Philosophy of Ministry

Philosophy of Ministry

 

The Ministry of the Office of Pastor

The Bible has three titles for the one office. First Peter 5:1&2 brings all three titles together:

“1Pe 5:1  Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

1Pe 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God;”                  

The word “elder” is “presbyteros” in the Greek.  “Shepherd” = “poimano” in the Greek and that is the verb form of “poimen” which is translated as both “pastor” and “shepherd” in the NT. Thirdly, “oversight” is “episkopeo” which is a form of the word “episkopos” which is a title meaning “overseer”. So the office has three functions: shepherd (pastor), elder and overseer.

 

Looking at the word “episkopos” or “overseer, it is used four times in the New Testament.

 

  1. 1Ti 3:1  It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.  (Please note it is referring to a singular “man” and a singular office. It doesn’t say if “men” want to become “overseers”, but rather the term man indicates to me that there is one overseer in the church. He may have fellow elders but he is the overseer. This rules out pastor’s wives carrying the title of pastor and music ministers, youth ministers, ministers of education and the like being given the title of “pastor”)

 

  1. 1Ti 3:2  An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (Again note the singular language construction and his mandate of “being able to teach”. We will see down the line that this clearly refers to his primary function of being the teacher of the whole congregation)

 

  1. 1Pe 2:25  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian (episkopos) of your souls.

 

  1. Tit 1:5-9  For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching,  so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and  refute those who contradict.  (Note how Paul combines the two titles “overseer” and “elder” in this verse)

The qualifications for an overseer listed in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and the qualifications for an elder listed in Titus 1:5-9 are basically identical and it is clear that they are referring to the same office. Dr. John MacArthur in his booklet on Elders says the following on page 10: “The New Testament overseer is in a unique leadership role in the church, specifically responsible for teaching (1Timothy 3:2), feeding, protecting and generally nurturing the flock (Acts 20:28). Biblically there is no difference in the role of an elder and that of a bishop (overseer): the two terms refer to the same group of leaders. Episkopos emphasizes the function; presbyteros the character.”

Poimen (shepherd or pastor) is the third term used to describe the same office. It is used three times in the NT and in two of the three it is translated as “shepherd” but only in Ephesians 4:11 is it translated as “pastor”. Again let me quote MacArthur on page 10 of his booklet:

“In Ephesians 4:11, pastor (poimen) is used with the word teacher. The Greek construction there indicates that the two terms go together; we might hyphenate them in English (“pastor-teacher”). The emphasis is on the pastor’s ministry of teaching.”

I differ with the concept that one can be a pastor without being a “pastor-teacher”. My belief is that there is no term for Pastor-Administrator, or Pastor-Worship leader, or Pastor-Youth leader etc. A pastor is a pastor and his primary function is to teach the word of God to the flock that God has placed under him as a shepherd. If he is a pastor-teacher then he is also, according to the scriptures an elder and an overseer since all three terms describe the same office.

In Ephesians 4:11-13 we see the only time that “poimen” is translated as pastor: And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (note: not part of the body of Christ but the entire body of Christ) until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Again, as MacArthur has pointed out, the word Pastor is linked grammatically to “teacher”. In the above verse, Paul places the office of “pastor-teacher” on a level with apostles, prophets and evangelists. An evangelist was historically a church planter or missionary. Once he planted the church and it grew there would be a pastor appointed and he would move on and plant another church. A simple reading of the text shows this in an historical context. Paul is saying that in the history of the church God has elevated four offices: “apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers.” The term “prophets” does not refer to the OT prophets but the period in the NT church  before the NT was written when there was an office of prophet who was authorized to speak for God. The first two offices were temporary and thus there are no more apostles and no more prophets and that leaves us with church planters (missionaries) and pastor-teachers. It is profound in my opinion, that the office of pastor is elevated to the same level as apostle.

Again, let me quote MacArthur on page 12: “With the elders lies the responsibility to preach and teach (1 Timothy 5:17). They are to determine doctrinal issues for the church and have the responsibility of proclaiming the truth to the congregation. First Timothy 3:2-7, listing the spiritual qualifications of the overseer, gives only one qualification that relates to a specific function: he must be “able to teach.” All the other qualifications are personal character qualities.”

 

On page 13 MacArthur says the following: “Elders, as the spiritual overseers of the flock, are to determine church policy (Acts. 15:22); oversee (Acts 20:28); ordain others (1 Timothy 4:14); rule, teach and preach (1 Timothy 5:17); exhort and refute (Titus 1:9) and act as shepherds, setting an example for all (1 Peter 5:1-3). Those responsibilities put elders at the core of the work of the New Testament church.”

 

Lastly, this quote from MacArthur, also on page 13 puts great perspective on the ministerial function of the office of pastor: “Understandably, elders cannot afford to allow themselves to be consumed with business details, public relations, minor financial matters and other particulars of the day to day operation of the church. They are devote themselves first of all to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, and select deacons to handle the lesser matters (Acts 6:3-4)

The Ministry of Preaching God’s Word

As stated above in Ephesians 4:12-13, pastor-teachers are given to the church for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

Preaching therefore should be primarily expository with the preacher voluntarily placing himself under the constraints of the text and the context of the word of God. He is to teach in a manner that equips those in the church to grow in the sanctification process, so that the result is the making of fully mature followers of Christ. As Paul continued in Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ..” and also in Ephesians 3:18 Paul prays that we “ may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

My belief is that the primary focus of preaching is that of the new birth. As D.L. Moody pointed out “The new birth is the most solemn question that will ever come before us in this life. It is the foundation of all of our hopes in the life to come. It is the ABC’s of our blessed hope. Nothing will upset false religion like it. It will change our thoughts about God and the bible sooner than anything else. I believe it is the greatest blessing that will ever come to us in this life.”

The new birth explains Christ as the “last Adam” and what His purpose was in His great lowering or great kenosis in Phil. 2 and what happened on the cross and in the resurrection from the grave. These are the great issues before the church. It’s all contained in the new birth. As 1 Cor. 15:22 states “all in Adam must die, but all in Christ Jesus will remain alive”. This explains salvation and the sanctification process that depicts the struggle that Paul screamed about in Romans 7 and the process of growth described in Galatians 3:16-24. The entire process of dying to self and living to Christ: to walking by the Spirit and not carrying out the desires of the flesh and the entire process of becoming shaped and conformed to the image of Christ.

Biblical preaching should lift up Christ and offer the listener biblical perspectives on how to live to please God and biblical hope that God loves us and is too good to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes. Biblical preaching should be built on the inerrancy of scripture and the sufficiency of scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Sermons should be focused with a strong central theme and two to four on average major sub points that help explain the central theme. What does the scriptures say, what is the relevance of these principles in today’s culture and church and thirdly, how should we respond to these teachings? The preacher needs to avoid talking down to the listeners, as if he has mastered these principles and is pointing to those in the pews. Instead he does well to personalize his struggle to some degree and his desire to see these principles fulfilled more completely in his life. We are on the same side, experiencing the same struggles in our marriages, our families, our thought lives, our struggle with walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit. Paul typified that in Romans 7 where he explained his frustration with his inability to master his flesh and culminated with almost a death wish of frustration “Oh wretched man that I am, who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

While preaching must be doctrinally correct, it must go far beyond the presentation of sound doctrine. My early preaching focused on straightening out false doctrine. I find that by focusing on the new birth and preaching the fundamentals of that great doctrine that all of the other elements fall into place. Instead of pounding people over the head with scriptures and angrily lashing out at false doctrine I have been led I believe by the Spirit to lift people up and come along side them and offer them hope that is only found in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

A preacher can be accurate, thorough, and faithful to the text but accomplish nothing but the spewing out of information. What’s essential is that the assembly is told why the issues in the text are critical to their lives and to the well being of the church as a whole. They then need to be given practical steps as to how to apply these truths to their lives. The goal is to assist the church members in the sanctification process and to enable the Holy Spirit to drive the truths home on a personal, practical level that will lead to change and personal growth and will motivate us all to ministry and evangelism. I believe good preaching starts with information then moves to comprehension and then finally application. Ephesians 4:11 calls the office that of “Pastor/Teacher”. I take that seriously.

The Ministry of Biblical Counseling

In my mind, counseling is nothing more that applying what is preached to the multitude on a one to one or one to two basis. It’s learning how to apply the principles of sanctification to the practical issues of life. I think it is wrong to send church members to a “Christian” counseling center instead of the pastor involving himself in the curing of souls. I am a proponent of Nouthetic counseling and have been trained in that discipline. I do not believe that it is appropriate for the biblical counselor to give credence to or involve himself in modern psychobabble terms. If a person states that they are “co-dependent” or “bi-polar” or “ADD” or ADHD” or any of these other terms then I would recommend that they go to a medical doctor. Going to one’s pastor for counseling should involve practical teaching of the word of God to one’s marriage, family, work habits, life dominating sins and thought patterns. The foundation to all counseling is found in 2 Cor. 5:9: “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

 

It is important to point out that we cannot change our mates or our adversaries or anyone else but we can, through obedience to biblical principles and commands change ourselves by the power of the Spirit of the living God. God can change the other people involved but we personally have no control over them. We are accountable to God for our actions and need to seek to change and grow in ways that please Him. As that process takes place, often the other parties see the change and are motivated to change as well. That is stated best in 1 Peter 3:1-2: In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,  as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

The Ministry of Prayer

      Pastoral prayer is a vital part of the office, both as a practical example for the flock as well as empowering the office for the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4) I note in that verse that prayer precedes the ministry of the word. I believe that prayer is a neglected aspect of the spiritual life of many churches. We spend a lot of time praying people out of heaven and little time praying them in. We focus on physical ailments and needs and often neglect spiritual and character issues. I believe that God allows circumstances in our lives to drive us to our knees in prayer and to seek His favor when He has desired to change our character by allowing those circumstances. I find that in the churches that I have been in that the older people are the prayer warriors and the younger people far too often are fixated on music and in pandering to the emotions without a sound basis in truth to precede it. I want to introduce new ways of praying in whatever church I serve in. I think we can spend less time in taking prayer requests and instead segment the prayer time by focusing first on simply praising and thanking the Lord. After the pastor leads in praise and thanksgiving the other prayer warriors can then join in randomly as the Spirit leads and simply sing out prayerful praises to the Lord. After a time of praise and thanksgiving then the pastor leads in intercessory prayer. The congregants then join in much as they would during the prayer request time. If you have a request; don’t bring it up to the group, bring it up to the Lord in the full hearing of the group. I have done this when I’m allowed to and have found it to be Spirit filled and exciting. I believe that young people would find this to be preferable to the old formula of twenty minutes of requests and twenty minutes of prayers.

      I also would encourage Sunday morning open prayer in the Pastor’s conference room before Sunday School so that we can pray for the Lord’s blessings upon the Sunday School and worship time. I would commit myself to taking the church directory and a list of visitors and prayer requests and praying weekly for each member of the church by name. Spurgeon showed visitors around the great Metropolitan Tabernacle and is reported to have repeatedly asked them if they wanted to see the “boiler” room. They finally relented expecting to see the furnace in the basement but Spurgeon opened a door to reveal people in deep prayer and explained that prayer was the power that drives the great work that the Lord was doing in that building and beyond. As J. Vernon McGee used to say “God is still on the throne and prayer changes things”. I believe that.

The Ministry of Leadership

Leadership involves many, many things. I think one could accurately include vision, advancing the church’s mission statement, as well as administrative skills and people skills. A good leader encourages, guides and directs in a broad sense but allows those responsible to approach the common goal in a way that allows them to use their unique gifts and grow in their ministerial skills and have a sense of ownership in what they do. Leadership involves being charged with motivating church leaders and pastoral staff to higher levels of achievement and helping them to do so through systematic instruction and guidance. This requires goal setting, a shared vision, communications and a proactive approach to the mission and the methods to arrive at the goal.

The Pastor is to prayerfully identify and communicate the church vision. He is responsible for ensuring that Christ’s church operates by Christ’s principles found in His word. The Pastor in my opinion is the keeper of the vision. It has to start with him and he has to effectively share that vision with church leadership and with the congregation as a body. He identifies the vision and implements the principles and watches over the church ensuring that we stay on message and that the vision is maintained. I believe that it is the job of the pastor to prayerfully seek God’s vision for our church and to bring leadership and the congregation as a whole along side that vision and make it a common vision. I have been in churches where the leadership forced a vision on the body that caused tremendous friction. It is important to lead the church and present a vision that they can embrace and support.

Central to being an effective leader is personal character. This is why the requirements of a pastor or overseer in Titus and Timothy are so specific and so stringent. The pastor is to model the gospel and the exchanged life for those in his care. He is to be above reproach; not able to be accused of any wrong doing. He is not to be self-willed, demanding to get his way on an issue but instead modeling a desire for others to see God’s will brought about. He is not to be quick tempered or argumentative but instead gentle, peaceable, self controlled and devout. In all of this however, he is to be a strong leader, willing to exhort in sound doctrine and at the same time able and willing to refute those who contradict the word of God. This is no small task and requires a devout commitment to holding fast the word of God.

The office of pastor should be held by a man who is hospitable. That is, he welcomes those in his care who want to speak to him and seek counsel from him. He should be a man that all in his care find easy to approach and never need to fear receiving a put down or anything less than a smile and a willing and understanding heart towards the person and regarding the issues that person faces. He has to be able to comfort those who seek his counsel and allowing them to trust in God’s word as the solution to the issues that they are facing. A pastor seeks the best for his sheep and feeds them, nurtures them, protects them from danger and helps heal them when they stray and become wounded.

When troubles come and the bottom drops out of people’s lives their pastor should be the first person they flock to in order to receive biblical wisdom, guidance, encouragement and a friendly, understanding demeanor that gives them hope. Even when attacked, the pastor should be able to demonstrate the biblical model of never repaying evil for evil and loving our enemies. He should model the scriptural commands to respond to persecution with a sweet spirit and an understanding manner and in so doing will demonstrate by their response how Christ instructs us to live.

The Ministry of Discipleship

Discipleship is what takes place after salvation in preparing fully equipped members of the body.

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus did not tell us to convert people. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” Every church has its own personality. Someone recently said to me that “the youth are the future of our church”. I disagree, because most of the youth will go away to college or to the military and may or may not return. No, the future of the church is in young couples. It is imperative that we disciple this group into future deacons, Sunday school teachers, ministry leaders and personal evangelists. The pastor should seek to personally identify and disciple these young men and groom them to be the future spiritual leaders of the church and in their households. They are either raising children or will be very soon and struggling with the complexities of marriage and financial pressures.

      It seems like never before, God’s people are inundated with false doctrine and churches that offer entertainment and prey on the emotions at the expense of declaring truth. The gospel message is first and foremost absolute truth. The sanctification process is that of weaning ourselves off of our base emotions and learning to walk by the Spirit of Truth (Gal. 5:16-17) and to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24). Youth ministries are predominantly focused on music that is hardly in keeping with Philippians 4:8. We are producing youth and young adults who have difficulty sitting still to listen to a sermon, who cannot seem to concentrate long enough to learn and take notes and simply want to gravitate to churches where they can have fun, be excited and basically party.

      We need to be creative in presenting the truth of God’s word in ways that are innovative and yet relevant to those in the pews. With teen pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse and the violence and aggression they are exposed to in many schools they are looking for something to believe in. They far too often look to sports or activities or music. We see people with headphones on, tuning out and spending time texting, on the internet and on Facebook. They are tempted by casinos, night clubs, peer groups and often find themselves listless, frustrated and without hope. Church is boring to them so they get led to a church where they speak in ecstatic tongues and get slain in the spirit and have a supposed experience that is beyond simply coming to a saving relationship in Christ. The problem is that this emotional, experiential focus offers them nothing when the bottom drops out of their lives. This type of worship is an exercise in escapism and panders to felt emotional needs. In the midst of this we want them to come to church and listen to a dry exposition of God’s word and they aren’t tuned in. All of this makes discipleship more crucial than ever before.

      The answer isn’t to do what the other emotion based churches are doing but rather to present the word of God in a vibrant, personal, relevant manner that clicks with those who are listening. Whether they are teenagers, young couples or mature adults, all struggle with acceptance, meaning in life, fulfillment, personal shortcomings and the disappointments of life. The pastor is a life coach and needs to be there for them when they stumble or fall. The old TV series called “Cheers” had a theme song that said in part: “I want to go where everybody knows my name”. The church should be that place and the pastor needs to lead the church into developing inreach and outreach so that sheep don’t fall through the cracks.

      I read a statement once that said that the average pastor is at the bottom of a cliff trying to heal wounded sheep who have fallen and burying others that have not survived the fall. They seem to have little time to go up to the edge of the cliff and stop his sheep from taking the fall. That is the difficult yet vital role of the pastor. Discipleship is the way to develop the relationships and enable them to keep from falling.

      The Ministry of Evangelism/Missions

      Having been involved in and having led programs of personal evangelism, I find that the most effective way of taking the gospel to the world is by dispatching the gathered saints from the church building and out into the communities where they live and work. Evangelism should be the culmination of discipleship and of properly teaching the principles of sanctification to the saints. There is almost no instruction in the New Testament about evangelism. We see the Lord sending the seventy disciples out two by two and we have the word of the Lord as He ascended in Matthew 28:19 which is a call for missions. We are told in 1 Peter 3:15 that we should “always be ready to make a defense to those who ask us to account for the hope that is within us, yet with gentleness and reverence.” He is saying that we should live our lives in such a profound way that people should come to us and ask us to give an account for the hope that they see in us. That’s consistent with Christ’s instruction in Matthew 5:16 to “let your light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. In Revelation, we see the Lord critiquing the seven churches of Asia and He goes into great detail about what they are doing that pleased Him and what they are doing that He hates. Never in His comments to the seven churches is evangelism mentioned. He neither praises them for their numerical growth nor scolds them for their lack of numerical growth. Having come out of a Southern Baptist background and having led Continuous Witness Training (CWT) and “Building Personal Relationships’ as well as the more current “Faith” program, I find that ministry based evangelism is preferable. We live in an age where neighbors are seldom home during the day and visiting homes as I did when I met my future wife is less and less effective.

      I find then that the deeper our commitment to Christ and the more we manifest that commitment to a lost and dying world that Christ will put us in a position to share the gospel. I also believe that ministry based evangelism is a more effective vehicle than programmed evangelism. Whether it’s a pre-school or day care where we can train precious young souls in the ways of the Lord or a mother’s night out where we can minister to single mothers or a seniors ministry to help take the pain of loneliness away from those missing their mates. I also think that a counseling center where people can come in a last ditch effort to try and save their marriages or deal with intense family or personal issues is a great vehicle for spreading the gospel. Awana is a great example and special events for youth. The more practical we can make our church become and the more we can present it as a living organism that offers practical solutions to the difficult issues of life then the more likely we are to be to see souls won to Christ and disciples growing in grace and truth.

      We see this at work on the mission field. Many mission efforts involve building hospitals, clinics, schools, seminaries, orphanages and in agricultural efforts to improve the lives of the people on the mission field. The key is to keep the gospel at the center of it all (Rom. 1:16) and not allow the efforts to turn into strictly a social improvement effort.

      All in all, evangelism and missions are the natural byproduct of a church that is growing in personal sanctification and Christ likeness. It is the pastor’s job to keep the taking of the gospel to the immediate community and to the ends of the world at the center of the vision and mission of the church. As 2 Cor. 5:18-20 says; we are “ambassadors for Christ” and “agents of reconciliation”. We are plan A; there is no plan B. A healthy church needs to have great teaching and great discipleship but that must lead to living the gospel message and taking it beyond the walls of our buildings.

   Summary of Pastoral Ministry

      The office of pastor is on a par biblically with the office of Apostle according to Ephesians 4:11. It is a holy undertaking that requires a unique man who has been raised up by God to shepherd His sheep. The pastor is to be a mature example to others of the worthy walk of Ephesians 4-6 and is placed in that position by God to equip the saints, for the ministry of service, and the edification of the body of Christ. His job is to help the entire church rise to the highest level of unity in the faith, to a fully mature understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ which will lead to the fulfillment of the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20.

      The pastor is to prayerfully lead Christ’s church by proclaiming the word of God accurately and in a practical manner that feeds the flock, protects them from false doctrine and equips them to maturity in God’s word and in their relationship with Christ. (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

      The pastor is to counsel individuals, couples and families in more intimate settings in how to apply God’s word and principles to their lives, their marriages and their relationships.

      The pastor is to be an example to the flock of effective prayer and to lead the flock in corporate prayer. To teach them how to pray effectively and to show them our dependence on the living God for every beat of our heart and every breath that we breath. He is to lead and model a lifestyle of reverent dependence upon God for all of our needs and for solutions to all of our shortcomings or sins.

      The pastor is to lead the flock and oversee the organism of the local church in a way that is dependent upon scriptural principles and in a way that will bring about the full blessing of God. He is to prayerfully seek God’s vision for the church and bring all others along side that vision. He is to be the keeper of the vision and to lead in a way that pleases God and brings blessings upon His people.

      The pastor is to set the example and lead the entire church to disciple others and to minister to those within the body of Christ. He is to take the lead in presenting the word of God to others in practical and yet relevant ways in which the people develop a desire and have a vision of seeing God’s word as being practical, and equipping us for every good deed.

      The pastor is to lead the church in allowing our light to be seen before men in such a way that they would see our good works and glorify our Father. As he leads in developing fully mature followers of Christ he should lead in the call to missions both in the community and around the world.

      The office of pastor is not an office to take lightly. James 3:1 says “let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” The responsibilities are enormous. Hebrews 13:7 says that “…they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” I do not take this ordination lightly. I know that I have been called by God and that He has blessed me and equipped me to pastor His flock. I look forward to what He has in store for me and my family.

Jim Brinkman
April 22, 2011

 

Ordination Council Notes

Notes for Ordination Council for Jim Brinkman

May 28, 2011

 

Bob McNutt, moderator, opened the meeting in prayer.

 

Mike Brown, deacon from 1st Baptist recommended Jim to the ordination council.  Mike is acting as a representative of 1st Baptist Collinsville.

 

The vote for the council to be seated:

 

Mark Gause, Alhambra 1st Baptist

Col. John Brockman (retired), Alhambra 1st Baptist

Mike Brown, deacon at 1st Baptist Collinsville

David Linnell, pastor of worship at 1st Baptist Collinsville

Jim McFall,  deacon at 1st Baptist Collinsville

Robert McNutt, 1st Covenant Church, Glen Carbon, IL

Richard Boerckel, Bethany Baptist Church, Peoria

 

Mark G motion to have McNutt as moderator and Boerckel as secretary.

Motion approved.

 

Jim B. began by sharing his testimony.  (cf. Personal Testimony that Jim printed for us.  Glory to God for His amazing grace.)

 

Jim shared what led up to ordination and his view of ordination.  Jim shared his conviction of God calling him to be the pastor. 

 

Council’s Questioning:

 

Bibliology:  Jim read his doctrinal statement regarding bibliology. 

 

Mark G:  What about the verses missing from some of the modern manuscripts?

Jim B:  By God’s providence they are in there.  Not a fan of the NIV. 

 

Jim McFall:  How do you deal with children and memorization?

Jim B:  The translation used should be understandable.  Prefer NASB, NKJV.

 

Ritch B:  What is your view of the sufficiency of scripture?

Jim McFall:  God’s word is sufficient.  I do not have problem with using other truth if it agrees with scripture, but I do not believe that scripture needs much help.  If we think God is speaking to us outside of the Bible, we do not understand the Bible.  Charismatic movement is an attack on the veracity and sufficiency of the Word of God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

 

Mark G:  How literal do we understand Genesis 1 and how important is that?

Jim B:  If the plain sense makes sense . . . I do not have the right to interpret the Bible other than literally.  If Bible says the world was created in 6 days, I go with it.

 

Dave L:  If someone comes to church who does not know God and we as Christians cannot agree, how do we bring them along spiritually?

Jim B:  Gospel is the Gospel.  If we cannot agree on the Gospel, then we are in trouble.  Secondly, we should address some issues more clearly in our doctrinal statement.  I have come to realize that it is not my place to beat people up over doctrine, but to be faithful to God and His Word.

 

Dave L:  How would you help this person if we had these documents and then they visit another church and see the disagreements?

Jim B:  I would want to meet with them and help them to understand what the Bible teaches.

 

Bob McNutt:  Would our unity in doctrine help this person become a believer?

Jim B:  No.

 

Bob M.:  Are there foundational issues and secondary issues of doctrine?

Jim B:  Yes.  The Gospel must be center.  We can disagree on many issues as long as the Gospel is the Gospel.

 

Mike B:  Could I get some advice for a family member who is Christian Science? 

Jim B:  I would seek a private meeting with the family member. 

 

Bob McN:  Would you put yourself in a presuppositionalist camp or evidential camp?

Jim B:  Presuppositionalist camp.

 

Theology Proper

 

Bob McN:  Talk about the doctrine of the Trinity.

Jim B:  Growing up as a RC, the Father was emphasized and role of Son was diminished.  I wanted Jesus to be lifted up when I became a Christian.  I have come to understand that the Father leads and His passion is to exalt the Son.  The Son wants to exalt the Father and the Spirit exalts the Son.  I wanted to see the Trinity united in Christ in the future so I speculated.  But the reality is that God in three persons is perfect now.

 

Bob McN:  How would you respond to modalism?

Jim B:  Not familiar with it.

 

Bob McN:  At the cross, how do we see modalism refuted?

Jim B:  We see Trinity at work as Son commits self into Father’s hands, as Spirit works to raise Jesus from the dead, as Father pours out wrath upon Son.

 

Lynn Brinkman shared her testimony and support of Jim’s ordination.

Mark G:  How do you answer those who disbelieve in the God of the Bible because of the evil and pain in the world?  How do you respond to open theism or process theology?

Jim B:  The issue is what is evil.  God did not create evil, but evil is a lack of God’s perfection.  This gets into the idea of free will.  God withdraws His perfection to the degree that it gives man the ability to choose.  Just as darkness is the absence of light so evil is the absence of God’s perfection.   What we see is the result of man’s rebellion against God and God’s withdrawal (to some degree).  Earthquakes, diseases, . . . and we see it in the crucifixion of Jesus.  We have to trust that God has a plan in this.  There is no hope in an imperfect world without Him.  The only hope is for Christ to return and restore His perfect righteousness.  Romans 9.  

 

Mark G:  If infertile couple conceives and then has child with deformities, how do you counsel them as they blame God for their hardship?  What is their comfort?

Jim B:  Romans 8:28.  I Corinthians 1.  1 Cor 10:13.  God saw that you as a couple are able to deal with this difficulty.  God has a blessing for you through it.  I would talk about God’s saving grace upon children who lack mental capabilities to understand the Gospel.  God is too wise to make mistakes, too loving to be unkind.  Being a Christian does not protect us from tragedy.  God has allowed this to happen for His glory.   By allowing it, God ordains it.  There is God’s permissive will and His perfect will. 

 

Mike B:  If God is all powerful and all knowing, why do I need to come to Him for salvation?

Jim B:  Man is a free moral agent and no one is left out of heaven because God did not choose Him, but because the man did not choose God.  Romans 9.  God has elected me before the foundation of the world, but I am still accountable.

 

Mark G:  Do any of His attributes stand out more strongly than others?

Jim B:  No, I think man often has emphasized His grace and mercy to limitation of His holiness and righteousness.  All of His attributes are co-equal. 

 

Christology

 

Mark G:  What is the importance of Jesus being fully God and fully man?

Jim B:  Jesus is the link between heaven and earth.  If He were not fully God, he would have sin and could not die for our sins.  If He were not fully man, he could not represent us.  Jesus is totally unique.  Nothing else comes close.  I love the concept of a super being walked among.

 

Mark G:  Can you separate Jesus being 100% God and 100% man?  How did God die?

Jim B:  He is the same forever.  When Jesus died, the man Jesus died.

 

Mark G:  How is temptation real if Jesus is impeccable?

Jim B:  He did not cease to be God, but He gave up prerogative to act as God.  He was a real man.  He demonstrated what a man could do when submitted fully to Holy Spirit. 

 

Bob McN:  How could Jesus not know the time of His return if He is God?

Jim B:  He yielded the independent use of His omniscience to the Father.

 

Mark G:  How important is the literal blood of Christ?

Jim B:  It is the blood of Christ that saves us.  MacArthur says that the blood is symbolic of His death.  I do not think His physical blood had magical powers.

 

Pneumatology

 

Ritch B:  What scriptures would you use to help a person who believes that all gifts are for today?

Jim B:  There is a verse that says that the gifts are for the body and not the individual who possesses the gift.  Matthew 6 where Jesus teaches about praying and instructs us to speak to God intelligently.  Acts 2 describes tongues as known languages.  What is the purpose of these gifts?  The purpose of miracles was to verify Jesus as Messiah and apostles as sent from him.  We have a more sure word . . . the Bible.

 

Mark G:  I Cor 13.  What is “that which is perfect”? 

Jim B:  It has to be Christ.  When we go to glory.  Upon further reflection, it has to be the completion of the scriptures.

 

Mark G:  Should we do a better job of helping people know spiritual gifts?  Are we still gifted?

Jim B:  Yes.  I do not think we should give a quiz.  But we should teach the scriptures on this subject and trust God to reveal giftedness. 

 

Mike B:  Our church did some testing for spiritual gifts years ago, if you had that test at hand, would you feel comfortable using that list to direct people to ministry?

Jim B:  I feel that is going too far.

 

Angelology and Satanology

 

Mark B:  How much power does Satan have?  Can he produce natural disasters?

Jim B:  He did with Job?  God put limitations on Satan.  I think that Satan has access to our mind.  I do not know what those limitations are.  God is still sovereign. 

 

Bob McN:  What would an exorcism look like in 2011?

Jim B:  MacArthur presents the Gospel.  I am not in favor of binding of Satan through prayer. 

 

Anthropology

 

Mark G:  How would you defend dichotomy versus trichotomy?

Jim B:  I am not dogmatic on this.  Pastor McNutt helped me in counseling ministry with value of trichotomy.  What is difference between the spirit and the soul?  I will not break fellowship over this. 

 

Bob McN:  What is the image of God in man?

Jim B:  Man is God’s agent to rule imbued with mind, will and emotion. 

 

Jim  McFall:  How does billions of years of science correspond to thousands of years?  What happened to dinosaurs?

Jim B:  God could have created the earth looking old.  I do not have a good explanation of dinosaurs.

 

Mark G:  What does total depravity mean?

Jim B:  Our sin nature corrupts us spiritual.  Our mind does not function well.  I do not believe that man is incapable of doing good things.  There are different levels of manifestation of depravity.   From God’s standpoint, even if we do good, it is sin because it is not done for His glory.

 

Hamartiology

 

Bob Mc:  Can a person be a Christian and not know that they are a sinner?

Jim B:  No

 

Jim McFall:  Can a person go to heaven without being a Christian?

Jim B:  No.  A baby goes to heaven because they do not possess unbelief.

 

Perry:  A person who says I am saved, but I refuse to give up the lifestyle of homosexuality, are they saved?

Jim B:  I would be reluctant to say someone is not saved if they have not removed all sin.  HOWEVER, if someone receives Jesus as Lord, they cannot persist in sin.  I do not believe in two-tiered . . . receiving Jesus as Savior and then as Lord. 

 

Jim McF:  What about Christian who gets involved with adultery?

Jim B:  Eventually, we treat a person as an unbeliever . . . we do not know, God knows about their salvation. 

 

Soteriology

 

Ritch B:  Define repentence.

Jim B:  it is an “about face”.  You may not recognize some sins. 

 

Mark G:  Were people saved before they knew it . . . . before they prayed a prayer?

Jim B:  My salvation became apparent to me when I prayed to receive Jesus.

 

Ecclesiology

 

Bob McN:  How important is the local church.

Jim B:  It is everything.  One of the difficulties is parachurch.  I am not opposed to parachurch if they are accountable to the local church.  A Christian disconnected from local church is in defiance of God.

 

Bob McN:  What would you say to one who says, “I love God.  I worship Him on the golf course.”

Jim B:  That person does not love their brother.  Being a part of the local church is part of God’s plan. 

 

Mark G:  How do you view the qualifications for local church?

Jim B:  These qualifications must be in place.  No one keeps this perfectly, but these are the bent of their life.  I do not think a parent is accountable for what a grown child does, but they are accountable for what a child is doing while they are young.

 

Jim M: Why does divorce disqualify, but not adultery.

Jim B:  Adultery does disqualify forever. 

 

Mark G: Talk about your position on divorce and remarriage.

Jim B:  The Bible gives two reasons for divorce—abandonment and sexual sin.  But adultery is not an automatic, we should be willing to forgive.  If you are the victim of divorce, . . .  If you are divorced unbiblically, and repentant, then I might marry you.  I do not want to keep them banned from marriage forever.

 

(Some of the last few questions were not included in these minutes due to a dead battery in my computer.)

 

MOTION TO GO TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:  John Brockman.  Approved.

 

Decision of the Executive Committee:

 

The executive committee would like to enthusiastically endorse Jim Brinkman to the ministry of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We commend him for the clarity and simplicity of his doctrinal statement as well as the humility which he demonstrated during the process.  Through it all Jim demonstrated his love for the Lord and a teachable spirit.

 

Unanimously Approved.

Testimony/Doctrinal Statement

Doctrinal Statement of Jim Brinkman

For the Purpose of Ordination to the Gospel Ministry

First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Illinois

 

Personal Testimony:

 

I was adopted as an infant into a Roman Catholic family and was educated in the parochial school system. I became an altar boy and while going to public high school I attended religion classes at my Catholic church. At age eighteen while a freshman in college my mother was rushed to the hospital to have a baby. The baby died first and then about 1 a.m. my mother died. In between deaths I rushed to my church down the road from the hospital and on the altar pleaded and bargained with God to save my mother’s life. After I returned from the church to the hospital, a short time later our doctor emerged with blood all over him and said “I lost her”. I immediately cursed God and for the next sixteen years: from age eighteen to age thirty four I became a militant atheist. I dropped out of college and began to drift through life. I did well in my career and yet spent much of my time as a  drunk and an angry person. I had no ability or desire to maintain a long term relationship with a woman and ended up in counseling because of suicidal tendencies. I had ended my relationship with my family, didn’t believe in God, had no ability to commit to a relationship and I became paralyzed by depression. I had a lady friend that I used to know as a loose, loud, party girl, approach me at a local fitness center and ask me to a Bible study. I didn’t go but pursued her. We dated but she spent the entire time witnessing to me and I remained hostile but continued to see her. Eventually I broke it off and the depression deepened. On January 4, 1984 I closed the door to my garage, started my car and said “Jesus if You’re real I need you now”. I fell asleep. I estimate that I slept for perhaps fifteen minutes and when I awoke the car was still running and I was fine. I asked Christ to forgive me in the front seat of my car and accepted His free gift of eternal life.

 

I spent the next two weeks immersed in the scriptures. I read the entire Bible in two weeks and immediately started hunting for a church. I was on fire. I ended up at First Baptist Church of Ellisville, Missouri and was blessed to be under the tutelage of a master teacher in Dr. Charles Murray. Eventually I helped start a singles ministry and when the SBC had a program of distributing marked NT’s to the community I volunteered the singles’ ministry efforts at targeting the apartment complexes. On October 29, 1985, on a bitter cold day my partner and I split up and knocked on the last doors alone in order to complete the task. The last door I knocked on was a young lady who was only home because of an ingrown toenail so she could not be at her retail job. To make a long story short, I was privileged over the next weeks to lead her to Christ and on September 20, 1986 we were married.

 

Lynn contacted me shortly after that first encounter and began attending church with me. We dated but she hadn’t prayed to receive Christ. She attended the Sunday School singles class that I was teaching. She had been witnessed to a year or so earlier by a young man in Kansas City where she lived at the time. In December of 1985 she went to Florida with her mother. Lynn was raised as a Roman Catholic also and while in Florida she knelt at her bed in her mother’s condo and prayed to receive Christ. When she returned, one glorious Sunday Dr. Murray received Lynn as she walked forward. When he introduced her to the church as a candidate for baptism he had me walk forward also and while we were standing there he announced that we were engaged to be married. The entire church gave us a standing ovation that I will never forget. Lynn and I covenanted with the Lord that we would stay chaste during our engagement period and God has truly blessed that decision abundantly.

 

We married and had four children over the years; Michael was a honeymoon baby and was born in 1987. Anna came along in 1990 and we lost a baby we name “Matthew Elizabeth” at about five months into the pregnancy. In 2001 Grace was born despite the fact that I had a vasectomy after Anna was born. We prayed and God over rode that surgery. I went to the doctor and he tested me and said he could only find one sperm in his testing. The vasectomy was still working. God is good all of the time.

 

In 1991 I was ordained as a Deacon at First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL. By Pastor Fred Winters. Fred was assassinated in the pulpit about two years ago. During that time I was asked to participate in Mission Gate; a ministry to the prison population. For eight years I went into Greenville Federal Prison in Greenville, IL and preached for about an hour while others led music and the rest of the worship service.

 

In October of 2009, while a deacon at First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Illinois our pastor announced that he had a brain tumor. We had no one to take the pulpit in our church of about 300 attendees. I offered my services and they asked me to preach for a month and see how it goes. I am now entering my nineteenth month in the pulpit and our Pastor has recently gone on to be with our Lord.

 

While our church is searching for a younger man to lead our church they did offer to ordain me into the gospel ministry. During these nineteen months I have been blessed beyond anything I’ve ever imagined other than my conversion, my marriage and the birth of my children. At some point in this process I realized that God was calling me to preach the gospel. I can’t force myself to think about not preaching. I have continued to travel in my secular job and am writing sermons on airplanes, in hotels, in restaurants and often up until midnight or later on a Saturday night. It has been a thrill and a blessing to know that people have been ministered to by what God is doing through me.

 

Ordination to me is simply an affirmation by my peers and my church that I belong in the pulpit. I don’t know what God has in store for me but I know that He put me where I am and unless He calls me home I don’t believe He would set me aside and not continue to use me.

 

Bibliology

 

I believe that the Bible was written by men of God  (2 Pet. 1:19-20), (Acts 1:16), (Acts 28:25), controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ps. 119:105, 130, 160), (Luke 24:25-27, 44,45), (John 17:17), that it is truth without any mixture of error (Ps. 119:89, 160), (Prov. 30:5-6), (Rom. 3:4 and 15:4), (1 Pet. 1:23), (Rev. 22:19), (John 5:39, 45-47), (John 12:48), (Luke 16:31), (Ps. 19:7-11). It is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) in that the Spirit of God inspired men to write and yet are still the very words of God. God did not dictate His word to mortal men but rather inspired them to write in their own distinctive style and manner, all the while faithfully executing His will. The Bible shall remain to the end of the age. It is the only and final written revelation of God’s will to man and it is the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried (Ps. 119:105)

 

·        The Holy Bible is the canon of scriptures; the collection of sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation which as originally written, does not merely contain and convey the word of God, but is the very word of God and is limited to these books only. The canon of scripture is closed (Jude 3).  In order to be included in the Canon, a book must have Divine authorship. The apostles were the ones charged with writing the scriptures in the New Testament just as the prophets had the same charge in the Old Testament (2 Pet. 3:2), (John 14:26), (John 16:13). The deciding factors therefore in inclusion into the Canon of scripture is apostolic authorship. In the case of the five books not authored directly by apostles; Mark, Luke, Acts, Hebrews and Jude, it was determined historically with testimony, that the authors did so under the direction of the true apostles. Books such as those included in the apocrypha were determined not to have been authored or approved by true apostles and therefore they are not part of the true canon of scripture.

 

·        The Bible is inspired by God; the verbal (every word), and plenary (all words) content of scripture is the act of God which superintends human authors so that, using their own personalities, they composed without any mixture of error in the original manuscripts, God’s revelation to man. (2 Pet. 1:20-21), (Rev. 21:5). Therefore God’s word is inerrant (without error) and infallible (will not fail).  (Is. 55:11). God’s word is also sufficient with regards to making man morally and practically adequate for living a life that pleases God and honors Him. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

 

·        The Bible was and is preserved through the transmission of the word and work of the Holy Spirit whereby He has substantiated the same content as the original manuscripts. (Rev. 22: 18-19), (John 10:35), (Matt. 5:17-18).

 

I believe in a literal interpretation of scripture. (Luke 10:25-26) where each word should be understood in its grammatical historical sense. The believer has also been promised illumination of the scriptures (John 16:12-15), (1 Cor. 2:11-12). This is the work of the Holy Spirit which helps the believer understand the truth of scripture as he yields his life to the Lord’s commands and applies himself to prayerful study. (2 Tim. 2:15), (Acts 17:11), (1 Cor. 3:1-2).

 

God has communicated to His creation through both general and special revelation. General revelation is outlined in Romans 1:18-20 regarding God’s existence stating that He has revealed Himself in what He created so that man is without excuse. He also revealed Himself to mankind morally through their conscience which is stated in Romans 2:14-15.

 

Special revelation is communicated only through the word of God. It alone contains the gospel message. General revelation reveals the existence of God but does not contain the gospel message. Therefore the plan of salvation is revealed only in scripture and it is our ministry as agents of reconciliation and ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5) to take the gospel message to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:18-20)

 

Theology Proper

 

 

The Ontological Trinity: I believe in one God Who exists in three separate, distinct Persons: Elohim is a plural name for God and is used in Genesis 1:26: God said “Let us make man in our image”.  In Matthew 28:19 Christ instructs us to baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, yet in Deuteronomy 6:4 the word of God declares that “the Lord our God is one God”. The three Persons in the Godhead equally possess the characteristics and attributes of God including omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence and are all equal, co-eternal, yet they are only one in essence.

The Economic Trinity: describes the process of how the Trinity functions. (1 Peter 1:2) The Father is the One Who begets and the Son is the begotten. This is an eternal relationship. (Ps. 2:7), (John 1:14). The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (John 14:26), (John 15:26), None of the three Persons are of less importance than the others but they function in different manners yet all are in concert to the goal of bringing honor and glory to Himself as He accomplishes His good pleasure, fulfilling His eternal purpose . (Isa.46:9-11)

Attributes of God:

·        God is eternal: God has always existed and will continue to exist endlessly. He is not bound by the limitations of time. (Ps. 90:2).

·        God is Self sufficient: He is able to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants and is accountable to no one. God has no deficiencies; He is perfectly pure. God is uniquely self-existent and self-sufficient. He is not lonely and is in need of nothing as He possesses all things. (Ps. 50:10-12), (Acts 17:24-25)

·        God is immutable: He is unchanging in His being, perfections, purposes and promises. (Mal. 3:6), (Ps. 102:25-27) This means that His decrees and His word can be trusted and implemented in our lives. This means that once He saves us, He will not change His mind or go back on His word to keep us. (John 10:27-28)

·        God is omnipresent: not limited with respect to time and space therefore He is present everywhere at all times. (Ps. 139:7-11), (Jer. 23:23-24)

·        God is omnipotent. He is all powerful and able to do anything consistent with His own nature (Ex. 6:3) (Daniel 4:35)

·        God is omniscient: God fully knows all things actual and possible. (Acts 15:18), (Job 37:16), (1 John 3:20).

·        God is Spirit. He possesses no human body with size or dimensions (John 4:24)

·        God is love: infinitely and eternally good and shows Himself to be love through the giving of Himself to His creation (1 John 4:8), (John 3:16).

·        God is holy: God is separate from any and all sin and seeks His own honor and glory. The idea of holiness includes both a separation from evil and a devotion to God’s glory. (Is. 6:3), (1 Pet. 1:16)

·        God created all things. (Gen. 1:1), (Col. 1:15-17)

·        God is sovereign: His activities are all based on His sovereign predetermination. God both designed and willed all things before He acted (Eph. 1:11), and all His actions are in harmony with His perfect character and attributes. The purpose of all He does is to brings glory to Him (Ps. 19:11), (Rev. 4:11). Whatever God decrees will come to pass. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states “"The order of God’s decrees are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He has fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass. This is God’s perfect will. His permissive will is God graciously working in our lives when we stray from His perfect will. Instead of us living in fear that we have missed out on God’s perfect plan for us, instead He works within our imperfections to brings us once again into His perfect will. (Rom. 8:28).

Attributes of the Father: I believe that the Father is eternal and fully God. The Father is Spirit (John 4:24) in that He is a non corporeal being. He is the Father of Israel (Is. 63:16). He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:29, 30). He is the Father of all who believe in Christ (Gal. 3:26). God the Father elects (Eph. 1:3-4). God the Father gives grace and peace, (Rom. 1:7), good gifts, (Jas. 1:17), commandments (1 John 5:3) and comfort. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Christology

 

Jesus Christ is one of three persons of the Divine trinity. He is co-equal, co-eternal, and equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) (2 Cor. 13:14), (John 10:10).

 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary and God in the flesh. (John 1:1, 14), (Phil. 2:6).The Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary and placed within her the spotless lamb of God. Christ was conceived therefore without sin within a sinful human mother. (Luke 1:16-35), (Is. 7:14), (Gal, 4:4), (Matt. 1:18-35).

 

In the incarnation of Christ, He emptied Himself of the glory that He had with the Father before the world existed (John 17:5) and humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), (2 Cor. 8:9). He became obedient to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42), (John 4:34), and voluntarily chose to depend on the power of the Father and the Holy Spirit to perform His miracles. (Matt. 12:18), (Luke 4:14-18).

 

In the one person of Christ there are two natures. (Rom. 1:3-4). He was fully human (Luke 2:52, 19:10, 23:46), (Phil 2:7-8), (John 4:6-9) and He was fully Divine. (John 1:1, 14:18, 12:37-41), (2 Cor. 13:14), (Col. 1:16-17), (Heb. 1:6-8). The two natures were organically and divinely united in a hypostatic union, meaning that the retention of His divine nature was intact and joined by a true human nature. The union of His divinity with His humanity did not diminish either but He existed in one body as fully God and fully man.

 

The temptations of Christ were real because He was in human form. (Heb. 4:15) Even though His humanity was in union with His divinity He did not deal with temptation in His divine power but overcame true temptation in the strength of His humanity.  As Adam fell of his own volition, Christ overcame sin of His own volition. (1 Cor. 15:22). As for His divine nature, James 1:13 states that “God cannot be tempted with evil” so in His divinity there was no opportunity for Him to sin. I believe therefore in the impeccability of Christ but also that the temptations that Christ faced were real. His victory over the temptations did show that a man totally yielded to God and relying on the word of God and the power of God is able not to sin.

 

Jesus Christ fulfills a three-fold office of prophet, priest and king. As prophet, Christ was the channel of God’s revelation to man (Heb. 1:1-3). As priest, Christ became our sacrifice (Gal. 1:4), our advocate (1 John 2:1) and mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). As king, Jesus Christ has a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36), but a future millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:6) and a future eternal reign (Rev. 22:3-4) Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and while His first coming inaugurated the kingdom, He has not brought about the fullness of His kingdom at this time. For instance, He reigns in us but not in the sense that He will reign in glory. He holds all things together within the entire universe (Col. 1:17) but He has not yet created all things new (Rev. 21:5). His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) but at His appointed time He will return and establish His kingdom on this earth resulting in creating all things new and ridding this world of sin forever.

 

The atoning death of Christ was voluntary (John 10:17). It was also vicarious in that He died for our benefit and became our substitute. (2 Cor. 5:21). His death was also propitiatory in that it appeased and satisfied God’s holy wrath against sin and against my sins. (1 John 4:10). Christ’s death was redemptive in that He purchased my soul from the gallows and redeemed me. He bought me back with the price of His blood (Gal. 4:4-5). Lastly His death was substitutionary in that he took my place of death and His blood healed my relationship with God which had been shattered by my sins. (1 Peter 2:24)

 

Jesus Christ died for everyone. (1 John 2:2), (John 1:29). His death was sufficient for all men to cover the guilt of sin for the basis of reconciliation. However any

who reject or fail to believe in His sacrificial, atoning death, burial and resurrection from the dead will be judged and separated from God for all eternity (John 3:18).

 

Jesus Christ arose bodily from the grave the third day after His death on the cross. (2Tim. 2:8), (Luke 24:6-7). He ascended back into heaven to prepare a place for His people, was exalted by the Father to a place of power at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20-23). The resurrection proved His claims about Himself being deity (Rom. 1:4). It gives us an ever living High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), assures us of our resurrection (John 5:28-29) and establishes our justification (1 Cor. 15:17).

 

Jesus Christ will again return bodily for His church at any moment (Acts 1:11), (John 14:2-3), (Matt. 24:27-44). After the tribulation, Christ will again return with His saints to rule and reign for a literal thousand years (Rev. 20:6). After that time, Satan, who had been thrown into the pit for the thousand years will be released for a short time and will gather a following from the offspring of the saints who have not believed and along with him they will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:2-3, 7-10). Christ will execute justice from His great white throne and will cast those who have been judged into the lake of fire where the devil, the false prophet and the antichrist have also been cast. (Rev. 20:11-15). Lastly, Christ will create all things new (Rev. 21:1-5) and will bring heaven to earth for all eternity where He will reign. There will be no night and no sun as God will illuminate all of creation (Rev. 21:4-5), (Rev. 22:5).  He will reign for all eternity and we will reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12) and He will never leave us. (Matt. 28:20).

 

Pneumatology:

 

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the divine trinity of the Godhead; co-equal and co-eternal and on the same level as the Father and the Son. He is a person and is called God (Acts 5:3-4). He possesses all divine attributes (Heb. 9:16), was active in creation (Job 33:4), in regeneration (John 3:5,8), in the resurrection (Rom. 8:11) and in inspiration (2 Pet. 1:21).

 

The Holy Spirit is not just an influence, but He is a real person. He has personality, intellect (1 Cor. 2:10-11), (Rom. 8:27), will (1 Cor. 12:11), love (Rom. 15:30), personal acts (Rev. 2:7), (John 14:26), (Acts 13:2), (Rom. 8:14-26).

 

In the Old Testament the work of the Holy Spirit was a selective indwelling. He enabled men for special service (Ex. 31:3), (Jud.14:6), (1 Sam. 16:13) but left when the task was done. (Jud. 16:20) (Ps. 51:11). From the time of Pentecost on, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell believers permanently (Eph. 5:18-20), (John 14:17). His work of restraining sin is also seen in the Old Testament (Gen. 6:3).

 

The Holy Spirit convicts the unregenerate of sin (John 16:8-11) witnessing to them and striving to bring them to Christ.

 

The Holy Spirits brings about regeneration and baptizes or unites every believer at the time of conversion with Christ and through this act, places them into the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:13), (Acts 1:5), (Acts. 11:15-16), (Gal. 3:26-27).

 

The Holy Spirit comes to indwell every believer at regeneration regardless of how imperfect that believer may be. (1 Cor. 3:16), (Rom. 8:9). He then enables believers to grow in new life. (Rom. 8:14), (John 14:17), helps us in prayer and the study and comprehension of God’s word (Rom. 8:26-27), (John 16:13), gives us assurance (Rom. 8:14, 16), and He seals us to demark God’s ownership and our eternal inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14), (Eph. 4:30), (2 Cor. 1:22).

 

There is no “second filling” or “second blessing”. We cannot get more of the Spirit than we receive at conversion. (Eph. 1:3). Our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19), (Rom. 8:9).

 

The Holy Spirit will fill a believer and thus control his life for service as they prayerfully yield to His authority over them. (Acts 1:8), (Acts 4:8), (Eph. 5:18-26). The filling of the Holy Spirit is not one single experience, but can occur many times and should be sought anew and afresh with each act of service. The individual has the responsibility of yielding his life to be filled with the Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit provides illumination to all believers regarding the word of God. He will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). One of the amazing realities of God’s word in my life is that His word was given to us through His Spirit and He speaks to me through that word to the very same Spirit who dwells within me. In that process the Spirit illuminates His words and drives them deep into me. So in essence God speaks His word to Himself in me and illuminates my understanding of His word and works in me to apply His word in me. He is the author of His word, the receiver of His word and the power of His word in me.

 

The Holy Spirit produces fruit in the life of a believer (Gal. 5:22-23) as the believer yields to the power of the Spirit and learns to walk by the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17).

 

The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to every believer (1 Cor. 12) for a special purpose. Some gifts of the early church were temporary and passes out of usage with the end of the apostolic period. They had a specific purpose during the period that the New Testament was being written but after it was completed the purpose for such gifts was no longer valid or necessary. These temporary gifts included apostleship, prophecy, miracles, tongues and healing. These were sign gifts to unbelievers to authenticate the message of God’s Son (Matt. 9:6), (John 20: 30-31). They were only needed to lay the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20).

 

Since all spiritual gifts are given for the edification of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7), (1 Cor. 14:12), there are no gifts for private use such as a private prayer language. Today we have a greater work (John 14:12). The church doesn’t need new revelation, more apostles or special powers. Peter, who had seen Christ glorified along with Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration, stated that even that experience paled in comparison to possessing and understanding the very word of the risen Lord (2 Pet. 1:17-19). The church needs a new confrontation with the whole counsel of God, proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit with authority and love by men who are empowered by the Spirit of God and are committed to honoring His only written revelation.

 

Angelology and Satanology:

 

Angels are real and are an independent creation of God. (Ps. 148:2,5). Angels are spirits without bodies (Heb. 1:13-14), but have on occasion appeared unto men (Matt. 1:20), (Heb. 13:2). They do have personal characteristics (2 Tim. 2:26). They do not marry (Matt. 22:30). They will not obtain death (Luke 20: 35-36). They excel in wisdom and strength (Ps. 103:20), (2 Sam. 14:20). They are neither omnipotent, omniscient nor omnipresent.

 

Angels were created as free moral agents (Gen. 1:31), (2 Pet. 2:4), but it appears that when Lucifer rebelled, other angels followed him. (Rev. 12:4), (Matt. 25:41). Some are loose (Eph. 6) others are bound (2 Peter 2:4), (Jude 6). Other angels remained and God preserved their integrity. (Matt. 25:31).

 

Scripture indicates that there are ranks of good and evil angels. (Dan. 10:13), (Col. 1:16). The mission of the good angels is to serve and guard the believer (Heb. 1:14), worship God (Isa. 6:1-3), and do God’s will (Ps. 103:20).

 

Demons appear to be fallen angels. (Matt 8:16), (Heb. 1:14), although their origin is not stated in scripture. Demons extend Satan’s power (Eph. 6:11-12), but they too will be cast into the lake of fire and tormented forever (Matt. 8:28-29), (Matt. 25:41)

 

Satan is the god of this world and is active (Job 1:7), he has access to the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:11-12) and has access to God (Job 1:6). Satan does have superhuman power and is a master of deception and the father of lies. (Rev. 12:9), (John 8:44). He appears as an angel of light as do his minion (2 Cor. 11:14-15) and is called the prince and power of the air (Eph. 2:2), prince of the world (John 14:20) and the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4).

 

Demons can possess non believers but cannot co-exist in believers since they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. People make themselves vulnerable to possession when they unwittingly or willingly vacate their minds or fill their minds with continuously evil thoughts and fantasies. Believers can be oppressed by demons. (1 Pet. 5:8-10) but are instructed to resist them by being firm in our faith. We are further instructed in doing spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:10-17)

 

Satan is doomed. He has been under the curse of God since the fall of man (Gen. 3:14-15), and was defeated at Calvary (Col. 2:15). He will be confined to the abyss at the beginning of the millennium, then will be released for a short time after the millennium before being cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

Anthropology:

 

The creation account in the book of Genesis is to be taken literally. God created the world in six literal days and rested on the seventh. It is not a myth, nor is it allegorical. It is an historical account of the immediate creation of man. Man was created directly, not from a previously existing form of life (Gen. 1:27, 5:1, 6:7). All men are descendents from Adam and Eve (Gen. 1:27-28, 3:20, 9:19); thus I refute naturalistic and theistic theories of evolution.

 

God made man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. (Gen. 2:7). Man was created in the image of God. (Gen. 17), meaning that man was created to be like God and to represent Him. Man was created perfect without previous experience with sin, and was responsible for developing his holy character. (Gen. 1:31). God made man both male and female (Gen. 1:27),  stating that it was not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18) He made them male and female for the purpose of procreation in order to fill the earth, subdue it and rule over every living thing (Gen. 1:28). Marriage therefore by design and purpose, is between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is an abomination before God (Lev. 18:22).

 

I believe that man is a dichotomous being possessing a soul and a body. (John 12:27), (John 13:21). While (1 Thess. 5:23) states that man possesses spirit, soul and body, that is an isolated verse that isn’t supported elsewhere in scripture and therefore would seem to me to be saying something other than declaring man as a trichotomous being.  As a proponent of nouthetic counseling, I reject the concept that the body is for medical doctors, the spirit is for psychological counselors and the soul is for biblical counselors.

 

Death brings the separation of the spirit and soul from the body. (Gen. 35:18), (James 2:26). The immaterial part of man will never die, but will either end up in heaven or hell to live forever. In Luke 16 and 2 Corinthians 5, it seems to indicate that those already dead will be resurrected; either with Christ at the rapture to be glorified, or those without Christ being resurrected at the end of the millennial period to be judged (1 Thess. 4:16), (John 5:29), (Rev. 20:12). There is no “soul sleep”. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (Matt. 22:32), (Luke 20:38), (Phil. 1:23).

 

Man was created with the ability to choose right or wrong. Man fell, freely yielding to Satan’s temptation (Gen. 3:6). The result was the total depravity of man with every part of man being affected by sin (Isa. 1:4-6). Through this mankind lost their original righteousness and their spiritual knowledge towards God and became enslaved to evil. (John 8:34).

 

With the fall came the result of death; both spiritual and in time the threat of eternal death. The fall resulted in women experiencing sorrow and pain in childbirth and in resistance to submission to their husbands. (Gen. 3:16) Also, this resulted in the cursing of the ground. (Gen. 3:17-19). That meant that man’s work would have to be done among thorns, weeds, storms, earthquakes and other natural imperfections in the world. (Rom. 8:22)

 

Adam and Eve in the garden were created able to sin and at the same time not able to sin. After the fall of man the human race was not able not to sin. That is; even the good that man seems to do, if not done to the glory of God is sin in His eyes. When man is born again and indwelt by the Spirit of God he alone is able not to sin while at the same time retaining the ability to sin. At glorification man will not be able to sin. So the net result in this present age is that true believers alone do not have to sin. (Rom. 6:11-14)

 

All men have sinned and possess a sin nature. They are captive to sin and Satan with no possible means of escape from within themselves. (Rom. 3:10, 23, 5:12, 7:14, 23), (1 Cor. 15:22). Everyone who remains in this condition will suffer the wrath of God (John 3:18).

 

Hamartiology:

 

Sin is the failure to conform to the moral law of God . Sin did not originate with God and God did not create evil. God is perfect and sin is imperfection. Sin originated with Lucifer when he led a rebellion of the angelic beings against the Lord of hosts (Isa. 14:12-14), (John 8:44), (1 John 3:8). With respect to the human race, sin originated with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:1-19). All descendents of Adam are born into sin. (1 Cor. 15:22), (Ps. 51:5). We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners by nature. No descendent of Adam can inherit eternal life. They must be born again into a living relationship with the living Christ (1 Cor. 15:22), (John 3:3-6).

 

The believer retains the proclivity to sin in his unredeemed flesh but his new nature cannot sin since his new nature is the Spirit of God. Paul lamented that sin was present “in my members” or in his flesh. (Rom. 7:15-25) Only believers have the ability not to sin through the power of the new birth and the new nature that results from that miracle. The process of practical sanctification is the progressive acting upon the new nature and denying the unredeemed flesh it’s passions and desires.

If a believer sins he impairs fellowship with God. (1 John 1:3) and other believers (1 John 2:5) and quenches the work of the Spirit. By confessing sin the fellowship with God is restored (1 John 1:9). A person who proclaims to know Christ but continues in habitual sin with no remorse and no desire to repent shows signs of being a non believer (1 John 2:4-5) and is to be dealt with  by being ultimately separated from the local church. (Matt. 18:15-17), (1 Cor. 5:1-13) This separation is an act of love and is designed to restore the person or to show the individual his or her need for true salvation. (Gal. 6:1).

 

Soteriology:

 

Salvation is solely the work of God on behalf of man. God gave His Son as a ransom for the penalty of sin. By the shedding of His blood, Christ paid the sin debt for mankind and satisfied or propitiated the demands of God. (1 Pet. 1:2), (Eph. 1:7), (John 3:16) This work of salvation is offered freely to all men (Matt. 11:28), (John 7:37-38), (Titus 2:11) Only through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ will man ever be and has ever been saved. (Acts 4:12), (Rom. 3:24). His work was an atonement sufficient to cover the sins of all mankind. (Isa. 53:6), (John 1:20), (Rom. 5:20)

 

In 1618 the Council of Dort convened to deal with a false teaching by Jacob Arminius. Arminius put our a manifesto titled “The Remonstrance” and it contained five primary points: First, that man contains within him a spark of goodness that enables him to positively respond to the gospel. Second, that God’s call is not effectual, but that man can resist God’s call. Third, God’s election is based on His foreknowledge of who would receive Him of their own accord. Fourth, that Christ’s death did not secure salvation for anyone but rather it made salvation possible for everyone who of their own volition believes. Fifth, that it is the responsibility of man to maintain and retain his salvation and that salvation can be lost by man’s failure to continue in belief. John Calvin, in responding to these five points of false teaching, rebutted with these five points that are often referred to by the first letters of each point as TULIP:

 

Total Depravity: Man is dead in trespasses and sins and is unable to save himself (Eph. 2:1-3, 8-9). This is called “Total Depravity” which is the first point of Calvinism.  Thus God takes the initiative in salvation as all men freely choose to reject God. (Rom. 3:10-12), (John 1:4-5, 10-11). Just as Lucifer and the angels freely chose to reject God and Adam and Eve exercising their free will chose to reject God, all mankind, if left to their natural desires will freely choose to reject God.

 

Unconditional Election: God has therefore given His Son a people whom He will never cast out. (John 6:37-40). No man will come to Christ except he be one of those given to the Son by the Father and the Father draws him (John 6:44). These are God’s by His own sovereign choice (John 15:16), (2 Thess. 2:13), (Rom. 11:5-6), by grace and according to His good pleasure and purpose (Eph. 1:5,11). This election is according to the foreknowledge of God (1 Pet. 1:2), (Rom. 8:29), Who has predestined men to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:30). It was not of any merit of man (Eph. 2:8-9), (2 Tim. 1:9). Therefore, foreknowledge is not foreseen faith, for this would make God dependent on man, but it describes God’s determination to love His creation. (Jer. 31:3), (Rom. 9:11-16), (Jer. 1:5).

As to man possessing a free will; I believe that man is a free moral agent but will never choose God as stated above. Man is not truly free for he is a servant to sin (John 8:34). Freedom only comes when Christ breaks the shackles of sin (John 8:36). God holds man as responsible for his failure to choose Christ despite man’s inability to do so. Man is unwilling and incapable. God must rescue him.

·        Irresistible Grace: At God’s appointed time He acts sovereignly upon individual sinners, performing a spiritual work within; thus giving man a change of mind bringing about repentance (Acts 3:19), bending the sinner’s will to His own thereby drawing him to Christ (Acts 16:14).

·        Preservation of the Saints: The believer will never lose his salvation for he is kept by the power of God (John 10:27-29, 3:36, 17:11), (1 John 5:11-13), (Rom. 8: 35-39), (Eph. 4:30).

·        Limited Atonement: The teaching that Christ died for the elect only. This is the one aspect of Calvinism that I am not dogmatic about. Having been a hard “five pointer” in the past, I have studied and am open to the fact that Christ’s death on the cross did indeed pay the sin debt for all mankind. (1 John 2:2). I used to think that this was not sound doctrine because if Christ died for all men’s sins then God couldn’t punish both the Son and the sinner for the same sins. That is double jeopardy and renders Christ’s finished work on the cross as ineffectual. On the other hand, if Christ didn’t pay the sin debt for all men then the gospel call to the non-elect would not be genuine. The ultimate question in my mind is: does man go to hell for inheriting the sin of Adam and being born with a sin nature and for his sins which he freely committed or is there another reason? In John 3:18 I think I have found the answer: “…he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” While it’s true that they did not believe because of their sin nature it still seems to me that the sentence of hell is pronounced because of their rejection of Christ and His atoning death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the basis for their eternal destiny. Even though their sins have been paid for at the cross, they perish because of their unbelief and their rejection of Christ’s payment of their sin debt. The offer of eternal life is valid to all since Christ died for all but those who refuse to accept that payment for their sins will perish in their sins. Because a mentally handicapped person or an infant has not rejected Christ I believe they go to heaven despite possessing a sin nature as a descendent of Adam. Their sins were paid for at the cross and they are not capable of accepting or rejecting the cross. The people of the old testament were saved by trusting in God’s future payment for their sins and those after the cross up to today are saved by trusting in the past work of the cross of Christ. I want to present these doctrines in a way that minimizes the usual knee-jerk reaction of thinking God to be unfair and going the route of the Romans 9 questioning of God’s character. I want the emphasis to be on man’s rejection of God and man freely rejecting Christ’s death as the payment for their sins. Man doesn’t go to hell because God didn’t choose them. They go to hell because they didn’t choose God and the sacrifice of His Son. Salvation is an instantaneous miracle of God and involves:

·        Regeneration: This occurs the moment the individual believes. To believe (pisteo) means to trust. It goes beyond head knowledge to acting upon the truth of God’s word. A true believer undergoes a new birth, not a process (John 5:24), and receives a new nature, given eternal life through the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17), (2 Pet. 1:4), (John 3:3-5).

·        Conversion: The initial experience of a sinner turning from sin toward God (Acts 14:15), (Acts 3:19), (1 Thess. 1:9). Repentance is the key in that one agrees with what God says about their sin and their condition. They have a change of mind and embrace the cross. Repentance is the essential requirement of conversion. One comes to the cross in brokenness over their sins and bows their knee to the Lordship of Christ. They do not yet know how to live for Christ but they have a willingness to do so. It is not biblical to assert that one can merely “accept Christ” and “Lordship” is an option down the line. (Rom. 10:9-10)

·        Justification: This is the act where the believer is no longer under condemnation but is declared righteous before God. This is a judicial act of God where God has imputed Christ’s righteousness to the believer so that God sees Christ in us and His righteousness. (Rom. 3:23-26), (2 Cor. 5:21), (1 Cor. 1:30).

·        Redemption: Where a believer is bought out of the market place of sin by the price of the blood of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:14), (Gal. 3:13).

·        Reconciliation: Man’s state of alienation from God is changed so that now he is restored to Divine favor. Man must change, not God, because God is unchangeable. (Rom. 5:11), (Rom, 11:15), (2 Cor. 5:18-19)

·        Adoption: The believer is placed as an adult son into God’s family and becomes a joint heir with Jesus Christ; not merely children but heirs. (Rom. 8:14-17).

·        Sanctification: This begins instantaneously but is a process that continues throughout a believer’s life. This is a state of being set apart from the world unto God and is both an act and a process (Acts 26:18), (Heb. 10:10). It is viewed as past, present and future in that I have been sanctified, I am being sanctified and I will be totally sanctified at glorification. The past is positional sanctification which occurs at conversion. The believer is set apart from the penalty of sin (1 Cor. 1:2). The present aspect deals with the believer growing in the grace and knowledge of God, cleansing himself through the Holy Spirit to daily grow in Christ likeness. (2 Cor. 7:1), (1 John 1:9). The future deals with the coming of Christ where he will become like Him and be made perfect, which will forever separate us from sin (1 Thess. 3:12-13).

 

Ecclesiology:

 

The Greek word “ecclesia”, meaning “called out”, has a two-fold significance in the New Testament. First, there is the church as an organism which is the mystical body of Christ, of which Christ is the living head. This includes all regenerated believers from the time of Pentecost to the rapture. These are the people God is taking out of the gentiles for His name. The Holy Spirit baptized each believer into this body, (1 Cor. 12:12-13), (Eph. 1:22-23), (Eph. 3:4-6). Secondly, it refers to a local church which is a body of baptized believers joining together to worship God and having two offices: Pastor and deacon and the observance of two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s table. The proclamation of the gospel is at the center of the purpose for the local church. (Acts 16:5), (Acts 2:41-42).

 

The church will not go through the Great Tribulation (1 Thess. 1:10), (Rev. 3:10), (Rev. 6:17), instead Christ may appear at any moment in the air and snatch His church into His presence. At that time the dead in Christ shall rise first, then those alive will be transformed in the twinking of an eye to be like Him. (1 Thess. 4:16-17), (1 Cor. 15:51-52).

 

The church is built upon the foundation of the prophets and the apostles with Christ Jesus being the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Christ has given the church first apostles, then NT prophets who filled the gap until the New Testament was written. These two offices disappeared when the apostles and prophets died and the New Testament was written, eliminating the need for prophets. The other two offices given to the church was the office of evangelist and pastors. (Eph. 4:11-13). These are the only two offices in today’s church.

 

There are only two scriptural offices in the local church. One is office of elder.  This office is described as a pastor (poimen), an elder (presbyteros) and the overseer (episkopos). All three titles are used to describe the one office in (1 Peter 5:1-2). The Pastor can be one of multiple elders with the pastor being the “teaching pastor” as described in (Eph. 4:11). Elders are to deal with the spiritual issues of the church and devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Ephesians 4:11 lists the office of “Pastor/Teacher” as one of the four gifts to the church. This office is an elder who holds the primary responsibility for the teaching of God’s word. While all elders must be able to teach the “pastor/teacher” seems to indicate one person who has primary responsibility for the teaching of God’s word. He differs from the other elders in degree, not in kind. Elders are to rule (1 Tim. 5:17) and those who make their living teaching God’s word are instructed in that verse to be paid. A church that is elder led is not a dictatorship but is accountable to the congregation. Elders make the decisions and the congregation blesses those decisions as they trust in the integrity and spiritual discernment of their elder leaders.  The other office is the office of deacon. That office originated in Acts 6:1-6. They are to relieve the pastor of mundane, administrative issues and allow the pastor to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The qualifications for these offices of both pastor and deacon are listed in (1 Tim. 3:1-13) and (Titus 1:6-9).

 

The church is to observe two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s supper. The act of baptism is apart from regeneration. Baptism is by immersion only into water as the meaning of the act is to depict the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and our following Him as an act of obedience. (Act. 8:36-39), (Acts 2:41), (Rom. 6:3-5). The Lord’s supper is for remembrance of Christ’s death until He comes. His death is symbolically represented in the broken bread and cup. Each believer is to examine himself before partaking (1 Cor. 11:26-28). The order of Christian obedience is; salvation, baptism, church membership and the Lord’s supper. (Acts 2:41-42).

 

The Bible believing church should hold to these distinctives:

·        Christian liberty and the universal priesthood of believers (1 John 2:27), (Rom. 14:4-5), (1 Tim. 2:5)

·        The supreme authority of scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), (2 Pet. 1:21).

·        Headship of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), (Col. 2:19)

·        Independence of the local autonomous church. (Phil 1:27), (Acts 15:2, 15), (1 Cor. 11:2, 20).

·        Two ordinances of believers baptism and the Lord’s supper (Matt. 28:19), (1 Cor. 11:28-30)

·        Regenerate church membership (Acts 2:41, 47)

·        Separation of church and state (Matt. 22:21), (Rom. 13:1) That is that the church is independent of control by any worldly government and free to worship and obey God without interference or control by outside government agencies.

·        There is no scriptural warrant of an ecclesiastical organization beyond a simple fellowship of independent local churches.

 

Israel is God the Father’s chosen people. God sent His Son to His chosen people and they rejected Him (John 1:11). The church began at Pentecost in Acts 2 and originated from Judaism and with Christ as the head being a Jew and the first Christians being Jews it is clear that the church has replaced Israel for a season. After the rapture of the church God will refocus on Israel and fulfill His unconditional Abrahamic covenant. Christ as Messiah will return and sit on the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem for a literal one thousand years. I do not believe in “replacement theology”. As Romans 11 states, God has grafted the gentiles in and can take them away and graft Israel back in. I believe that is what will happen.  

 

Eschatology:

 

At death, believers are “absent from the body and present with the Lord”. (2 Cor. 5:8). Their mortal bodies can be buried in the ground or cremated and their ashes scattered into the sea. There is no such thing as “soul sleep”. At the rapture of the church, God will assemble the molecules of the mortal body no matter where they are and our bodies will be glorified and joined with our souls.

 

Today, all of God’s plans are fulfilled and Jesus Christ could appear at any time for His church. When this occurs, the dead in Christ will be raised first, then those alive will meet Him in the air with glorified bodies.  (1 Thess. 4:16-17), (Rev. 3:10), (1 Cor. 15: 51-51). Believers will then appear at the judgment (Bema) seat of Christ to be judged or rewarded for their works (2 Cor. 5:10), (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Then the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place to celebrate Christ’ reunion with His church (Rev. 19:7-9).

 

Immediately after the rapture the tribulation period begins. This is the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:25-27). The first half will be peaceful because of the covenant between the antichrist and Israel. During the last half, or the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, (Rev. 3:10), the covenant will be broken and Satan’s powers will be rampant and the judgment of God will be brought upon this earth. There will be 144,000 faithful Jews during this time as God’s witnesses. The end of this time will come with Christ’s returning to earth (2 Thess. 1:7-10), and the antichrist will be destroyed at the battle of Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16), (Rev. 19:17-21).

 

The coming of Christ to rule with His saints starts the millennium period of 1,000 years. The Davidic throne will be established in Jerusalem (2 Sam 7:13), (Isa. 9:6-7). All creation will be blessed with peace. (Isa. 11:7-9,12). The Old Testament saints, along with the martyred tribulation saints will be resurrected at the beginning as the last of the first resurrection and will reign with Christ. (Dan. 12:1-2), (Rev. 20:4). Satan will be bound and thrown into the abyss during this time. He will later be released for a short time to try to deceive the nations (Rev. 20:2-3) before he is defeated and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 10).

 

At the end of the millennium the resurrected of all unsaved of all ages will stand at the Great White Throne to be judged by Christ. They will be condemned to eternal torment  in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15). There will be a new heaven and earth where all of the saints will dwell with God forever. (Rev. 21:14), (2 Pet. 3:10-13).

 

Ministry Vision

Ministry Vision

 

I have spent nearly the last two years in the pulpit of First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Illinois due to unusual, providential circumstances. Our Pastor, Mike Hurt was diagnosed with a grade four gioblastoma brain tumor in September 2009. The deacons convened in an emergency meeting to determine how to go forward in this time of uncertainty. First Baptist is a church of about three hundred people located in a suburb of St. Louis, MO. Since I had preached in the federal prison system for over eight years with Mission Gate Ministries, I suggested that I could take the pulpit until we could determine a long range solution. It was decided that I would take the pulpit for a month and then we would review where we are going. As I type this I am still preaching and have now entered my twenty first month in the pulpit. The Lord has providentially blessed this time and has blessed me enormously in the process.

 

 I continue to hold my secular job which requires extensive travel and have found myself preparing sermons in airports, hotels and restaurants. I typically spend most of Saturday in sermon preparation and am usually up past midnight on Saturday night finishing up the sermon and the Power Point presentation that I use for illustration purposes. I have been putting in up to 25 hours per week to prepare each sermon. My wife Lynn and nine year old daughter Gracie have been wonderful in giving up quality weekend time with me in order to support what is needed in our church.

 

 In the nearly two years of ministry, under extreme conditions, our church attendance has remained level and new people have joined the church. Financial giving has also remained level or increased in difficult economic times. Since I served without pay, Pastor Mike was able to be paid his full salary and health benefits for over a year until his retirement. Pastor Mike resigned in December of 2010 and eventually went to be with the Lord after a fifteen month struggle. At Pastor Mike’s retirement, he bequeathed to me some prized commentaries from his library and the church recognized me for my service. First Baptist Church then ordained me to the gospel ministry on May 29, 2011, affirming me as a minister of the gospel.

 

With no seminary degree and only two years in pastoral ministry, the primary qualification that I have to present myself to a church is my preaching ability. That is why we have put many of my sermons on this website for others to review and evaluate. My doctrinal statement and my philosophy of ministry are also included so that another church can have the answers to many of their questions up front and not in a reactive manner. I believe I am gifted in the areas of preaching, biblical counseling and in my leadership abilities. I have an extensive secular career in leadership and performance, having served as national sales manager or VP of Sales for a number of companies. I bring those leadership and organizational skills to ministry along with my ability to preach God’s word.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that God raised me up in an hour of need to preach His word and abundantly blessed that venture. I have no intention of saying “no” to what He has done. My preaching focus is the new birth. The new birth lifts up Christ: why He came, how we must respond to what He did and the process of sanctification: the means of becoming more and more like the risen Christ. I would ask that prospective churches listen to a few of my sermons and then contact me if there is any interest in pursuing me for either a bi-vocational position or permanent position of Senior Pastor.

 

By His Grace,

 

Jim Brinkman

#10 White Birch Lane

Collinsville, IL 62234

618.604.2728

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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