Sunday, May 14, 2017

The blessing of a Bible-teaching church

One of the joys of attending a church in a busy metropolitan area is to meet people who are passing through.  Yesterday at church I had the delight of meeting two foreigners.  The foreign visitors were passing through to visit family in Australia.  They were in town for a short period.

The visitors were from a far flung place.  They named their town and their church.  For context I'll not reveal any detail beyond identifying it as a place known commonly as the home of the Church of England.

A conversation over coffee was interesting in that the visitors made quite pointed references to their 'born-again minister' and the 'solid Bible teaching'  of their home church.  The two phrases -'born-again minister' and the 'solid Bible teaching' peppered the early part of their conversation.

My interest in the use of these phrases was heightened.  Why did they specifically use both of these phrases?  Weren't all churches in their area led by Christian ministers?  Wasn't the Bible taught clearly in all churches in their home town? (Indeed, I had not heard 'born-again' used for sometime).

On querying them I learnt that within the vicinity where the people lived:

  • many ministers were seen as being customary or rote teachers.  Their faith was often not evident.  The ministers were often open about their homosexuality and often lived in homosexual relationships,
  • the Bible often was used secondarily to the quotation of theologians or other teachers,  

The visitors deeply treasured their home church and had come to appreciate that it was somewhat a rarity.  They expressed appreciation at the quality of the teaching they had heard only moments earlier.  It was plausible that use of "born-again", in reference to their minister, signalled a very important standard for them: a solid and God-righteous minister. [An aside: it was a female minister].

It was a heartfelt conversation.  I was glad to offer them encouragement.  My own faith and Christian walk was enriched by being reminded that I was at a church that offered solid spiritual food.

We should all thank God for the quality of teaching that is available to us.  We should never take it for granted!

"He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, 
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, 
who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— 
the Lord God Almighty is his name." Amos 4:13 NIV


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