A Description Of Bible Based Churches
Posted by Job on September 8, 2008
I do not agree with all of this, but it is food for thought.
The Bible expositional churches are recognized by their commitment to Bible teaching as the primary mandate of a local church. They believe the church’s purpose is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11,12). The movement centered in America, often among middle or upper classes, is most effective with a technically “educated” clergyman who is characterized by expositional teaching/preaching of Scripture. Two leading spokesmen and examples of church growth by the evangelical Bible church are Dr. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, Panorama City, California, and Dr. Charles Swindoll, founder of First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California.
A predominant characteristic of evangelicalism is a rational approach to conversion, whereas fundamentalists lean toward an experiential or emotional approach to salvation. While evangelistic churches emphasize soul-winning evangelism through the pulpit and organized outreach, the evangelical Bible church attempts to equip their members to witness through natural contracts or Bible study groups. The evangelistic church generally preaches enthusiastically and persuasively, while the Bible minister teaches analytically. The two may be perceived as extremes; yet often they overlap.
Referring to the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, Dan Baumann, in his book, All Originality Makes a Dull Church, reports that Sunday morning attendance averages around 2800 in three services, with overflow rooms. He adds that “people do not mind coming early and walking two blocks, due to woefully inadequate church parking, because they know that their pastor is well prepared and will give them a thoughtful exposition of Scripture.”
Michael L. Tucker, in The Church That Dared to Change, describes an evangelical Bible church: “Evangelism takes place outside the building and services are primarily for maturing the saints.” He continues, “There are never any evangelistic meetings inside the church walls.” He goes on to note: “Already you recognize that the pastor who invests so much time in sermon preparation must be in a church where either (1) many parts of the ministry are neglected, or (2) many people share the ministry. For a pastor to devote time to studying, the congregation must understand that their lives are enriched through the results of his preparation. This concept implies that the pastor cannot be involved in many areas traditionally dumped in his lap.”
As a result, the catalyst of the Bible expositional church movement centers around certain principles. John MacArthur gives the following summary:
Plurality of godly leaders.
Strong emphasis on discipleship.
An intense “caring” spirit.
A genuine, high-level devotion to the family.
Strong biblical teaching and preaching.
Willingness to change and innovate.
Primary thrust on worshiping God.