Friday, April 10, 2009

Biblical Church by Author Beresford Job

“Biblical Church: a Challenge to Unscriptural Tradition and Practice!”

Every once in a while a book comes along which not only challenges the foundations of accepted Christian understanding, it actually tears them up and replaces them with completely new ones. This is one such book.

If you have assumed that you have an understanding of the New Testament teaching on church life and practise then this book will challenge you to reconsider your viewpoint on every level.

Combining meticulously researched scholarship and exegesis with over thirty years of practical experience pioneering New Testament church life and practice, the author takes the reader on a journey of discovery to regain possibly the most important lost biblical truths and understandings since the time of the Reformers.

Biblical Church: A Challenge to un-Scriptural Traditions and Practice! will change your thinking forever and completely revolutionize your understanding of one of the most fundamental and important aspects of the teaching of scripture.

Questions covered by this book:

  • What was the conflict between Jesus and Israel really about?

  • What is ‘the Tradition of the Elders’?

  • Why is it that for 1800 years churches have been so completely different to those we see in the New Testament?

  • What were the New Testament churches actually like?

  • Does the New Testament teach and prescribe a particular way for churches to be?

  • Why did the Early Church Fathers reverse the teaching of the New Testament about church life?

  • What do leading evangelical scholars have to say concerning these issues?

For three decades the author, Beresford Job, has been involved on both sides of the Atlantic in helping to start and nurture churches which are based purely on the teachings and practises revealed in the New Testament. He argues powerfully that what history has come to refer to as the Reformation is not yet complete, and that the restoration of biblical truth regarding Justification by Faith needs to now be followed by a similar restoration concerning what churches should be like and the way in which church life is experienced.

Incredible though it may seem the simple truth is that for 1800 years the Christian Church, when it comes to practise and set up, has been based upon teachings and traditions introduced by men who came on the scene after the Apostles of Jesus were dead and therefore after the New Testament was fully written. Four simple things differentiate biblically based churches from those that have existed for most of church history, and this book argues that the challenge before us is to align ourselves with scripture rather than mere human tradition:

1) Each New Testament church was numerically small and therefore needed nothing other than homes to meet in. The idea was to have as many small churches as possible in any given geographical area rather than fewer numerically large ones.

2) When a church met for its weekly Sunday gathering the format was strictly that everyone was free to take part as the Spirit led them. All present were used by the Lord in different ways to edify their brothers and sisters and each person was seen to have a unique contribution to make. Unbelievable though it may seem to the vast majority of Christians there is no such thing in the New Testament as a church ‘service.’ Further, because of this format and design passed on by the Lord to the Apostles, there was also no need for anyone to lead the proceedings from the front. Indeed, in a lounge in someone’s home there is no ‘front’ to lead from. Equally unbelievable is that neither is there any such thing in the New Testament as ‘the Minister’ of a church.

3) The other aspect of their weekly Sunday gatherings was that the Lord’s Supper was an actual meal which those present ate together, the loaf and cup being shared together as part of it. Basically a church was seen to be an extended family of the Lord’s people, and the New Testament format for church gatherings was such that those present could actually function as such. Here was spiritual intimacy, here was close, genuine and significant fellowship and the freedom for believers to truly gather together around the Lord to celebrate his presence in their midst.

4) When it came to church government the New Testament clearly shows that decisions were made collectively by all in the church with leaders, referred to as elders, shepherds or overseers, being merely part of the decision-making process rather than the process itself. Further, this function of local church leadership was undertaken by brothers raised up from within, and recognised by, the church of which they were a part. Itinerant ministries from outside of each church augmented such local leadership on a limited, occasional and temporary basis, but the practise of some ‘professional’ coming in from the outside as a permanent leader of a church is alien to the New Testament. As already noted, scripture knows nothing of ‘the Pastor’ of a church.

However strange the above description of church life may appear no serious Biblical scholar would disagree with the simple proposition that it is simply, and quite unarguably, what churches in New Testament times were like whilst the teachings of the Apostles of Jesus held sway. Quote after quote from top evangelical scholars is offered as confirmation that the burden of the book is fully aligned with scripture, and all necessary textual, cultural and historical relevancies are dealt with in detail in its pages.

We therefore urge you to accept the challenge this book presents and in reading it to be willing to question and rethink some of the most important issues any Christian will ever have to face. Every word on every page is written on the absolute understanding that only what scripture clearly reveals is of any importance whatever, and you will be amazed to discover what clear and self-evident biblical truths regarding church life, as confirmed by top evangelical scholarship, have been obscured and neglected because of the simple fact that Christians are doing the exact opposite and don’t even realise it. The need before us is nothing less than the process of a full return to the teaching of scripture, and “Biblical Church: a Challenge to Unscriptural Tradition and Practice!” clarifies the issues and makes crystal clear what the way forward regarding church life and practise should be.

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