While this Ministry Philosophy is original and verbatim from October 2007, it continues to reflect how I approach my ministry. Attached is an “Addendum” that clarifies where I feel an adjustment has been made in My Preparation.
The American culture is facing a new challenge to spiritual truth. We are no longer a nation that primarily possesses a Christian worldview. We have become a nation that espouses many worldviews; from paganism to hedonism, from atheism to polytheism. Because of this, we are a society that struggles to identify spiritual truth.
God’s Word is Truth. It is inspired. It is inerrant. It never contradicts itself. While I may not communicate in a traditional church of Christ style, my presentation in no way betrays my commitment to the veracity of God’s Truth. Sin will condemn the soul. Unrighteousness will condemn the soul. But my righteousness before Jehovah has absolutely nothing to do with the sinfulness or unrighteousness of any other person or any other group of people, no matter their practice of faith (Baptist, Catholic, Islam, et al.). If, in measuring my worthiness, I measure myself against the failures of others, then I am no better than the Pharisee praying that he was better than the publican (Luke 18.10-14). Since my righteousness will be judged solely against Christ and His word (John 12.48), I have no right to mention the failures of others in order to prove a point in the pulpit. My righteousness and salvation are judged against Christ, because He is the standard by which my Christianity is known. He is the Master. He is the Teacher.
The goal of my study is to seek a sound exegetical lesson based on an analytical and critical study of a Bible passage. My preparation includes the use of multiple English Bible translations along with Greek word studies using Thayer and Strong’s definitions; references to theological dictionaries and historical texts; an abundant use of King James and New American Standard Bible concordances and relevant philosophical and worldview sources. Primary source material is the basis for my preparation instead of secondary sources such as borrowed sermons; study Bibles; Bible commentaries; or other pre-packaged publishing house study materials. While I do not have anything against such sources, they are not the principal materials used in my lesson preparation. My entire ministerial goal is to present the whole counsel of God (Acts 20.27) in the most firm and uncompromising manner possible, while limiting human abrasiveness and offensiveness.
While the Scriptures contain commands that disciples should follow, my lessons are presented from a philosophical rather than a dogmatic authoritarian approach. My lessons are well studied and outlined resulting in a delivery without the use of a full sermon script. My lessons are designed to motivate and persuade the heart of both believers and non-believers toward willing submissive obedience to Jesus instead of either perceived or real coercion. While questions regarding spiritual truth have remained relatively the same, the church’s standard answers have, in some instances, become commonplace and have little persuasive abilities in a society that is influenced by existentialism and relativism. Knowing this, answering spiritual questions requires skill and knowledge not required by previous American generations.
Whether a class or a sermon, the aim of any lesson is to have the message engage the hearers emotionally, morally, intellectually, and spiritually so that they can make application of the content. This approach lends itself to a relevant application of the passage (which in some instances breaks from the traditional preaching style of that very same passage) but is intended to be both fresh and timely while upholding eternal spiritual truth, and is designed to stand in contrast to the many beliefs aimed at 21st century believers and non-believers. Knowing this, classes and sermons become a communication event with Jehovah and His Word. It is an event that is intended to cause each soul to reflect on itself while coming face to face with the Almighty Creator.
October 26, 2007
The section My Preparation includes this statement:
My preparation includes the use of multiple English Bible translations along with Greek word studies using Thayer and Strong’s definitions; references to theological dictionaries and historical texts; an abundant use of King James and New American Standard Bible concordances and relevant philosophical and worldview sources.
All of the above statement is accurate and still reflects my preparation. However, while I still use Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Definitions and Thayer’s Greek Definitions, I now attempt to understand terms and definitions from the Hebrew perspective using the LXX as an intermediate lens to work backwards: from English to Greek to Hebrew. This means that my study of the Greek NT uses the Greek LXX to understand the Hebrew words and concepts which support the NT.
This is done because the first Bible translation (The Greek Septuagint abbreviated LXX, completed circa 250 BC) was years before Jesus was born, and translated the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. English translations did not begin until the Middles Ages (around AD 1100-1300). A very brief and concise example is understanding the English words: covenant, testament.
English words: covenant, testament
Greek word: diatheke (G1242)
Hebrew word: bereeth (H1285)
This means that translators of the LXX understood that the Hebrew word bereeth (H1285) was best understood by the Greek word diatheke (G1242). But an English understanding of the Greek word diatheke (G1242) falls incomplete for understanding the Hebrew concept of bereeth (H1285) which is what upholds the Greek word. This means that to best understand the English words covenant, testament the disciple needs to understand the Hebrew word bereeth (H1285).
Addendum – September 1, 2010