BibSac Article: “Healthy Churches Follow Biblical Rather Than Cultural Patterns of Ministry”

10:52 am | Emergent Church

Our Sunday School class for the past couple of months has been studying the book of Hebrews. As any seminary student will tell you, Hebrews is one of the most difficult books to study in the New Testament. Fortunately, the teacher of the class (whom I have a close affinity with) has been putting a hearty effort in getting on top of the most recent scholarship of the book of Hebrews and has done an excellent job of making the difficult parts of the book understandable.

As part of his readings for this Sunday’s discussion on Hebrew 10:19-39, he stumbled onto an interesting article from BibSac, portions of which I am posting here. It emphasizes some of the same themes that I have commented on in recent months.

Healthy Churches Follow Biblical Rather Than Cultural Patterns of Ministry
Ken Gangel [BSac 158:632 (Oct 01) p. 468 ff.]

“Though the gospel has always been transcultural, believers have frequently been tempted to adapt so dramatically to their own cultural surroundings that Christianity loses its distinctiveness. This often arises from sincere motives, a desire to contextualize the gospel or to be “relevant to the times.” Commonly seen in the Renaissance and again in the Enlightenment, such behavior marks much of evangelicalism today. Churches seem hooked on futurism, movements, fads, and slogans.”

… “Rather than programs and paradigms, first-century believers were marked by unity and generosity. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:32–35, NIV).

“No wonder the world was interested! The believers spoke the Word of God boldly and proclaimed the name of Jesus and His resurrection—wherever they went. And their message carried meaning because people knew what kind of relationships they maintained when they were together. ‘The Epistles command believers to unite together on the basis of their new family relationship in Christ. Over and over come the instructions: suffer together (1 Cor. 12:26), rejoice together (Rom. 12:15), carry each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), restore each other (Gal. 6:1), pray for each other (Rom. 15:30), encourage each other (Rom. 1:12), forgive each other (Eph. 4:32), confess to each other (Jas. 5:16), be truthful with each other (Eph. 4:25), spur each other to good deeds (Heb. 10:24), and give to each other (Phil. 4:14–15).’5″

… “In the biblical pattern, building up believers precedes winning the lost or any other valued passion. Believers must first develop a spirit of unity, mutuality, and generosity. What could be less effective in fulfilling the Great Commission than inviting unsaved people into a congregation that is marked by complaining, bitterness, criticism, and hypocrisy?”



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