Satan Unveiled: Biblical Insights and Spiritual Warfare Strategies
In this enlightening episode of the Straight Truth Podcast, Pastor Richard Caldwell delves into the enigmatic existence of Satan, offering profound biblical insights and answering top questions about this spiritual adversary. Why did God create Satan, and what is his role in the divine plan? How does Satan's presence influence the spiritual warfare believers are called to engage in? Through meticulous examination of Scripture, this episode unveils Satan's tactics, his interactions with humanity, and God's sovereign purpose behind it all. Discover how to arm yourself with spiritual armor and stand firm in the battle against demonic forces, all while glorifying God. Join us for a deep dive into understanding Satan's place in Christian theology and how believers can effectively navigate the challenges of spiritual warfare.
How Should Christians Think About UFOs and Other Phenomena?
In a world where the lines between the known and the unknown blur, 'How Should Christians Think About UFOs and Other Phenomena?' tackles the intriguing intersection of faith and the mysteries that captivate our imagination. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot as they navigate through topics such as UFOs, aliens, Bigfoot, paranormal activities, and more, examining these from a solid biblical standpoint. This episode of the Straight Truth Podcast is not just a journey into the unexplained but a reminder of the firm foundation believers have in the Word of God. How do we reconcile our curiosity with our faith? Is there room for the supernatural in a Christian worldview? These questions and more are explored in depth. Watch now to deepen your understanding of what Scripture says about the phenomena that intrigue and puzzle so many.
Guidance for Parents with Children in Public Schools
To hear more teaching on the subject of raising and training children, consider listening to the following sermons: Shepherding Adult Children: https://youtu.be/Oif25ty0Q1o The Wrong Answer for Your Child's Greatest Need: https://youtu.be/09c0RkB-hVM The Context for Christian Parenting: https://youtu.be/pjeXk0v_JJI Christian Parenting: https://youtu.be/GIE11OMzoiQ A Generational Plan for Discipleship: https://youtu.be/SC01O4ospiI In this episode of the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell discuss the importance of preparing and guiding our children for sending them out into the world for secular education. Whether it's sending them off to elementary, middle, high school, or college, we want our children to take with them the biblical and moral values we teach them at home. We want to see them prepared for all walks of life they will encounter as they go out to receive any kind of secular education. But how can parents instill a deep-rooted faith in their children so that when they encounter worldly ideas, arguments, and controversial subject matters, they're prepared for them? What can and should parents do to prepare their children for these kinds of environments? Join us to hear the answers to these questions and more as Dr. Caldwell seeks to guide us to think carefully, wisely, and biblically about raising, training, and sending our children out into the world of secular education. Dr. Caldwell says that one way of training our children as they grow up in our homes is to make sure we are teaching them in a way where it’s not just a question asked and an answer repeated. Catechizing our children has wonderful benefits, but we need to be sure that we are always teaching our children truth in a way that we're encouraging them to embrace it in their own hearts. We want to teach them to think carefully and holistically about the truth they’re embracing so that they understand what they believe and why they believe it. As we train our children these ways in our homes, modeling it and living it out with them, we are preparing them as they grow up to face objections and people who believe contrary to the things we believe. As you prepare to send them off to college or university, you want to think carefully about where you send them. If you’re going to be paying for or contributing financially to their continuing education, send them where they’ll receive an education, not indoctrination. Then, as you send them out, stay in touch with them, stay connected to them, and talk with them throughout their entire journey. Ask them specifically about their walk with God and about things they are running into at school. Ask them about their friendships and how their faith is enduring. Ask them about challenges they’re facing in their own hearts. Be careful and diligent in your relationship with them as you seek to help and encourage them along their journey. But what about the years before we send them off to college? Should we consider pulling our children out of the secular education environment altogether? Would it be better to homeschool them and place them in private Christian schools if we can? Dr. Caldwell says these are all individual decisions. He and his wife raised four children some were homeschooled, and some went to private Christian school. However, Dr. Caldwell shares that from the time they did that until now, the moral influence of the public education models has degraded. So he definitely believes there is a place to pull our children out and educate them in a way that accords with truth. But we want to do this in a way that doesn’t isolate them from the very things and arguments they'll be dealing with for the rest of their lives. We don’t want them to be naïve or underdeveloped when it comes to the pushback they're going to get in this world. A part of preparing them for life is preparing them for those who do not believe what they believe. No matter how much biblical truth we steep them in, what we teach, train, and model for them, it must take root in their own hearts. Even great parenting can result in unbelieving children. We need to understand that there’s something that our children need that we can’t produce through any process of training. Great parenting cannot overcome the problem in our children from birth since the fall; that requires God. God must save our children. It's the monergistic work of God's grace that saves, not decisional regeneration. It is God alone who saves, who grants repentance and faith in His Son. Therefore, when we think it’s just information in and godliness out, we've really misunderstood what's required for the salvation of our children. But when we understand that it is God alone that saves, it should drive us to our knees and humble us in our parenting approaches. As we are training and teaching our children biblical truth, we need to be praying and asking the Lord to save them.
Faith in Waiting: Unveiling the Power of Patience #FaithInWaiting #SpiritualPatience
Explore the transformative power of waiting with faith in our latest YouTube Short from "The Straight Truth Podcast." This snippet from "Waiting on God in Faith: How Waiting Strengthens Christian Faith" reveals how waiting is an active and trusting stance in one's spiritual journey, far beyond mere passivity. Dive deeper into this profound topic by listening to the full episode on your favorite podcast app or watch the video version here: https://youtu.be/zIrBEnLAQC4. Music by PianoAmor from Pixabay. #FaithInWaiting #SpiritualPatience #ChristianGrowth #TrustInDivine #GodsTiming #SpiritualInsight #BiblicalWisdom #ChristianTeaching #FaithJourney #GodsPlan #BibleStudy #ChristianLife #SpiritualStrength #TrustingGod #PatienceInFaith #ChristianFaith #SpiritualEndurance #GodsWill #FaithfulWaiting #ChristianPodcasts #ReligiousTeaching #FaithAndTrust #BibleVerses #GodlyPatience #SpiritualJourney #ChristianBeliever #GodlyWisdom #ChristianReflection #BiblicalTeaching #FaithfulPatience
Waiting on God in Faith: How Waiting Strengthens Christian Faith
Related Sermons: Teaching Trust in God: https://youtu.be/gr9ZDIpeWGk Understanding Faith: https://youtu.be/n3NcoNeyHIY Abraham's Family of Faith: https://youtu.be/z4K0hTcZqEA The Eternal Outcome of Life's Trials: https://youtu.be/uAgyW9Q1MEs Christian Contentment - Part 1: https://youtu.be/yE2yErF2zHk Christian Contentment - Part 2: https://youtu.be/zicoJ_CQKLA Several Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament speak of waiting upon God. We read several of these written by David in the Psalms, where he faced all kinds of spiritual, relational, and physical circumstances. Often, it's while right in the heat of them that he's calling out to the Lord and speaks of this waiting. In Psalm 25, David says, “None who wait for the Lord shall be put to shame.” In Psalm 27, he says, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” What does it mean to wait for God? As people who want to act to get things done by making decisions, solving problems, and resolving issues, what does this waiting involve? How can we do this faithfully in a way that pleases God and doesn’t leap to take matters into our own hands? This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot take up the topic of waiting on God. Join us and listen in as they seek to help us see that waiting is not a time for inactivity but a time for obedience, fellowship, prayer, reflection, understanding, and preparation. Dr. Caldwell first mentions that waiting is believing. It is a faith posture that says, I am going to respond, stand, and live in my situation in a way that reflects believing. It is trusting and hoping in the Lord. But this waiting, trusting, and hoping doesn’t necessarily mean that we are inactive or that we do nothing. Waiting periods are not wasted periods. They will involve patience, sometimes requiring us to endure intensely difficult circumstances. So, we want to make sure that we are submitted to the Lord and that we are obeying Him and not stepping outside of the truth and acting in disobedience. We want to go on trusting even when it’s difficult to trust. If we don’t have the right perspective, waiting periods can become frustrating times in our lives. As human beings, we don’t like the feeling that we are not in control. This frustration can lead to weariness, leading to a lack of prayerlessness, and to us separating and isolating ourselves from others. But this isn’t beneficial. To hope in the Lord is for us to acknowledge we aren’t in control, and prayer is the act that expresses this. We want to be devoted to prayer, persevering in it, and trusting God in all the means that He intends to use to accomplish whatever it is that we are waiting on Him for. This also means not isolating ourselves. We want to gather with other believers, allowing them to come alongside us to encourage us and to pray for us. We want to use these times when we are waiting to study the Word of God and reflect on our lives. It may be that we think we are ready to move forward and do something, when in fact, the Lord knows that we aren’t because we lack understanding and the knowledge required to do so in confident faith. To act without the growth and understanding that the Lord has for us in these times of waiting can be detrimental. The only safe place to ever stand is in obedience to God, and that requires a kind of faith that can stand still when it needs to. Dr. Caldwell reminds us that no matter what it is we are waiting on the Lord for, even in the face of great evil, we need to have the mindset that some of what we are waiting and trusting Him for will not be vindicated until this life is over. We need only to think about the church during the early days under Roman rule and the suffering that they experienced, as well as the times during the Protestant Reformation. There have been believers throughout the ages who have held to this principle to their martyrdom. That’s the kind of trust we’re to hold on to, just as Job says, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” So we aren’t going to run ahead of Him, we aren’t going to run outside the truth, we are going to stand in the right place no matter the cost. Dr. Philpot recalls the words of Isaiah 40:31, where the prophet says, “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” He shares that this provides a good contrast to what happens to those who do not wait. Dr. Caldwell says this is great insight, as our waiting in faith actually strengthens us. There’s a sense of confidence that the Lord fuels when we know we are standing in the right place; it is a holy confidence and strength that attends to that obedience.
Navigating Friendships with Apostates #ApostasyQuestions #FriendshipDynamics #ChristianFaith
Explore the challenges of maintaining friendships with those who've strayed from the faith in this excerpt from The Straight Truth Podcast's latest episode titled "Can I be Friends With an Apostate?". Pastor Richard Caldwell provides biblical insights on this critical topic. For the full episode, click the link in our profile or listen on your favorite podcast app. Join the conversation! #ApostasyQuestions #FriendshipDynamics #ChristianFaith #SpiritualInsights #BiblicalAnswers #FaithJourney #PodcastDiscussion #NavigatingFriendships #TheStraightTruth #DeepQuestions #SeekingAnswers #ChristianLiving #SpiritualJourney #BiblicalPerspective #ReligiousPodcast #SpiritualGuidance #FaithMatters #FriendshipChallenges #FaithJourney #ChristianPodcast #BiblicalTeaching #FaithExploration #ChristianLife #TruthMatters #ScriptureInsights #PodcastExcerpt #BiblicalWisdom #YouTubeShort #WatchNow #ListenOnPodcast
Can We Remain Friends With Those Who Apostatize?
Consider the following sermons by Dr. Caldwell to help deepen your understanding of apostasy and strengthen you as you seek to encourage and exhort others to remain faithful in their walk with Christ: A People Prepared for Perilous Times: https://youtu.be/9xAAFv0RQv4 Continuing With Christ: https://youtu.be/OGu_0UT6eng Four Kinds of Hearers - Part 1: https://youtu.be/9pe7joNf3CY Four Kinds of Hearers - Part 2: https://youtu.be/QiPxx9J7IWQ The Believer's Response to Apostasy: https://youtu.be/rY2rl1w4_3I The Purity of the Church: https://youtu.be/LB4zvsUz7Q4 Understanding Apostasy: https://youtu.be/0paCLYjC_9w The Tragedy of Apostasy: https://youtu.be/h00B62O0mfs Apostasy is the unthinkable tragedy of someone walking away from Jesus, away from the Christian faith, in denial of the truth. Apostasy doesn't just happen to people or persons we don’t know. Sometimes, that someone who walks away was someone we once walked with in our journey as we came to know Christ. Sometimes, it’s someone we’ve grown up with, someone we’ve gone through a lot with, someone we know very well, someone we love very much. Apostasy is a grave matter, literally a matter of eternal life and death. What can we do when this happens with people we know well and love? What do we do when it’s a good friend who doesn’t go to our church? Can we remain friends with those who turn away from the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints? Join us this week to listen to this discussion on the Straight Truth Podcast between Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell. They consider and explain the seriousness and sobering truth regarding apostasy and what we can do for those we love and care about who go out from the Christian faith. Dr. Caldwell shares that the passage that comes to mind is from Jude, so he shares verses 17 to 23, commenting as he goes along. Jude writes to believers, appealing to them to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. In the verses Dr. Caldwell shares, Jude addresses three kinds of persons who are drifting and three different ways believers should respond when we see them straying from this. The first is to have mercy on some who are doubting. These are expressing some form of doubt but haven’t yet strayed away. We are to come alongside to encourage and exhort them. The second is to save others by snatching them out of the fire. These individuals are on the brink, on the edge of the precipice, and we need to take immediate action, grabbing hold of them to snatch them out of their nearness to destruction. Thirdly, Jude tells us to have mercy on some with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. This third kind of person is dangerous, and they are a dangerous influence. And if they're a church member where church discipline is exercised, then that process will be pursued. But even as this is undertaken, as Jude says, we have mercy with fear, loving them and longing to see them delivered out of their error. In any of these three situations where we might have someone we love and care about who is drifting or has already strayed, and they don't attend our church, we want to try to maintain contact to have opportunities for speaking into their lives with the truth of God’s Word. Apostasy is not final until someone is dead. We just need to be careful because the nearness of that relationship can be dangerous on multiple levels. As we remain friendly with them, we cannot act as if consequential things are not consequential. We cannot continue to hang out and do stuff with them, treating them like nothing has happened and as if it’s no big deal. Those who apostatize can be very influential as they share their story of ‘deconstructing’ and how they’ve emerged with a new perspective on their once-held faith. When we place ourselves in close proximity with someone who denies the tenets and doctrines of the Christian faith, it can negatively impact us. We are all not as mature as others, and this can be especially dangerous to a young believer in the faith, whose foundations aren’t very deep yet. Another thing to consider is there are also consequences with respect not just to us individually but to the people associated with and tied to us. Therefore, we want to tread very carefully around those who apostatize. As we think about that last kind of person, whom Jude says to have mercy on with fear, he also says we are to do this, ‘hating’ even the garment polluted by the flesh. When we think about caring for and loving those who have apostatized, we want to remember that our friendship and any loyalty we might have to them is not just identified by our love but also by hatred. We need to have a hatred for what will destroy them. Our love for Christ is not just identified by our love for Christ Himself and the things that are true regarding Him; there also needs to be a holy hatred for what attacks Him and dishonors Him.
Conquering Life's Tests with Faith #Faith #SpiritualGrowth #ChristianLiving #BiblicalTruth
In this eye-opening snippet from "The Straight Truth Podcast," Richard Caldwell discusses how life's challenges are not just hurdles but opportunities for our faith to intervene. When anger, disappointment, or loss tests us, it's time for the truths of faith to guide our reactions and decisions. It's about letting spiritual knowledge inform our responses and attitudes. Curious about the full discussion? Listen to the entire episode on your preferred podcast app or watch it here: https://youtu.be/s99rwiTifAY #Faith #SpiritualGrowth #ChristianLiving #BiblicalTruth #LifeChallenges #SpiritualGuidance #ReligiousPodcast #ChristianPodcast #SpiritualWellness #InnerPeace #DivineTeaching #SacredTexts #HolyScriptures #FaithGuidance #ReligiousBeliefs #SpiritualHealth #ChristianTeaching #GodsWord #BibleStudy #ChristianCommunity #PrayerfulLiving #DevotionalThoughts #ChristCentered #SpiritualJourney #ReligiousDiscussion #UpliftingContent #ChristianContent #ReligiousContent #FaithInAction #WalkingInFaith
Confronting Our Reality: The Mirror of Scripture #Christ #BiblicalTeaching #Redemption #HolyWord
Experience a moment of undeniable truth with this insightful short, showcasing how the Lord uses Scripture to mirror our true selves back to us, often revealing what we are reluctant to admit. This moment is a snippet from Pastor Richard Caldwell's sermon, "The King’s Honor Defended," based on Matthew 22:1-14, where the transformative power of the Word is evident. Are you stirred within as the Word brings light to the hidden corners of your life? This calling is none other than Jesus Christ Himself, reaching out for you through the verses of the Scripture. Embark on a more profound exploration by listening to the full sermon. It's available on podcast platforms and can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/dWT1DcoOeEk #Christ #BiblicalTeaching #Redemption #HolyWord #DivineCall #SpiritualReflection #ChristianWisdom #ReligiousTruth #SacredScriptures #GodsCall #HeartfeltFaith #RepentantHeart #DevotionalStudy #SoulSearching #ChristTeachings #ScripturalWisdom #FaithInChrist #GodsGrace #SpiritualCall #BiblicalJourney #HolyTeachings #ChristRedemption #GodsForgiveness #DevoutFaith #ChristianityToday #LifeInChrist #GodsSalvation
Unlocking the Power of Pastoral Longevity and Mentorship #PastoralLeadership #ChurchLeadership
In this insightful excerpt from The Straight Truth Podcast, delve into a riveting discussion between the hosts about the pivotal roles of seasoned pastors and the vital interplay between them and the emerging leadership in churches. Revering figures like R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur, the conversation underscores the imperative of serving with fervor, while also astutely preparing the next generation for pastoral leadership. 🎙️ Discover why the tapestry of mentorship, transition, and unwavering service is paramount in ensuring the church's vibrant future. 🛐 Full Episode 🎥: Wise Principles for Pastoral Transition and Mentorship 👂 Listen to the full episode on your favorite podcast app or click on the link to explore the video version for a deeper understanding and exploration into maintaining the spiritual and leadership vitality of the church across generations. 🚀 Elevate your spiritual journey and leadership insights with more episodes from The Straight Truth Podcast. #PastoralLeadership #ChurchLeadership #Mentorship #SpiritualJourney #PastoralTransition #SpiritualGrowth #LeadershipDevelopment #MinistryLeadership #ChurchMinistry #SpiritualWisdom #ChristianLeadership #MinistryLife #FaithJourney #LeadershipTransitions #ChristianPodcast #SpiritualGuidance #ChurchLife #PastoralMentorship #MinistryInsights #ChurchFuture #LeadershipWisdom #ChristianMinistry #SpiritualLeadership #LeadershipPrinciples #PastoralWisdom #PastoralService #ChurchGuidance #ChurchMentorship
Wise Principles for Pastoral Transition and Mentorship
As you think about passing the baton to the next generation, think about these things. Look to the Word of God to see how Paul and the other Apostles serve as models and examples for us. You might also want to consider listening to the following sermons exposited by Dr. Caldwell from the Scriptures: Selecting & Training Men for Ministry: https://youtu.be/b2N4FPuqBnY Instruction for Elders: https://youtu.be/H6IBUpPQ9Qg A Mindset for Faithful Ministry: https://youtu.be/XDoe1sZGdoE Qualities of a Good Servant: https://youtu.be/rxtLnog2aIM Four Responsibilities for a Faithful Shepherd - Part 1: https://youtu.be/BW20vk9I860 Four Responsibilities for a Faithful Shepherd - Part 2: https://youtu.be/m2F45HQ1sKg Four Responsibilities for a Faithful Shepherd - Part 3: https://youtu.be/JU70go2p0WI The Ministers of the Word in the Life of the Church: https://youtu.be/eAkaIU-YLz8 Proving Our Profession: Constancy: https://youtu.be/hipLXTDseeY Our View of Spiritual Leaders: https://youtu.be/otiqeD98x6Q Finish Well: https://youtu.be/qCH6g0u175o Biblical Thinking About Saying Goodbye: https://youtu.be/SZArE0u2BC4 The Apostle Paul spent his life shepherding and pastoring congregations, pouring his life into Timothy, Titus, and others. As we think about this, we know he was engaged in ministry and served right up to the end of his life, still writing and instructing from a prison cell. Paul didn’t retire from ministry work; he never gave up or decided it was time to do something else. Yet this is often something we hear about when it comes to men who are growing older in the role of a pastor. Some would call for aging men in leading pastoral positions to step down, move out of the way, and allow the next generation of leaders to step in and take over. How should we think of men who are significantly aged in their prospective roles as pastors? Should pastors have limits to how long they serve? Should they plan to retire at a certain age and live out the American dream? Is there ever a time when it’s clear that pastors should pass the baton, so to speak? Join us this week on the Straight Truth Podcast as Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell reflect on some wise biblical principles for bridging the gap from one pastor to the next and training up the next generation. Dr. Caldwell reminds us of the unique dynamic of the Apostle Paul with respect to Timothy, Titus, and others. Those circumstances aren't exactly repeatable, yet pastors know they are still tasked by the Word of God to take the things they’ve learned and pass them on to faithful men who will, in turn, pass them on to others. There's to be a multi-generational training process that’s repeatedly ongoing. Paul serves as a great example for us. He continued to be engaged in ministry work himself while strategically placing young men in specific places, investing in them, giving instructions, exhorting, encouraging, and praying for them. We can see later where many of the men Paul had invested in were useful to him, as well as encouragers and even comforters to him. We see mutual encouragement, investing, love, respect, and assistance that takes place. Therefore, it’s not really that older men should get out of the way so the younger men can step in. Rather, older men should serve out their days well. They should finish their course as long as they have their health, sharpness of mind, and the ability to speak is still there. They should serve their days out well while they prepare younger men to serve well in ministry. In doing so, they can serve together faithfully, investing in each other’s lives as they go along. Dr. Caldwell says he doesn’t think in terms of pastors retiring. He says it’s the one job where you actually are better if you remain faithful. Because, as you remain faithful, the older you get, you have more knowledge and more experience in the realm of shepherding. Personally speaking, he doesn't see a place for retirement as we tend to think of it. However, should a man’s mental ability to serve become diminished to the point that he isn’t helpful, he should see that and want to step out of the way. As he considers his love and desire to serve Christ and His people in the church, he should want to do what most glorifies God and what’s best for His people. The best case scenario for generational change or transition is where you have a pastor/elder who has surrounded himself with other faithful elders in the local church, where they're committed to doctrinal purity and continuance even with second and third-tier issues. In remaining faithful and staying the course, gifted men will be raised up in the church.
Heavenly Attire: A Brief Encounter with "The King’s Honor Defended"
Venture into a snippet from "The King’s Honor Defended," where Pastor Richard Caldwell shines a light on the piercing inquiries from Matthew 22:1-14. Here, we are led to ponder: will our spiritual garments weather the intensive scrutiny of the divine? Engage further with these vital questions by tuning into the full sermon. Opt for your favorite mode of engagement: explore through your preferred podcast app or experience the visual sermon here: https://youtu.be/dWT1DcoOeEk. #HeavenlyAttire #BriefEncounterWithTruth #SpiritualGarments #HeavenlyExamination #EternalVerities #Matthew2214Insight #SermonBrief #DefendingHonour #ChristianInsight #FaithDiscussion #TruthExplored #DivineInvitation #KingdomPerspectives #CelestialScrutiny #SacredTeachings #BibleTime #ParablesUnveiled #GospelTruths #RedemptiveMessage #DivineSummon #SermonClip #SpiritualInquiry #EternalDestiny #DivineElection #KingdomEntrance #FaithInChrist #RedemptiveGrace #HeavenlyRevelation #GospelInsight #SovereignGrace
Church Growth: A Measure of Success or a Path to Pragmatism? #ChurchGrowth #SpiritualSuccess
Explore the critical question: Is numerical growth a genuine measure of church success? Richard Caldwell delves into the delicate balance between desiring growth and ensuring scriptural fidelity in this potent snippet from The Straight Truth Podcast. The dangers and subtle shifts towards a pragmatic approach in church life versus a biblically grounded one are brought to light. Listen to the full episode: https://youtu.be/T1dmA5131Hg or find us on your favorite podcast app for an in-depth discussion on the implications and spiritual nuances of church growth and adherence to biblical principles. Unpack the tensions between scripture adherence and the subtle lures of pragmatic growth strategies. Does numerical increase always signify divine approval, or can it veer us into potentially dangerous territories? Discover more in the full episode! Hashtags: #ChurchGrowth, #SpiritualSuccess, #BiblicalPrinciples, #ChurchLife, #MinistryLife, #PastoralInsights, #Faithfulness, #ScripturalFidelity, #Pragmatism, #NumericalGrowth, #SpiritualDangers, #ChurchLeadership, #MinistryChallenges, #ReligiousPodcast, #ChristianWorldview, #BibleTeaching, #PastoralLeadership, #ChurchMembership, #SoundDoctrine, #SpiritualHealth, #ChurchSuccess, #BiblicalStandards, #ChristianTalk, #MinistryTalk, #Christianity, #SpiritualInsights, #BibleInsights, #ChurchChallenges, #GrowthVersusSuccess
Is Numerical Growth a True Measure of Church Success?
Consider what the Word of God has to say about church ministry, growth, and health as you listen to Dr. Caldwell exposit the Scriptures: The Marks of a Healthy Church: https://youtu.be/WQFU6a1wcQY The Heart of a Healthy Church - Parts 1-4: https://youtu.be/r97vfIl_F6E A Healthy Church: https://youtu.be/d_jd-ndMJUA The Behavior of a Healthy Church: https://youtu.be/meye_lbXjDo Refocusing the Church - The 7 Letters to the 7 Churches: https://youtu.be/c4sKwigMk5M We often think of a church where more and more people attend, get baptized, and become members as a growing and healthy church. Looking at some churches from the outside, they appear to be flourishing. Some have multiple service times, several locations to attend, and parking lots that always seem to be filled. But is this the right way to think about the health and success of a church? Is numerical growth a good measure of the healthiness of a church? Should we actually consider and take this approach to seeing a church grow? Can numerical growth be defended as real growth? Is it dangerous to make church growth the singular goal? Is it wrong to desire for a church to grow? Join us on the Straight Truth Podcast this week as Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell discuss church growth and whether numerical growth is indicative of church health and success. As always, they seek to guide us to think and act biblically. Dr. Caldwell says that when you think of church growth in regards to numbers, that’s dangerous. When numerical growth is made the goal of church ministry, that's thinking in terms of success instead of in terms of faithfulness. Yet, churches often do this. There are several different statistics that can be put on a sheet and measured that can then be compared with other churches. But, says Dr. Caldwell, he doesn’t see this emphasized in the New Testament at all. There are times that the New Testament acknowledges large numbers being added to the church, as in the book of Acts. But it’s not set forth as something to be aimed at or as any way of measuring success. It’s just acknowledged. It’s just noted as a work of God’s blessing. Success is not measured by how many are attending church. Success is measured by being faithful to the Word of God and to the responsibilities Christ has imparted to the church. We must be faithful to the means that Christ has provided for His church to grow and thrive. Faithfulness is the measure. Examples Dr. Caldwell shares include faithful shepherding, regenerate church membership, biblical baptism, a commitment to dealing with sin in the church, and exercising church discipline. These are the things he says that churches ought to be looking at, not just how many people are showing up . Making church growth your goal is dangerous because you have to figure out how to achieve that growth. You have to figure out how to get people to show up and figure out how to keep them coming back. You look at certain things and say, well, if we do this or that, people won’t come. If we say certain things, they won’t come back. As you do this, what usually happens is that you end up with things that violate Scripture or ignore Scripture because they seem to work. So you end up with a pragmatic mindset, not a biblical one, for how to do church life. And then, just because things are increasing financially or numerically, you can think you’re doing great when you’re not. In fact, you’re displeasing the Lord Jesus. As Dr. Caldwell speaks of displeasing the Lord, he reminds us of the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, where only two churches receive no words of correction. We don’t want to be characterized by spiritual blindness, human wisdom, or pride. It’s vital to examine our work of ministry. It needs to accord with the biblically expressed aims of ministry. It isn’t wrong for a church to have a desire to grow. But it ought to be growth that takes place through faithful ministry and the Lord adding to the numbers in the church. When we see people being converted and genuinely saved and more people becoming hungry for sound, healthy church life being added to the congregation, that is wonderful. We can rejoice in that even though it’s not our aim, it’s a byproduct of our aim. Our aim is to be faithful to Christ. It’s His church, He’s the Chief Shepherd of it, He builds it, we don’t. We get to be part of what He is doing, but as the Apostle Paul says, some plant and some water, but the Lord gives the increase. We don’t need to lay out visions, steps, and strategies to grow the church. Statistics may prove helpful in some ways but are not a measure of the success or health of a church. Read those letters to the seven churches. Those leaders and congregations are called to faithfulness. And being faithful is what we must all be aiming at.
Ponder on this: What have YOU done with the Son of God? #jesussavior #SermonSnippet
#jesussavior In this impactful snippet from a thought-provoking sermon titled "Self-Condemnation" by Richard Caldwell, we delve into the monumental question concerning our acknowledgment and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, Judge, and Son of God. His words encourage us to reflect deeply on our relationship with Jesus and to face our own internal judgments and acceptance of Him. 👉 Full Sermon Video: https://youtu.be/EA_iwQSLF8w 🎧 For more enlightening sermons by Richard Caldwell, listen to the full episodes available on your favorite podcast app. 💬 “What do people deserve who say, "No, I will not have him."? And have you received him or have you rejected him? Reflect upon your stance with the Son of God and embrace the path of salvation.” 💬 #AcceptingChrist #SermonSnippet #SonOfGod #Salvation #SpiritualReflection #ChristianLife #FaithJourney #BiblicalTruth #MessageOfGod #EternalLife #GodsLove #Redemption #Repentance #FaithInChrist #ChristIsKing #BibleVerse #ChristianityToday #SpiritualGrowth #ChristianTeaching #GospelMessage #BelieveInChrist #TrustInGod #SavingGrace #ChristIsLord #JesusIsLife #SermonClip #LifeInChrist #HeavenlyPath
The Divine Inspiration of the Bible Explained #BibleInterpretation #DivineInspiration
In this snippet from The Straight Truth Podcast episode "Does Your Cultural Background Influence Bible Interpretation", discover the delicate balance between human authors and divine inspiration when interpreting the Bible. Is it just about the human author's perspective, or is there a divine intention behind every word? For the full episode and an enriching deep dive, listen on your favorite podcast app or watch here: https://youtu.be/ug9Nkkrg5mI. #BibleInterpretation #DivineInspiration #BiblicalContext #HolyScriptures #BibleStudy #Theology #Faith #BiblicalAnswers #ChristianWorldview #HolySpirit #ScriptureContext #BibleTruth #BibleDiscussion #BiblicalKnowledge #FaithTalk #GodsWord #Interpretation #HolyBook #ScriptureUnderstanding #ScriptureReading #BibleReflections #PaulRomans #BiblicalQuestions #UnderstandingBible #BiblicalInsight #BibleTalk #StudyTheBible #ReadingTheBible #BiblicalTeachings
Does Your Cultural Background Influence Bible Interpretation
Related Sermons: God's Holy Word: https://youtu.be/Wxa2Mz1eZt0 The Wisdom of God: https://youtu.be/lMpdR9_dKDI Natural People & Spiritual People: https://youtu.be/P8DfuFZvZj4 One New Man: https://youtu.be/s8XQLkJKwio Can an individual’s or group's cultural situatedness, their "standpoint" regarding ethnicity, cultural background, life/personal experiences, etc., give them advantages in interpreting and understanding the Bible? Do different groups have unique insights that others don’t and can’t? Do we really need a diversity of voices and viewpoints to rightly interpret and understand the Scriptures? Does this kind of approach to the Scriptures help our understanding, or in some way might it hinder us? These are the questions and concerns that Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot seek to answer this week on the Straight Truth Podcast. Join us as they aim to provide some helpful clarity regarding Biblical hermeneutics as they speak to us about the confusion surrounding Biblical interpretation, meaning, and application. Dr. Caldwell says this kind of approach to the Scriptures (through the lens of our cultural situatedness/standpoint) doesn’t help. If anything, this approach can get in the way of a proper reading of Scripture. We’ve all heard about Bible studies where differences of opinions are shared regarding the meaning of texts. Things like: this is how I understand it, what do you think it means, this is what I hear it saying, or this is what it means to me, are shared among those in attendance. But that’s subjective. It's not how we interpret Biblical text and its meaning. What it means to you or me doesn’t really matter because meaning is not found in our thoughts, feelings, or opinions. The Bible is a God-breathed book, right down to the very words chosen, including the arrangement of those words. So, the meaning is not found in the hearer or the reader. Meaning is found, in the text, and that text has a context that extends to the texts around it, its chapter, the book, and to the rest of God’s Word contained in the two canons of Scripture. This gets to the Doctrine of Inspiration and how we view it. We believe that it is God’s Word, but He chose to work through human authors in such a way that they were active in the process (divine concursus). It was not something just being dictated to them. Therefore, there's a human author and a divine author. For example, when Paul wrote the book of Romans, it was Paul writing words that were breathed out by the Spirit of God, and those words are God’s very words. When you believe this, your task is to get yourself out of the way. You can’t know what it means or even know how to apply it until you take yourself out of the picture. So then, how do we get to that meaning? We need to think about the world and time in which the Bible was originally written. We need to think about the author’s context when he wrote and what he is communicating. Those divinely inspired men God used to write the Bible wrote with specific intents. What the text means is what it has always meant and what it will always mean. It does not change from one interpreter to the next, and it does not change from culture to culture. So then, the way to determine its meaning is to discern what the original writer consciously intended to convey by the words and grammar he chose. To do this, we believe in literal interpretation and use the grammatical-historical principle of interpretation. This method examines the genre, structure, argument, historical and literary context, and more. In addition, we can often employ the Analogy of Faith, which compares Scripture with Scripture. But even when we do, we want to be careful to not jump there first and then read other passages on top of the one we are studying. We want to deal with the text in its immediate context first. It has an objective meaning, and that is what we are after. Each passage has only one correct interpretation but can have many applications. Dr. Caldwell explains how this one meaning of a text and its many possible applications work out when it comes to reading a passage on singleness. It’s helpful because it’s pretty straightforward. We know the meaning, and for a single person who reads it, the application of it is clear. But when it comes to reading that passage as a married person, does its meaning change? No, the passage's meaning doesn’t change. But how a married person reading that passage applies those truths will be different. Dr. Caldwell shares a few. So, there can be a variety of application based on circumstances. But that application will only be as helpful, useful, and accurate as our understanding of Scripture. Faithfully interpreting Scripture will always require us to ask the right questions. It always begins with, what does it mean, before we ask, what does it mean to me. The reader or listener does not contribute anything to meaning.
The Tragedy of Evading God's Redemption #GodsMercy #SeekingGod #FleeingFromRedemption
Why do we, as wounded creatures, often flee from the very source of our healing? Dive into this moving snippet from the sermon "Meeting With Divine Authority" to discover the weight of acknowledging our sins before a merciful God. Explore the entire teaching on Matthew 21:23-27 on any podcast platform or access the full video here: https://youtu.be/r2cuXHTp4eE #GodsMercy #SeekingGod #FleeingFromRedemption #BiblicalWisdom #Matthew21Teaching #AdmittingSin #GospelInsights #DivineMercy #NatureOfSin #ChristWords #HeartChange #HealingWords #ScriptureInsight #TestamentTruth #GodsRedemptiveLove #FaithWalk #JesusWords #EncounterGod #TruthOfScripture #GodsEmbrace #SpiritualUnderstanding #EmbraceTheGospel #HolyVerse #GodsVoice #JourneyToFaith #GospelOfMatthew #DivineWord #EternalTeaching #RepentAndBelieve #DiscoverGod
How to Preach The Bible's Most Debated Passages
The sermon links below are some examples of hard/difficult passages that are sometimes misunderstood and misinterpreted and others that are just hard sayings and hard to accept. These are sermons that Dr. Caldwell has faithfully exposited from the pulpit over the last 20 years. The Exception: https://youtu.be/gozJvD1c8PU A Startling View of Divorce & Remarriage: https://youtu.be/kDhU5HK-U0o Judgment & Judgmentalism - Part 1: https://youtu.be/tEnLpYm5_9g Decision: https://youtu.be/4jhhc4KchDY A Warning About Self-Deception: https://youtu.be/tu0FjCPFTlg The Savior's Sword: https://youtu.be/mldYPk3C0dE The Freedom of God's Will: https://youtu.be/ytlF0fJhAZE The Day of Pentecost: https://youtu.be/U5TduTzpSwY The Gift of Tongues - Part 1: https://youtu.be/2F9HMnI5rQ0 The overarching message of the Bible is about God and His salvation of sinners. While the basics of that message are clear, many other things in the Scriptures are not. There are things written that are hard to grasp, hard to accept, and even things that get distorted (2 Peter 3:16). Many of these things have caused confusion in the church. They’ve brought separation and division, resulting even in different denominations due to doctrinal beliefs, etc. Some have even caused confusion and disharmony among church members in their local body of Christ. This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot speaks with Dr. Caldwell about these hard teachings. Dr. Caldwell is preaching through the book of Matthew and recently finished teaching a series titled - Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage as he arrived at Matthew 19. Dr. Caldwell and the elders of Founders Baptist Church take a different position on the passages related to divorce and remarriage than the majority of pastors and leaders in the evangelical world. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell to speak with us about the preaching and congregational dynamic of preaching through the difficult passages and hard sayings of Scripture. He asks Dr. Caldwell to share what he understands the responsibilities of those in the church are when they hear these confusing, challenging, and sometimes hard-to-accept passages preached. Dr. Caldwell stresses the importance of the elders and the responsibilities they have in the church first. The importance of their character and what’s true of them matters greatly. The church needs to be convinced the only motive they have in teaching the Word of God is to be true to the Word of God and that they are not trying to sell their own opinions or their own view of things. They want to demonstrate over their ministry time that their hearts and minds are submitted to the authority of God’s Holy Word. When this is done over the long course of ministry, the congregation gains confidence that they’ve been careful with what they’ve studied and shared from the pulpit and teaching positions in the body. This enables the congregation to respond better, properly even, seeing that the elders have been careful in ways that reveal reverence for God, respect for His Word, and a trembling at His thoughts as they practice what they preach and teach. Something else elders can do that will be helpful for the congregation is to model being charitable to others when dealing with things that are not first-tier issues. Modeling honesty, fairness, generosity, and charitableness, and not misrepresenting our opponents (those who disagree with you) teaches a congregation a kind of reasonableness concerning these sorts of issues. Another way the elders at Founders Baptist Church have found it helpful to deal with some of their distinctives and differences relating to these things is through church orientation/church membership classes. By doing this, members aren’t completely shocked when the preaching and teaching on these hard-to-understand, difficult, challenging, and sometimes hard-to-accept passages are taught to them. He sees all these things as somewhat foundational to what you should see in the life of the congregation. What should then be seen in the life of the congregation, and what are the responsibilities of congregants? Dr. Caldwell explains that we should see submission to the leadership and teaching of the elders, submission to truth taught from the pulpit. So even if someone is sitting in the congregation that doesn’t agree, and it’s not over a matter of orthodoxy, their attitude is still one of love and joyful submission. They aren’t free to undermine the pulpit in the life of the church. For example, while he believes that the vast majority of Founders members agree with his position on divorce and remarriage, he knows some don’t, and that is fine. But what those who don't agree can’t do is sow division and discord in the church. Their attitude should not be combative and should not seek to battle with other members over it. Nor should someone just throw it off by saying I just don’t believe that.
Genuine Faith: Peter's Journey on Water
How does Peter's experience on water reflect our life? Dive into the concept of real yet imperfect faith, and the ever-present support of Jesus. Explore more in the full sermon "From The Temple To The Fig Tree" based on Matthew 21:18-22. 🌐 Watch Full Episode: https://youtu.be/r2cuXHTp4eE or listen on your preferred podcast platform. #PeterOnWater #FaithJourney #GospelInsights #ChristOurRock #ChristianTeachings #BibleStories #FaithInChrist #ReflectionsOnFaith #GodsGuidance #StayStrongInFaith #ChristianInspiration #ScripturalTruths #FaithMatters #TrustGodsPlan #JesusIsTheWay #GrowWithGod #FaithOverFear #SpiritualWisdom #StayFaithful #WalkWithHim #ScriptureLessons #GospelTeachings #FollowJesus #JesusOurSavior #FaithfulHeart #StayEncouraged #WithGodAllThingsArePossible
Discovering Your Spiritual Gift: It's Not What You Think! #SpiritualGifts #BibleStudy
Dive into this insightful moment from the latest episode of 'The Straight Truth Podcast' where the topic of spiritual gifts is dissected. Curious about how the Bible explains spiritual gifting? Richard Caldwell reveals how it's less about discovery and more about maturing in the Christian faith. For the full episode, check your favorite podcast app or click here: https://youtu.be/8FtSIPR7csk. #SpiritualGifts #BibleStudy #ChristianFaith #MatureInChrist #ServeTheChurch #FaithJourney #NewTestament #RichardCaldwell #BiblicalInsight #GrowthInFaith #EdifyTheChurch #SpiritualGrowth #BiblicalTeachings #ScriptureInsights #ChurchService #GodsGift #ServeGod #EdifyingOthers #FaithfulService #BiblicalAnswers #TruthInScripture #ServeInChurch #GodsGrace #ChristianLife #BiblePodcast #GodsWord #FaithAndService #ChristianMaturity #GlorifyGod
A Biblical Explanation of Spiritual Gifting #SpiritualGifting #BiblicalTruths #GiftsOfTheSpirit
Would you like to learn more about the gift of the Spirit and the gifting He gives to each believer? Consider listening to Dr. Caldwell as he exposits Scripture in the following sermons: Discerning The Spirit's Work: https://youtu.be/NLsd38KlG9Y Variety But Unity - Part 1: https://youtu.be/VKAjj48_8aM Variety But Unity - Part 2: https://youtu.be/sBjtYKyRJW8 A Neglected Stewardship: https://youtu.be/0OBBHKZHh4g In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says, 'that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.' This statement of Paul is given in the context of his speaking about spiritual gifts. This giving of the Spirit and the manifestation of spiritual gifts can sometimes be confusing to and among believers. Often, many believe they need to take a personality test to determine their gift. Others believe they know where they’re gifted, but in reality, they may not be gifted in that area at all. Others may say they aren’t gifted, have no talent, and don’t even know what this gifting would entail. On the Straight Truth Podcast today, Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell if he would share about this manifestation of the Spirit and the gifting that is given for the common good. How are we to understand this? Does every believer have a gift? Are we to seek out the gifting? Is this gifting part of our natural composition, our personalities, or how we are already naturally wired? Once we know what our gift is, what do we do with it? Dr. Caldwell says that one answer has already been given in the verse shared from 1 Corinthians 12:7. In the New Testament, each believer is assumed to have a spiritual gift, as the verse referenced says, to each has been given. There is not a single believer who has not been gifted by the Spirit of God. This is something we receive by virtue of salvation. This is what we received through regeneration, new life in Christ Jesus by the Spirit of God. We don’t get to sign up for or choose our gift. Dr. Caldwell shares that there is nowhere, not a single exhortation, in the New Testament for us to seek out and discover what our gift is. So, while we don’t have to go find out what it is and don’t have to ask for it, we do have to know that we have one and are to use it. There are times when a spiritual gift we've been given will coincide in some way with a sort of natural gift that God has put in us, just by virtue of creation, our personalities. The gift may even coincide with our makeup and strengths, but still, it is distinct from them. Dr. Caldwell shares that he sees two types of gifts spoken of in the New Testament. There are some that are temporary sign gifts and others that are permanent edifying gifts. Comparing what he sees and understands from other New Testament Scriptures like 1 Peter 4:10, he believes the gifting we receive is singular. It's a single gift but varied. He further explains this understanding using an example that compares it to a painter’s palette. The singular gift has been made up of various aspects of the palette’s colors so that each believer is uniquely gifted to serve. We might compare this to a spiritual snowflake where no two are identical. Which makes identification very hard. Yet multiple colors are mixed together in a singular gift that each of us receives and is to be used for serving and edifying others, not for self-edification or self-exaltation. How do we use our gift if we don’t know what it is? The answer is that as we mature in the Christian faith and are faithful to serve in whatever capacity our desires lean and are then granted the opportunity towards those in the Lord’s Church, it will begin to come out. Whatever God has made you for will become evident through your desires and usefulness. As we walk by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, our gift will shine and be able to function as it’s meant to. There may be times when we need to re-evaluate what we believe we are gifted for. As already shared, the gifts aren’t for self-edification and self-exaltation. They’re given to us to serve and edify others. If this isn’t happening in our serving, we may need to remove ourselves and re-evaluate what we believe our gifting is. But we don’t need to take a personality or gifts test attempting to discover our gift that way. If we can take ourselves out of it and say, Lord, all I want to do is serve other people, and if that means just being a doorman in your house, that’s enough for me. Then what comes, what emerges over time, is what God made you to do. Dr. Caldwell says that personality has nothing to do with our spiritual gift. But it would not be surprising if our gifting, in some way, merges with who we were already made to be from a natural point of view. But that will not always be the case. He shares an example of Dr. Philpot and himself. One is extroverted, and the other is introverted.
Worship: Man's Way vs. God's Way #DivineWorship #SermonHighlight #JesusCentered #TrueFaith
Join Pastor Richard Caldwell as he unravels the difference between man's perception and God's standard of worship, taken from "The Lamb Cleanses The Temple" sermon. 📖 Do we truly know what God seeks in our worship? Dive deeper to understand the essence of pure worship. 📹 Full sermon video: https://youtu.be/r2cuXHTp4eE 🎙️ Or catch the entire episode on your go-to podcast platform. #DivineWorship #PastorRichardCaldwell #SermonHighlight #FoundersBaptist #Matthew21Insight #JesusCentered #TrueFaith #BibleTeaching #GodsStandard #ManVsGod #HeartfeltWorship #ChristiansToday #WordOfGod #InspiredTeaching #FaithJourney #GospelCentered #RepentAndWorship #ChristTeaching #BiblicalWisdom #LivingForGod #PureHeartWorship #TrueBelievers #GodsExpectation #LambThatCleanses #ChristFocused #SavedThroughFaith #HolyScriptures
5 Questions to Ask Before Leaving Your Church #ChurchLife #Faith #Christianity #Spirituality
In this Short from The Straight Truth Podcast, Richard Caldwell shares the crucial factors you should consider before deciding to leave a church. Is it doctrinally sound? Are the leaders qualified? What about sin and discipline? Richard breaks it down into these important points for evaluation. Want to catch the full episode? Listen on your favorite podcast app or click here to watch: The Straight Truth Podcast: What is The Right Time to Leave a Church? #StraightTruthPodcast #ChurchLife #Faith #Christianity #Spirituality #ChurchMembership #ChurchDiscipline #RichardCaldwell #BiblicalAnswers #DoctrinalFidelity #ChurchLeadership #WordOfGod #FamilyFaith #Eldership #BiblicalStandards #BibleTeaching #ChristianLiving #DisciplineInChurch #FaithJourney #GospelTruth #Ministry #Doctrine #GodsWord #ChristianFamily #SystematicTheology #ChurchCommunity #LeaveAChurch #JoinAChurch #SpiritualImpact #HealthyCongregation
What is The Right Time to Leave a Church? #leavingachurch #christianity #unhealthychurch #church
Related Sermons: The Marks of a Healthy Church: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3aZzcQetMcU2Czso9TD3b82rH2I281Cu The Heart of a Healthy Church: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3aZzcQetMcVqbkiqzZh4tpmcgiREoOCy The Behavior of a Healthy Church: https://youtu.be/meye_lbXjDo In evangelical circles, there are all kinds of questions about leaving a church. Occasionally, you will hear of people who have left churches over some rather strange things, like a disagreement over paint and carpet choices, there wasn't a choir, they don’t sing out of hymnals, sermons are too long, there aren't pews, they don't have a coffee shop, and so on and so on. These seem to be choices based on personal preference rather than biblical standards and convictions. How can believers rightly understand what a healthy church should look like and whether they should stay or leave the church that they are in? Today on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell to help us consider if there are rights and wrongs about leaving a church. They seek to help us think through what are good and valid reasons for leaving a church to be part of another one, also if staying home and doing church 'online' is an option for believers. Dr. Caldwell reminds us that every believer needs to be part of a true church. That church in your local area may be healthy or unhealthy. It may be a good church, it may not be the best church, but it’s a church. He also reminds us that even the churches referenced in the New Testament had problems that had to be addressed regularly. There isn’t going to be a perfect church this side of heaven. Local churches will always have issues of different sorts that have to be dealt with. He says that sometimes the standards we apply to churches can cause us to be too quick to leave when we would be better off sticking in there to allow the Lord to do His work in that church or even in our own hearts and minds. Having shared this, Dr. Caldwell also reminds us that when the New Testament was being written, the church had not grown to the extent it has now. Believers did not have the ability and ease to leave their church to go be part of another one. But today, there’s a plethora of churches we can be part of. So if the church you’re attending isn’t healthy and you have the ability to go and be part of a healthy church, that’s something to be considered. However, if the church you’re a part of isn’t as healthy as it could or should be, and there isn’t a healthier church in your community, that isn’t a reason to leave, then stay at home and do church 'online'. Watching church services online, whether streamed live or recordings of church services, is not participating in a church body. As long as the church you're attending is a true church, even though it’s not the healthiest church, you need to be a part of that church. You can supplement with faithful teachers online and all the rest, but you need to be part of that church. Outside of salvation itself, there’s nothing more spiritually impactful in the life of a family than the church it belongs to. Dr. Caldwell says reasons for considering whether to stay or leave a church need to be centered around solid reasons for what a healthy church is. Some of those things are: Is the church doctrinally sound? Is there doctrinal and theological fidelity? Is the Word of God taught faithfully, without apology, systematically so that you and your family are learning the Word of God? Are the leaders qualified? Are the biblical standards for eldership applied to its leaders? Is sin dealt with in the congregation? Is there church discipline? Or is sin ignored? Churches can have solid-sounding statements of belief, confessions they adhere to, doctrinal statements, and so on, but do they practice what is said in those statements. There are churches, for example, that affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, but how things are conducted in the life of those churches reveals that there is no connection with the sufficiency of Scripture. They can have the right words and say all the right things doctrinally on these statements, but how they practice life in the household of God isn’t faithful. The Word of God needs to have first place in the life of the church. There needs to be doctrinal fidelity hand in hand with the proper philosophy of ministry, the application of Scripture, and the primacy of preaching that takes place in the church. These are the things that ought to be evaluated when looking for a healthy church. Dr. Caldwell recommends a couple of resources that will be helpful for people to navigate some of these things. 9Marks Ministry has 9 short videos (9Marks.org/about/the-nine-marks/) and a book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, along with several other resources to assist believers in this endeavor.
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