And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 19 May 17, 2009
In this issue:
We received an inquiry this week about the “ministries” of the Mt. Baker church. It is reproduced below along with my reply. Perhaps it will help you learn more about the common practice of organizing “ministries” that many churches of Christ practice. Joe
“My wife and I are considering relocating to the Bellingham area and have a couple of questions for you. The congregation that we attend has a fabulous children’s ministry with lots of programs by which our 3 children (ages 5 yrs thru 9 yrs) are getting a fantastic biblical education.
“We are interested in what kinds of kid’s education programs your congregation participates in...VBS, Leadership Training for Christ, etc...”
“Thank you for your inquiry…to answer your question, the Mt. Baker church does not have a “children’s ministry” per se; we have regular Bible classes every Sunday and Wed night for our children and all other ages. We believe we have a great group of children (about 15, ages 3-13) who are growing in their knowledge of God’s word and living for Jesus.
“Since you are thinking about relocating to this area, I want to be clear with you. The Mt. Baker church is not in fellowship with many churches of Christ that have and distinguish between ministers and ministries (for example, “pulpit” minister vs. “youth” minister; “children’s” ministry vs. “singles ministry”, etc.). We have Bible classes designed for different age groups, because our work is to teach the word of God and thereby build up one another’s faith (Eph. 4:11-16). We believe and teach the primary work of teaching our children belongs to parents (Eph. 6:4), and so we encourage that through our arranged Bible classes.
“It might be well for me to give you some additional information so that you can be well-informed as you consider this area for possible relocation. The Mt. Baker church is not in agreement with churches of Christ that believe the work of the local church includes coordinating the social lives of its members (children, young people or otherwise). As a church we do not plan, provide or promote social activities as a part of the work of the local church.
“What we do is encourage individuals to take their responsibility as disciples seriously and to live them every day. For example, while our teenagers and young adults have a weekly Bible class in different homes, we do not give it a name and call it a “program”; it is just a young people’s Bible class. We gladly encourage them in this good work, but it is not a “ministry” of the Mt. Baker church.
“We do not believe there is anything wrong with having Bible classes for children during the summer (VBS). Unfortunately, VBS often come with a variety of social activities, refreshments and the like, which are not a part of the work of the local church.
“If you are accustomed to the local church arranging and providing potlucks or other social events, you will not find that here.
“We are certainly open to Bible study on the subject, but we cannot endorse and approve such practices inasmuch as that is the work of the home and of individuals, not the local church (1 Cor. 11:20-22, 34). What you will find here are brethren who love each other and who frequently get together in their role and function as families and individuals; not as “programs” of the local church. I invite you to study the lesson entitled, “The Social Gospel” at http://www.bibleanswer.com/socialgospel.htm for more detail on this subject.
“I suppose some would describe the Mt. Baker church as “anti” because we do not practice these innovations (or others) that many churches of Christ now practice without giving them another thought. However, we prefer to note that we must always be “pro” everything that is authorized in the word of God while being “anti” (against) everything that goes beyond the doctrine of Christ (Col. 3:17; 2 Jno. 9-11). I invite you to consider the following lesson that addresses some of the Bible principles that support that statement: www.bibleanswer.com/liberalism_nobigdeal.htm.
“______, thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate your desire to find the right congregation for the spiritual growth of yourself and your family. Such spiritual leadership is important and commendable. Let me encourage your questions and any follow up questions or comments you may have. And, let me invite you and your family to visit our classes and worship services if/when you come to Bellingham.”
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:7-11
1. Neither individual Christians nor churches cannot live on the
accomplishments of the past, Phil 3:12-14; Rev 2:2-5; 3:1-2.
I. WILL WE STAND OR FALL? 2 Ths 2:15; 1 Cor 16:13
False Doctrine and Compromise? Rev 2:2, 14-16 (2 Tim 2:14-16)
Jude 3-4; 2 Pet 2:1-3; Gal 2:4-5.
II. WILL WE WORK FOR THE LORD? Jn 9:4
A. God has given us Work to do, Jno 17:4; Eph 4:16; 1 Pet 2:1-2; 2 Pet 3:18.
III. WILL WE BE UNITED AND AT PEACE? Gen 13:8; Psa 133:1; 1 Cor 1:10
Attitudes and Actions (reactions), Eph 4:1-3; Col 3:12-15.
1. Danger of making wrong decisions: Lose fellowship with Christ! Rev 1:13,
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:15-20
1. Trust is the sign of a mature, thoughtful, confident and secure
relationship (cf. marriage, Prov 31:11).
I. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST ENGENDERS COMPLETE TRUST, 2 Tim 1:12; Rom 8:37-39; cf. 1 Pet 4:19.
Trust Jesus because He Always Speaks the Truth, Jno 14:6; 2 Cor 1:15-20.
II. THINGS THAT PROMOTE AND HINDER TRUST AMONG US.
A. Our Commonality in Christ Ought to Engender Trust between One Another, Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 1:9-10, 13.
III. THINGS ASSOCIATED WITH TRUST. Col 3:12-15 (Make application to friendship; the church; marriage)
Communication (Eph 4:25, 31).
1. Trust is crucial to working together and being successful in our relationships (With God, Matt 11:28-30; Gal 3:26-29; the church, 1 Cor 11:25-27; the home, Eph 5:33).
No Consensus on "Gay Gene"
For many years homosexuals and their advocates have relied on the opinion that homosexuality is rooted in “nature” not “nurture”. They have vigorously argued the source of homosexuality is genetic and not personal choice. This assumption has been effectively used to convince millions that homosexuality must not be opposed on moral grounds, nor should homosexuals be urged to change their conduct. (After all, if one is born gay, it is no longer a moral issue necessitating change, is it?)
The American Psychological Association (APA) has previously supported this view. Now, the APA says the genetic role in a person’s sexuality is far from proven:
“What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation? There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” (Brochure: “For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality”, APA)
This is an important admission. Rest assured, if compelling evidence existed that homosexuality is genetic, the APA would proclaim it. (In 1998 the APA claimed the proof was in.
Now, they admit there is no scientific consensus on what determines sexual orientation.) Those who say homosexuality is genetic have no proof; only assertion.
Homosexuality is a sin against God and man (Rom. 1:24-29). Sin is chosen, not inherited or based in genetics (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 5:12). One who has “gone after strange flesh” can also choose to abstain from it (Jude 7; 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 18). The gospel call of salvation goes out to homosexuals, too: “Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19) The homosexual can choose to change his or her heart (repent) and obey the gospel. The homosexual can choose to stop sinning and start living for Christ. It’s a matter of choice.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/18/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA