PMT 2014-002b Jeffrey K. Boer
Note: This is our fourth installment on how to find a biblical church. We will pick up where we left off in our previous article. Please consult the previous articles for the preceding points.
13. Biblical Education and Training of Children
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Parents, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
As our Savior welcomed little children, so we should welcome children in our worship services in order that they can learn to worship God with their parents. The pastor may often address the children specifically in the sermon as well. While parents should be encouraged to keep their children in the worship service as much as possible, small children can sometimes be a significant distraction to their parents and to other worshipers in the service. In such cases it’s often very helpful to parents if members volunteer to take turns serving in a nursery to care for such children during worship. This service also provides an opportunity for other members of the church to develop loving relationships with these little children. Sometimes other members may volunteer to have one or more children from large families sit with them in the worship service.
A faithful church should strongly encourage and support Christian day school or Christian home school education also. Parents must often sacrifice in order to give their children a Christian education, so the church might want to set up a scholarship fund to help in the Christian training of those who may not be able to afford it. Also, special programs and activities, which include children and adults together, can help the adults of the church get to know the children and can help the children to learn much by the example of their elders. Dividing the congregation up into men’s groups and women’s groups and youth groups and elderly groups can sometimes squelch the opportunity for all the members of the church to minister to one another most effectively.
“Reformed Sunday School” (2 CDs by Ken Gentry)
Two sermons on issues sometimes debated in Reformed circles:
(1) Women & Ministry. Defends women’s role in church in teaching women and children while maintaining that they are not to teach men.
(2) Reformed Theology & Sunday School. An historical and exegetical defense of Sunday school from a Reformed perspective, against both home-church and reformed arguments.
14. Biblical Counsel
Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
God has given us His word to help us to deal with the various problems and issues we face in our daily lives. If there’s a physical problem, we should see a medical doctor. If there’s a spiritual or psychological or emotional problem, we should seek biblical counsel. Psychiatrists and psychologists are not “experts” in the word of God and therefore they are not suitable as counselors for most of the problems we face in life. If a pastor is thoroughly trained in the Scriptures, he is more than adequate to counsel you regarding your problems. We would recommend that pastors become familiar with the writings of Dr. Jay E. Adams who has written numerous excellent books about counseling and preaching. Through personal counsel as well as attendance at the preaching and teaching functions of the church, you should receive plenty of sound guidance from God’s word. In addition to the pastor, many of the members of a faithful church should also be quite capable of giving good advice regarding numerous matters.
Romans 15:14 says, “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” As you become more knowledgeable of the word of God, you, too, will be able to help counsel others.
15. Biblical World and Life View
Colossians 3:17, 23-24 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
I Corinthians 10:31-33 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God…even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
We don’t agree with the sacred/secular division of labor that so many churches teach today. Some would have you believe that only pastors or missionaries who preach the Gospel are “full time” Christian workers. The Scriptures, however, hold every legitimate calling of Christians to be a “sacred” calling in which they must serve God full time. As such, every Christian is involved in “kingdom activity,” even though he may not be preaching the Gospel. Such kingdom activity will have an evangelistic effect on those around us, either hardening or softening them to the Gospel, depending on whether or not they are chosen by God to come to repentance and salvation.
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We should not demean the labors of church members who work in the business world or who work as homemakers or politicians or whatever, by calling such labors “secular work.” On the contrary, we should encourage such people to see their vocations as their primary means of serving God in His Kingdom. In addition, we should encourage them in their personal study of the Scriptures and other good Christian literature so that they can defend the teachings of Scripture to those around them.
I Peter 3:15-16 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Yet how few Christians even know what their church teaches, much less have the ability to defend it with Scripture.
Teaching for a Change (by Norman De Jong)
Calls Christians to a biblical philosophy of education that deals with human nature, revealed truth, and a child’s need to be transformed.