WHO’S IN AUTHORITY HERE?

Dear Friends and Family,

Day one of the seminar is finished. Three to go. The lectures were routine but I added to one lecture because of what I learned from Faly about “authority” in this culture. And one line of questioning at the end of the day was not.

The four lectures today focused on establishing the Scriptures as our one and only authority, establishing a philosophy of ministry with an understanding that God is a holy God at the center, the pastor’s call and role (servant of Christ, steward of the Word, and an example to the church), and the qualifications that are to be met if one is to be a pastor/elder/bishop/overseer (all the same guy in the New Testament).

NEW INSIGHT

I was asking Faly about what I heard in South Africa last week, that culturally the “word” of a person with gray hair is considered “authoritative.” To the point that if not corrected is placed on the same level as the authority of Scripture. So, in the middle of the first lecture on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, I slipped that in by mentioning that growing up, my mother and father were authorities in my life and then when I because a Christian, I had to learn to place the authority of God’s Word above their authority. Then applied it to them before moving on.

This is one of the hidden filters we have to deal with and if you aren’t aware of them, you won’t address them. Then when you address them, you have to be careful not to offend the culture.

QUESTIONS

Q: If a person does not meet the qualifications listed in 1 Tim 3:2-7, can he be a minister (pastor)? ANS: I should have put the ball back in his court and made him answer it, since the answer is obvious. I didn’t. Answer? No! But then I went on to note that these qualifications are meant to be things we all strive for but leaders are to be examples of them already and I mentioned Heb 13:7, “remember those who led you . . . . consider their conduct and imitate their faith.”

Q: In one lecture you mentioned that ‘sects’ say the Bible is not enough and they add other books. Can you give an example? ANS: Mormonism adds the Book of Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses re-write many verses in the New Testament to change the meaning to make it more compatible with what they teach.

Q: What’s a sect? ANS: Any false religion. Then Faly jumped in and added, any group that has another “scripture,” “savior,” or “way of salvation.” (I liked that.)

But the discussion went on because in Madagascar, any group that is not registered with the government might be classified a ‘sect.’ Even Baptists at one time were.

Then Najo, another team member, took us to 2 Pet 2:2, “. . . and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.” (HCSB) Any group that blasphemes the truth is a sect.

NUMBERS

We budgeted for 50 but only about 12 came this first day. This does not have to be bad news. Though we want as many pastors as possible exposed to sound biblical teaching and be challenge to adopt a purely biblical ministry, if out of this group, one or two men truly grasp what we are talking about and move towards and in a couple of years become a “model churches,” we will rejoice!

MODEL CHURCH?

I asked Faly for the minimum requirements of a model church in ITEM’s view. We kicked that around a bit. That is something we must start thinking about. If you don’t know where you are going, then none of the roads will take you there.

PRAISE AND PRAYER

Praise for who God brought to the seminar.

Pray that the lectures will penetrate the cultural and traditional fog that might be surrounding any of the hearts of those in attendance.

Pray that at least one of the pastors in attendance will be “chosen” by God to eventually be the pastor of a model church.

I appreciate each of you and thank you for your prayers.

By His grace,

Steve

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM where I added 14 pictures today.

 

 

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