The Teaching Office

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Phil Siefkes's picture

Well said, Dr. Bauder. 

Discipling God's image-bearers to the glory of God.

Jim's picture

Many churches have "bolt-on" programs with doctrinal components. Examples. AWANA and Growing Kids God's Way. 

  • Todd Mitchell has written a helpful review of the rewards culture of AWANA. I have concerns that they truly do not understand "believe". I wrote to AWANA HQ about this when I was a pastor and pointed out that there is a "commit" component to "believe" (seen in the translation of πιστεύω as "commit" in John 2:24). This was in response to AWANA material that specifically stated that "believe" does not mean "commit to"
  • Much has been written about Growing Kids God's Way (sample ... Google for more)
  • Same could be said for the financial improvement programs (Dave Ramsey
  • 20-40 years ago Gothard was the go to bolt on youth program! 

There should be pastoral oversight over all of these bolt-on programs. Just because they work and are popular doesn't mean they are doctrinally and methodologically sound. 

 

josh p's picture

Our church uses Kids for Truth. My kids have grown out of it now but I found it to be an excellent program. Doctrinally excellent.

TylerR's picture

I have always had a big problem with the award culture in AWANA. If oversight is not controlled, the entire program quickly becomes about saying the most verses vice actual comprehension. In AWANA a while back, I had a young child perfectly recite Jn 3:16 to me. He'd already had a teacher sign his book. I asked him what it meant. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know!" 

This is not necessarily a fault of AWANA; but a Pastor must emphasize the goals of the program up front. It's not about AWANA bucks or trips to the AWANA Store, or about the prize at the end of year ceremony. It's about comprehension of the material and the Gospel. This goes back to Bauder's remark about responsibility for overseeing programs in the church. 

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

TylerR's picture

I thought heavily about using Kids4Truth this coming Fall for Bible Club. In the end, I decided against it. We bought their VBS for this Summer, and while I found the content fine, the layout and organization of the program is haphazard and amateurish. The program was very hard to understand. I wasn't impressed. I feared their Kids Club material would be the same. Tell me what you've experienced with it, if you would!

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Greg Linscott's picture

We've used K4T for about 5 years here, as well as some of the time we were in Maine. I am very happy with the content, and the program itself is very customizable to your situation. The HQ staff is very easy to work with, and would be something I would consider a strength of using the materials.

The potential downsides:

  • The content strikes some as being very intensive, initially- in my experience, more the parents and workers than kids.
  • They provide a lot of content- probably more than you'll be able to squeeze in if you run Sept-May.
  • The lessons that teachers give to the kids again, strikes many as being pretty intensive. Some get overwhelmed, and struggle to relate it to children.

That being said, in my experience, kids adjust well to it, and the principles they retain provide an excellent doctrinal foundation upon which to build as they get older. 
If you want anything more than this, feel free to contact me!

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Ted Bigelow's picture

"Ultimately, the congregation must define the church’s doctrinal parameters."

Yes, that is true... in the congregational system.

But in Christianity, the apostles of Jesus Christ define the church's doctrinal parameters.

Kevin - you forgot Acts 16:4. If the congregational provided the ultimate approval at the business meeting, then why did Luke approve the apostles lying to all the brethren in Derbe and Lystra?

Rob Fall's picture

recognize as Apostles in 2014.

Ted Bigelow wrote:

SNIP

But in Christianity, the apostles of Jesus Christ define the church's doctrinal parameters.

SNIP

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Ted Bigelow's picture

Rob - the apostles in 2014 are the same apostles in the first century.

Jesus Christ made a promise to them by which they are the foundation of all Christian doctrine. Referring to the teaching ministry of His Holy Spirit to His own personally chosen apostles, Christ said, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13) . The "you' of this verse is not Kevin's church, but the apostles.

So those who believe Christ to be the Son of God incarnate believe the writings of His apostles to be all the truth, which are collected in the 27 books of the NT. These men's writings, and nothing else, are the ultimate parameters of doctrine, not the people of each church, as Kevin teaches (congregationalism).

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

 

James K's picture

That is exactly right Ted.  Kevin glossed right over Acts 16:4, which alone renders his entire article unhelpful.

Acts 15:6 - "Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter."

Acts 16:4 - "As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe."

Who met to decide?  Who made the decision?  The apostles and elders.  Kevin apparently saw that the church welcomed them and therefore had a say in the matter.  No, as you see from the text, the church AGREED with the decision of the apostles and elders.

Kevin's series has reminded me the words of William Tyndale: “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost."  The simple who know the text demonstrate more knowledge of the Scriptures than many "doctors" today.

Paul addressed the situation where the church sets doctrine and allows the preacher to preach within those parameters in 2 Tim 4:3.  I wonder how much error Kevin thinks the new pastor must operate within to maintain integrity.  Teaching the truth by permission of the church is the mantra now I guess.

I do understand that the situation Kevin has described in his series is necessary to perpetuate his employment, but it is worldly thinking rather than Christian thinking on these topics.  If Jesus is Lord of the church, then his words stand as the final word.  Kevin's wisdom runs contrary to the scriptures and has perpetuated a false method, which will only lead to more ruin.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

TylerR wrote:

I thought heavily about using Kids4Truth this coming Fall for Bible Club. In the end, I decided against it. We bought their VBS for this Summer, and while I found the content fine, the layout and organization of the program is haphazard and amateurish. The program was very hard to understand. I wasn't impressed. I feared their Kids Club material would be the same. Tell me what you've experienced with it, if you would!

Tyler,

I've never used the VBS program - didn't even know there was one, but I introduced K4T to the church I was pastoring almost 10 years ago. Even though I have been out of the pulpit for some time now, my wife and I decided to continue using it as our base homeschool Bible material for our elementary aged children. I love the program for both the kids and the adults involved. As Greg mentioned, the younger children cannot use the program without parental involvement, but the same thing is true in Awana and with school homework. The most important difference I found between Awana and K4T was the focus. Awana is more of an evangelistic program, while K4T is most emphatically designed to be a discipleship program. That is a philosophical approach that agrees with my understanding of the purpose of the church. It is primarily for the saved, not for the lost. Of course, there are many other issues with Awana that started me looking for an alternative in the first place. Frankly, the program is a lot simpler to run than Awana, and it is very malleable as Greg noted.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

TylerR's picture

This:

I do understand that the situation Kevin has described in his series is necessary to perpetuate his employment, but it is worldly thinking rather than Christian thinking on these topics.  If Jesus is Lord of the church, then his words stand as the final word.  Kevin's wisdom runs contrary to the scriptures and has perpetuated a false method, which will only lead to more ruin.

was a really cheap shot. 

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

James K's picture

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Ron Bean's picture

I've been around long enough to see the result of churches that think they don't need seminaries. While most are in their second generation, a few are in their third. The first pastor passed the role to a second generation who was usually the youth pastor (a title that is another subject) that he trained. Many times that heir was also his son. Like copies of copies on an old Xerox machine, the next generation was slightly less brilliant than the original. I've yet to see any whose theology and methods were sound but they were "safe" because that's what the patriarch believed. Are seminaries perfect? Of course not. Is practical training in a local church setting a necessity? Certainly. Seminary training should be coupled with a meaningful internship.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

JC's picture

I agree that the lead pastor of the local church should have oversight of teaching within the church.   However, let's not forget the priesthood of the believer.   Every saint is a minister of the gospel.  As such every saint has a teaching role within the body of Christ.  

josh p's picture

Tyler, with respect to K4T I agree with Greg and Chip's assessments. My kids learned the material well and I was really impressed with the approach. To me AWANA seems like something closer to proof texts while K4T is exegetical and theological. IMHO it seems like kids need to learn theology just to deal with all the false things they will hear without the proper discernment and Bible knowledge to reject it. If however they know some basic theology then they have a stronger foundation. I believe K4T provides that. One thing that I found impressive is that it really emphasizes God's sovereignty in salvation and in all things. If you want to hear the creator explain his methodology check this out:

http://ccggrockford.org/childrens-ministry-as-biblical-discipleship-bob-...

DavidO's picture

So who are the pillar and ground of the truth?  Or does that verse refer to the institution, in your opinion?

I read Dr. Bauder's article and and understand it to mean that congregation holds today's pastor accountable to preach the doctrine they, the congregation, received from the last generation of teachers among them.  Presumably, this chain of doctrinal integrity would go all the way back to the apostles.  Although I'm not advocating any trail of this or that here. 

Of course, if there were a point of doctrine in the church confession that was erroneous, the elder(s), having met together and agreed on a correction, would be free to teach the congregation into the proper understanding, to the point that they would likely then vote to change the statement.  

I actually see Ted's articulation as closer to the Catholic mode than what Dr. Bauder espouses.  If the church doctrinal statement is, in practice, the personal theology of the pastor, then every time they get a new pastor, he will, like a little pope, issue new doctrinal edicts in his sermons.  

A confession jealously guarded by generation of members of the church who call pastors who conscientiously subscribe to said confession (which, of course, should be faithful to the doctrines of the apostles), guards better against an ad hoc popery.  

DavidO's picture

One of the doctrines of the Apostles congregations really should hold their elders to is

The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Hey David - in 1 Tim. 3:15, "is" is singular not plural - leading me to prefer the institution of the church over the people of the church. This is confirmed for me by the context as 1 Tim. 3 defines the two offices in the institutional church, elders, and deacons. Also, do a gut check - when do the people of church prevent the institution from slipping into a denial of 3:16? I'm sure there are some rare cases, but by far, the typical case is the institutional leaders who do that. Look at the NT - who keeps the churches protected from the false teachers, but the leaders writings the letters telling the people what to do.

A confession jealously guarded by generation of members of the church who call pastors who conscientiously subscribe to said confession (which, of course, should be faithful to the doctrines of the apostles), guards better against an ad hoc popery. 

Agreed, brother, but not very real. Sheep follow shepherds, not vice versa. Churches will follow a man they love, even to hell.

One of the doctrines of the Apostles congregations really should hold their elders to is

The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.

Probably better to see that more as a practice than a doctrine. But frequently congregations rebel against good and faithful shepherds who confront them for sin. Look at Corinth, and Paul and Timothy. Look around you today.

If eldership leaves you feeling vulnerable and congregationalism feeling protected, you might want to brush up on 1 Tim. 5:19-20, and weave into your meditation on that verse two things - how does this pattern of accusation/protection fit within congregationalism (it doesn't, imo), and how does it fit within eldership (it does, imo).

Blessings - T

 

 

Jay's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

If you honestly believe this is what Dr. Bauder is saying, you are ignorant and misunderstanding him.  Shame on you for misrepresenting him so.

"Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers" - I Timothy 5:1

 

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

James K wrote:

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

I don't think that is the fault of the seminaries - it's the fault of the pastors who are not training their own people.  It seems to me that you are misdiagnosing the problem.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

DavidO's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:
Agreed, brother, but not very real. Sheep follow shepherds, not vice versa. Churches will follow a man they love, even to hell.

Real enough that I've seen it happen.  And you make my point for me about which party is more likely to perpetrate ad hoc popery.  

Probably better to see that more as a practice than a doctrine. But frequently congregations rebel against good and faithful shepherds who confront them for sin. Look at Corinth, and Paul and Timothy. Look around you today.

You missed my point there, but that's OK, it wasn't primarily directed at you.  

If eldership leaves you feeling vulnerable and congregationalism feeling protected, you might want to brush up on 1 Tim. 5:19-20, and weave into your meditation on that verse two things - how does this pattern of accusation/protection fit within congregationalism (it doesn't, imo), and how does it fit within eldership (it does, imo).

My feelings.  Well.  

I'm very comfortable with a biblical, plural eldership.  I am not comfortable with stripping the congregation of its responsibility and authority.  I Tim 5:19-20 is completely compatible with a proper eldership that is held accountable by its congregation.  

 

 

[/quote]

James K's picture

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Jay wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

 

 

I don't think that is the fault of the seminaries - it's the fault of the pastors who are not training their own people.  It seems to me that you are misdiagnosing the problem.

Pastors are also to train faithful men.  This is part of their job.  If they are not doing this, then they are failing.  Many seminaries and their profs will argue that pastors are not equipped to train men.  The pastors need to send the men off to seminary.  So off goes Johnny to seminary.  He spends years and thousands learning how to be a pastor from a text book.  Johnny becomes pastor in a church.  After all the time and money spent, Johnny is unequipped to train men and must also send them to seminary for the real training.

Of course not every seminary is like that, but if you think that is too harsh of an assessment, I have interacted with several profs from the big fundy seminaries to verify that reality.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

DavidO's picture

James K wrote:

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

Holding elders accountable to preach proper doctrine.

James K's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

 

 

If you honestly believe this is what Dr. Bauder is saying, you are ignorant and misunderstanding him.  Shame on you for misrepresenting him so.

"Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers" - I Timothy 5:1

 

 

Kevin's entire series has argued for a system that runs counter to NT theology.  The Lord of the church has spoken.  Kevin has offered an alternative.  How is it anything but a defection?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

DavidO wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

 

 

Holding elders accountable to preach proper doctrine.

I was hoping you could provide some scripture that would support the idea that the church has doctrinal oversight of the elders.  This isn't the president and congress.  Which passage were you thinking of?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jay's picture

James K wrote:
Kevin's entire series has argued for a system that runs counter to NT theology.  The Lord of the church has spoken.  Kevin has offered an alternative.  How is it anything but a defection?

First off, if the entire series is wrong, how come only two people on this site (you and Ted) see it?  Ted, in particular, repeatedly argued for his own system with little acceptance and buy-in from the rest of us, and who also repeatedly ducks the hard questions he's unable to answer?  Furthermore, I don't see Dr. Bauder advocating division or false doctrine.  I don't know the man, but from reading his stuff for over six years, I'd be very surprised if he did.

Secondly, if you're going to call Bauder a heretic - which is what you're doing when you say he is 'running counter to NT theology' - then I'm going to need to see your proof.  Basing your arguments from one passage in Acts that Bauder hasn't addressed isn't sufficient.  Even if Bauder ~IS~ wrong, you're still responsible to entreat him as a father and try to gently convince him of his error, which is why I posted the verse I did.  You don't do it by accusing him of heresy on a discussion board.  Have you tried to contact him directly?

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother". -Matthew 18:15

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned". -Titus 3:10-11

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."  
- James 3:17

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ted Bigelow's picture

Jay, I've answered the questions; but being an SI guy you just don't read them even after being entreated to do so time and again.

As for Kevin, his ecclesiology is staggeringly deficient. One single verse upends his posts on congregationalism. Don't condemn us. If you must condemn anyone, take it out on Luke, the author of Acts 16:4.

Kevin is a dear and beloved brother in the Lord. But his teaching on this matter ensures defection from Christ, though he would vehemently disagree. Yet, as I pointed out above, being a congregationalist, he has no precept in Scripture that teaches his system. Not a one. Not only is that a defection from the most basic Bible study principles - especially for how we determine church practices - he is teaching others both his same shallow methodology and then commanding others to practice the fruit of it in their churches.

Who ever taught a doctrine as biblical without a clear precept, except someone with an unbiblical agenda? And when it comes to ducking questions, who gets their articles posted on a blog and then doesn't reply to questions and criticisms?

Are we to be despised for calling attention to what Scripture does say?

So yes, defection, for Christ is the Lord of the Church. He clearly defines what a church is and how it functions in both precept and example in Holy Scripture.

 

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