessions surveying two great pillars of what is termed Soteriology (the study of salvation), we come in this eighth teaching part to survey the third and final pillar, namely the doctrine of sanctification.  If the doctrine of sin lays the foundation upon which doctrine of the atonement rests, the doctrine of sanctification takes its necessary place in the grand order of things in being the last to be laid.  That it is last to be laid is no reflection upon its importance, for all three are of equal importance and if one was to fall they would all fall!  Many today would make much of the first two pillars as though the work of salvation is complete without need of the third.  However, as we shall see the doctrine of sanctification is of the utmost importance for without it Christianity is confined to the dust of death, without life and without power. 

 

In short, it is the heart of God to redeem a holy people set apart unto Himself that as He is holy so we might be also!  He has accomplished this through the atoning work of Jesus Christ through which we have received the forgiveness of sins and the regenerating life of the Holy Spirit so as to be purified and live a life now set apart unto God in righteousness.  This work of sanctification though a past event, is also ongoing in this life as the believer renews his mind and is changed into the same image of the Lord from glory to glory by the Spirit of God that as He is, so we might also be in this world.  Our finished and final state of perfection shall one day be fully revealed at the coming of the Lord when we who are alive shall be changed in a twinkling of an eye and those that are dead shall be raised together to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord!

 

 

Part 9 – The Lord's Supper

 

An Ordinance properly defined in a Christian context, is a religious ritual i.e. a ceremony or sacred observance.  For the Bible believing Christian, there are only two Ordinances which concern us, namely that of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and Baptism.  On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, He desired one last time to eat the Passover meal with His disciples.  It was at this feast that Jesus instituted what we know and celebrate as the Lord’s Supper; a memorial meal for the purpose of remembering of the events that were to take place on the morrow, namely His crucifixion in which the New Covenant would be established by the shedding of His precious blood. 

 

In this teaching part, we explore the meaning of Communion and try to bring clarity surrounding some of the misconceptions held by believers regarding this Holy Ordinance.  We particularly focus on the administration of the Lord’s Supper, since it is at this point where many Bible believing Christians part company in their differing customs.  Some Churches have Communion every Sunday, others once a month, once a quarter or even once a year!  Some choose to major on the specific type of bread and wine that should be used.  One Church allows for all in attendance to partake of it (including children) while another forbids anyone from taking it unless they are an active member of their particular Church.  We seek in this ninth teaching part to address these issues biblically by bringing them to the light of God’s Word.

 

 

Part 10 – The Ordinance of Baptism

 

In this tenth teaching part, we delve into the subject matter of water baptism and in so doing discover that baptism has its roots entrenched in the Old Testament.  Water has always been viewed in Judaism as a ceremonial means of cleansing and purifying.  When God appeared to the children of Israel on Mt. Sinai for instance, Moses was instructed to “sanctify them” and they were instructed to “wash their clothes” (Ex. 19:10).  Before entering into the holy place to minister before the Lord on the Day of Atonement, Aaron was to put on his white priestly linen garments.  Yet, before he could put on these holy garments he was first commanded to “wash his flesh in water, and so put them on” (Lv. 16:4).  Ritual washing was also required by Law for women following menstruation or childbirth and for men, following a discharge (Lev. 15).  It is against this historical backdrop that John the Baptist comes onto the scene baptising men and women in the river Jordan for the remission of sins. 

 

With the advent of Jesus Christ, baptism is taken to a higher spiritual significance in the death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour!  We endeavour in this teaching to present this significance while at the same time guarding against the heresy of baptismal regeneration.  When is the right time to baptise believers?  Who are the proper subjects of baptism?  Is it biblical to baptise infants?  Is the proper mode of baptism sprinkling, pouring or immersion?  As we undertake this teaching, all shall be revealed!   

 

 

Part 11 – Understanding Eschatology

 

Without question, the foremost claim to the Bible being inspired and thus coming from God is the sheer volume of material contained within its pages given over to prophecy.  In fact, a staggering 27% of the Bible (just over a ¼) is comprised of such.  God goes down on record, declaring the future before it comes into existence so that when it does all will know that the Living God has spoken!  These predictions are not vague random predictions relating to non-connected matter but rather are specific, exact, calculating, precise in nature and content.  They concern themselves with a particular nation and a particular person, namely Israel and her Messiah, after which they then branch out to encompass the nations in immediate proximity to Israel and finally to the whole world.  

 

The subject matter of this eleventh teaching is narrowed down to a specific field of Bible prophecy called eschatology.  Eschatology comes from the Greek word “eschatos” meaning last and “ology” meaning the study of; hence eschatology means the study of the last days or final events.  These final events include the Second Coming of Christ, the Great Tribulation, the rapture/resurrection of believers, the restoration of Israel, the millennium, the great white throne judgment and eternal states.  In this teaching part, we first examine the different schools of understanding relating to the study of end times before turning our attention to understanding the prophetic timetable of the last days which shall see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Millennium Kingdom on the earth. 

 

 

Part 12 – The Doctrine of the Eternal States

 

The doctrine of the eternal states is rightly classed as a sub-division of eschatology - the study of the end times.  Where eschatology has a broader overview of all that is contained in the heading of the last days, the doctrine of eternal states hones in on what will be the final state or eternal existence of man at the end of the world following the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium. 

 

The Bible is conclusive in what it has to say about the final states of the righteous and the wicked; those whose names are written in the book of life and those whose names are not.  There is a growing movement today amidst the ranks of so-called Evangelicals that denies the conscious eternal suffering of the wicked in a place called hell and instead teaches that the wicked upon being raised from the dead shall be annihilated so as to cease to exist.  As we shall see in this twelfth teaching part, nothing could be further from the truth.  Just as the final state of the righteous shall be an existence of eternal bliss in the new heavens and new earth, so shall the existence of the wicked be an existence of eternal torment in the lake of fire.

 

 

Part 13 – How Do I Interpret the Bible?

 

The claim of Holy Scripture is not that men wrote as it pleased their fancy but rather that “…holy men of God spake as they were moved (carried along) by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20).  This fact becomes the key in answering questions that often arise concerning the compilation of the Bible, for example; why 66 books and not 67?  What about so-called missing books - the Gospel of Thomas or Psalm 151?  Who determined what books went into the Bible and what books didn’t?  These questions are easily answerable when one understands that the Bible claims not mere human authorship but divine authorship!

 

Then there is the matter of rightly dividing the Word of God.  All too often, one will encounter Christians who have very little consistency when it comes to reading the Bible and even when they do read it, they do not really have any real method of approach to meaningful study.  Often one will find that rather than studying the Bible, Christians will dabble with the text i.e. they will open it up and see which page it lands on and begin interpreting based on how they feel.  In this thirteenth teaching part, we look in a very practical way at how to interpret the Bible by using multiple translations, cross-referencing, dictionaries and commentaries to first establish the true meaning of a passage (exegesis) so that the correct application might then be made (hermeneutics).

 

 

Part 14 – What Is a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

 

There exists a terrible misconception amongst many professing believers in Christ about what constitutes a true Christian.  Some when asked, point to a time and date when they said a sinners prayer; others refer to a Church membership roll with their name upon it!  Some still would direct you to their baptismal certificate signed by the pastor.  As human beings, I tend to find that we always want a formula that will produce the desired result and on face-value, there’s nothing wrong with that.  On the day of Pentecost, many Jews who came under the sound of Peter’s preaching were deeply convicted of their sin; the KJV says that “…they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).  The Philippian jailor while still trembling said to Paul and Silas “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).  In each case, the question is not dodged and a firm answer is given; Paul and Silas respond conclusively “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

 

In one moment a man’s sins may be forgiven and his moral account which was previously bankrupt is credited with righteousness as he himself passes from death into eternal life!  What good news indeed!!!  Yet, this only marks the start of his Christian journey and not the end.  It is this crucial distinction that I’m wanting to bring into clear view in this fourteenth teaching part.  Many are content to leave things at the conversion stage and never really progress onto any meaningful spiritual growth.  This my friends will never do!!  Jesus did not call His disciples to go into the world to make converts but rather to go into all the world and make disciples!!

 

 

Part 15 – How Can I Know If I'm Saved?

 

Perhaps the number one question in many a Church a pew is “am I really saved?”  “Am I really a child of God, born-again from above?”  Though such words might never be expressed from the mouth, in the heart these thoughts ravish many a poor soul and are a constant thorn of discouragement in their side that never seems to disappear.  The common answer given when one finally plucks up enough courage to approach the pastor is that Satan is to blame and that what they are experiencing is nothing more than the cunning wiles of the devil.  Now, for some, this truly is the case; the accuser of the Brethren is the primary cause of their doubting as he assaults their faith with lies and slanderer.  I often find that those subject to this kind of spiritual attack tend to be new believers, babes and infants in Christ.  What however are we to think when those doubting their salvation are those who have professed Christ for five, ten, twenty years?  Clearly, in this situation, unless such are still spiritual infants (which is concerning in itself), one needs to give more closer inspection to discern whether or not in fact there is any truth in their concern.

 

In this fifteenth teaching part, we seek to offer a biblical answer to this most pressing question; “How Can I Know If I’m Saved?”  If a soul has never have passed from death to life, though baptised and accepted into Church membership, what greater joy could there be of leading such a one into a true experience of salvation so as to have full assurance of their acceptance in the beloved? 

 

Part 16 – How Do I Overcome Sin?

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Perhaps no greater area deserving of our attention is the question posed as the title of this teaching part; “How Do I Overcome Sin?”  Ask the average Christian this question and you’re sure to be greeted with a mixture of responses.  I hear one say, “why are you worried about sin, it’s been dealt with at Calvary; the grace of God has covered all sins, past, present, and future”.  Another, I hear say “didn’t Paul struggle with sin?  The things he wanted to do he didn’t do and the things he desired not to do those things he did; what’s the problem?  Join the club!  If the great Apostle Paul couldn’t gain the victory over besetting sins then how much less us sinners?” 

 

In this sixteenth teaching part, we tackle the issue of overcoming sin head-on, clearing up some of the misconceptions surrounding this matter and providing biblical answers to questions such as; how do I overcome sin?  What does it mean to walk by the Spirit and how does one overcome besetting sins?  May God see fit to use this teaching to bring victory to many lives for His glory!  
 

 

Part 17 – How Do I Handle Relationships?

 

In this seventeenth teaching part, we look practically and biblically at how as believers in Christ, we are to relate to one another in the relationships given us by God.  One only has to look down through the ages, beginning with the first offspring of the first man and woman; Cain and his brother Abel, to see that how God intended man to relate one to another has been seriously marred.  Murder and war was never God’s intention!  Broken homes and marriages; damaged and fractured relationships, were never his will.  We live in in a world where such abounds and is on the increase.  Even in the professing Church, we turn to find a better example and see the same broken relationships; failed marriages and Church splits.  Surely there is a better way revealed in Holy Scripture, a way that we are called as Christians to walk.  

 

We shall then look now at just three areas where the Bible offers practical help in preserving and nurturing relationships as children of God.  These three areas include marriage; children and the Church.

 

 

Part 18 – Why Do Christians Suffer?

 

Of the top ten questions of all time, it ought to come as no surprise to us to learn that they’re the same as they’ve always been from the dawn of time; “What is the real meaning of life?” “Is there a God?”  “What happens when I die?”  Despite the exponential advances in technology, economics, medicine and science over the last half a decade; man with all his worldly wisdom is still no closer to being able to provide adequate answers to these crucial questions, nor will he ever be.  This is because principally they’re not scientific questions nor are they even philosophical ones.  Fundamentally at their core, they are theological questions.  However, since man has cast off the wisdom of God in his own professed wisdom, man will search in vain to find the answers his soul so desperately seeks for and will never find them in this world.  We could well add into the list of greatest questions of all time, “Why is there suffering in the world?” and more specifically, the question bearing the title of this teaching; “Why Do Christians Suffer?” 

 

In this eighteenth teaching part, we seek to provide a Biblical answer to the question of Christian suffering.

 

 

Part 19 – How Do I Pray and What Is Fasting?

 

As one opens the Bible and turns to the pages of the New Testament, one is struck by the sheer number of references and exhortations calling God’s people to prayer.  As Christians, we cannot dispense of this holiest discipline since it is the very lifeline not only of the Christian but of the Church.  Yet sadly, the prayer meeting has almost disappeared from view and if there is one, it is the least attended meeting of the week.  What is prayer?  Prayer in its most basic form is talking to God and includes in its function petitions, supplications, intercessions, praise, thanksgiving and worship.  In this nineteenth teaching part, we examine some of these functions and explore practically and theologically the question, ‘How do I pray?’ 

 

Finally, there are times in our lives that call for desperate action; times of great calamity or urgent needs where prayer alone does not seem to cut it.  It is during these times that we may resort not only to heightened times of prayer but enjoin to our prayers the discipline of fasting.  We shall seek also in this teaching then to bring some practical help and guidance to this matter and in so doing, clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding prayer and fasting.
 

 

Part 20 – What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

 

Modern 21st century man well makes a fitting boast on account of the vast array of his many accomplishments, they’re admittedly very impressive!  In this century and the last, the world has witnessed staggering and unprecedented breakthroughs in every field of expertise, from medicine to engineering.  Western civilization has never known such affluence, such protracted periods of peace and prosperity; such high standards of health and living on a universal scale.  You say, what has this got to do with the subject heading of this Bible teaching?  Everything!!  I fear that the modern man with all his natural brilliance and expertise has lost sight of his need for God.  It is one thing when the world does this, but when Christians follow suite, it is a very sad day indeed.  Behold the Mega-Church with all its outward display of pomp and glory.  It bears greater resemblance to a mini village complex than a Church of the Living God, and serves as an indictment; a testament to the fact, that whatever fallen man can accomplish the Church is only one step behind!  No!!  The Church of Jesus Christ is first and foremost a spiritual body of believers who’ve had a supernatural encounter with the Almighty and through the new birth have been grafted into Christ’s spiritual body.  Jesus Christ is the spiritual head and from Him flows down to each individual member, every spiritual blessing and spiritual gift needed for the sound nourishment and spiritual growth of the entire body.  These spiritual gifts are not mere niceties that make for a cosy addition; instead, they are crucial components needed for the building up spiritually of Christ’s Church.

 

In this 20th teaching part we examine Biblically the gifts of the Holy Spirit and ask ourselves, are these gifts for today?

 

 

Part 21 – What Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

 

There is perhaps no other subject matter that has made for greater debate amongst Evangelicals and about which more varied opinions have been held, than the topic at hand in this 21st teaching part.  For some, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues; for others, it is a second work of sanctification whereby one now receives the power to ‘live’ a holy life.  Some would argue that this supernatural phenomenon ceased in the first century and therefore, although this experience is recorded in the book of Acts, it is no longer one that can be experienced today.  One group argues that the baptism of Holy Spirit is not an experience subsequent to salvation but is rather synonymous with receiving the Holy Spirit at conversion.  Another group argues that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that is distinguishable and distinct from salvation, coming after the initial experience of being born-again.  What are we to make of all these contravening statements?  Where is one to go to try to clear things up and to shed light on this important topic?  Thank God that as Christians, we do not have to resort to speculation, we have the Word of God upon which any experience might firmly be placed.  However, being able to look at the Bible objectively can be very difficult, not least if one belongs to a denomination that has a party line that must not be crossed. 

 

In this teaching, we shall seek as best as possible to lay aside preconceived ideas and in so doing, come to the Bible afresh in order to obtain answers to the question at hand, ‘What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?’

 

 

Part 22 – How Do I Evangelise?

 

When we say that we are Christian, more often than not we attach a number of adjectives in front of the word in order to try to bring greater clarity as to the type of Christian we mean.  Such adjectives include ‘born-again’ and ‘Bible-believing’.  There is a third adjective that we also commonly use and that is ‘Evangelical’.  When we use the term ‘Evangelical’, what we’re saying is this; we believe wholeheartedly in the saving power of the gospel and therefore seek actively to proclaim that gospel to a lost and dying world.  The word ‘evangelical’, comes from the Greek word “euaggelion” which means a good message; good news, hence the word ‘gospel’ which in Greek is the word “euaggelion”. 

 

Despite the pressures being laden upon us by the P.C. agenda of our day; we are not to shrink back from the mandate of proclaiming the good news of the gospel, set against the backdrop of the ruin and sinfulness of man.  Admittedly, this is not a popular message in our post-modern society which detests absolutes.  Yet, it is not bigoted to state that Jesus is the only way to the Father, nor is it unloving to tell men that unless they turn from their sin in repentance, casting themselves upon the mercy of the Saviour they will be eternally damned.  If these things are true, which God affirms they are; then it is out of love that we are moved by the Holy Spirit to tell a lost humanity of the love of God towards them in sending His Son to be crucified for their sins and raising Him from the dead that they might be saved from the wrath come and have eternal life.  May God help us in this weighty endeavour and lead us in this great calling to be Christ’s ambassadors!

 

 

Part 23 – What Is Church?

 

We are living at a time in history where it seems that anything that is of long standing tradition is being called into question.  Renewed calls go forth on every side, calling for change.  Out with the old and in with the new is the resounding voice of this post-modern generation.  Whether it’s marriage; the family home; politics or education; that which once served our forefathers well for centuries and in some cases, from the dawn of time, is being re-examined in light of the new-fangled philosophies being offered by the so-called experts.  Sadly, as one looks to the Church, it too follows suit with this itching craving for that which is new.  In a period where Church attendance in the West is in decline and atheism and secularism is on the rise, fighting for its “perceived” survival, the Church believes that unless it becomes relevant to this “youth” driven generation, then it will disappear from society and die of old age (literally).  In an effort to try and retain the young people who are leaving the Church in their droves, the Church feels pressured to rediscover itself and if need be, reinvent itself to meet the needs of a changing population.  Everything from “who” constitutes the Church to the “way” we ought to do Church is on the table for consideration.  High-tech marketing research companies are being employed to find out what the local communities want from their local Church in the hope that Church attendance might be boosted and the needs of the community met.  Fun days replete with BBQ and games; a nursery for the toddlers; a coffee shop; sports events and a whole host of other amusements ranging from Bingo to Yoga; all now are high on the priority list of what is deemed to make a “successful” Church.  In a vastly changing tolerant society, it is felt that the Church’s decline is owing to the fact that the Church has lost touch with the people.  However, upon closer inspection, we shall see that losing touch with people is not the root of the Church’s problem so much as it is that the Church has lost touch with God.

In this twenty-third teaching part, we shall explore from Holy Scripture “who” and “what” the Church is.

 

Part 24 – What Is Church Leadership?

 

Mention the words church leadership today and you’re bound to be greeted with a mixture of different responses ranging from the pessimistic, to the mundane, to the optimistic.  Sadly, it is not without good reason that church leadership has gotten a bad rap over the last few decades.  What is one to say when secular news outlets expose nationally the money racketing scams of some of the wealthiest Evangelical pastors in the US?  When I say wealthy, how much are we talking about; hundreds; thousands; hundreds of thousands?  How about tens of millions and in the case of one pastor by the name of Kenneth Copeland, a self-confessed billionaire!  The world and indeed many outside the Mega-Church scene, look on in horror at this catastrophe of justice and cry out, how can a minister/servant of God, appointed by God to serve the people in Christ’s stead, profit off them to the tune of millions of dollars?  Naturally, this is a scandal and an outrage!!  Then there is the growing epidemic of Evangelical pastors being caught out in gross sexual immorality and being exposed nationally for an on-looking world to see?  No wonder then, when one mentions the words church leadership eyebrows are raised.  As a result of all these abuses, along with many more not mentioned, many of the poor sheep of Christ’s have had enough and have vowed to never enter a Church building again.  Instead, they choose to meet at home with small groups of believers without the added burden of being under these types of pastors. 

 

It is crucial in this final teaching part that we take a look biblically at the function and appointment of church leadership and what the proper response is to be of those who sit under their authority.

EVENTS              

 

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