Friday, January 01, 2010

Sufficiency of Scripture Conference - Summary of Sessions 14 & 15 (12/12)

The Sufficiency of Scripture to Define and Govern the Church – Dan Horn
This was a second break out session where Dan Horn covered the topic of scriptures being sufficient to define how the church is to be governed.  He began by asking the simple, yet often argued over question,  “what is the church and who is the church.”  The church is not like any other institution as it is unique in the world. The church is not a building or a club as often seems to be what it ends up being in a large part of the professing church.  Dan shared how the church is led by Elders who are as Eph 4:12 says to “equip the saints” for the work that God has for them.

Dan then spoke on three aspects of the church.  The first aspect covered was the church as a biblical institution.  He spoke on the three institutions or spheres of authority God has set up: the family, the state and the church.  The church is to be the light to the world while the state has been given the word and the family the rod; again each has its area of authority.  The church and it’s members are responsible to proclaim God’s word to the nations.  Romans 10:13-15 reveals this responsibility with the preaching that is spoken of not simply being just to speak the word but to publish His word in all activates of life so as to proclaim to the world the glories of God.  Dan also shared how the church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ (Eph 5:22-32) and how we need to love the church as Christ loves the church.  Also, the church is spoken of as a holy nation (1 Peter 2:7-9) such that in a sense we are like a nation as we are a people chosen by God, a people set apart.  As a set apart people we have the authority God has given us apart from what He has given the family and state.  Yet another metaphor God uses of the church in His word is as a household of God (Matt 22:30).

In still dealing with the church as a biblical institution Dan Horn spoke on how often the place of the church is commingled with the other institutions God has instituted.  Thus one result is that many churches have become creatures of the state.  Another area that is often blurred is the relationship between the church and family with often going to the extremes of either minimizing the family or maximizing it rather then seeking to finds its true area of authority as set out in scripture.  One last aspect with regards to the church as in institution set up by God Dan deal with was that of the error in far too many church of not having a plurality in leadership.

Dan then spoke on how the church is also universal in that it includes all the elect of God.  That all the elect are in the universal aspect of the church the bride of Christ (Matt 16:16-18; Heb 12:22-24).  Thus when we speak of the body of Christ in a universal manner we speak of the body of Christ as all those that have and will believe. 

The last aspect Dan spoke on was the church as a local body meeting together.  This is also known as the visible church.  This gathering is for more than simply to gather but is about building up people to do the work of God.  As the visible/local church gathers it does so with a dual purpose, first being to worship God corporately and to glorify Him in that gathering.  Secondly the church gathers to teach men and women to glorify God.  As part of this look at the local church, which was too short due to time, was to ask the question: When is a Church a Church.  As part of an answer Dan shared what Calvin had said:  There is the preaching of the word, the sacraments are rightly administered and discipline is carried out.  I would personally add, and Dan may have gone here if time had allowed, that the church is governed as God’s word defines.

This was a good talk and much more could have been said.  We live in a day and age where it seems more and more what the church is and how it is to function is defined more by the culture it is within than what God’s word declares.  We need to return to the sufficiency of scripture to define what and how the church is.

The Sufficiency of Scripture in the Disciplemaking ministry of the church and the Home – Voddie Baucham
This last talk, not including the closing comments by Scott Brown and Doug Phillips, looked at the synergy of the church and home in disciplemaking. To look at this Voddie Baucham looked at Titus 1 and 2 to see that God has given us; godly mature men and women in the church, godly manly elders, and godly biblically functioning homes.

The first of these he looked at was that of godly mature men and women in the church and focused on Titus 2:1-5. Verses 2 and 3 speak to godly men who have walked with God over time.  It is not just about age, but age and action in character formed over time.  Verse 2 gives the character traits of older men that are sanctified by His spirit over time.  Traits such as self control which is actually being controlled by God and thus yielding to the control of God.  Another trait is that of being sound in faith.  This is a man that is to lead others but sadly this all to often does not happen unless a person thinks they are called ministry.  Other traits that are found in V2 are to be sound in love and being steadfast.

Voddie then turned to looking at V3-5 of Titus 2 which says much the same about women.  According to this section of scripture women are to be reverent in behavior through their time with God and their words are not to be slanderous.  Among other characteristics women are not to controlled by outward influences such as wine  and is to speak so as to impart biblical wisdom – “teach what is good.”  The women of the church are also to teach younger women which while followed with many things is tied to the end of V5 – so that the word of God will not be reviled.

Having godly mature men and women in the church is just the first aspect of discipling in the church.  This aspect is to be such that it raises up godly men and women in the church who will in turn raise up others that will be godly and mature.  Based on this we need to do what we can to be around God’s people in His church even if it is to move or start a church.

Next, Voddie dealt with the issue of godly, manly elders by looking at Titus 1.  Voddie shared that Titus 2:2 does not give a list of characteristics as were given for women in 2:3-5 because the Titus 1 list for elders in essence is a list for all men and thus no list is needed in Titus 2.  We also see that in 1 Peter 5 elders are to be examples to the flock so again whatever list is given for elders is applicable to the men of the church.  In Titus 1:5-9 gives us some of those characteristics such as needing faithful children since leadership starts in the home.  The list of characteristics then moves to those of character such as being above approach.  Again, these characteristics given are a picture of not just a godly manly elder but also are the same characteristics men are to seek after in general.

The last area covered was that of a biblically functioning home (Titus 1:10-11).  What is stressed is that of protecting the home as the importance of the home to the church is critical.  The home is to be a place to saturate with the word of God so that when they come to the corporate gathering of the church they are ready to be equipped.

These three aspects of the disciplemaking ministry of the church build up continuously so that there is complete saturation.  We need all three aspects so as to build a healthy family and a healthy Church and to have families and churches that most glorify God.  As usual Voddie reveals his passion in his sermons and that passion for God’s church needs to be a passion we all have.

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