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March 2, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Church Matters,” with a message titled “Our Approach at BJU.” When he is finished, Dr. Sam Horn will preach a message titled “What Does this Church Believe?” from 1 Timothy 3:15.
The post 937. Our Approach at BJU & What Does this Church Believe? appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series called church matters.
Let's listen as Dr. Pettit continues his sermons about the importance of choosing the church.
Then when Dr. Pettit is finished. Dr. Sam Horn will continue the series last Wednesday we began our doctrinal series entitled church matters and we started out with the idea that this semester were going to take time to work through our biblical philosophy of ministry and worship, and so last week I gave four basic reasons why number one is because of what we require as an institution where Christian University and so we require that our students attend local church. Secondly, from many of you in the showed you last week that this is the first time in your life that you're actually making your own decision regarding church choice and so we wanted take time to work through biblical principles. The third reason was our accountability to God all of us are accountable. Everybody here is going to stand before the Lord and give an accounting for the decisions that you're making.
So what's the basis of your decision. Have you thought them through carefully. Are you basing them on Scripture and then number four. We are teaching this because of the nature of worship.
And as we understand the Bible clearly it's a week we see that man never worships God correctly without divine revelation, we are by nature idolatrous. We created God in our own image and so therefore we need to learn how God wants to be worship. That's the approach, because ultimately it is for his own glory.
So this morning. What I'd like us to do is really try to answer the second question that I asked last week that really didn't had to. And that is what is our approach year it Bob Jones University so you chose in the coming here we are Christian University. Obviously we try to do what we do scripturally and intentionally.
So what is our basic approach.
So I'm going to lay just a few points here this morning and the doctor Horn will come and follow up.
And so as we look at our approach here at Bob Jones University. There are three basic things I'd like to say number one and that is is a Christian University. We are on Orthodox Christian University you say what you mean by Orthodox well the word Orthodox means to conform to what is generally or traditionally accepted is right and what is true. So if you could say this way you look at our 97 word Bob Jones University creed. Those are what we call Orthodox statements. These are the things that all true believers really God's people.
These are the things that they believe it's not what the Baptist believe it's not what the Lutherans believe is what people who know the Lord believe these are Orthodox statements. These would also be true of statements of the apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed and these are often stated in other places and you go through them. I believe in God the father. I believe in God the son. I believe in God the Holy Spirit. I believe in his church. I believe in salvation by grace through faith.
So that's what we mean by Orthodox.
So for example Bob Jones University takes an Orthodox position on the Bible. We believe the Bible is God's inspired and infallible word. And when God gave the word in its original writings its original autographs, we believe that they came from the Lord.
So they came from God. Obviously there without errors. We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the infallibility of Scripture that is not gonna make mistakes that what it says is so what it says is true. That's an Orthodox position.
So first of all, Bob Jones University is Orthodox. Secondly, we have chosen is a University ever since his foundation to be non-denominational beds. Assuming were anti-denominational.
It doesn't mean that we are not supportive of other denominations, but as a school we chose to be nondenominational, so why what actually goes back to our founder, our founder Dr. Bob Jones Senior was an evangelist and used to hold evangelistic campaigns with many different denominations who cooperated together for the purpose of advancing the gospel so Dr. Bob Jones Senior actually grew up as a Methodist, but his mother was a Baptist and so we would hold a meeting he would have Methodism Baptists and Presbyterians, and others come and he wanted a Creed in the University that would unite and not divide Christians. He was a unifier and he wanted something that we could all agree upon. That's why we say the creed during during chapel now. The creed is not the only thing that we believe. So we have not so minimum I minimalize it down to a handful of statements but these are the basic things that we believe Dr. Bob Senior maintained a nonsectarian approach throughout his career as an evangelist and he was determined that the college would not over emphasize any scriptural interpretation that would be divisive.
He hoped to unify Orthodox Bible believing Christians around the fundamental precepts of the word of God. So therefore the school was founded as a nondenominational school now if you go and look at our student body as a whole where they come from 73% of our students come from independent Baptist and Bible churches 27% come from other places, nondenominational Presbyterians, Southern Baptists event it EV free churches.
A variety of churches, so the school was founded as a nondenominational interdenominational institution that could be supported by all Protestant denominations who subscribe to the fundamental truths of the Scripture key believe. For example, we can have church cooperation without church union what he meant by that was you didn't have a problem cooperating with churches, but he didn't think that all the churches needed to join together and become one people.
He, for example, if your Baptist be a Baptist because Baptist have certain convictions. I'm an ordained Baptist member, a preacher, so I was ordained in the ministry. In 1980, so spent almost 40 years. I know what Baptists believe in IR one, so I'm okay with that.
So we believe that that is already Baptist. We also believe that method is to be Methodist and he made the statement he made the statement here on campus about Jones University almost 70 years ago. He said I think all Protestant denominations are called into existence to underscore something that should be underscored, but all of them are built upon the same essential foundations of the Christian faith, and I made up my mind that a school can be built that would appeal to all evangelical Christian groups. If you would stick to the fundamentals. I don't want to divide God's people. I want to unite them on the essential fundamentals of the faith he believed that evangelical Christians were not a divided Army stick to the fundamentals and don't try to underscore something that that some special group underscores. He said that most of the people to divide the people of God are people that underscore something that may have a place but it's not supposed to be underscored so example. For example, Bob Jones University is not a reformed Calvinistic school, but we have people that are here that believe that the answer is yes were not anti-were not against it. But if a person comes here and they have an agenda and they're trying to get the whole student body to go one direction, then we have a problem and we will actually stand against that. So just to help you understand how we think and what are what are approaches and then the third thing I'd like to say this morning for Dr. Moran comes is that is that Bob Jones historically is an Orthodox nondenominational fundamentalist institution and I'd like to explain what we mean by that because I would not want to make any assumptions when Bob Jones College was founded in 19 2793 years ago. It was during the time of intense conflict between two groups within mainline denominations. One group called the theological modernist or liberals and the others were called the fundamentalist German rationalism had influenced American seminaries in a battle rage within mainline Protestant denominations in the United States between these two groups now. Who were the modernist. They had moved away from the foundational truths of the Christian faith, and they have forsaken the supernatural aspects of our faith and just consider our creed and the phrases that we say that we believe we speak.
These phrases and these are supernatural elements, the inspiration of the Bible, the creation of man by the direct act of God, the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his incarnation, that is God becoming man regeneration new birth that's all supernatural terminology Bob Jones University has been and will continue to be identified with those that believe these fundamental truths we are Orthodox evangelical Christians that are expressing what we believe in historic fundamentalism.
So what is fundamentalism. This is a definition.
This is my definition that I've written that have used for years. Fundamentalism is a movement committed to the confession and propagation of the historic historic biblical doctrines essential to the Christian faith.
So we stand on these essential doctrines. Secondly, they they believe in the defense of the whole Bible as the absolute and errant and authoritative word of God. So we believe the Bible to be the word of God.
Third, we believe in the pursuit of holiness and I would contrast that worldliness. The problem with the church is not that the churches in the world.
It is when the world comes into the church and then fourthly, we believe in separation from all forms of apostasy and ungodliness and what we mean by that is that those who leave the fundamental doctrines as professing Christians and they move away from that then we don't go with. We stand for these truths so the charter and the creed of Bob Jones University expresses these beliefs. The history of the University is intertwined with the history of fundamentalism from its very beginning to the present day and Bob Jones is identified itself with the movement and we've always play a role of leadership in the movement and furthermore as a ministry, we do not work with and we do not cooperate with those who deny our creed and we don't work with those who are working with those who deny the creed.
So if you're Christian and you're working with. Liberals were not good to work with you that we don't say is not like what I do. So you're not a believer but we want to be sure that we don't muddy up the gospel, we want the gospel to radiate and shine with brilliance. We wanted to look like a diamond with a backdrop of black velvet. That's how we want the gospel to be put forth and so therefore we stand with and identify with those who identify with the gospel.
So were Orthodox historic and fundamentalist. Dr. Pettit has concluded his part of the sermon and now will hear from Dr. Sam Horn. I have been all of my adult life, my family and I have been members of Baptist churches and we have grown and served in and administered by the word. There and it's always been when we go somewhere we move somewhere were in a ministry we join the church and when I came here for and 1/2 years ago. That was our plan. We determined that we would come and we would join a church where we felt our family could thrive where we would be fed. The word and where we would have opportunity to serve. What I didn't expect when I got here was how many options would be available and I think there are many of you are in that same boat and so as we began talking about this is a family looking back on it I we didn't actually lay all of this out.
At that time, but looking back on that experience. There really several questions that were very very helpful to us as we worked our way through that decision and I want to share one of those questions with you today because I think it's the foundation of what you and you and I and any other believer should do when we actually start to think about choosing a church and that question is this. What does this church believe what business church a firm just a moment and I'm going to walk you through the affirmations that Bob Jones University affirms and believes. But I want put that in the context of how to use that as you think about the church choice that your to be making throughout the course of the semester. What does this church believe. What does it affirm in first Timothy chapter 3 verse 15 actually tells us why this question is so important.
Let me read that text Steve first Timothy 315 but if I Terry this is Paul. If I tarry long, that thou may us know how thou ought us to behave thyself in the house of God, and then he said something really important about the church is the church of the living God. And then he describes it this way.
It is the pillar and the ground of truth in our next sermon were to come back and sort of impact that verse, but in essence what it's talking about is this the church is the place where the doctrine that God is given through the apostles is to be lifted up and displayed, and it is the place where it is to be defended and propagated so these affirmation is this doctrine that were talking about matter immensely. And that brings us really then to what should those beliefs actually be when you actually go look at a church and you start considering what it actually believes what should you be looking for you have in your hand a little bookmark that you got on the way and from Chapel that is an example.
It is not the only example is not the perfect example, but it is an example of our attempt here to answer that question. So when you look at the doctrinal statement of a church that you are considering your looking for two things you want to make sure that that church believes the essential truths of the Christian faith. Dr. Pettit mentioned our creed is an example of what those are.
These are true. This if you deny one of these and you do not have New Testament Christianity, you can call it Christianity may have parts of what it looks like to be a Christian but there are certain truths in the Scripture that are so poor, so essential to the Christian faith that to deny them is actually to deny Christianity itself, and then secondly you are looking for important truths that a church holds or an institution holes that are clearly articulated and taught in Scripture and the word that we have for that. Here are these core beliefs and we have been asked to affirm these beliefs and we have eight of them in front of you.
These are not all of the believes that the New Testament which stresses important, but these are the eight that we we have asked one another to affirm it a whole, and I want to read them to you today because I think they're that important and and as you think about your place here as a student. This is the kind of thing that you want to go and ask, as you yourself as you read the doctrinal statement of the church are attending so let's start with the first one. The Bible the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is the inerrant and infallible, historically reliable, providentially preserve revelation of God and because it is that it is sufficient for faith and practice, and the books that were talking about that have these properties. In this ability are the 66 books of the traditional Protestant canon and those are the ones that are true and authoritative that the true and authoritative word of God for the church and so as you as you look at a doctrinal statement you want to find out whether a church actually believes that what we believe about God and what what we believe about Jesus. We believe the triune God exists in three persons who are coeternal and be coequal in nature, attributes and glory.
We also believe that God is the creator of all things in heaven and earth in the providential ruler of all creation. This is going to speak to your view of creation and how seriously you take the word of God and what God is actually sad about how he created the earth and the world and the universe.
What we believe about Jesus. What should we affirm about Jesus minimally that he is the son of God, fully God and fully man incarnated by the power of the Holy Spirit through the virginal conception. You can see elements of our creed that we say every day in this statement Jesus is vicarious, substitutionary penal atonement for the sins of mankind was accomplished.
In this way was accomplished by the shedding of his blood on the cross and in this way through. This means he propitiated the wrath of God against sin and against sinners and God validated and vindicated him. But when he arose bodily from the dead and ascended in glory to the right hand of the father of those are important beliefs. And those are believes that as you think about a church and you think about where you're going to place yourself where you can grow and serve. And these are the kinds of things that a church where you will grow and serve is supposed to elevate it supposed to display the truth about God and about Jesus. What do we actually affirm about man. What does the Bible clearly teach about men. He is a special creation of God made in his own image created male and female, who will live for all eternity, either in heaven or in hell man rebelled against God, resulting in human universal human depravity.
He is unable to save himself from the just wrath of God, or to deliver himself from the penalty of eternal death and torment for sin and then we also believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that God has the right to impose moral and ethical mandates on humanity which he has done through his word. These mandates include things like norms for sexual identity and behavior. Marriage and the protection and present a preservation of human life from conception what we believe about salvation. This is really why you and I are even here why we have the opportunity to make these affirmations. We believe that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ vicarious propitiated Tory and penal atonement alone. Belief we spent an entire semester looking at these ideas.
Some time ago and and many of you in the student body. Remember that we believe the new birth comes to the regeneration of the Holy Spirit as he quickens us and enlightens us so that we see the beauty of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What we believe about the church.
We believe that the New Testament teaches that the local church is central to God's plan for this age for the proclamation of the gospel.
The defense of the truth. The preaching of the word and the worship of God by his people. We believe the local church is indispensable to the spiritual growth and health of every genuine Christian that is one of the reasons why to us is so important that everyone of us be a healthy participant and faithful member of a church that is is the pillar and ground of the truth is being taught in Scripture, we believe the Scriptures restrict the office of pastor or elder to spiritually qualified man Paul speaks very clearly about this in the pastoral epistles the Scriptures we we also believe that believers should regularly attend and serve in a local church that holds doctrinal beliefs and theological positions that are aligned with the Scripture and reflected in the core biblical doctrines that are stated here what we believe about sanctification.
How do we believe that you and me and others who believe the gospel grow in grace. We believe that God's will for his people is that we should be holy and increasingly like Christ for his glory.
We believe that holiness involves several things.
It involves guarding the truth from error.
It involves maintaining purity in faith and doctrine. It involves pursuing a life and practice that is in keeping with the Scripture and in clear antithesis to the surrounding sinful culture. And we also believe that fidelity to Scripture in our progressive sanctification compels us to intentionally separate from sin, worldliness, false teaching and persistently disobedient brothers in Christ, then we also believe some things about the future and here's what we believe. We believe that Jesus Christ will return visibly to deliver his people to judge the world and to establish his kingdom for his glory. Now these eight things that you have little bookmark that you can put in the flyleaf of your Bible. These eight things are things that are clearly and expressly taught in the Scriptures. These are not all the things that you and I believe as Christians. These are the these are not all the crews. For example, if you look at this list.
We don't have a section for the Holy Spirit. We actually believe in the Holy Spirit, we actually believe that he's included in you can see references to him throughout all of these statements is part of the Trinity is how regeneration happens in our life. He is the one who validated Jesus by raising him from the dead. So this is an example of the fact that what's on this document. The affirmations that we have. Do not include everything that a church believes. But these are things that at bare minimal. You should actually think about so when you think about using a church the doctrine of that church is absolutely essential and the first question, the foremost question you should ask is, what does this church actually believe and I have a suggestion for you as we wrap up today. Here's here's here's what what what is help me and I think would help you as you think about this decision.
Here's the first thing find the doctrinal statement of the church you are thinking about actually read it carefully and thoroughly. We took the time in chapel to read eight affirmations not because we think you can't read them yourselves but because they're that important.
And so as you think about the church are considering even if you've been going there for some time. Get the doctrinal statement and actually read it carefully and the number to make sure that you understand what that doctrinal statement is saying clearly.
Take time to go through words that you don't understand or that may be unfamiliar to you, I mean there are words in the eight affirmations statements that I just read to you and that we read together that that many of you probably are going. I'm not exactly sure what that word mean will take the time to find out. There are many study aids. There are study Bibles, there are systematic theologies.
Most of you who have gone through our doctrines. Classes will have been exposed to that language, but if you don't know where you're unsure, take the time to ask somebody who understands and has the theological foundation be able to point you to resources that will help you so read the doctrinal statement carefully understand it clearly and thoroughly and then finally make sure that you can embrace it personally. Make sure that your personal beliefs line up with the church, particularly in these two essential areas in the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith and in the core beliefs that are clearly taught the Scripture.
This is not just an academic exercise is not just a theological exercising you sort of check off, it is actually the first and really the foremost thing that you want to ask is you think about a church. Most churches today have their doctrinal statement readily available in go to their website generally somewhere on that website. Maybe under who they are or what we believe are our foundational identity or or belief statement there will there be a statement of their doctrine and you want to find that statement and you want to make sure that you invest the time to carefully read and thoroughly understand what that church actually believes because that belief is going to affect a lot of other things in the church as will see next week when we come together, shall we pray together, Lord, thank you so much for the opportunity to come together for the entire semester to talk about your church, Lord, it is your church is the church of the living God, and we have been made a part of that church by you through your spirit and your son and so Lord, we take this privilege and are so thankful for it and we want to be responsible members and and regular attenders and participants in the particular local church where you are guiding us and directing us Lord who want to grow and we want to serve and so Lord help us as we make that choice to understand carefully and accurately and thoroughly what the church believes that that we are considering because we want to be submitted to you and we want to be submitted to your word, and so help us with this. We pray in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon by Dr. Sam Horn of the series called church matters.
Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series on church membership here on The Daily Platform