Article XII – The Biblical Revelation Is Sufficient for Worship and Discipleship

We affirm that the biblical doctrine, principles and precepts that God has revealed in His Word for corporate, family, and individual worship and discipleship are sufficient for knowing how to worship God in a manner acceptable to Him and for the effective edification of the saints. (1 Cor. 11:1-12; 14:34; Gal. 1:8-9; Eph. 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4).

We deny/reject that the church should invent and institute her own principles and methods for corporate worship and discipleship that disregard or replace the explicit teaching of Scripture.

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Is it Wrong to Emphasize Holiness?



Here is a short clip from Dr. Richard D. Phillips titled, “Holiness & Self-Righteousness?” It is often said in modern Christendom that to focus on holiness and obedience to God leads to self-righteousness. Dr. Phillips shows that this is far from the truth. 

 

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Why Don’t Churches Practice Church Discipline?



Why don’t churches practice church discipline? Chuck Lawless gives twelve reasons he has noticed why they don’t. Here’s the article:

Some years ago, I conducted a study and wrote a book on membership classes in local churches. Many of those churches included teaching church covenants in their membership class, but they talked very little about church discipline. That is, they established expectations but did not always talk about accountability. Since then, I’ve conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don’t do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.

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Does Man Have a Free Will?



The Four States of Man’s Free Will

This has been the subject of much debate throughout church history. Heresies have been crafted and proclaimed on the basis of a wrong view of this critical doctrine. It would be an understatement to say, “This is an important doctrine.” No, this is a really important doctrine, and it is important that we are grounded in a biblical view of free will.

Man’s free will is often looked at in four states. The first one, which is discussed in paragraph 2 of the confession, is free will in the state of innocence. Man in that state (before the Fall) was able to will and obey God. Yet the confession affirms that it “was unstable, so that he might fall from it.” In other words, man was not only able to will and to do God’s will, but was also able to will and to disobey what God had commanded, which they did. 

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Article XI – The Church is a Family of Believers that Includes Families

We affirm that local churches are spiritual households of faith, and that congregations of the visible church include individuals and family units that should be cared for and strengthened by the church to fulfill their God ordained roles, not only as individuals but also as families (Eph. 4:1-32; 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

We deny/reject the current trend in churches that ignores the family unit, is blind to strengthening it, systematically segregates it, and does not properly equip her members to be faithful family members.

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Andrew Fuller on Church Discipline


David Prince has extracted some important sections from The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. These quotations reflect the various conflicts and difficulties that always follow church discipline situations. I highly recommend this article, Gospel-Centered Church Discipline – Andrew Fuller (1754-1815).

Here is the article:

I have added the headings below to help arrange and organize the material. The quotations are from a message Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) gave in 1799 titled The Discipline of Primitive Churches Illustrated and Enforced. It is full of clear and concise on a Gospel-centered application of church discipline.

Must Not Promote a Party Spirit

If uniformity be required in such a degree as that every difference in judgment or practice shall occasion a separation, the churches may be always dividing into parties, which we are persuaded was never encouraged by the apostles of our Lord, and cannot be justified in trivial or ordinary cases. A contrary practice is expressly taught us in the Epistle to the Romans (chap. 14); and the cases in which it is to be exercised are there pointed out. An object of forbearance, however, must be one that may exist without being an occasion of dispute and wrangling in the church; it must “not be to doubtful disputations,” ver. 1. It must also respect things which do not enter into the essence of God’s kingdom, the leading principles of which are “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” ver. 16, 17.

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A Network of Very Unusual Churches



The NCFIC maintains an online network called the, “FIC Network.” In order to be listed, these churches must indicate that they fully or substantially embrace the “Declaration for the Complementary Roles of Church and Family.” The churches which have identified with the NCFIC on the network are very unusual in the American landscape. I have been traveling and meeting leaders of these churches face to face over the past several months at “regional leaders meetings.” Thus far, I have traveled to: Orlando, FL; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Davenport, IA; Winston-Salem, NC; Chesapeake, VA; Boise, ID; Phoenix, AZ; and Bremerton, WA.

Following are twenty characteristics of these churches. I have shared some of these things at the meetings we’ve had. As you read through this list, ask yourself: “What percentage of churches in America share these qualities?”

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How to Persevere Laboring with Little Results


Here is a beautiful article by Don Whitney on, “The fields ARE white for harvest, even when you see few conversions”:

When you see few, if any, conversions in your place of ministry, it can be hard to believe that what Jesus said in John 4:35 is true.

In that verse He said to His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

It’s important to realize that He said this in Samaria—a place where Jews (like Jesus and His disciples) weren’t welcome and where Jesus had seen only one convert, and that one just a few minutes earlier

In other words, the twelve apostles did not consider Samaria a place where there had been, or likely ever would be, many conversions.

And yet Jesus said it was—and by extension the places where we serve Him now are—fields white for harvest.

But most of us know too well the grim reality that you can labor faithfully for a long time and see few, if any conversions. Hosea prophesied God’s Word for seventy years. Isaiah preached faithfully for fifty. But both of them had reason to pray the prayer of Isaiah, “Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).

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Christology 101 – The Doctrine of Christ



The last chapter of the confession dealt with the covenant God made with His elect, the covenant of grace. In this chapter of the confession, the authors take a close look at the mediator of the covenant: Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” Christ is the God-Man. He is fully God, yet fully man. It is a great mystery how two distinct complete and distinct natures are joined in one person “without conversion, composition, or confusion.”

It was absolutely necessary for Christ to come and be the surety of the covenant, to pay the price of redemption for those whom God elected to save before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-14). God is a holy God, and He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). Christ willingly undertook this task. He lived a life of perfect obedience to His Father, a life that we could never live. He bore our sins, “made sin and a curse for us,” and paid the penalty that we deserved. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). God’s wrath had to be satisfied, the penalty must be paid, and Christ did so on behalf of His people.

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Books Every Family Should Read

Sinclair Ferguson has written three really excellent books for children on Polycarp, Irenaeus and Ignatius, all whom were friends and evangelized by John-the disciple of Jesus. I read them after purchasing them at the Banner of Truth Ministers Conference. They are very nicely illustrated and good for children.

These are indispensable books for the Christian family. I highly encourage you to get them and read them to your family.

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The God Who Disciplines Sons

Are you being disciplined by God? Does your church participate in discipline the way the Bible explains? The answer to the first question will reveal whether or not you are a Christian, and the answer to the second question will reveal whether you are in a faithful or unfaithful church. Far from being something that ought to be avoided at all costs, discipline is a sign that we are God’s children: “For whom the LORD loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

It is critical that we examine our lives to see if we are being chastised by the Lord, and to embrace sound doctrine on the matter so that we can communicate this aspect of His glory in the world.

At The Church Discipline Conference, I will be giving a message explaining this whole matter of the discipline of God in more detail. I hope that you will be able to join me! 

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Article X – The Church Is Essential for Biblical Family Life

We affirm that biblical involvement in local churches including her worship services, meetings, preaching, ordinances, relationships, evangelism, prayers and instruction, is  required for the equipping of individuals and families to fulfill their God ordained mission (Rom. 12:10, 13; 15:5; 1 Cor. 11:33; 12:25; Eph. 4:11-12; 5:19; 1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11; Heb. 10:24-25; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10).

We deny/reject that the family can replace the church, that the local church should play a minor role in the life of a family, or that the family should neglect the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Transitioning from Childhood to Adulthood in the Church

We have many young people in our church who have moved past the childhood stage and are now in a new season of life. It seems like yesterday that all we had were little children in the church. It was like preaching to a gigantic children’s church.

We still have lots of children, but now we have lots of young adults. Parents and pastors eventually have to face different forms of this transition. It feels like it happens at lightning speed, and it is easy to catch you off guard. (more…)

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$5 Fatherhood Sale

As Father’s Day quickly approaches, we are offering a sale on our resources on the topic of fatherhood. One of our objectives here at the NCFIC is to work for the restoration of the biblically defined role of fathers who diligently teach their children.

From now until June 20th, all resources on fatherhood will be $5! We have listed the resources below for your convenience:

Building a Godly Home, Vol. 3 – Normally $13.95, now only $5
Building a God-Centered Family – Normally $7.95, now only $5
A New Kind of Father – Normally $24.95, now only $5
Fatherhood MP3 – Normally $29.95, now only $5
Preparing Boys for Battle – Normally $15.95, now only $5

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God’s Covenant and the Gospel

God’s covenant with man magnifies the mercy and grace of God. The first paragraph speaks of this infinite gap between God and man. It is a gap that man can never bridge, it’s impossible. Though man are to obey and honor God in all things, we could never obtain eternal life by obedience.

Thus, the only way that man could be saved is “by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.” When Adam fell, all of mankind, from Adam and Eve to all of the generations after them, were brought under a curse.

It is only by, referring to the covenant of grace, “the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality.” It is important that we understand the covenants which God has voluntarily established. Are you grounded in a biblical understanding of God’s covenant? Download the lecture on chapter 7 of the 1689 London Baptist Confessing of Faith.

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