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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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New Testament

Feature Friday (4/29/16)

The gospel of Matthew…check. The gospel of Mark…check. The gospel of Luke…check. The gospel of John…check. The gospel of Judas…? Are there more gospel accounts that should be included in the Bible but aren’t? How do we know only the 4 belong and are actually “God-breathed”? These are just some of the questions that will be answered if you “Would Like to Take a New Testament Course with Tim Challies“. Follow the link and the directions given there and you will receive a seminary level course titled Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose  taught by Dr. Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. It usually costs $229.99, but they are giving us access for free!

I hope you will consider taking this course. Again, simply click here and follow the directions given to join the group and start the class next Monday May 2nd.

And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Christian Education: the Content

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the role of the student in Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the content of Christian education.

The Content of Christian Education

                When speaking of content in the context of Christian education there is one foundational source – theology or the study of God, which is based on God’s Word. The Bible must be the beginning and ending point in Christian education. Without it, Christian education would merely be another philosophy and practice among the many others in the educational world today. With it, Christian education stands above the rest because of its solid grasp on truth, reality, and logic along with its methods for leading people into a life changing experience and understanding of the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.[1] To fully understand the God of the universe one must understand the book in which He has specifically revealed Himself.  Theology, which flows out of Bibliology, deeply influences Christian education.

Since God’s Word is inspired, or breathed out by God, as 2 Tim. 3:16[2] asserts, the Bible should be the foundation and guidebook for every educational practice. The Bible is vital to Christian education because it ultimately reveals who God is, what He is like, and what His actions are to the world. However, Christian education cannot be so naïve as to believe that the Bible is to be the only “textbook”. Other books, resources, and materials should be used; however, all curriculum considered for a Christian educational program must focus on Scripture, flow from Scripture, further the study of Scripture, allow for the Holy Spirit, and be future oriented.[3] If the content of Christian education does not meet one or more of these criteria it should not be considered as part of the curriculum for Christian education.

Along with meeting certain criteria, the content of Christian education should utilize both the Old and New Testament. Both Testaments together make up God’s Word and therefore make up the entire revealed Word of God. With this in mind, Christian educators must make every effort to incorporate both Testaments in order to help students grow into a deeper understanding of God’s design to form them into the image of Christ. This means that the teacher must not only teach “Bible stories” in Sunday school or in younger grade levels, but must draw out the principles to be practiced in life and help the students apply them to their lives. The New Testament must also be utilized not only as history and a prescription for how to live, but as the process and procedure for how to grow to become more like Christ daily. The content of Christian education must include the whole counsel of God.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the content of Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Methods.


[1] George R. Knight. Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2006), 221-226

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2003), 996.

[3] James R. Estep Jr. A Theology for Christian Education. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 280-283

The Church: Universal vs. Local

what-is-churchWhen I say shopping, you think…? Some think of the mall, while others think of a specific department store. When I say football game, some people think of the game of football while others think of the Superbowl. What about when I say family? A few people will think of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., but most will think of their immediate family members–brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. Why is this? It is because when it comes down to it, the terms “shopping”, “football”, and “family” apply in more than one situation. The same is true when we consider the word “church”. As we will see today, there is a Universal and Local aspect to the “church”.

The Church, as we looked at last time, is an assembly of people built upon a common confession of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives, and the recognition that they ultimately belong to God. So when discussing this formation God has started and been building, we must recognize that it is a group of people, not just a building or location. God makes that very clear in Ephesians 4:4-6 when speaking of the ONE body and ONE Spirit. The Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, is encouraging and admonishing the Ephesian church to be united in their commonalities rather than divided over their differences. In this passage, Paul lists seven “ones” the believers in Ephesus and of all time have in common: one body, one Spirit, one hope (vs. 4), one Lord, one faith, one baptism (vs. 5), and one God and Father (vs. 6). We see this idea of oneness in the church throughout the New Testament (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13). So whenever the church is mentioned we must recognize that it goes beyond any building or one location. The church of Christ is not bound by geographical limitations. However, in Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer of Hebrews instructs believers to “not forsake the assembling of themselves together”. And if the body of Christ worldwide is to obey this command, how do we carry it out?

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We fulfill this command through the local church. The local church is a minute gathering of the larger, universal body of Christ. It is a representation of the larger body of believers who are in a specific and shared location. All throughout the New Testament, we see multiple churches meeting in multiple locations (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1). In Revelation 1:11 and chapters 2-3, Christ gives commands, exhortations, and correction to seven different churches. And in Galatians 1:2, we see there are often multiple churches within the same area. Not only is location given, but the time is also given (Acts 20:7). Local churches since the apostles’ time have met on Sundays. Why? Because of the pattern set for us in Scripture, along with the fact that Christ (the reason for our assembling) rose from the grave on a Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The church of Christ has always been represented through the local assemblies of believers who live in relatively close proximity to one another.

So while some may think of grandma while others think of mom when speaking of family, the truth is that family is still family. And while extended family is family too, it is in the context of our immediate family where we learn how to interact and live as a family. The same is true in the church. While the Church is all over the globe, it is in the context of a local church we see the love of God lived out. And it is in Him and Him alone that we were all “reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). It is because God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is what Christians have come to know as the Great Exchange – He died, so I could live. And it is through His death, burial, and resurrection that the Church can and does exist today!

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So what is the church? Although it is, an assembly of people built upon a common confession of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives and the recognition that they ultimately belong to God, it is given flesh and bones in the local churches throughout the world.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series “The Church”. Up next: Structure and Organization. If you missed part 1: The Church:What is it?, read it here!

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