The Regulative Principle in Practice – A Concise Statement from “The Deliberate Church” by Mark Dever

“Working contrary to God’s processes often means working contrary to His purposes.”

–     Mark Dever, The Deliberate Church, pg 28

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Our Church Covenant

Considering Church Covenants – Here is ours

A church covenant is only good so long as it binds members to one another for established commands and patterns of scripture. Church covenants should not bring anything new or innovative into the lives of church members. Rather, is should highlight explicit commands and principles that God has already spoken.

Hope Baptist Church Membership Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to repent, believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and profess our allegiance to Him, having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ. Acts 2:38, Mark 9:23, John 11:26 Heb.11:6,John 1:12-13, I Pet. 2:6, Matt. 28:19-20 Romans 8:1

We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love. 1 Cor 13:1-13, Eph. 4:1-6, John 13:34

We will seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances and strangers who have not repented for saving faith in Christ; to be in prayer for the spiritual awakening of the lost in our community, and to be a faithful witness of the gospel both here and to the remotest part of the earth. Matt. 28:19, Luke 24:44-48, Acts 1:3-8. Gen 12:3
We will strive for the advancement of this Church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; and to submit to its leaders as they are faithful to Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25, Hebrews 13:17, I Thess.4:12-15

We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. I Cor. 9:1-27, Prov. 15:15, Job 34:19, Matt. 5:3, Mark 10:21, Luke 4:18
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others; nor avoid the meetings of the church. Hebrews 10:25, Hebrews 5:5, Acts 2:42-47

We will also maintain family and private devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith and demonstrate the love of Christ in all of our household relationships. Eph. 6:1-4 Psalm 78 Deut. 6:1-9

We will watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment. Matt 19:15-20 Col. 2:9-10, Eph.5:1-2, Eph. 6:18

We will abstain from gluttony, drunkenness, illicit drugs, materials, entertainments or practicing things which jeopardize our own or another’s faith. Psalm 1:1-6, Eph. 5:3-12, Col: 3:1-17, II Cor. 12:20, Romans 1:30, Lev. 19:16, Eccl. 10:11, Galatians 5:21, Deuteronomy 21:20, 1 Corinthians 6:10, Proverbs 23:21, Psalm 101:1-2

We will cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; strive to avoid all scriptural prohibitions, such as tattling, backbiting and unrighteous anger; to refrain from speaking evil of one another; to be slow to take offense; to think the best of one another; and always ready for biblical reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay so far as it depends upon us. Psalm 19:14 Psalm 34:13-14, Eph. 4:29, I Peter 3:8-12, Matt 5:21-26, Titus 3:10, Prov 26:20-26

We will, if necessary, submit to biblically defined and regulated church discipline for the purpose of reconciliation with God and man and we accept that refusing to communicate or to flee is to usurp the power of the church and break this covenant. Matt. 18:15:20, Heb 12:11, 1 Cor 5:1-13, 1 John 2:19, 1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Cor 2:1-11, Luke 17:4

We will, when we move from this place, if possible, unite with a church which upholds the “Essential Doctrines” defined in the church constitution and where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant.

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The NCFIC at Mass Hope

We give thanks to God for the folks at Heritage Christian Church for representing the NCFIC at the Massachusetts homeschool conference last week.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians

 

Here is a wonderful summary of the kind of people we ought to be – The Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians.

“For over twenty years I have been researching and studying churches, primarily those in North America. I had the joy of serving as senior pastor in four churches where God blessed with evangelistic growth. I have written over twenty books about the church in America.

I am not giving you my credentials to impress you, but simply to share that my life’s passion has been leading and learning about evangelistic churches. At this point in my life and ministry, however, I realize that I have not given sufficient attention to one of the primary characteristics of evangelistic churches.

The Great Omission

It is so obvious. Indeed it is so clear that I am surprised at my neglect of this factor. Stated simply, the evangelistic churches that I have researched for the past twenty years have one or more highly evangelistic Christians.

I know. The previous statement is no great revelation. It is almost stating the obvious. But, if it is reality, why are we not hearing more about these Christians who seem to have a passion for evangelism? Why are we not doing a better job of telling their stories?

In this short article I hope to address this great omission.

Seven Characteristics

It is inevitable that, when we do research on evangelistic churches, we learn about one or more members in the church who, to use the book title by Charles H. Spurgeon, embody the traits of “The Soul Winner.” Oftentimes one of those members is the pastor. But we have also seen many laypersons who are themselves soul winners.

In our interviews with these people, or with those who tell us about the soul winners, we began to discern some clear patterns. We called those patterns “the seven characteristics of highly evangelistic Christians.”

1. They are people of prayer. They realize that only God can convict and convert, and they are totally dependent upon Him in prayer. Most of the highly evangelistic Christians spend at least an hour in prayer each day.

2. They have a theology that compels them to evangelize. They believe in the urgency of the gospel message. They believe that Christ is the only way of salvation. They believe that anyone without Christ is doomed for a literal hell.

3. They are people who spend time in the Word. The more time they spend in the Bible, the more likely they are to see the lostness of humanity and the love of God in Christ to save those who are lost.

4. They are compassionate people. Their hearts break for those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They have learned to love the world by becoming more like Christ who has the greatest love for the world.

5. They love the communities where God has placed them. They are immersed in the culture because they desire for the light of Christ to shine through them in their communities.

6. They are intentional about evangelism. They pray for opportunities to share the gospel. They look for those opportunities. And they see many so-called casual encounters as appointments set by God.

7. They are accountable to someone for their evangelistic activities. They know that many good activities can replace Great Commission activities if they are not careful. Good can replace the best. So they make certain that someone holds them accountable each week, either formally or informally, for their evangelistic efforts.

The “Secret” of Evangelistic Churches

The secret is really no secret at all. Ultimately, evangelistic churches see more persons become Christians through the passionate efforts of highly evangelistic Christians. More than any programs. More than any church events. More than anything else, we are the instruments God has chosen to use.

Sometimes we ask the question “What is my church doing to become more evangelistic?” But the better question is “What am I doing to become more evangelistic?”

Charles H. Spurgeon was right. We need more soul winners.

We need more highly evangelistic Christians.

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Memorial Day Picnic – Monday May 31

It’s that time again… You are invited to an Old Fashioned Memorial Day Picnic at the Brown Farm where the food and the speeches and fellowship and the gospel are all free.
Click HERE to find out more.

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The Differences Between the Westminster Confession and the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689

The world has been blessed by the Westminster Confession of Faith. It has been a bulwark in the defense of biblical Christianity. Here is an amazing web site that shows the differences between it and the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith in a very helpful and illuminating format. It is called, A Tabular Comparison of the 1646 WCF and the 1689 LBCF.

The NCFIC is regularly exhorting church leaders to provide doctrinal clarity to the people in their churches by adopting a historical confession of the faith. Of course, we at the NCFIC heartily recommend the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. We contend that a church without a detailed doctrinal confession is a vulnerable to ignorance, confusion, wolves and apostasy.

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Our Team With The Elders and Deacons at Immanuel Free Reformed Church

The weekend was filled with meetings with the church family and the elders and deacons at Immanuel Free Reformed Church in Stevens, Pa. If you live in this area, I recommend this as a sound church to attend.

We had a team of ten with us from Hope Baptist and were blessed by their hospitality and kindness towards us and receptivity to our teaching. It was such a happy time together.

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Fallout from the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference

Here is a note I received Thursday from a pastor who attended the SOS conference we had last December,

The Sufficiency of Scripture conference in December is still affecting my wife and I in so many ways. Never before has a conference so effectively brought the truth of God’s word into our daily living, into the very way we think and act. So many times a conference is very encouraging, but the euphoria dissipates quickly, and the net change in our lives is not that significant. Not this conference. The rubber really hit the road in the months that have followed, which I believe is a testimony to how much the Lord is using the NCFIC.” G.B.

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Here are the “Pillars” of Hope Baptist

 

The Centrality of the Gospel – All activities and messages of the church have their source in the gospel of Christ, that sinners are justified by faith alone, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s decree alone, and that this righteousness is the only righteousness that justifies and that faith that is true faith is evidenced by works. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Revelation 14:6-7)

Expository Preaching – We believe that a steady diet of expositional preaching is the most effective way to build up the body of Christ. Preaching and teaching through books of the Bible will be the primary emphasis of this ministry (Deut 6:4-9; Ezra 7:10; Neh 8:1-12; Matt 4:4; 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 3:14-4:5; Titus 1:3, 9; Heb 4:12; 1 Peter 1:22-2:3).

Fervent Prayer – Every aspect of the church’s life and ministry ought to be under girded with regular, fervent prayer. Elements of a godly prayer life (individually and corporately) include: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and intercession (Neh 1; Psalm 51; Matt 6:5-15; Luke 19:46; Phil 1:3-11; Col 1:3-12; James 5:13-18).

Authentic Worship – Authentic worship of the living God is marked by biblical truth, personal and corporate genuineness and spiritual depth. Elements of worship include prayer, singing, Scripture reading and preaching and the Lord’s table (Psalm 24, 33, 42, 95; Isa 6:1-8; Matt 4:10; John 4:24; Rom 12:1-2; Heb 13:15; Rev 4-5; 1 Cor 11:23-34).

Loving Community – We will cultivate Christian love, rejoicing, unity and community in the family of God through mentoring relationships, benevolence and biblical instruction (Acts 2:44-47; 6:1-7; Eph 4:1-16; 1 Tim 5:3-8; 2 Tim 2:2; Titus 2:3-5; James 1:27).

Church Discipline – We will exercise biblical church discipline administered in a spirit of obedience and humility and believe that this practice protects the purity of the church and offers restoration to the wayward (Prov 28:13; Matt 5:23-24; 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:6-8; 11:17-34; Gal 6:1-5; Eph 5:25-27).

Personal Evangelism – We will equip and send the church into the community to bring the message of the cross to our own households, neighborhoods, workplaces and the world (Matt 28:19-20; John 20:31; Acts 4:12; Rom 10:14-15; 1 Peter 3:15).

Church Planting – . We will make intentional efforts to reach the world for Christ by praying, giving, going and planting as we rejoice in God’s plan to be a blessing to the nations. (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 13-14, 16-21).

The Sufficiency of Scripture – We will regard scripture as sufficient for life and godliness, so it must be consulted for all things. We will use it for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness to speak into the lives of those in the congregation.

The Regulative Principle – We will attempt to regulate church life by scripture alone recognizing that God has instituted in the Scriptures everything He requires for worship in the Church and that everything else is prohibited. Therefore, the only permissible elements of worship are those that are instituted by command, precept, or example or by good and necessary consequence and that whatever is not warranted by scripture is forbidden.

This is another way of saying that Christ has authority over His church through the Word of God (Matt 16:18; Romans 1:16; 10:17.)

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Manhood on Display – A Tale of Two Ships

Albert Mohler reports on recent analysis of the displays of manhood and their relation to the treatment of women aboard two ships – The Titanic and the Lusitania. He writes, “Aboard the Lusitania, young males acted out of a selfish survival instinct, and women and children were cast aside, left to the waves. Aboard the Titanic, there was time for men to consider what was at stake and to call themselves to a higher morality. There was time for conscience to raise its voice and authority, and for men, young and old, to know and to do their duty.”

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“Keeping” the Sabbath Day from the Barbarians Which Would Over Run It

 

Fear will overrun it
Greed will overturn it
Obsession will overwhelm it
Ungodliness will overthrow it
Antinomianism will nullify it

It has to be kept safe from the barbarians in the heart, the culture and even in the church which will trample on it until there is no one left on earth whose schedule is governed by God. What are we talking about? The Fourth Commandment requires that we, “keep” it, meaning that we guard and protect and build a fence around it so that it is not trampled on.

This is hard because there is a public war against the keeping  the Sabbath day.

As with all the commandments the devil is always waging war with the fourth commandment. He places many stumbling stones in our way and attempts to disfigure it and eliminate it or keep us from it. This is why we must “observe” or guard the Sabbath day.

The French revolutionaires abolished the Sabbath.

In Egypt the children of Israel had lost their computation of it and Pharoah did not allow the children of Israel to observe it.

The pagan enlightenment philosopher of the eighteenth century, Voltaire, wrote, “if you wish to destroy the Christian religion you must first destroy the Christian Sabbath.”

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Deacons as Shock Absorbers

9 Marks has just released a journal containing a half dozen articles on the ministry of deacons. Jonathan Leeman writes,

“The New Testament only mentions this unassuming office two, maybe three times (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13; cf. Rom. 16:1). But pay attention. It seems to direct the deacon’s attention to the church’s physical good, which in turn will serve the church’s spiritual good. The deacon is a unity builder—and shock absorber! There should be nothing unspiritual about a deacon.”

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Sincere and Affectionate Catechizing – John G. Paton

 

Family worship can become a resented drudgery or a longed for joy. This is powerfully illustrated by John G. Paton, the faithful missionary to the cannibals of the New Hebrides islands, in his autobiography “Missionary Patriarch.” Paton discusses radically different results from what was fundamentally the same activity:

It has been an amazing thing to me, occasionally to meet with men who blamed this “catechizing” for giving them a distaste to religion; every one in all our circle thinks and feels exactly the opposite. It laid the solid rock-foundations of our religious life. After-years have given to these questions and their answers a deeper or a modified meaning, but none of us have ever once even dreamed of wishing that we had been otherwise trained. Of course, if the parents are not devout, sincere, and affectionate, – if the whole affair on both sides is taskwork, or worse, hypocritical and false, – results must be very different indeed!

Consider coming to the Hope Baptist Child Training conference, “The Training and Admonition of the Lord.”

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A Biblical Analysis of Age Segregated Youth Ministry

The following will appear in my upcoming book on youth ministry:

“Do the methods for the evangelism and discipleship of youth matter? Does Scripture speak specifically to the issue of youth ministry? This book suggests that they matter greatly. Further, it shows that a tragic blindness exists in Christian culture regarding ministry to youth. While God has spoken clearly about how to minister to youth in His Word, that Word seems to be completely ignored in modern church life, and has been replaced with a cheap substitute. And, to make matters worse, youth are being destroyed through this modern method of discipleship. It is indisputably unbiblical in its method, inherently destructive in its effect, and undeniably unchristian in its origin. Even though this is true, most people will reject the message of this book. After all, age segregation is the biggest business in the church and its all we’ve ever done.

Believers are charged to take every thought and every practice captive by examining everything by the standard of scripture. Unfortunately, we live in an era where many churches have orthodox doctrinal statements, but not practices that are consistent with them. We have an intellectual orthodoxy without a biblical orthopraxy to match it. What is actually done week to week in our churches is very different from what is written in scripture.”

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NCFIC Book Blog — Principles for Helping Children Choose Marriage Partners

"The process of getting and staying married is severely malfuctioning in in our land. With the divorce rate in the church statisticially indistinguishable from the unbelieving world, it would not be be considered hyperbole to say that today’s marriages in the churches are a moral distaster.  As we have slowly adopted the ways of the world in nearly every area of life in order to maintin our respectability, at the same time, we have lost our ability to properly join our children in marriage.  Out chilren have been left with unworkable methods in a broken godless system.

This is why I hope these culturally acceptable practices would be abandoned by the church and replaced with more rational and intentionally biblical approaches."

Text quoted from Helping Them to Choose: The Duty of Christian Parents edited by Scott T. Brown. For more details about this book or to purchase click HERE.

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