The Bible translations issue needs a balanced approach.
We primarily use the NKJV in our ministry. We believe it’s important not to let the controversy over Bible versions become our main focus or an unnecessary point of division. We’ve decided not to make it a major issue even though we understand the manuscript issue.
We think it’s acceptable for Christians to have other translations and use them, but we also believe that we should exercise caution. The NIV, for example, is a helpful thought-for-thought paraphrase which can be helpful in reading Old Testament narratives, but it does have some problems. Click here for cautions on the NIV: www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/niv.asp
The ESV differs from the NIV in that it is a literal translation. While there is some concern about some of the manuscripts used in the translation of the ESV, many have found it helpful. The New King James version (NKJV) can be helpful for those who like the King James but struggle with some of the words.
Because God did not address the issue of translations in the Bible itself, we won’t bind God by saying other translations cannot be used by Him to carry out His purposes. It’s been well-said that God has often used a crooked stick to draw a straight line. God has used many imperfect men to translate Bibles that have been used to draw many Himself.
Looking for a great study Bible? One of our favorites is the Life Application Study Bible. It comes in KJV and NKJV, and contains many helpful notes that help the reader understand the Word of God in its context.
Churches ought to have a tight-knit community of people who love each other.
According to 1 Corinthians 12, the gathering of people we call the church, is one body. This means that, at Bay City Baptist we are connected to each other and have a responsibility to minister to each other. When one hurts we all hurt and when one is glad we’re all glad.
Every one of us needs the accountability and the ministry that the other members of the body can supply. Read 1 Corinthians 12. It’s clear.
There’s beauty in quiet, humble worship.
The music in our church is not intended to entertain. Entertainment is not worship.
We sing some newer hymns and some older hymns, but we don’t hold to the philosophy that just because they’re old they’re good. Some old hymns aren’t good. Some reflect bad doctrine and some have little substance.
We also don’t believe that all new songs are bad. There’s a new generation of godly songwriters who understand that much of music written in the last 25 years has little substance. These new writers are bringing the focus back where it belongs…Jesus Christ and God’s saving work. When we find a song that fits with our message we’re not afraid to use it, whether old or new.
As to contemporary styles, we understand that drums are acceptable in some contexts, but we have chosen not to use them. We believe it’s important to avoid the entertainment-based worship experience that tends to cater to passions and create a performer/spectator-based service. (This is not to say that every church that uses drums is entertainment-based.)
In performer/spectator-based worship services, people in the churches tend to “watch” others worship on the platform instead of being actively engaged in all the aspects of worship themselves.
There is a special beauty and reverence in simple and humble worship. We want to make Jesus Christ and the wonder of God’s salvation the main focus of our music.
Because we are cautious in our worship music does not mean we expect people to listen to only the same music in their homes. Those who attend our church have a wide variety of musical tastes and there’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, as with all areas of life, we must make sure our music does not speak favorably of the kinds of activities and thought patterns that would not please God.
We’re not going to make this common mistake.
One of the easiest mistakes to make in our walk with God is to think that if we can keep a “list” of all the “do’s and don’ts” that we’ll gain acceptance with God. It’s sad to see churches make this mistake.
God doesn’t see it that way and neither should we. When God draws us to Himself and saves us, He “declares us righteous” and accepts us. The Bible calls this justification. God didn’t say that we first had to reach a certain level of goodness and then He would love us. We came to Him just as we were.
And God did not say we need to maintain a certain level of spirituality in order to have a continuing relationship with Him. If we have put all our trust in Him, He still accepts us. Of course God wants us to obey Him and live clean, but He doesn’t write us off when we sin. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14, ESV).
Many Christians have made the mistake of “living by the list.” They have reduced their relationship with God to a list of do’s and don’ts just like the Pharisees. Christians who live like this will ultimately realize it doesn’t work, and some will end up quitting in frustration.
So, in this Green Bay church, we’re going to place the emphasis on our relationship with God.
Yes, we want to live clean. Yes, we want to please Him and walk in obedience to Him.
But we’re not going to expect that we gain status with God when we do.