Tags: Church Growth Movement, Sola
Scriptura, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Reformation, Early Church, filling of the Holy
Sola Scriptura What the Bible Says About Growth
The call of Martin Luther and John Calvins Reformation was Scripture and Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura). The foundation of this book likewise is Scripture and it is Scripture upon which it rests. If you are looking for graphs and demographics, the Church Growth Movement has plenty of that to go around. However, if you are looking for the guidance of Scripture and Scripture alone, then you have come to the right place. With that in mind, this book contends that the very premise of the Church Growth Movement is wrong because it is founded on ideas that are in direct contradiction with the Bible.
Consequently, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matt 7:15-20 MKJV)
Gods Word clearly indicates that it is the pastor's job to take care of his congregation and that he should allow God to take care of the growth rather than trusting in formulas for success. Jesus command to Peter was Feed my Lambs and Take care of my Sheep. (Jn 21: 15-18 NIV) Church growth is Gods concern. It is the shepherds business to minister to the flock. Therefore the Apostle Paul wrote, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (I Cor 3:6-79 NIV)
The problem here is not that there is biblical silence regarding how churches should grow. The biblical lesson is quite evident. Growth comes as a result of Christians living as Christians while doing the things Christians should do through the power of the Holy Spirit. The prescription for biblical church growth was detailed with exactness by Luke who penned, And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 MKJV)
What made the early church grow? The same things that made the Biblical Church grow for the next 2,000 years. These early Christians were instructed in the Word as they met, they fellowshipped together, they prayed, they witnessed Gods power and depended upon it, they were generous, they met together in their homes, and they praised God. They did the work of ministry.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4 NIV) It was then that Peter preached that great and inspirational message where 3,000 were saved.
filling of the Holy Spirit for ministry remained consistent for the rest of the story of
As the Book of Acts clearly demonstrates,
it is Gods job to grow the church. The main biblical marketing tool of the church,
therefore, is evangelism that ushers out of the work of Gods Holy Spirit. It is
through living the Christian life while sharing Christ with others that the church grows.
(Matt 28:18-20) And that growth is the result of something actually productive
bringing souls to Christ.
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