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Saturday, September 26, 2015

THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER'S PARA-CHURCH


WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?



Many pastors of the past have worked wonderfully well with ministries that were not started by a local church. Men like Dr. Roberson, Dr. Hyles, Dr. Malone, Dr. Vick, Dr. Rawlings, Dr. Billington, and others worked with The Sword of the Lord, Bill Rice Ranch, Bob Jones University, BIMI, Youth for Christ, Word of Life, Gideons, Salvation Army, Pacific Garden Rescue Mission, Christian Law Association, Revival Fires, International Board of Jewish Missions, Gospel Tract Society, etc which were all para-church ministries. John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold..."

Oh you say, “But look at the direction many of the ministries have gone." Yes, and we could easily look at the direction many of those churches have gone.

Dr. Hyles often taught that we all use para-church ministries in one way or another. He loved the idea that the local church could do it better, but he never black balled those who provided helps to the local churches whether in or out of the local church. One time he told us that all of us drew the line of using para-church ministries at different levels, but at the end of the day we all use para-church ministries.

If we are not careful we hypocritically oppose men of God led of God who start ministries. These are men of God in their own right and are just as led of God. There may be a disagreement of the thought of should they be started by the local church or a man of God. Good men may disagree, but that does not seem to stop God from leading men to start such ministries. 

Logic with me, if they are started by the local church obviously they would budget that ministry in their church budget. Many local churches have ministries brought to them with the membership transfer of a man of God. These men who join never ask to be put into the churches budget for they live by the faith of that man of God. These men of God choose independent Baptist churches because that is who they are in the faith. 

Yet, to be consistent no pastor should accept any ministry not started by that local church if they are going to be consistently opposed to para-church ministries. The pastor who takes this stand should start and finance every ministry. He should refuse to take a man of God into the church membership who has a ministry from God; if the pastor cannot control and run it. 

Through out the years men with ministries would join churches I pastored and I never stuck my nose into their ministry.  They stayed out of my ministry I stayed out of their ministry. When they asked my opinion or counsel I gave them my opinion and counsel. 

The truth is I have never in my 33 years of pastoring ever had a problem with a man who brought or started a ministry while being a member. I was not opposed to them because I was not the final authority on what God was doing in another man of God's ministry. I simply made myself available to them.

I, like Dr. Hyles, preferred the local church start these ministries, but I quickly learned from Brother Hyles, and these other great men, that God moved on other men of God to start ministries to aid the cause of Christ. Also, I quickly learned that I could not finance everything I wanted to do. 



I desired to have a camp, but the finances never materialized. However, we still went to summer camps whose ministries actually started the camp first and then the church second. It was not the way I would have done it, but I still used them. The wonderful thing is they have enough sense to be associated with an independent fundamental Baptist church of like faith and order. 

It is not at all like years past with those whom I call “Protestant Baptist” had NO association with local churches. They were truly defined as “para-church” because they had no association with any local church. That is just not the case today in independent Baptist circles. This is not your father's para-church.

I worry that we are not looking at the bigger picture and have become so small minded that we believe without us nothing can be accomplished for Christ. Again, I prefer the local church start everything, but if they cannot finance it they should not start it. 

So, here comes a man of God who is doctrinally sound and is led of God to start a ministry to help win the world to Christ. He does not ask to be put into the church budget.  He believes like the pastor doctrinally. He tithes and give offerings. He is a personal soul winner. He and his family live separated lives. He defends fundamentalism. He is King James only. He is rarely there for he is traveling with his ministry. Should he not have the right to be a member and lead a ministry as God tells him?

The para-church ministries produced by the “Protestant Baptists” of yesteryear are different from the ones started inside of local churches of our day. Many today who are independent Baptist Evangelists, Periodicals, camps, etc., started their ministries while members of a local independent Baptist church. They would never have started their ministry outside of their membership in a local independent Baptist church. 

These men were men of God in their own right and totally agreed with the independent Baptist church polity. To ostracize these men’s ministries and define them in the same definition as those of yesteryear is duplicity of definition. 

These ministries are not at all like the ones of years gone by started outside of ANY local church; simply because those of old believed in the universal church. To compare those to these of today in independent Baptist circles is ridiculous. 

There was respect in days gone for such. Because they understood the callings of God in various ministries. Our mentors never mistreated the men or the ministries of such who were members of their local churches or chose not to ask to be put into the church budget. 

Dr. Hyles used to say that if the church can do it that is better, but if the church cannot do it then we need these ministries to accomplish what the church cannot do. One of the reasons Dr. Hyles wanted to build a great church was to be able to provide as many ministries through the church as possible, but he never completely abandoned his association with para-church ministries.

OBSERVATIONS

1. They come alongside the church to assist it.
2. They do not take the place of the church.
3. They are not a substitute for the church.
4. They are not necessarily a ministry of the church and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
5. They are not to make the church subordinate to them.
6. They are para not anti-church.
6. They have been a part of the work of God since the New Testament. Christian publishers have traditionally been para-church.
7. If a ministry is strictly under one church then all churches who submit to or use that ministry are submitting to that church.
8. Any ministry that provides a service to a church is a para-church ministry even if it is under the authority of one local church.
9. Para-church ministries should never solicit the tithes of a local church, but they should be allowed to generate funds from the services they provide. (If I bring my people to your conference and you ask for money you are soliciting money from my people.)
10. Every Christian college is a para-church ministry to you even if it is under another church. You are putting your faith in that church the minute you support that college.
11. Effective para-church ministries strive to serve the church.
12. The danger for a para-church ministry is placing the welfare of the ministry above that of the church.
13. Many para-church ministries began to fill a void the church was not filling. Most homeschooling is para-church and if not then the materials we use often come from para-church groups.
14. Having to pretend a ministry is of a local church just to appease other pastors is foolish and needless.
15. God started the home, yet we have many para-home institutions. If we strictly applied our para-church rules we would find we are a bit inconsistent in our position. 
16. If a ministry is truly a ministry of the local church then why do we support it when it picks up and moves to another local church? MANY of the ministries named above have relocated "under" a different church. If they were truly under the church they would not have the freedom to do so.
17. The leaders of a para-church ministry should all be active members of a local church and personally accountable to their pastor.
18. It is not best when a church is under a ministry, such as a campus church or a church that is started by a Christian camp. However, even thought it is not best, it is not necessarily wicked.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

JESUS OPERATED UNDER THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

JESUS WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT


Acts 10: 37-38, “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;”

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”


After the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist Jesus was empowered by the Holy Ghost. Jesus did his entire ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”

“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

What condescension when the Lord became a man! He was housed in a human body with all of its frailties.

Revelation 1:13-16, “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the papas with a golden girdle.”

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;”

“And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.”

“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

John the Beloved saw Jesus and his response is recorded in Revelation 1:17-18.

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:”

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

What a difference between Jesus in Heaven and Jesus on earth being in the form of a servant! Jesus did not do one of His great works in the power of His deity or His power as the Son of God! His works were all done as a spirit-filled man! They were all done in the power of the third person of the trinity.

So, it is with every saved person! Whatever the redeemed do must be done in the power of the third person of the trinity and not the second! It is done not because the saved are the children of God.
Jesus left His power in Heaven! Jesus left the manifestation of His glory in Heaven. In Acts 10:37-38 the Scriptures mention often the association of what Jesus did in connection with the Holy Spirit such as His preaching, His miracles, and His works.

Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

According to Isaiah 11:1-3 Jesus returns to reign on the earth and He will reign in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is the sprout form the trunk of Jesse’s tree. It is by the third person of the trinity that Jesus will reign perfectly and gloriously on earth.

The anointing and the power came upon Jesus when He prayed standing in the Jordan River after having been baptized by John the Baptist. In Acts 10:38 we have the three persons of the God Head are mentioned.
Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…”

This is how Jesus faced the cross! The Scripture says, “…through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…”

Acts 1:2, “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”

Jesus gave commandments through the power of the Holy Ghost! Jesus did none of His work outside of the Power of the Holy Spirit. He gave commandments to His apostles after His resurrection and He did that in the power of the Holy Spirit. We discovered that when Jesus returns to rule and reign He will do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. His very resurrection was in the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 1:32, “And John bare record, saying I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” Matthew 3:13-15; Luke 3:21-23

Jesus was baptized and praying when the Holy Spirit came visibly upon Him at the age of 30. Jesus was perfect, sinless, blameless, had never grieved His father, loved the Word of God, was pure, without sin for those 30 years but He could do no work for God without the power of God via the Holy Spirit of God.

Luke 3:21-23, “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened,”

“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.”

Luke chapter 4 starts out “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost…” In verse 14 after the temptation it says, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit…”

John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”

Jesus was given the Holy Spirit without limit! WOW! Jesus delighted to call Himself the Son of man while not hesitating to declare that He and the Father were one! (John 10:30) Yet, He continually stressed the fact that He was a man.

Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

We are often commanded to be like Jesus. Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 12:1-2; I John 4:17; Romans 8:29)

Jesus is the Son of God! The redeemed are the sons and daughters of God! Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost and the redeemed are born of the Holy Spirit. Jesus now is in a glorified body and one day the redeemed will be in a glorified body. Does it not make sense that we cannot do what we do without the power of the Holy Spirit?

Philippians 3:20-21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Matthew 3:15, “…thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”

The miracles of Jesus were not given to prove that He was God’s Son. They did prove that God was with him but He often insisted that the miracles should not be told! Jesus gave one sign only that was to be the positive sign of His deity and that was His resurrection from the dead. (Matthew 12:39-40; Revelation 13:14; Matthew 10:1-8)

The important thing to remember is that Jesus did not do His work in the power of His deity. The redeemed cannot do our work in the power of just being saved. It is not the second person of the trinity but the third person of the trinity that empowers a saved person! Jesus was empowered in the flesh through the Holy Spirit and the same must be true for the rest of the redeemed!

Jesus left Heaven and emptied Himself. He became a man! He gave up His advantage over man and took man’s weakness and man’s limitations. Jesus gave up the use of His power as the Son of God, the power that created the worlds, and the power that holds the universe together. Jesus was content to use only the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 20:21-22, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto yo0u: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”

John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”

John 17:18, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”


OBSERVATIONS

·      Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not mean the carnal nature is eradicated for Jesus had no carnal nature

·      Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not require speaking in some unintelligible tongue for Jesus did not such thing

·      Being filled with the Holy Spirit of God does not mean there must be outward manifestations such as a cyclone, rushing mighty wind, etc., for Jesus experienced no such thing

·      Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not mean ecstasy and a hat warm feeling through out your body for Jesus experienced no such thing

·      Being filled with the Spirit of God is not for personal edification for Jesus needed no such edification and He did not look for something to brag about




Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IS IBOC UNDER A LOCAL CHURCH?



IS IBOC UNDER A LOCAL CHURCH?


IS THIS A FORM OF UNIVERSALISM?






Sometimes you just can't win. Some Christians are going to find the devil in a new brand of paint. And so it is with something as "new" as an online Bible college. It seems that there are those whose scrutiny has become almost without logic or reason. One such being the notion that somehow this online college is a form of Universalism. This is quite silly, however, in an effort to answer questions regarding our connection to the church, let me address this issue.

Just because it is on the Internet does not make it anti-local church anymore than local churches who put their sermons on YouTube make that church a "cyber space universalist." The fact that others see it over the Internet does not indict that local church as theologically conjoined with universalists. IBOC is not a church. IBOC is an academic helper for the local church. The final authority is the local church led by their pastor.

The internet makes it possible for Christians to accomplish things for the Lord in ways we could not before. Rather than looking for what is wrong with that, we ought to rejoice at the possibilities.

The internet allows us to perpetuate the ministry and influence of some who otherwise we would lose. Our goal is to raise the influence of men who may be limited in their ability to travel yet who have much to offer this generation.

Yet, there are those who are trying to find some anti-church conspiracy in this endeavor. Here are some of the ways we support the local church. By the way, we do not ask for nor intend to accept support from churches. Our ministry is not para-church any more than Revival Fires, Sword of the Lord, Reformers Unanimous, Mount Salem Camp Grounds, Agape Homes, The Torch, etc.


1. We are officially a ministry of Victory Baptist Temple in Elyria, Ohio, which is where the president of our college, Dr. Jeffrey Smale pastors.

2. Every administrator, advisory board member and faculty member is an active member of a local New Testament Church and most are current or former pastors.

3. Every IBOC student is a member of a local church and must be recommended by their local church pastor. 

4. That same local pastor oversees their student's spiritual life according to his church's standards and convictions.

5. IBOC will supervise their academic work, but the local church pastor will guide their additional training. 

6.  Each pastor will hold their own commencement service for their students at their church giving a diploma provided by IBOC which will be signed by Dr. Smale and the graduates pastor.

7. The IBOC Degree will be given on their church platform to their church member.

8. The pastor will have the final say as to whether their church member is spiritually qualified to graduate.

9. IBOC will have the final say as to their church member being academically qualified to graduate.

We are not seeking to control any ministry of the local churches to which we do not belong. We are seeking to provide a means of obtaining an online degree for those who seek one. It is easy to look for the flaw of such an endeavor and miss out on the fact that we are paying much more homage to the local church pastor than most campus colleges. I trust this clears up any confusion regarding our church association.