- Yesterday there were approximately 51 in attendance. Some are sick and have various health problems. So this is not bad.
- Sunday school only had 31 people. I just want to remind everyone, again, that this is the best time to learn. Or, be in a small group.
- We started our series “Survey Says . . .” Pastor Jon and I handed out a ballot with several different topics to choose from about what everyone would like to learn about on Sunday morning. The winning topics are, What is the difference between Baptists and Wesleyans. Why don’t I get along with other people. Heaven and Hell. And, What does it mean to be a Covenant Member of The Wesleyan Church.
- The first topic that I tackeled yesterday was the difference between Baptists and Wesleyans. Here are 3 doctrinal differences between both.
1) The Church. Baptist churches are autonoumous. They are able to govern themselves and can establish each churches core beliefs. There is not one church over another. These local churches are led by the church board and pastor. The pastor cannot be a woman. However, women are recognized as having gifts for ministries besides pastoring churches. This information was according to the Southern Baptist Convention. I compared other Baptist churches associated with the SBC and found that they are not all alike. Some beliefs listed on the SBC web site were listed while others were excluded. Wesleyans are a denomination. In other words, we submit to governing authority. We also believe that women can be pastors. Both sides have their Scriptures so keep that in mind. This includes government at the local, district, and general levels. Each Wesleyan church has the same doctrine without variation; at least on paper. Wesleyans also see The Church as including those who in Heaven. I think that is awesome. I may share thoughts about this later, but consider how special it is to take Communion with this in mind.
2) Regeneration, also known as “The New Birth” is a looked at differently by Baptists and Wesleyans. Regeneration, according to the wording on the SBC web page, seems to suggest that new birth precedes faith and repentance. There are some Scriptures that support both views. The Baptists use John 3:3, and Wesleyans use John 1:12-13. There more for both sides but I will not list them here.
3) Salvation includes, for the SBC, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification this is in the broadest sense. Wesleyans include justification, regeneration, adoption, and witness of the Spirit.
4) Wesleyans have one distinctive doctrine. We beleive in Sanctification as a second work of grace. This is the work by which the Holy Spirit cleanses inbred sin. In other words, God changes our desire to sin, so that we desire not to sin. The Baptists believe that this occurs all at once, likely because of how they see the Regeneration process. We have Scripture for this second work of grace. I will post links at the bottom of this post.
5) Baptists have another distinctive, and more popular I might add, doctrine. They believe in Eternal Security. This simply means that you can never lose your salvation. The Wesleyans disagree with this and believe that each individual, because of choice and neglect, can fall into sin and be in danger without repentance.
These are what I beleive the major differences between the 2 camps. Therefore, in my opinion, I don’t see these issues as the great dividers that they many people seem to make them to be. Elmer Towns once said that extremists on both sides are dangerous. I agree with him. So if you are struggling to decide between Wesleyan or Baptist, then I say find that church that is truly serving Jesus Christ by caring for others and giving. Whether or not it is Baptist or Wesleyan is not really a big difference. I think both sides would agree that it is important to seek salvation from Jesus Christ and truly live for Him.
I am a Wesleyan pastor who is at ease with somebody in my family going to a Baptist church. On the other hand, I would be uneasy if they attended a church, Baptist or Wesleyan, that continually preached doctrine instead of proper exegesis of the Holy Bible.
- We had our Saturday hot dog community dinner this week. We had some who do not attend our church come. But that is not why it was a success. It was a success because our Wesleyan Men went out and invited most of the people who live close by to come and gave them a paper with our church name on it. This paper will let them know that we are not hiding from the community. We are here and want to establish a relationship with them. It will take time.
- The dinner is one way that we are turning around as a church. Because this was a lay driven ministry. This means that the people in our church are becoming less satisfied to just attend church. They are desiring to be the hands and feet of Christ. The culture within our church is changing!
- The treasurer gave me a total of the tithes that were brought in for the month of January. We were down about $250 a week. I preached about tithing in January twice. Either it is an oversight by some. Or, it people are withholding because they are upset, or because of the economy. If you are a Christian listen for a second, God is going to test your faith in this economy period. If you withhold because of being upset with a pastor or a church, beware. God takes that as you disobeying Him. Some have questioned me about where tithing is in the NT. Well, long story short, Jesus said give “All that you have.” So, tithing is one way that we keep Christ first in our lives.
- The key to tithing is this; if you are giving to a church, remember it is not you that keeps the church going. God supplies the needs of the church; and yours too. Giving is designed to help your faith. It is a biblical command. So obey God.
I think that we are on the right track as a church. So continue to look for good things. God bless.