BR aims- be biblical- glorify God
    May 23 2011 by Allan Blume, BR Editor

    “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9  

    Jesus loves the church — His chosen, holy, royal people. He gave himself for the redemption of each person who makes up the body of Christ. When the apostle Paul described the love a husband should have for his wife, he illustrated it with Christ’s love for the church, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it ...” (Ephesians 5:25). Since Jesus “gave himself” for the church, we must be very important to Him. We have great value in God’s plan of history.  

    I love the New Testament church, also. One of my goals as the editor of the Biblical Recorder is to encourage churches and church leaders, beginning with the pastor. I believe the local church is the center of God’s activity in this world.  

    Although I love and fully respect the role of organizations which have been raised up by God to stand beside local churches in our mission, I have noticed the success of some of these ministries has caused some believers to invest more of their time, resources and energies into para-church ministries, at the expense of the local church. Others use their local congregations primarily to promote their favorite para-church ministry. This is a mistake.  

    Please do not misread me. I want the Biblical Recorder to be a source of encouragement for para-church ministries who properly respect and support the local church and its leadership.  

    We will publish their stories. We will tell about people who have been changed by their ministries. But our focus will be on the local church because I believe this is the “ground zero” of God’s activity and purpose on earth.  

    It is my conviction that the believer’s relationship to the local church should be one of purposeful commitment. For this reason, I am disturbed by the way church connections are verbalized. Frequently in conversation I hear someone say something like, “I attend Seventh Baptist Church.”

    My first thought is, “You merely ‘attend’? Why don’t you join and become a member?” From my perspective “attendance” is something we do for concerts and athletic events. Christ did not establish the New Testament church as a spectator sport.  

    His church is His living, breathing body of faithful followers who love His word, live in His holiness and proclaim His truth to a world in darkness. His church is a fellowship of committed believers who serve together, work together, laugh together and cry together. I “attend” a church when I am a guest. But when I join a church, I am a member of that local body of believers. I belong to that body in the same way that my hands and feet belong to my physical body. As a church member, I am intentionally connected to the people who belong to the body of Christ.  

    We are a people who are committed to making disciples. This is not a casual assignment performed by “attenders.” The process of disciple making requires committed disciples. Disciples reproduce disciples. Attenders reproduce attenders. Therefore, the future of the church is at stake when we dumb-down our church connections to merely “attending.”  

    The church is not a mere human institution. Institutions come and go. It is easy to become enamored with institutions and lose perspective on their purpose. I believe Christian institutions have value to the extent that they are rooted in scriptural principles and build the work of local churches. But the church itself is not a human institution. It is a dynamic gathering of redeemed, baptized believers who are willing to humble themselves as servants to one another and ultimately as servants of the sovereign, eternal God who is the Father of Jesus Christ, the head of the church.  

    It is my conviction that the tithe belongs in the management and stewardship of local churches. It is never “my tithe.”  It is “God’s tithe.” The most effective use of the tithe is through the operations of the New Testament church. A great article on this subject by J. D. Greear was published in the Recorder in the March 21 issue. I agree with him. Please read his comments (available at www.brnow.org; click on guest columns).  

    We devalue the church when we minimize the meaning of church membership, play games with God’s tithe and place our personal preferences above the mission of the church. While there is much disillusionment about churches and church attendance in our society, the Recorder will be a tool to help you navigate through the fog of our secular environment. We want to be an instrument of God to elevate the value and purpose of the New Testament church. Our goal is to support and encourage pastors who passionately lead local churches.  

    As imperfect as we are, the church is still God’s plan for taking the Gospel to the world. In God’s perfect, infinite design He chose to establish the church as His instrument of grace and truth, with His Son as the head of this dynamic body. As imperfect as Southern Baptists are, I believe we still have the potential to be mightily used by God to take the gospel to every corner of the world, beginning in our state.  

    I wholeheartedly concur with Milton Hollifield, the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) when he says, “By God’s grace, we will become the strongest force in the history of this convention for reaching people with the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  

    When the Recorder’s Board of Directors asked me to take the responsibility of editor/president, I shared with them my three-fold vision for this publication and our website.  
    • First, we will strive to live up to the first word in our name — biblical.
    • Second, we will keep the focus on the Great Commission.
    • Third, we will strive to glorify God. We belong to God and to North Carolina Baptists. We need your help as we fulfill our assignment with grace.  
    I invite pastors and church leaders to share with me your ideas on how the Recorder can partner with you to encourage and strengthen your work. Some have given me their ideas already. I will implement many of them. I need to hear your heart and your vision, also. I want to be your supporter, friend and encourager. In fact, I believe that the heart of the BSC staff and our entities is to assist you and your churches in fulfilling the Great Commission.  

    “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head —Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  — Ephesians 4:11-16, NKJ

    (SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or issues with items we run, please contact dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or call 919-847-2127.)
    5/23/2011 7:42:00 AM by Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments




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