Why It’s Dangerous to ‘Build a Church on the Bible’

This past Sunday First Baptist Dallas celebrated it’s 150th anniversary, a historic milestone of longevity and influence however you define it. But in an interview with the Christian Post preceding the anniversary, Pastor Robert Jeffress made a statement that on the surface seems doctrinal, but I believe is in fact dangerous. Here’s a printed portion of the interview between the Christian Post and Pastor Robert Jeffress:

CP: At a time when many churches are in decline or closing, how is it that First Baptist Dallas is celebrating its 150 anniversary and still going strong?

Jeffress: I think there’s one simple answer to that. We are a church that’s not built on a denomination or a church built on tradition or a church built on popular opinion. We are a church built on the Bible. The fact is, denominations change, culture changes, opinions change, but God’s Word never changes. I think the reason God has blessed First Baptist for these 150 years is, this is a church that has been dedicated to proclaiming the unchanging truth of God’s Word.

So, what’s so wrong with the statement? I’ll ask it this way: if you would have sat down with the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, perhaps even some early church fathers like Clement of Rome or Tertullian, and asked them what the church was built on, they wouldn’t have said ‘the Bible,’ and for a very good reason. ‘The Bible’ didn’t exist yet as we now know it, not being finalized in its canonical form until the 4th century. In the decades immediately following the resurrection of Jesus, even before the letters of Paul were written and the eyewitness Gospel accounts recorded, the church thrived and flourished not because of a book but because of an event.



Life in the Early Church

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Luke abruptly shifts the scene from Pentecost to a summation of the period that followed in which he tells us what they did and how they lived during this early time. What is there for me to add to this picture?

Not much. There is one thing: For me at least, there are two references here that are easy to miss: First, notice that during this period they are said to have enjoyed “the favor of all the people” and finally, the Lord “added to their number daily”. When the love of Christ shines through the Body of believers into the larger community, amazing and wonderful things happen.

That should give us something to ponder…

Comment at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/life-in-the-early-church-2/

‘Where Two or More are Gathered’ Doesn’t Make a Church


If You’re Not “Being Fed” at Your Church, Maybe You’re Approaching Church Wrong

Peter Hansen

“I’m just not being fed.”

“I need more solid meat.”

“I want to go find a church where I can be fed.”

Those are all phrases used by Christians today. A few of these I’ve even heard personally as a pastor. These are reasons people give for leaving one church and going to another. They don’t feel like the teaching is deep enough, strong enough or captivating enough for their spiritual diet. They need more. They want to be fed. On one level, those reasons have a valid point behind them: preaching matters, and good preaching is preaching that not only captures the attention but delivers solid biblical content. Preachers need to preach solid meat, not just surface level milk.

But I would argue that this entire line of reasoning for leaving a church and searching for a new one is off base. When you say “I’m not being fed,” you’re making your departure someone else’s fault, someone else’s responsibility. “Being fed” is passive, which means you don’t take ownership or responsibility. I was reminded of this recently not because of a conversation. This blog post isn’t aimed at anyone specifically.

Continue: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/newwineskins/if-youre-not-being-fed-at-your-church-maybe-youre-approaching-church-wrong/

Ten Ways Every Christian Can Strengthen Their Church

strengthen the church Ten Ways Every Christian Can Strengthen Their Church

In the early days at Lancaster Baptist Church, I gave a “Visit With the Pastor” almost every Sunday night in which I tried to infuse our young church with the DNA of New Testament Christianity. Usually these was a brief topical lesson on topics ranging from how to lead someone to the Lord to having family devotions to encouraging new Christians.

Now fast forward 30 years. This past fall, one of our early members, Denise Lofgren, went to be with the Lord after a sudden battle with cancer. Denise and her husband, Gary, came to Lancaster Baptist in 1987 and have stayed for these 30 years as they raised their four boys here.

Shortly after Denise went to be with the Lord, her husband, Gary, found the handwritten outline below on a scrap of paper in her files. It was from a Visit With the Pastor titled, “How to Build a Great Church.” In the top right corner, she had written, “May 1988.” And in the top left corner, “Read Bk. of Acts.” Below was a list of 10 basic principles I had given that night on how every Christian can help build their church.

I look at this list now, and I smile a little at the alliteration and even the order in which I listed some of these. But I also thank God for people like Gary and Denise Lofgren who took these biblical principles to heart and lived them.

The truth is, these are what builds a godly church. These are the attributes of church members who are growing in the Lord and helping to strengthen their church family.

  1. Stay—Learn to stick.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. —Hebrews 10:25

(Obviously, there are times God moves people. But don’t allow an offense with another Christian or backsliding in your own heart to keep you from your church family.)

  1. Sweet Spirit—Love your church.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. —Hebrews 10:24

  1. Stewardship—Give liberally to God and man.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. —2 Corinthians 9:6

  1. Separation—Live in a way that is distinctly for God in this world.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. —2 Corinthians 6:17

More: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/327543-ten-ways-every-christian-paul-chappell.html

You and Your Church

The church is the hope of the world. According to Jesus, who said He came to establish the church, it was intended to be something so filled with energy that not even hell itself could withstand its onslaught.

The idea is that we are the light of the world, and as that light is brought together through the church it gains intensity the way focused light becomes a laser beam.

So what’s wrong?

Most churches are anything but energy-filled. Hell seems to not only be standing its ground, but gaining territory.

Let’s bracket off all the things churches are doing wrong today.

Let’s put aside the scandals, the splits and the outdated strategies.

Let’s not worry for a moment about any disappointments you may have with leadership.

Let’s talk instead about what any individual person, in any particular church, can do to help their church reach its full redemptive potential. In other words, let’s go after the lowest-hanging, solution-oriented fruit.

Isn’t that what all of us will answer for at the end of our lives anyway? Not what others did, but what we did?

Here’s a baker’s dozen:


Whatever Happened to Church Discipline?

From what I “gather,” church discipline has largely dropped away from non-fundamentalist American evangelical Protestant church life. Read more

~ Roger E. Olson