Sing! Family Worship is Preparation for Corporate Singing

Let us Sing

Sing! Family Worship is Preparation for Corporate Singing

Corporate Singing, Call to Worship

A few weeks ago I was at an evening worship service at Antioch Bible Church, last week I was at an Apologetics Conference at Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni and last night I was at a Missions Conference at Brakenhurst Baptist Church. Each church is slightly different theologically and in their expression of corporate worship. Elsewhere I’ve described Antioch’s worship as Classic Conservative and Crystal Park’s as Contemporary Evangelical; and I’d peg Brakenhurst as Classic Conservative too (you can a read a comprehensive breakdown of Who’s Singing What here). Yet a common thread across each of these worship services was very robust corporate singing.

The Getty’s and Corporate Singing

Call to Worship, Corporate Singing

This morning I listened to a podcast “Congregational Singing with Keith and Kristyn Getty” on Rainer on Leadership. They spoke about congregational singing as a tradition passed down from Martin Luther and the Reformation, about excellence in churches that resonate with me like Capital Hill Baptist Church, about pastors and leadership teams needing to prioritise corporate singing, about what makes a great song, about families worshiping at home being the preparation for corporate worship on a Sunday and their new book coming out Sing. I can’t encourage you enough to check it out.

Key quote for me, “We want congregations to be known by their singing, not by their music.”

Some of the Getty’s popular hymns include:

5. Behold the Lamb (The Communion Hymn) – This is a powerful NEW communion song. A unique way to perform this is to sing the first verse prior to communion. Sing verse two with the bread, verse three with the cup, and finally verse four at the conclusion on the Lord’s Supper. Watch a video and get more info here.

4. My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness – This song is a personal favorite of mine. It was sung at my Gospel Ordination and the line “for every breath I have on earth is given by the King, so I will give my life, my all, to love and follow Him” is my testimony. This isn’t a typical “Thanksgiving season” song…it should be sung year-round! Watch a video and get more info here.

3. Speak, O Lord – This modern song is a reverent hymn which sets the tone for worship with no introduction needed. The lyrics are stirring, yet challenging: “Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.” Watch a video and get more info here.

2. The Power of the Cross (Oh to See the Dawn) – The “Power of the Cross” is one of the most “power-ful” songs I have ever sung. As a vocal solo, choral work or instrumental, this hymn is amazing. The music is dramatic, the lyrics are astounding and the overall tone of this song makes it one of the best hymns ever written. Watch the video and get more info here.

1. In Christ Alone – If you have never heard this song, watch this video…purchase the music…and sing it at church this Easter season. So many folks have sung arrangements of this hymn, and each one displayes the Biblically-founded text and powerful music that make a Getty song special. Get the story behind the song here.

Thanks for the list Church Music Today

How your Family can prepare for Corporate Singing

Corporate Singing, Call to Worship

Each week our worship leaders (Warren, Stuart, Menzi or Caleb) prepare a setlist of songs and hymns that will be sung in the Sunday to come. Sharon then puts a photo of the hymns, keys and a useful Youtube link which demonstrates how we will sing it onto our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/CrystalParkBaptistChurch). So, go and Like our Facebook Page, and then each week check out the songs and hymns we’ll be singing. That’s a great way to get started.

Please Share our Facebook Page with your family and friends on Facebook (especially in Benoni) or via email. That way they can enjoy rich worship too. Click any of the images in this post to link to examples.

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My local church sees Calvinism as a cult. What should I do?

Calvinism

Peter Sammons from Germiston Baptist Church and Craig Dadoo from Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni answers the question “My local church sees Calvinism as a cult. What should I do?” during the Questions and Answers time at Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni’s Apologetics Conference. For more questions and answers from the Apologetics Conference browse Our Pastor’s Pen.

My local church sees Calvinism as a cult. What should I do??

My church is heavily against Calvinism seeing it as a cult. What should I because as it is my local church? My church is heavily against Calvinism. What’s Calvinism? Anybody want to explain that. Thanks Peter maybe you can get started. Just give us, cause maybe someone’s sitting here and going, “What’s Calvinism? That sounds like a cult.” What is Calvinism and once you answer the question what should one do if the only good Bible teaching local church in one’s area says “Hang on, wait a minute, there’s something seriously wrong with Calvinism” but they seem Evangelical on many other pages. What should one do?

Peter Sammons: What is Calvinism

So I think there are so many ways you can explain that but Calvinism obviously comes from the theology of John Calvin. Is usually determined, or usually described, in the five points of Calvin. That man is totally depraved. He is unable to save himself. God unconditionally elects those who will be saved. Christ died for a specific group of people, those who are the elect. And when He died on the cross those are the ones who were being atoned for. That His grace is irresistible to those who are His elect. And that He will preserve them to the end and that they will persevere to the end and to all eternity.

Those are the five points of Calvinism but that so doesn’t do it justice. Really in a nut shell it’s the fact that God is sovereign. In everything. God is sovereign in salvation and in everything. When I spoke earlier about the providence of God, my belief in the providence and sovereignty of God, so when somebody said to me, “No well, when your son was killed Satan was getting the upper hand there.” That makes me want to vomit. God was in control, even at that point in time. That’s Calvinism.

Peter Sammons: What to do

So Peter, what does a person do if the only church in their area basically doesn’t have that same view, that same Biblical view of the sovereignty of God?

I’m always hesitant to counsel anybody to leave their local church. I’m really against that. Because the whole thing is more than just a couple of doctrines. So that person needs to be really convinced that the church they’re in is actually teaching error. And if that church is really teaching error they need to approach it through their elders and take it up with them. And be very very very reticent.

If somebody came to me, and we recently had somebody do that, in the last year came to us and said, “I am no longer on the same page as my church, I’ve come to a Calvinistic position, what do I do?” And I said, you come along and see if you feel happy here then lets take it from there. Then I got hold of his pastor and spoke to his pastor and said look, these are the issues where he differs with you and I got that pastors permission to say he can leave.

Craig Dadoo: Study the Word

Craig, anything that you want to add to that brother?

I would just make this statement about Calvinism. Often what’s put forward is it’s about these five points, and so dogmatically driven. I would say to a person like that look at the Scriptures. Like what Peter was talking about Perseverance, go and look at what the Scriptures says about how God will keep you until the Day of Christ. You know, you can’t dispute the Scripture. So look at what the teachings are and then look at the Bible and make up your mind asking God for help. That would be my say.

Peter Sammons: Calvin was a Charismatic

Let me say one more thing by the way. I’ll ask a question. Can I ask a quick question? Who here knows what Calvin’s greatest addition to theology was? His greatest contribution to theology was? Which doctrine was his greatest contribution?

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. So he was a Charismatic theologian [laughter].

Well hang on wait a minute [more laughter]. Great stuff.

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Word of Faith

Counterfeit Christianity – Word of Faith

Word of Faith, Counterfeit

In South Africa Word of Faith is championed by Ray McCauley of Rhema Church, Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy, “Apostle” Theo Wolmarans of Christian Family Church, Jimmy Crompton of Word of Faith Christian Centre. It seems that Word of Faith has bled into many denominations and independent churches in one form or another.

The Young Adults Bible Study (meeting on Tuesdays at 7:00pm, at Stuart and Linzi’s home) have started a new Bible study called Counterfeit Christianity. Through the series we will present a Biblical truth and then demonstrate how a cult has counterfeited it. The first installment considers the Jehovah Witnesses, the second Roman Catholism, the third the Churches of Christ, the forth Seventh Day Adventists and this week we’re looking at the Word of Faith Movement.

Futures weeks include:

  • How can I approach God? What is African Traditional Religion?
  • What about Food? What is Islam?
  • What about Worship? What about Charismatic Chaos?
  • Are there many ways to God? Who was Shembe?

Here’s the text from our study for last week:

How Can I Pray?

Prayer is how we communicate with God. It is a discipline we must mature. ACTS is an acronym that models prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. It is based on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). This may help you pray but it’s not a magical formula and won’t guarantee you are more effective or ensure prayers are answered.

Adoration

Worship, glory and exalt God. This could be a song of praise, a psalm or declaring His attributes (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Isaiah 6:1-3; Luke 1:46-48). Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! Revelation 5:13b

Confession

We confess our sins, agreeing with God that we are wrong and that we have sinned against Him (Psalm 51; 32). 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Thanksgiving

Worship focuses on who God is; thanksgiving on what He has done. You can thank God for His love, salvation and provision (Psalm 136). 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Supplication

Pray for others needs and then your own (Psalm 4:1; 5:8; Ephesians 6:18; James 1:5). 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

Isaac Watts

Word of Faith, Counterfeit

Isaac was born in 1674. From an early age he was a gifted writer. Watts was frustrated by the heartless singing of his time. His father challenged him, “Well then, young man, why don’t you give us something better to sing?” And so he wrote over 600 hymns such as ‘Joy to the World’, ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’ and ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’.

Hymns are great mind fodder to improve our prayers. Good hymns focus us on God’s glory, Jesus’ Person and works, our joy in Him or people’s need for Him. Reading a Psalm or a hymn before praying trains the mind, prepares the heart and enlightens the spirit.

What is the Word of Faith Movement?

Word of Faith is not a denomination but a set of teachings practiced across denominations. It is influenced by teaches such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch and Joyce Meyer.

The movement grew out of Pentecostalism in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon. He studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Kenneth Hagin studied under E. W. Kenyon and popularised the Word of Faith movement. Individual teachings range from completely heretical to absurd.

What does the Word of Faith Movement Believe?

A primary teaching is that words can manipulate “faith-force” thereby creating health and wealth. These “laws” operate outside of God’s sovereign will and God Himself is subject to these laws. The Bible teaches that God is preeminent in power and rules the universe (Psalm 115:3; 147:5; Isaiah 46:10; Danial 4:35). He does not need faith – He is to be the object of faith (Mark 11:22; Hebrews 11:3).

Many in the movement teach that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as “little gods” and that after the fall, humans took on Satan’s nature. Scripture teaches that God is spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4:24), that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 9:6) and that man is not a little god or divine because only God has a divine nature (Galatians 4:8; Isaiah 1:6-11, 43:10, 44:6; Ezekiel 28:2; Psalm 8:6-8).

They teach that Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan’s nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born again and rose from the dead with God’s nature. God’s Word tell us that Jesus is the Eternal incarnation of God (John 1:1, 2, 14, 15, 18; 3:16; 1 John 4:1). In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). By becoming a man, Jesus gave up the glory of heaven but not His divinity (Philippians 2:6-7). The cross symbolises victory not defeat (Hebrews 2:14).

They believe illness, sin and failure are the result of a lack of faith. To remedy the situation we’re to “confess” – claim God’s promises over oneself into existence. The Bible teaches that in this world we will have trouble and tribulation (John 16:33).

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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Bushiri

Is Bushiri Christian?

Bushiri

Gideon Mpeni answers the question “Is Bushiri Christian?” AKA Shepherd and Major 1 during the Questions and Answers time at Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni’s Apologetics Conference. For more questions and answers from the Apologetics Conference browse Our Pastor’s Pen.

Is Bushiri Christian?

So question number one, this isn’t to anyone in particular, but Gideon I know that you did get a bit of a heads up in terms of the question. Is Bushiri Christian? I think you’re just going to have to frame who Bushiri is so that folk know and shoot an answer.

Answer

All right. So Bushiri is one of the so called prophets in our day and age. He has a church called Enlightened Christian Gathering. They started in Malawi in the year of 2011. He has grown so much that now he is based here in South Africa and they are meeting in Pretoria.

He calls himself a prophet. But I would without any apology, based on what we see in the Bible as to who is a prophet but also based on the Scripture especially on the book of Matthew chapter 7, Jesus clearly states in Matthew chapter 7 that by their fruit you shall know them. This man has shown and has proved that he is not manifesting the fruit which is expected of a man who is called a man of God.

In Malawi he has impregnated a lot of girls. And he has kids that he denied to be responsible of. Needless to say he lives a flamboyant life. He is driven by riches and fame. In the book of 1 Timothy 6 tell us that Godliness is not a means of financial or material gain. Which he violates that.

So I would unequivocally, without any apology, I’d warn any Christian, that Bushiri is not, is not, a man of God.

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Church Growth

There aren’t anymore Seats in the Sanctuary – To much Church Growth?

Church growth

Praise the Lord Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni continues to experience church growth. At 10-15% per year for the last 6 years and at 30% year on year this year.

But with church growth comes challenges. Parking has been a challenge for us for quiet some time. Now seating is increasingly our number 1 cause for concern. The prevailing thinking is that when a church reaches 80% of its seating capacity visitors are less likely to return. Already we’re having to ask people to move to the sides during the notices and families are having to split up (especially if they arrive late).

Church, we’re going to have to come to a solution to this problem and we’d like you to join the decision making process by praying. Thank God for the harvest of souls He has brought into our midst. Praise Him for the abundant growth we continue to enjoy. Ask the Lord to cause us to be faithful with the precious souls He has entrusted to our care. In addition to prayer we’d like you to think about our situation and make suggestions or comments regarding possible ways we can resolve this to God’s glory.

Options to resolve the Capacity Problem
DescriptionProsCons
More Chairs: Currently we have 135 charcoal chairs and 20 blue chairs = 155 chairs (and 8 chairs in the cry room). We could fit in a maximum of 184 chairs into the sanctuary.Use the existing building.Cost: 50 charcoal chairs at R 110.00 each = R 5,500.00. >169 chairs means 0% space at front of church (worship team and elements). Parking will continue to inhibit growth. Might we exceed the max town planning capacity?
Children Out: Currently we average 20 kids in Sunday School with 5 teachers and 12 kids in Teen Class with 3 teachers.Use the existing building. We’d save 40 seats.Not able to promote family worship. Removes Sunday School/Teen Class teachers from sitting under the teaching of the Word. Parking will continue to inhibit growth. Might we exceed the max town planning capacity? Seems a large culture shift for only 40 seats.
2nd Morning Service: Currently our service is from 9:30-11:00am. We could consider services from 7:30-8:45am and 9:45-11:00am. Suggested time between services by polled pastors: 30min (Andrew Londal, CESA and Richard van Lieshout, BU and Robert Penrith, CPSA). 40min (Andre Broodryk, BU).Use the existing building.Very strenuous on volunteers (music teams) and staff.
Members Evening Service: Invite some members to only attend the evening service.Use the existing building.Who stays, who goes and why?
Move to School: In the past Crystal Park Primary School have offered their facility for a nominal fee.Ample space (400+).Setup and teardown. Loss of geographic identity. Possible loss of income due to perceived reduction in cost of operation.
Overflow: We could fit 50+ chairs into the Fellowship Hall.Use the existing building. Increased overflow could be utilized for funerals and other functions.Cost: 50 charcoal chairs at R 110.00 each = R 5,500.00 and projector and sound system = R 10,000.00. Parking will continue to inhibit growth. Might we exceed the max town planning capacity?
BuyProblem solvedNot enough cash on hand.
Rent elsewhereProblem solvedWill investigate venues.

At the recent Our Ministry Matters meeting a straw vote recommended the Overflow option to continue to facilitate church growth. Send comments to the elders.

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Christian Standard Bible: Key Verses from the Pentateuch Compared with the HCSB, ESV and KJV

Christian Standard Bible

Last year I read through a preprint copy of the Christian Standard Bible. And I enjoyed it. A lot. Below I picked a single verse which I felt best represented each book of the Pentateuch (The first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses) and then used that as a platform to compare the Christian Standard Bible to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), English Standard Version (ESV) and King James Version (KJV).

Christian Standard Bible: Genesis

Christian Standard Bible, Genesis 1:1, CSB

So the opening lines of the Old Testament stay the same across the translations. We are so blessed to have a rich history of English translations.

I liked the Christian Standard Bible’s typeset (I’m reading from the Large Print UltraThin Reference Bible): The whole of Chapter 1 fits snugly on the first page (the only thing that might have made it better is if they managed to squeeze 2:1-4 in as well). In order to do this there was some hyphenation, one word in particular (“ev-erything”) felt forced.

Having read the Christian Standard Bible last year I read through Genesis fairly quickly over 2 days this week. Smooth and fast is probably the best description of the way this translation reads.


Genesis 1:1
TranslationVerse
CSBIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
HCSBIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
ESVIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
KJVIn the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Christian Standard Bible: Exodus

Christian Standard Bible, Exodus 20:3, CSB

The 10 Commandments make a nice contrast when considering the KJV and Christian Standard Bible. On the one hand the KJV’s language is antiquated. On the other, it just sounds so right in many places. I’ve preached from the NIV 1984 for many years and the HCSB for the last two or three and yet when I quote the 10 Commandments or familiar passages from the Psalms I almost always naturally Thee and Thou.

The chief difference between the KJV and the Christian Standard Bible remains the underlining source texts they use. The KJV’s New Testament basis for translation is the Textus Receptus (similar to the Byzantine text-type; some readings derived from the Vulgate) and for the Old Testament the Masoretic Text. The Christian Standard Bible’s basis for the New Testament is Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition and the United Bible Society Greek New Testament, 5th edition while for the Old Testament it uses the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. I believe the later over the former holds greater integrity.


Exodus 20:3
TranslationVerse
CSBDo not have other gods besides me.
HCSBDo not have other gods besides Me.
ESV“You shall have no other gods before me.
KJVThou shalt have no other gods before me.

Christian Standard Bible: Leviticus

Christian Standard Bible, Leviticus 19:2, CSB

Leviticus 19:2 is a good platform to note some of the differences between the Christian Standard Bible and the HCSB. You’ll notice that the HCSB translates the tetragrammaton (God’s name when transliterated from Hebrew is YHWH; it is then variously translated in English versions) Yahweh and the Christian Standard Bible does not, translating it Lord.

Other changes that I’ve noted and queried are tongues for languages (for γλωσση), fewer instances of messiah (for ο χριστος) and fewer instances of slave (for δουλος). Thing is, some of those translative distinctives I really liked. Sigh. I think I could guess the motivation for the changes and while I might not like all of them I don’t perceive them as nafarious.


Leviticus 19:2
TranslationVerse
CSB“Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
HCSB“Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, Yahweh your God, am holy.
ESV“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
KJVSpeak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.

Christian Standard Bible: Numbers

Christian Standard Bible, Numbers 6:24-26, CSB

The Christian Standard Bible comes into it’s own when you’re three quarters way through the Pentateuch. It reads so easily; even through the bumpy bits. It’s kinda like having great suspension and big thick tires on an off-road vehicle… on the off-road. They call it Optimal Equivalence… which balances contemporary English readability with linguistic precision to the original languages.”


Numbers 6:24-26
TranslationVerse
CSB“May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.”
HCSBMay Yahweh bless you and protect you; may Yahweh make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may Yahweh look with favor on you and give you peace.
ESVThe Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
KJVThe Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Christian Standard Bible: Deuteronomy

Christian Standard Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4, CSB

I noticed the lack of capitalisation of one/One in Deuteronomy 6:4. Mmm, what other pronouns that I’ve come to love in the HCSB may be missing big first letters? I checked his/His in John 1:11. Aaaaaargh!

So, if you want to know more about the Christian Standard Bible’s translation philosophy and other FAQs check this out. What I’d like to see is a print out of the rules applying to words, phrases… and everything else.


Deuteronomy 6:4
TranslationVerse
CSB“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
HCSB“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
ESV“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
KJVHear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

“The Christian Standard Bible will take its place in the rich heritage of English Bible translations as both accessible and faithful. By accessible I mean that the text is easy enough to read so as to be enjoyed and by faithful I mean that God’s Word has been translated with integrity so as to be trusted.”

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Corporate Prayer

Guidelines for Leading Corporate Prayer

Leading Corporate Prayer

Corporate Prayer, Leading Prayer

Guidelines for leading corporate prayer at Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni. I’d be interested to hear any feedback or suggestions. There is to be much freedom in the praise and worship of Almighty God; but there is to be order too. We have a team of 7 leaders. These guidelines create some continuity between us.

Leading Corporate Prayer

Guidelines for leading corporate prayer.

Before Corporate Prayer

Corporate Prayer, Leading Prayer

  • Unable to fulfil a duty? Give the service coordinator sufficient notice.
  • Inform the service coordinator that you are present when you arrive.
  • Corporate prayer requires preparation. Do be aware of blessing to thank God for or petitions to bring before Him.
  • Be seated in such a way as to minimise distraction.
  • Be prepared to come up immediately when the corporate prayer slide goes up.
  • Position the lectern in the centre of the church and not to the side.
  • Always use the mic. Do not test the mic.
  • Corporate prayer should take 3-5 minutes.

Inform the Congregation

  • This is an expression of our unity before God.
  • This is an opportunity for heads of families to grow in the discipline of leading prayer.
  • This is an opportunity us to hear how to praise, confess, thank and make our requests know to God.

The Corporate Prayer

Corporate Prayer, Leading Prayer

  • As far as possible use plural nouns we and our over personal nouns I and me.
  • As far as possible be specific in prayer.
  • Adore God. Praise Him for His attributes, His works, His Son, His salvation.
  • Confess sin. Give some time for appropriate acknowledgement of how far we fall short of His standard.
  • Thank God. For specific blessing in the life of the church or individuals.
  • Supplicate before God. Specific prayer requests for individuals in the church (such as the sick, struggling, sin-weary). Prayers for our church(our pastors, people, prodigals, programs). Prayers for our community, our city, our country (our ward counsellor, our mayor, our president). Prayers for the lost and the work of missionaries (in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the Earth).
  • The weekly prayer guide has content in it which is relevant to our community. Please use it.

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Stupid Religion

When Stupid and Religion Collide

When Stupid and Religion Collide

Stupid Religion, False Teacher, Theo Bongani Maseko

“Prophet Theo Bongani Maseko, from the Breath of Christ Ministries in Daveyton, made his congregants drink vehicle engine cleaning fluid to attack viruses and detect demons.” I read that in the Benoni City Times last week. Stupid religion abounds.

Just let the craziness of that story sink in for a while.

“Maseko said the chemical doesn’t pose any health dangers and he admitted to also drinking the fluid several times. He said he buys the chemical, ‘blesses’ it and gives it to his congregants. The liquid tastes like honey and the bottle has the fullness of Christ inside,” he said.

Disappointment and Disgust

Stupid Religion, False Teacher, Theo Bongani Maseko

Disappointment turned to disgust! Like many I ask the questions why would a pastor do such a thing? And what kind of a person would be duped?

As I work through those questions in my mind I remembered that not everyone who claims authority to speak on behalf of Jesus Christ is in fact His representative. There’ve always been charlatans, fakers; this is nothing new. During New Testament times, within 30 years of Jesus’ ministry, His disciples Peter and John as well as the apostle Paul and Jude wrote letters to warn infant Christian congregations of false teachers, dangerous doctrines and counterfeit Christianity.

The New Testament writings call on believers to evaluate the teaching, practices and life of teachers by the Word of God. The crazy stunts false teachers pull to attract a crowd will change from year to year but the rule and standard by which they’re to be measured doesn’t. Believers are to test all things and hold onto the good. Avoid those that go beyond or fall short of Scripture and affirm those that are in line with Scripture.

What motivates False Teachers?

What motivates false teachers? The simple answer is self-gain. It could be financial enrichment or a self-esteem which needs to be stroked. Bottom line, the false teacher trades the timeless truths of God’s Word for fanciful imaginations and harmful practices.

Who falls for this Idiocy?

So, what kind of a person would be duped by these men? Often people who fall under the sway of false teachers place themselves there intentionally. They are attracted to the bizarre, have an appetite for it. Rather than grow in the knowledge of God which comes from learning, understanding and applying His Word the people run after that which feeds the lusts of their flesh.

What can be Done?

What can be done about a man who feeds motor oil to people who are willing participants in the madness? Can anything be done? Should anything be done? I think yes. Man is created in the image of God. As such, even in this sinful world, much of our societal structure is ordered according to knowledge of the divine will stamped upon our consciousness. In South Africa we have laws which protect the rights of victims and the vulnerable. Just because a victim is a willing participant doesn’t mean that a crime wasn’t committed.

The recent actions of self acclaimed prophets such as feeding people grass, snakes, spraying a known toxic liquid and drinking engine cleaning fluid, is both unlawful and illegal. Christians must, in the strongest terms, repudiate both the claims and the unlawful actions of so-called prophets. We therefore call upon relevant authorities to exercise their powers to ensure that victim’s rights are protected.

While we believe that the Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ healed people of all manner of diseases and ailments during His earthly ministry, He always did so in a way that protected their dignity as human beings made in the image of God. On no occasion did He act in a way that caused physical harm to people or further endangered their health. As such, these reported actions are completely contrary to both biblical teaching and practice.

What can churches Do?

In the short term I do think that Christianity needs to stand up and say “That’s not of Christ and that’s not of us.” Too long has the church not pointed out that which is false and so people are confused. But there is a danger of always pointing to the false and not pointing enough to the Truth. Churches need to protect and develop their pulpit ministry with greater intentionality. We need to point our people to the cross, to Christ, to what a healthy church looks like, to what healthy Christians look like. And we need to do that today, tomorrow, and the next day, to the Lord’s praise and glory.

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Leading Communion

Guidelines for Leading Communion

Leading Communion

Communion Celebration, Leading Communion

Guidelines for leading communion at Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni. I’d be interested to hear any feedback or suggestions (Why is there so much disagreement about communion?). There is to be much freedom in the praise and worship of Almighty God; but there is to be order too. We have a team of 7 communion leaders. These guidelines create some continuity between us.

Before Communion

  • Unable to fulfil a duty? Give the worship coordinator sufficient notice.
  • Inform the worship coordinator that you are present when you arrive.
  • Be seated in such a way as to minimise distraction.
  • Be prepared to come up immediately when the communion slide goes up.
  • Position the lectern in the centre of the church and not to the side.
  • Always use the mic. Do not test the mic.
  • Communion should take 7-10 minutes.

The Message

  • The message should take 3-5 minutes.
  • Read and expound from one text only.
  • Call for a short time of silence after the message.

Inform the Congregation

  • Communion is open to all who have placed their faith in Jesus.
  • Anyone who hasn’t placed their faith in Jesus is to “let the elements pass by”.
  • Parents are to exercise authority over believing children and teens.
  • Other children and teens must speak to an elder before taking communion.
  • The congregation is to wait when they receive the elements so that we can partake together.

Distribution of the Elements

Communion Elements, Leading Communion

  • Call up the stewards to distribute the elements.
  • Pray before eating the bread. Wait.
  • Pray before drinking the cup. Wait.
  • Close in a short prayer.


Helpful Texts

  • Genesis 22:7-8, Psalm 22:15-19, Psalm 40:6-8, Isaiah 53:4-9
  • Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:7-20, 1 Corinthians 10:15-22, 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 1 Corinthians
    11:27-34, John 6:53-56, Romans 3:22-26, Romans 5:9, 1 Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 1:7-8, Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 1:19-20, Hebrews 9:11-22, 25-28, Hebrews 10:5- 10, Hebrews 10:19-22, Hebrews 12:22-24, Hebrews 13:11-15
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Worship

Who’s Singing What Worship Songs?

Worship

For a while I’ve been curious to know who’s singing what. Is Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni’s corporate worship similar in expression to the likeminded churches we’re in close fellowship with? So I contacted pastors, got in touch with worship leaders, received worship setlists for the past 12 months and compiled them. The results are… interesting, and available for you to check out below.

Who’s Who in my Zoo?

This was a mammoth exercise and took me far longer than I anticipated. For a start, everyone’s data came in different formats. I literally had to hand scrub everything.

As a result I had to limit myself to four churches, Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni, Midrand Chapel, Antioch Bible Church and Grace Fellowship. Why those four? Because we’re almost peas in a pod theologically. Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni is a plant from Midrand Chapel and the three other churches are all “Masters” churches – they have “senior” pastors who are graduates from The Masters Seminary.

I’ve visited each of these church and would describe the worship flavour between them as slightly different. Antioch Bible Church and Grace Fellowship I’d describe as Conservative, Classical, Evangelical. Midrand Chapel I’d describe as Conservative, Contemporary, Evangelical. And Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni… Contemporary, Evangelical.

There are plenty of churches I could have included (Grace Christian Church, Germiston Baptist Church, Benoni Baptist Church, Heritage Baptist Church…) but time constrained me.

How did we Compare?

Repertoire

Worship

The results are so interesting. When it came to repertoire Midrand Chapel, Antioch Bible Church and Grace Fellowship all had large pools. Crystal Park Baptist Church Benoni’s was much smaller – our worship director made this decision a few years ago to encourage corporate singing and we don’t change setlists between morning and evening services. Antioch Bible Church’s huge repertoire can be attributed to them singing a large pool of older hymns.

Comparison of Repertoire
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniMidrand ChapelAntioch Bible ChurchGrace Fellowship
108145159145
Unique Content

When it came to content that one church is singing and no one else is singing Antioch Bible Church stood out because of the number of old hymns they’re singing on Sundays and Midrand Chapel because of the number of old worship songs.

Number of Unique Songs
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniMidrand ChapelAntioch Bible ChurchGrace Fellowship
44595852

So what hymns/songs do individual churches love that other churches aren’t singing? Here Crystal Park Baptist Church’s repetition of a unique repertoire meant that it dominated 8 of the 10 unique entries.

Top Unique Songs by Frequency
ChurchSongFrequency
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniFor the Cross8
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniAmazing Love7
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniBayete Enkosi7
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniWe Cry Holy7
Antioch Bible ChurchHow Sweet and Awful7
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniIn the Cross7
Midrand ChapelChrist is Risen7
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniFather I Thank You6
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniGlorious Day6
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniHere I am to Worship6
Glaring Omissions

There are a number of reasons a church may not sing a particular song. Normally amongst a like minded group it’ll be lack of exposure or theological content or overall tone.

Here are the top played songs which never made it onto the list of a single church.

Top Songs not Sung by Church
Church not Singing a SongSongFrequency by other Churches
Grace FellowshipMan of Sorrows19
Antioch Bible Church10 000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)15
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniWonderful Merciful Saviour13
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniBefore the Throne12
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniI will Glorify in My Redeemer12
Midrand ChapelAncient of Days10
Midrand Chapel and Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniBy Faith10
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniCome People of the Risen King10
Grace FellowshipGrace Greater Than All Our Sin10
Crystal Park Baptist Church BenoniHow Firm a Foundation10
The Top 10 for 2016
Top 10 Songs
SongFrequency
How deep the father's love for us19
Man of sorrows19
All I have is Christ16
10 000 reasons (Bless the Lord)15
Behold our God15
In Christ alone15
Speak Oh Lord14
Across the lands13
Come praise and glorify13
Salvation belongs to our God13

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