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Steven Yeadon

Are We Teaching the Bible Well in Our Churches?

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Someone on another message board said:

"today...people do not read [the bible], do not study [the bible], and would rather be entertained. They cant handle the diligent study that comes from books, so they prefer videos."

How big a problem is this in our churches? Is it a problem at all?

I have noticed the journey in my own church to playing the Lion King and the Matrix on the big screen to excite people into studying the bible. I have seen the relentless videos before the sermon or even in place of the sermon, not to mention the video studies on a weekday night. All of which are appealing to people without a high reading level. Reading levels tend to be low in America and I do see lots of people bringing their Message and New Living Translation bibles to church. 

I personally do not like this trend as it seems to exalt the teacher(s) not the Word. In addition, a lot of videos nowadays do not teach and preach the Word but are more homiletic, relying on everyday things, like the Lion King, to teach the Word. I also find this meshing of the very holy and the downright unholy, like the Matrix, cause for concern.

However, the alternative is to really just buckle down as churches and help people read better in all age groups. Something that may be needed if studying the Word, rather than learning form teaching and preaching on the Word, is the goal. Then again, many were illiterate back in the day and had to rely on the few, even in early churches, who could read and study and thus teach and preach. 

I'll also add that something feels very shallow in terms of study about many Christian videos. They rarely if ever get any deeper than the Lifeway Sunday School bible studies. To me, these magazines are definitely not a mature study of the bible and contain a perspective that is one dimensional.

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5 hours ago, Steven Yeadon said:

I personally do not like this trend as it seems to exalt the teacher(s) not the Word. In addition, a lot of videos nowadays do not teach and preach the Word but are more homiletic, relying on everyday things, like the Lion King, to teach the Word. I also find this meshing of the very holy and the downright unholy, like the Matrix, cause for concern.

I agree with you. Your concern is commendable.

If I was in such a church I would approach the pastor, privately, and, with a lot of humility, tell him my concerns. Depending on what he said, what he is going to do about it, and his attitude towards my concern, would determine my next move.

After a season of prayer, and if possible godly counsel from a fellow saint that you felt was walking with the Lord, and the situation was not improving, it may be advisable to search out a solid independent, fundamental Baptist Church.

May the Lord bless you and guide you as you spend time in prayer and counsel in this matter. Keep us informed (or by personal messenger).

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On 11/6/2017 at 7:58 AM, Alan said:

I agree with you. Your concern is commendable.

If I was in such a church I would approach the pastor, privately, and, with a lot of humility, tell him my concerns. Depending on what he said, what he is going to do about it, and his attitude towards my concern, would determine my next move.

After a season of prayer, and if possible godly counsel from a fellow saint that you felt was walking with the Lord, and the situation was not improving, it may be advisable to search out a solid independent, fundamental Baptist Church.

May the Lord bless you and guide you as you spend time in prayer and counsel in this matter. Keep us informed (or by personal messenger).

I second brother Alan's advice.

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Such as church has left her first estate and turned to entertaining goats and has forsaken the sheep.  Goats probably run the place and it is no longer a place for sheep.  Goats want to be entertained, sheep want to be discipled.  Time to find a New Testament church of the kind that Christ built and died for.  

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On 23/11/2017 at 2:41 AM, Jordan Kurecki said:

I second brother Alan's advice.

I third  brother Alan's advice.

Our church does not have any type of entertainment worship. We just have a Grand Piano, a 1905 Broadwood..    

A few years ago we were looking for a pastor and considered an Australian Baptist.  He wanted to bring in a 'worship leader'  who we suspected would be his wife.  The membership rejected him but one single man and two families, totalling 8 members left.  It was suspected that our churh may have to close as we only had a small membership. However the Lord has blessed us.  While we still are looking for a pastor, we have had three former members who had moved away a number of new members from other churches.  One said, "I was starved of teaching there."  We have recently had a number of regular ladies from another church, and others not so regular.  We also have a couple in our evening service, from a Baptist church about five miles away which doesn't always have an evening service.  

Our problem is that we have only two young families, and the leaders are knocking on a bit.  We pray for more younger people to join us, but most younger people are only interested entertainment type services. We used to have a stand at the freshers week at the local university.  We used to get a number of students from the university, but now they ask   "What is the worship like?" instead of "What is the preaching like?" The last student we had was a Czech girl who was with us for a couple of years then went to France to study, then came back till she graduated, then left us to go back to Czech to get married.  

We also get a Lithuanian girl who works on the farms from time to time (she started picking strawberries, but when they found she could speak several languages, they put her in the staff shop) she goes back home when there is no work here.

A young man I invited to our Easter service last year has applied for baptism but we have difficulty in deciding if he is saved as he is not good a expressing himself.  I believe that the way of salvation is available even to the simplest person who trusts in Jesus. but others think that he should be able to make a full declaration without prompting.  I find this one difficult.

Edited by Invicta

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I had an aunt who was disabled, illiterate and her speech was, I don't know how to explain it, perhaps I should say distorted. But I am sure she was saved. My dad said as his elder sister she brought up the  younger ones.  He was one of 14 children in a poor part of London.  I know some died in infancy, but I have managed to trace 10 of them on family research sites.  

 

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On 11/6/2017 at 2:23 AM, Steven Yeadon said:

Someone on another message board said:

"today...people do not read [the bible], do not study [the bible], and would rather be entertained. They cant handle the diligent study that comes from books, so they prefer videos."

How big a problem is this in our churches? Is it a problem at all?

I have noticed the journey in my own church to playing the Lion King and the Matrix on the big screen to excite people into studying the bible. I have seen the relentless videos before the sermon or even in place of the sermon, not to mention the video studies on a weekday night. All of which are appealing to people without a high reading level. Reading levels tend to be low in America and I do see lots of people bringing their Message and New Living Translation bibles to church. 

I personally do not like this trend as it seems to exalt the teacher(s) not the Word. In addition, a lot of videos nowadays do not teach and preach the Word but are more homiletic, relying on everyday things, like the Lion King, to teach the Word. I also find this meshing of the very holy and the downright unholy, like the Matrix, cause for concern.

However, the alternative is to really just buckle down as churches and help people read better in all age groups. Something that may be needed if studying the Word, rather than learning form teaching and preaching on the Word, is the goal. Then again, many were illiterate back in the day and had to rely on the few, even in early churches, who could read and study and thus teach and preach. 

I'll also add that something feels very shallow in terms of study about many Christian videos. They rarely if ever get any deeper than the Lifeway Sunday School bible studies. To me, these magazines are definitely not a mature study of the bible and contain a perspective that is one dimensional.

https://www.theologywithoutapology.org/single-post/2017/11/22/IFB-Backwards

 

thought this might be helpful for you Steven. 

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Thank you for your reply's. I will have to read that article you linked me Jordan Kurecki.

I thought I was in a solid bible-believing church until I started to read the bible closely to study it. I now ask pointed questions and get responses like "God will fix our doctrinal problems in heaven, so don't worry too much about doctrine" from a church leader I respect highly. I increasingly feel isolated and need to find a church. Jordan recommended one and things have quieted down enough to go to a new church this Sunday. It has taken me time because of my desire to stay at my Southern Baptist church, which is just not going to happen. 

Also, what do you guys and gals think of Baptist Board? Something feels too confrontational about that board to really try and fellowship well.

 

-EDIT-

Nice article, thank you.

Edited by Steven Yeadon

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This is the direction of most churches today. The church has become another way to entertain us rather than a place of worship. My daughter went to a "Baptist Church" and they had a light and smoke show during the "Praise" time. We are definitely in the Laodicean Church age

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I live in Oakland, California, and I can't find a bible based church anywhere within a driving distance. The churches I have attended in the past to test the waters before actually becoming a member taught damnable heresies. For example, the Pastor or Deacon would say that It's ok to be homosexual, you can engage in sexual activities before marriage, Jesus is not God, Modalism, and the list goes on and on. This is the Laodicean church age we are living in. Then there are those who attend church on Sundays and have no intimate relationship with Jesus at all. The rest of the week, you can't tell the difference between these nominal Christians and the rest of the unbelieving world. Jesus said that He will "spew thee out of my mouth" (Rev.3:16). In other words, Jesus will "vomit" these Lukewarm "believers" out of his mouth. They are those who have a "form" of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5). They lack any sort of spirituality at all. Most of the congregation attend church to get their ears tickled by hearing what they want to hear, and not what they need to hear (2 Tim.4:3). It is written: "when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Lk.18:8)

Edited by (Omega)
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I don't subscribe to the churches in Revelation pertaining to church ages, but I have noticed that the scandal here is not that most Christians are lukewarm. I reserve the distinction of being lukewarm for the regular churchgoer who contributes half-heartedly as if to mock God and might tithe say 10% of his or her income but would never consider going more. Who volunteers at church on Saturday but is just like everyone else it seems when they hit the work week. This definition lets me know when I myself backslide and have to love God with a whole heart, remembering my first love. Something that convicts me tonight since I have been very busy and keep making excuses not to read the Word. 

No, this is a church in America, compared to the more faithful and persecuted non-Western church, that is getting cold in its love for those outside the fold and even within it. I would never call a group of people who turn their faces towards God but put their backs to Him lukewarm. Jeremiah 2:27 shows that utter ruin and destruction is reserved for those who turn their faces to God but keep their backs to Him. They are like the Pharisees more than a Disciple halfhearted in their love for God

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On 11/28/2017 at 8:07 PM, Steven Yeadon said:

I would never call a group of people who turn their faces towards God but put their backs to Him lukewarm. Jeremiah 2:27 shows that utter ruin and destruction is reserved for those who turn their faces to God but keep their backs to Him. They are like the Pharisees more than a Disciple halfhearted in their love for God

Steven, just a clarification here - Jer. 2:27 does not say that the people turn their faces toward God and put their backs to Him. The part you referenced says: "for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face:"  This says clearly that the people God is referencing turn their backs rather than their faces to God. Forgive me if I misunderstood what you were saying.

 

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11 hours ago, HappyChristian said:

Steven, just a clarification here - Jer. 2:27 does not say that the people turn their faces toward God and put their backs to Him. The part you referenced says: "for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face:"  This says clearly that the people God is referencing turn their backs rather than their faces to God. Forgive me if I misunderstood what you were saying.

I may be wrong. I did some research, since I believe you may be correct in that people are turning their backs to God instead of just their face. However, my research bore out my original conclusion that people are turning their face towards God in this verse while keeping their back to Him.

I read these verses for my research: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Turning-One~s-Back

Jeremiah 18:17 and Exodus 33:23 are verses that express your point that a back is turned and a face is not shone. In this case God's figurative back and face.

However, that is not the same language in the English in both Jeremiah 2:27 and 32:33, as I cannot read Hebrew. In these two verses it appears as if Israel is turning its back to God while having their face towards Him, hypocritically. I would back this up in Jeremiah 2:27 in that the Israelites are willing to turn to God to save them at all, but otherwise do not love Him. 

That said, I have learned a lesson in that the bible does not say if the Israelite faith in Jeremiah is a lukewarm faith. Since I am unsure if the Israelites have a lukewarm response, I cannot connect the verses in Jeremiah with the verses on the lukewarm church. Thank you!

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All of those verses use the same type terms - back turned rather than face.  

This is John Gill's comment on the verse:  

"for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face;" -  they turned their faces to images of wood and stone, and worshipped them; and they turned their backs upon the Lord, his worship and ordinances, and apostatized from him; which the Targum thus expresses,

"for they turned their backs on my worship, and did not put my fear before their faces:'

The idea of turning one's face towards something means acknowledging that something, and, in this case, worshipping it. Turning the back connotes ignoring. The face can't be turned toward something while the back is turned to it.

Matthew Poole said: "They have turned their back unto me, and not their face;" -  they turn their faces wholly towards their idols: it notes the openness of their apostasy, Jeremiah 7:24  (But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.)

Honestly, I believe that verses like Jer. 2:27 (and Jer. 7:24)teach us about Israel's apathy and their total lack of desire to follow God. It begins with lukewarmness, IMO. I think the principle of the verses teach the end result of allowing ourselves to be lukewarm.

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That makes more sense, since you cannot turn your face to someone you have your back to. The only part that gets me now is why those cold in faith would call out to God in their distress as told to us in Jeremiah 2:27. I mean, as explained to us elsewhere in the bible, the Israelites had such faith that Jerusalem, the holy city, was unbeatable.

Edited by Steven Yeadon

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3 hours ago, Steven Yeadon said:

That makes more sense, since you cannot turn your face to someone you have your back to. The only part that gets me now is why those cold in faith would call out to God in their distress as told to us in Jeremiah 2:27. I mean, as explained to us elsewhere in the bible, the Israelites had such faith that Jerusalem, the holy city, was unbeatable.

I think that people who were at one time people of faith know deep down where to look in times of trouble. Even the lost will often talk about turning to God during times of trouble (although if they do not turn for forgiveness, "turning" to God is moot for the lost). Sometimes that is a reason God allows trouble/distress - to cause us to turn to Him.

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On 11/28/2017 at 8:07 PM, Steven Yeadon said:

I don't subscribe to the churches in Revelation pertaining to church ages, but I have noticed that the scandal here is not that most Christians are lukewarm. I reserve the distinction of being lukewarm for the regular churchgoer who contributes half-heartedly as if to mock God and might tithe say 10% of his or her income but would never consider going more. Who volunteers at church on Saturday but is just like everyone else it seems when they hit the work week. This definition lets me know when I myself backslide and have to love God with a whole heart, remembering my first love. Something that convicts me tonight since I have been very busy and keep making excuses not to read the Word. 

No, this is a church in America, compared to the more faithful and persecuted non-Western church, that is getting cold in its love for those outside the fold and even within it. I would never call a group of people who turn their faces towards God but put their backs to Him lukewarm. Jeremiah 2:27 shows that utter ruin and destruction is reserved for those who turn their faces to God but keep their backs to Him. They are like the Pharisees more than a Disciple halfhearted in their love for God

I can finally use my PC now that it's functioning properly. So no more walls of texts. I've done some research and I would have to disagree. The 7 Churches DO represent Church age eras. I will lay them out in context.
 
There are a lot of reasons why we should accept the correct interpretation that the 7 churches, in addition to being actual churches of that time, also represent Church Age eras: 
 
1) Many exegetes who have a vast knowledge about the Bible have came to this same conclusion from independent examination over a lot of centuries; that is to say, on the one hand it's not a "confessional doctrine" so the fact that many others have come to this conclusion not because of tradition is important, and on the other hand it's not a idea that was not fully thought through of one person from one tradition in one generation.  When expert fishermen from several states go to the same river or lake over the course of many years, it is not unreasonable to conclude that there may be fish there -- and at least it's notable to take a look.
 
2) If the churches mentioned were merely contemporary, the 2 chapters after the introduction, preface all future prophecy in the book of Revelation would be a) a seemingly odd emphasis in Revelation which is pretty much entirely about the future, and b) much lessened in their application for us today.  Like the first point, it is not decisive, but any wise exegete would see that this point also makes an off-hand dismissal of this interpretation unwise.
 
3) As all who have treated the subject of the Church ages have seen, the 7 eras bear an uncanny comparison in their main trends to what has actually occurred in the Church Age and sequentially and chronologically so. But it's clear even to an average observer that Sardis bears a striking resemblance to the RCC (Roman Catholic church) of the late middle ages to a "T" and that Philadelphia following Sardis fits the experience of the age or generation of the Reformation and what followed after.  And anyone who hungers for the truth of the Bible can possibly fail to see that we are in the age of Laodicea:  thinking they are blessed and rich, but in reality being wretched poor and blind and naked -- because they are (as an era) lukewarm about the truth.  And dismissing this interpretation without a fair hearing is an indication of no real desire in the truth (it's just easier to proclaim "there is no proof").
 
4) To end subject with the strongest argument, we know that these 7 churches represent what would happen in the Church Age because it essentially says so in the book of Revelation:

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Revelation 1:19-20

*In between these 2 passages (below and above) we have the 7 churches in chapters 2-3.
 
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." Revelation 4:1 
 
The things which must be hereafter are the things that take place during the Tribulation and all that follows after it -- that is what the book of Revelation is about, the "revealing" of Jesus Christ to the world, including the Tribulation and Millennium, judgment and eternal state that follows after.  If the 7 churches were simply churches in the 1st century, "which must be hereafter" would be wrong or at the very least, give a wrong impression, because of course the 2,000 year Church Age is what immediately precedes the Tribulation and the following events.  Nothing in either passage or in the 3 sections taken as a whole suggest a gap; rather, a seamless continuation is shown in both setup verses: Revelation presents the Tribulation that follows directly after Laodicea --  but if Laodicea is just a local church some two thousand years ago, that would make little sense.  In John's day, the Church Age was no longer hidden in mystery because it had already occurred and been explained by the entirety of the remainder of the New Testament, not present only in the book of Revelation.  So "must be hereafter" really must mean, after the Church Age...which has just been shown.
 
God Bless,
Daniel

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But to accept the " church=age" theory one must accept the RC "church" and reformation "churches" as legitimate churches. 

One must also accept that since we are now in the "Laodicean age" that the previous ages do not apply to us fir we no longer in those ages - they are past.

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I don't think it is necessary to accept the RCC and the reformation as legitimate just because of the "church age theory". After all, the real church as an institution has existed since Jesus established it. It has been with us from the beginning and all through the so called church age.

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7 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

I don't think it is necessary to accept the RCC and the reformation as legitimate just because of the "church age theory". After all, the real church as an institution has existed since Jesus established it. It has been with us from the beginning and all through the so called church age.

But most people who hold to the church age thought on this passage do as has been done above and relate, for instance, Sardis to the RCC - but this implies that Jesus recognised them as a legitimate church with the mentioned problems, whereas I and I suspect the majority here would not agree that the RCC was EVER a legitimate church.

Furthermore, there is no indication in the passage that it relates to anything other han seven actual, physical, real churches. 

I won't have a knock down drag out over it, but that is my opinion. :10_wink:

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27 minutes ago, DaveW said:

But most people who hold to the church age thought on this passage do as has been done above and relate, for instance, Sardis to the RCC - but this implies that Jesus recognised them as a legitimate church with the mentioned problems, whereas I and I suspect the majority here would not agree that the RCC was EVER a legitimate church.

When did the Bishop of Rome become the pope, and when did the Roman Church become the Roman Catholic Church?

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22 hours ago, DaveW said:

But to accept the " church=age" theory one must accept the RC "church" and reformation "churches" as legitimate churches. 

One must also accept that since we are now in the "Laodicean age" that the previous ages do not apply to us fir we no longer in those ages - they are past.

If we take into consideration that there is only one Church (the body of Christ), and if we accept that the 7 in Revelation represent eras of the one Church, then we will not be talking about the RCC or Reformation "churches" but the corporate Body of Christ consisting of believers in each era, many of whom were in fact in "churches" irrespective of their membership in THE Church, just as is often the case today).  But if we don't accept the 7 era interpretation, then what right do we have to apply our Lord's words except in the general terms to anyone except the 7 which are long gone nearly two thousand years ago?

Edited by (Omega)

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41 minutes ago, (Omega) said:

If we take into consideration that there is only one Church (the body of Christ), and if we accept that the 7 in Revelation represent eras of the one Church, then we will not be talking about the RCC or Reformation "churches" but the corporate Body of Christ consisting of believers in each era, many of whom were in fact in "churches" irrespective of their membership in THE Church, just as is often the case today).  But if we don't accept the 7 era interpretation, then what right do we have to apply our Lord's words except in the general terms to anyone except the 7 which are long gone nearly two thousand years ago?

On the contrary, if we accept the  church age theory, then we can ONLY apply the current church age to the current church, by the very definition of each church representing a particular age.

However, if we accept that each letter" was written to a particular church, it follows that it applies only to that church, EXCEPT for the fact that each church letter includes this:

Rev 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; .....

This then makes each letter to each of the CHURCHES to apply in a secondary way to every individual church.

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6 hours ago, DaveW said:

On the contrary, if we accept the  church age theory, then we can ONLY apply the current church age to the current church, by the very definition of each church representing a particular age.

However, if we accept that each letter" was written to a particular church, it follows that it applies only to that church, EXCEPT for the fact that each church letter includes this:

Rev 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; .....

This then makes each letter to each of the CHURCHES to apply in a secondary way to every individual church.

Do you think that Christ was only concerned for the 7 churches, or His entire church? The revelation of Christ is clearly meant for the entire body of Christ, which is His bride. It's said to bless ALL who read it (Rev.1:3). John's apostolic authority reached out to the entire church, not just 7 local churches (1Cor.9:1-5; 12:28; Gal.2:7-9). Jesus' message was not designed to address specific issues in particular churches (1-3 John). This was a message given by God to THE 7 "churches". (Rev.1:11: the definite article is important here, because obviously there were clearly more than 7 local churches at the time it was written, and It was meant to bless all who read it. (Rev.1:3)

Edited by (Omega)
Fonts and Grammar

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You must be very careful in your interpretations of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Though I believe these chapters represent 7 different types of churches which are represented throughout church history, the idea that there are 7 different church ages has a lot of complications.

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