The following questions have been raised in past discussions with search committees. I thought you might also have interest in seeing my answers. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss philosophy and anything which pertains to the church. I have also presented short answers to very complex issues and questions in our fellowship today.
What is your belief on the following Bible topics:
— Inspiration of the Scriptures. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God, given to use for direction in all aspects of our Christian walk.
– The essential nature of baptism. Baptism for remission of sins is an essential part of the faith response to become a Christian. It is the process through which a person is put “in Christ” and in a relationship with God.
– Who do you consider to be lost? All those who are outside the body of Christ or who are habitually unfaithful in their Christian walk.
– Do you consider the New Testament to be a pattern for restoring New Testament Christianity? The teachings of Christ and the examples of the apostles serve as a pattern (tupos) for us as we seek to be like the New Testament church. We must use this as our guide or we are left with nothing from which to work.
– The working of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works today through the Word of God and indwells each Christian. He also helps us each day to know God’s will and also is an assistance in our prayer life as we do not know how or what to say in our sufferings.
– The relationship of the church to its elders. The elders are the spiritual leaders and shepherd of the Lord’s church. The respect and honor due them in closely akin to that which should be given our own earthly fathers and grandfathers. They are wise to use the talents and advise of all members of the congregation, but must make the “hard decisions” as they relate to the spiritual affairs.
– The role of women in the church. Our women of all ages are our greatest assets for teaching, encouragement, edification, forgiveness, patience, etc., but their assets should not be expressed in leadership roles or in public worship. They should “be silent” as it relates to roles of preaching, leading singing, prayers, public readings, etc.
– Marriage and divorce. Matthew 19:9 states the only reason a person divorced should remarry and 1 Cor. 7 gives us direction as it relates to a person’s separation. While I personally don’t have all the answers as they relate to many cases, we certainly should do all we can as a church family to work to prevent divorce and enhance better families.
– Christian worship. The church must do all it can and use all variety possible to make our times of worship a time of celebration, praise, and adoration to God. We need to use youth-type songs when appropriate and make certain that our worship times are orderly, organized, and well-planned. I do not, however, feel we should go the route of solos and chorus groups in our assemblies, though they can have a place in a congregation’s ministry, such as banquets, nursing homes, retirement centers, and prison devos, etc. I think right now some of our congregations are going to charismatic route, which deeply scares and bothers me, since I have seen this occur on some of our college campuses.
- What is your philosophy of preaching\ministry? My philosophy is a simple one: I believe God, Christ, and the church offer the only hope for a lost and dying world. We must strive to be the body of believers Christ wants us to be and do all we can do to reach those family and friends around us who do not enjoy the peace, joy, contentment, and hope which we have. With those principles, I strive personally to display these beliefs and develop a team approach in the congregation so all can come to share these goals.
- What factors would contribute to church growth? We must be a confirming, loving family in the body of Christ and do all we can to introduce others to this atmosphere. The world is hurting from its sin and lack of family; adults everywhere want something better for their children. Strong preaching and faithful followers is a strong medicine for what ails us!
- What do you think a healthy church should be? A church is a family is the truest sense. Because of that, there will be times of disagreement and hardship as well as joy and celebration. While the word “healthy” is a difficult one, it brings to my mind a team atmosphere of people who are going in the same direction, yet allowing their individualism to reign. Great worship time is vital! A dedication to the Bible is a must!
- What might be some effective strategies for reaching the unchurched? We need to be better neighbors, both to those who live close to us and to those who live closest to our church buildings. Neighbor days will give us an opportunity to open wide the doors. We need to be more benevolent in our immediate neighborhoods.
We need to have regular times together as a church family so we will be stronger, and hopefully more willing to reach out to others. And our “teaching them to observe all things” ministry needs to be a strong one, or we’ll have them going out the back door as quickly as we get them in the front door. One-on-one and hard work are still the keys. There are many things which can be done at the building and in our homes which will offer an opportunity to “extend an invitation” to our friends and family. But there is nothing one person or a small group of people can do to make a congregation evangelistic. It must come from within! But the leaders must set the example in doing it.
- What are the church’s greatest assets as we face a time of rapid change? We believe in a Savior who is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” and we teach a message which is needed by every individual in all generations. People need to know this Savior and His message. The further assets? Members who believe these things and will live them out in their daily lives. People must know we care before they are interested in how much we know. We have gathered in rooms to train and argue scripture enough; it’s time to get into the marketplace and live and teach it.
- What will be our greatest challenges be in the next few years? To allow God’s Word opportunity to work in a society which is being turned off by conservative efforts; to keep our worship services Biblical, while using all the variety which is allowed us; to use all members in such a way that they are prepared for works of service and pleasing to God; to make certain that we are not “keepers of the aquarium” but rather fishers of men.
- Respond to these statements made by various adults in your Sunday a.m. class:
- “The KJV was good enough for my parents and grandparents and it’s good enough for me.” My father and grandfather are two of five adult men who have had a great impact upon my life, and they used the KJV for much of their adult life and it was good enough for them. I’m glad you have a Bible and will read and apply it to your daily life. I don’t recommend that any person uses any particular translation, but I do encourage them to use a translation which will be read, understood and obeyed. I use the New International Bible in public presentations, though also the NASB occasionally.
- “I think the church today is full of hypocrites.” I agree with you; the church is full of hypocrites and if we are going to be more like Jesus, we should develop a strong dislike for the actions of hypocrites. Some of Christ’s strongest language was used toward the hypocritical Pharisees in Matthew 23. The question is this: what are we going to do about it. Are we going to use the worst example among us to form our model, or will we use the best example possible, that of Jesus? Do we seek to run off the hypocrites or allow them an opportunity for maturity? If we want to run them off, we’re like the disciples in Matthew 13, who felt it best to “pull out the weeds from among the wheat.” Jesus told them, and us, to “let them grow together until the harvest.”
I have a saying which I use in my individual life, which might be of interest to you:
“I will never let someone outside of God’s will keep me from doing God’s will.”
If we will make that determination, the weak among us will not discourage or disappoint us as often. One writer said that “86% of most church people are working, interested, and moldable, while 14% could care less what’s going on around them and make the most noise with their displeasure.” Who will we listen to when it comes to ideas or plans? Make certain it’s the 86%!
- “How do we know the Bible isn’t full of mistakes?” I have heard that statement, too, and wondered if the Bible can be trusted. But that is a matter I have laid to rest because God has always promised not to leave His people without “the way, the truth, and the life.” I have confidence in God, His Bible, and His people that I will have what I need in order to be pleasing to Him. I have often said that we could spend our entire life striving to do more maturely those things we know are right, fair, and honest. Why is it we often try to lay aside the known because of the “unknown.”
- “I think women should have a larger role in today’s church.” Women are our greatest asset and establish a thermostat in the home and in the church family, as well. They need to be used in whatever we can which is according to God’s Word. 1 Cor. 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2 give us clear directions from which to work, and I am confident that Christian women will respond to the challenges offered to them. We do need to do a better job communicating with the women of our congregation. Regular congregational meetings and printed reports or meetings will enhance that process.
- “When we let divorced people in the church, we are filling up the church with adulterers.” Divorce is a terrible thing and is something the church of today is having to adjust to yearly. A scripturally divorced person is not forbidden, however, from being part of the church family. There are no half-brothers or half-sisters in the Lord’s family! That individual needs our prayers and support as they adjust to this painful time, and we must help any innocent children through this pain and adjustment.
Our teachings on a regular basis should be preventative, so we can help our families to be the best they can be. If a divorced couple who are not scripturally married should want to worship with us, we should let them and hope they see and hear something which will change their mind about their life. We certainly offer something their family and perhaps children need! Those people might not be allowed to take a leadership role, but we can still minister to their family.
- “We cannot know the meaning of a passage until we know the lexical meaning of the words.” The Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, but, again, the language of the Bible has always been to the common man. I trust God, and know He will not leave us without direction. We should study the Bible diligently, using whatever tools are available to us. We should always seek to get the main message of the text and be willing to study those passages which help us gain deeper understanding.
- Have you or your wife been married previously? No. We celebrated our 43rd anniversary July 2, 2014.
- Does any member of your family: use tobacco, drink alcohol, or use any substance or participate in any behavior that could be addictive? Neither of us have smoked or drunk in any capacity.
- Are your personal finances in order? Yes. Good credit and paying bills.
- Will your wife work outside the home? She has worked 1-3 days per week in our church offices in the past but only because we needed assistance and couldn’t find it elsewhere.
- What lectureships or meetings have you been a speaker at? I have spoken at the South Florida Lectureships 3 of the first 4 years at Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ. Also at the Spiritual Growth Workshop in Orlando twice in 6 years.
- What lectureships have you attended in the last five years? We have had children attending Harding University so we have attended that lectureship the past few years.
- Have you published any articles or editorials in Christian periodicals? No…except for the article in Christian Teacher some time back that has already been sent.
- Which version of the Bible do you use for preaching, teaching, and home bible study? New International Version. I use all of them at different times in sermons, however.
- When and how often should the plan of salvation be presented in a sermon and how often should the invitation be offered? The short version of the plan of salvation should be offered regularly…but the invitation should also reflect the main purpose of the sermon just presented and acknowledge the fact that most in the audience are already members.
BIBLICAL & PHILOSOPHICAL
- Share your feelings on: abortion, homosexuality, pornography, the lottery, alcohol use, tobacco use, and dancing. Am opposed to each of the above.
- Do you think 1 Tim 2:9 (modesty) applies today? If so how? Dress in our assemblies should be modest (appropriate for the occasion). I wear a coat/tie for all Sunday services and shirt and tie on Wednesday. Also try to work through parents and youth group to keep “beach clothes” out of the worship.
- Discuss the Boston and Crossroads movements, should we fellowship them? I am very aware of their cultic ways and we should not fellowship them in regard to activities, etc. They are, however, baptized believers so we should seek to bring them out of that group. We have 6-9 families here who have come out of that movement.
- Are we in need of a New Hermeneutic? No! That group is simply trying to impose their own ‘new traditions’ on others.
- What is the greatest challenge facing our youth today? Affluence in one regard and apathy on the other. If parents are committed, most of the time the youth will also be committed.
- What is the greatest challenge facing the church as a whole in the next five years?
The ‘music’ movement that has again reared its head is going to split our churches if we continue to think that we can’t worship together due to ‘progressive’ and ‘traditional’ thinking. The community church movement is also going to be a problem if we continue to be ashamed of the name we wear.
- How can we fellowship with denominations? We cannot.
- Who is saved? How is a person saved? Baptized (immersion) into Christ and walking in the light daily.
- Are there saved people not in the church? Only those who are baptized and worship in denominations…they are unfaithful brothers/sisters.
- Who can be baptized? Those old enough to know right and wrong and respond to that which they know.
- Who can take communion? It is for those who are Christians but we practice ‘open communion’ in that we don’t stop those in our assemblies who are visitors and do not know better to take it.
- Discuss the subject of miracles? For a particular people in a particular time (apostlic times). God can work miracles today through prayer but not in the same way as found in the New Testament.
- How should the church be involved in the community in general and especially when it comes to benevolence? We respond only to emergency needs locally and use a great deal of discretion because there are many con-artists around us.
- Who will go to hell, and what kind of existence will it be? Unbelievers and unfaithful members. It will be a spiritual torment.
- Describe the women’s role in the Church/worship? No participation in worship assembly at all except as member of audience. (see notes I have already sent).
- How can the Church raise funds? What can they be used for? Through contribution at the direction of the elders.
- Does the Church need to change to become more relevant today? Bible is relevant. We need to make it relevant in our teaching and in our individual lives.
- Will you preach the complete gospel as needed, regardless of whom it might hit or who is against it? I am not ashamed of saying whatever scriptures requires.
- Are the Church and the Kingdom the same? Yes.
- What is the Gospel? Death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- What is true worship? That which is pleasing to God and aimed at giving him the glory and honor. Not entertainment! Involves participants.
- How do we establish scriptural authority? We allow the Word of God to decide what is according to God’s will.
- What is the role of the Holy Spirit? How does it operate today? What is the gift of the Holy Spirit? Holy Spirit indwells each baptized believer (Acts 2:38) but also operates through the Word today.
- Outline the qualifications, responsibilities, and limits of Elders. From Titus and Timothy…they watch for the souls of the members. Limited only in those matters which are of opinion.
- Describe the music of the Lord’s Church. Congregational singing…no instruments.
- Explain 1st Corinthians 15. Referring to the 2nd coming of Christ and the resurrection.
- Explain the relationship of faith, grace, and works. Faith pleases God, grace is His gift to believers, and works is our response of appreciation for what He has done.
- Explain Matthew 19:3-9 and how it applies to non-Christians and Christians today. Divorce is for sexual unfaithfulness and applies to all today.
- Who was (is) Jesus? God…who came to earth in the flesh.
- Explain Christ’s birth, death, and current existence. He intercedes for us today at God’s right hand.
- Explain how the universe and all that is in it came to be. God created it in 6 24-hour days.
- How and when was the Church of Christ established? By whom? In Acts 2 by God through Peter and the apostles.
- When is a public confession required? When there is public, known sin.
- What possible errors do you find in the Bible? It is inerrant. No errors.