Mark #2 of a Healthy Church: Biblical Theology
How you think about God impacts the way you live and what you want your church to be like.
-Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (p. 72)
Last week I shared that my husband and I began our church search with a plan to visit churches known for expositional preaching. We were also looking for something more. We wanted to find a church with a solid Biblical theology.
As Dever explains,
We should want pastors who will preach from the Word of God, but we should also listen carefully to what the pastor says and decide whether or not what he says is according to the Word of God. We need not just someone who claims to preach from the Word, but someone who substantially does that - whose sermons are in line with what the Word of God actually teaches. (p. 60).Perhaps it seems unlikely, the idea that a pastor can preach from the Word without being in line with Scripture; however, in our postmodern society, this occurs far more often than we might think. Sermons are peppered with phrases such as
Imagine yourself in this story
Some of you really need to hear this!
to name a few. We have made the truth of the Word about us. But
...the truth is not about is. It's not self-determined. It's not an accessory. It is about God. And we believe it and we hold onto it, not because we want to make a statement about ourselves, but because we want true statements to be made about him. We want his glory.
-Joshua Harris, Humble Orthodoxy (p. 47, emphasis mine)
Do contemporary worship services promote God's glory? Many services are laden with self-centered songs that trivialize God or that are played in such a way as to draw attention to man. Corporate prayers are wish lists for favorable outcomes, rather than praise and a time of confession and repentance. We were looking for a church that doesn't give in to the temptations to make the worship service about us - about how God can serve us, rather than how we should serve Him.
We knew wanted a church that will nurture our understanding of God in every part of the worship service and Bible study. Dever says, "We must understand God by His revelation of Himself, not by our own hunches, not by our own wishes, not by the way we like to think of God." (p. 73) Dever lists five characteristics that God reveals of Himself in the Bible: creating, holy, faithful, loving, and sovereign. Each of these characteristics much be taught in order to develop an accurate Biblical theology. Many churches today are heavy on the faithful and loving aspects of God's character, while choosing to ignore the equally important holiness and sovereignty of God. Sadly, creation is becoming one of those "gray" areas in pulpits all across the country as theistic evolution gains popularity. To disregard any of these five characteristics is perilous and contrary to Scripture.
Finding a church that has a firm grasp on the God of the Bible and lifts His Name alone was not a quick and easy task, but the rewards have already been great.
This summer, I'm blogging through Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Find out why here.