Category Archives: Theology

Bible College or Bust

For years I have held the belief that you do not need to go to Bible College to go into ministry or even to be a good minister. One of my heroes of church planting in the last century is Steve Murrell who planted a church in Manilla in 1984 and now has over 50,000 people meeting across his Victory Fellowship churches every weekend. He is famous for saying that all you need to go into ministry is ‘a bible and a passport’. He places a massive emphasis on discipleship but not on understanding everything or studying for years before you get to work fulfilling the Great Commission.

Given my admiration for the work Murrell has done without a large emphasis on ‘theological’ training why do I find myself about to move my family from Melbourne to Sydney to attend and study at one of the most academically rigorous and highly regarded theological colleges in the Southern Hemisphere?

Ultimately it has come down to a couple of key reasons. The first is that after being a Christian for ten years, three of which were served in full time ministry and having been on the leadership at two different churches I have come to appreciate all the more the importance of sound theological training in a church’s leadership.

Paul writes to Timothy to watch your life and your doctrine closely so that you will save yourself and your hearers (1 Tim 4:16). James writes that teachers will be judged more harshly (James 3:1). Paul repeatedly instructs the churches he writes to in his epistles to preach the gospel that was preached to them and not a distortion of it.

I do not believe that you need to go to Bible College to understand or teach the gospel correctly. You can absolutely read and study on your own and listen to sermons and teachings by yourself to do this. But it will be harder to persevere on your own and more limiting because you will most likely lack other like-minded individuals to discuss ideas with and you will probably be limited in resources as well. At college you can be exposed to different views and also network with other young Christian leaders that will challenge you and provide a support network as you enter into ministry. Once again you can do it on your own but it’s harder.  Will all due respect to Mr Frost, this time I have not taking the road less travelled.

The second big reason for me to go to Bible College is that in some sense the world of academics, learning and writing is something I value and a desire to be an influencer of in one way or another. This desire is a part of who I am. I appreciate being able to help people think through complex ideas or confusing topics and I want to be able to do this accurately and to the best of my ability. I believe that theological training will help me do this even better. Another way to say it would be to say that it is in line with my gifts and abilities.

Finally there is something to be said for the biblical principle of iron sharpening iron. If you want to be the best then it is good to work alongside those who also strive to be the best and there is no doubt that those who attend Bible College are for the most part keen to become the best equipped and the best able to minister the word of God and to evangelise the nations. I am looking forward to the friendships and sharpening to come.

Finally I want to give a big thanks to my pastor Martin Pakula and Hills Bible Church for the encouragement, input and support that they have offered in making this decision. It is a real blessing to be a part of a community of believers who seek to give God glory and want to help you to do the same.

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Christian Hope

The Blueprint studies by Matthias Media on Christian doctrine are excellent.  In paper 9 it speaks of “godly heresies”.  These are Christian teachings that are false (heresy), but arise from godly desires.

It is godly to desire that all people be saved.  Universalism however is a heresy.  The Bible teaches clearly that not all people will be saved, but only those who trust in Jesus.  It is also a godly desire to want an end to sickness, or an end to injustice, or poverty, or sin.  However, we will not have perfect health in this life, or perfect justice, or perfect prosperity, or sinless perfection.

Each of these godly desires has given rise to heresies within the church, such as the prosperity gospel or sinless perfectionism.  Then there are ministries that can lose sight of the gospel by placing all their emphasis on healing or social justice.

For Christians who are involved in these ministries they would no doubt assert that they believe in the return of Jesus.  What Christian would say that they Continue reading

Sin in the life of a Christian: Part I – The Doctrine of Sin

I was standing on a street corner seeking to share the gospel with my fellow Jews.  I ended up speaking there to one of my cousins for a while.  He was particularly shocked by my view of sin.  How could you view your own child, say, as sinful?  Wouldn’t it hurt their self-esteem to tell them that or to view them that way?  Didn’t you want to tell your child that she was good?

We always want to hang on to the idea that there is some good in us, that there is something good deep down inside of me; that I’m a good person really in the end.  Maybe God chose me as a Christian because he saw that little something in me – something that made me different – a piece of goodness which the Holy Spirit fanned into flame.

Continue reading

Sons and Heirs

In Galatians 4, Paul expounds on the doctrine of adoption. That is, the doctrine that, even though we were born into sin and death, God sent his Son Jesus to redeem those under this curse of sin and death, so that we could be adopted into God’s family. Paul puts it like this:

In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, an heir through God. (Galatians 4:3-6)

In other words, because God sent forth his Son, we are no longer slaves, but sons and heirs through God. We have been adopted into God’s family!

In the all important genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, Jesus is shown to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David etc . . . all the way down to Joseph.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers . . . and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:2, 16)

Blink and you miss it. Joseph was Mary’s husband. Jesus was born to Mary. Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke:1:34-35). Jesus is no blood relation of Joseph at all. There is no genetic connection to David in his birth. Jesus is born into the line of David by virtue of his adoptive father.

Jesus is adopted into the royal bloodline; the Son of God, adopted into the family of David. We are adopted into a royal bloodline also; we are Sons of Abraham, adopted into the family of God. Jesus models adoption, and then adopts us by his atoning death, redeeming those under the law, “that we might receive adoption as sons.”