Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Quickievangelism, the CRCNA, JMac on the mark of the beast…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!

In these potpourri editions of The Mailbag, I’d also like to address the three questions I’m most commonly asked:

“Do you know anything about [Christian pastor/teacher/author] or his/her materials? Is he/she doctrinally sound?”

Try these links: 
Popular False Teachers /
 Recommended Bible Teachers / search bar
Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring It Out on Your Own
(Do keep bringing me names, though. If I get enough questions about a particular teacher, I’ll probably write an article on her.)

“Can you recommend a good women’s Bible study?”

No. Here’s why:
The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?
The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

“You shouldn’t be warning against [popular false teacher] for [X,Y,Z] reason!”

Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections


Yesterday at the store I had a hard time with witnessing to someone. I’m pretty sure it’s because I was only there for a total of 3 minutes. My question is, how do I witness to someone in such a short time?

It brings me so much joy to hear that you are out there sharing the gospel!

I would recommend using tracts. That way if your time with the person gets cut short, you can give them the gospel “to go”.

I use Bezeugen Tract Club tracts. If you join their “tract club”, they will send you 30 free tracts a month. They are the size of a business card, so they’re really convenient to carry in your purse.

Living Waters also has a great selection of tracts. And, while they’re not exactly tracts, Wretched has some very good online evangelism resources and is currently offering a free evangelistic booklet (you pay only shipping/handling) for giveaways at outreach events.

Keep up the great work of sharing the good news of the gospel!


Is the Christian Reformed Church a church that teaches sound doctrine?

It’s always good to do our due diligence when considering a new church or denomination, so this is a super question.

The Christian Reformed Church in North America is a rather small denomination (230,000 people in membership) that I’m not very familiar with, so I went poking around their website.

There are a lot of things that look very encouraging, doctrinally about the CRCNA. They affirm the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as well as the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort. The plan of salvation presented on the website is biblical. In fact, most of what I read at the CRCNA website seemed solid.

However, a few red flags jumped out at me as I explored the site:

🚩 The heavy emphasis on “justice”. There’s something about “justice” on nearly every page of the site. Certainly Christians should uphold biblical justice, but many churches and denominations today have bought into the secular social justice movement, which is decidedly unbiblical, as it promotes feminism, normalization of sexual perversion, and unbiblical methods of addressing issues like racism, immigration, poverty, etc. It appears that the CRCNA at least leans in the direction of the social justice movement.

🚩 The role of women in the church. The CRCNA’s position reads: 

All congregations in the Christian Reformed Church in North America may allow women to serve in the office of minister, elder, deacon, or commissioned pastor. The CRC recognizes that there are two different perspectives and convictions on this issue, both of which honor the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God…

This is unbiblical, not to mention self-contradictory. Either Scripture allows women to serve in these capacities or it does not. (And it clearly does not.) Both positions cannot be true at the same time. If a church adopts the unbiblical position, it is not “honoring the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.”

🚩 Some of the CRCNA’s position statements have a “squishy”, progressive, or blatantly unbiblical tilt rather than an unflagging commitment to Scripture. For example:

Creation care (environmentalism): “We are compelled to address human-induced climate change as an ethical, social justice, and religious issue…”

Ecumenicity (unity with other churches): “[The CRCNA] also wishes to engage churches of other traditions such as…the Roman Catholic Church, and Orthodox churches.” (Catholicism and the major Orthodox traditions hold many unbiblical views including an unbiblical soteriology. Scripture forbids Christians from unifying with such organizations.)

Homosexuality: “Homosexuality [is] a condition of personal identity in which a person is sexually oriented toward persons of the same sex…for which the person may bear only a minimal responsibility…The church should do everything in its power to help persons with same-sex orientation and give them support toward healing and wholeness.” (Homosexuality is not a “condition of personal identity” any more than adultery or thievery is. It is a sin that the person is just as responsible for as the adulterer or thief is for his sin. We would not speak in terms of “support toward healing and wholeness” for an adulterer or a thief, we would speak in terms of repentance and mortification of sin, just as we should speak when someone’s sin of choice is homosexuality.)

Pentecostalism (charismaticism, sign gifts, etc.): “Acknowledge the gift of prophecy today…Think of prayer as a dialogue, not a monologue, and be attentive to what God is saying as you pray…be willing to engage in scripturally sound deliverance ministry against demonic powers…”

If you are considering attending or joining one of the CRCNA churches which does not allow women to serve in unbiblical roles, I would recommend setting up an appointment with the pastor to carefully and seriously discuss these issues at length, along with any other questions you may have. If you have the option of joining with a non-CRCNA church that has a more solidly biblical stance on these issues than your local CRCNA church, I would encourage you to go with the non-CRCNA church.


John MacArthur has said, that it’s possible to take the mark of the beast and still be saved? I notice that you endorse him, do you believe this is correct? 

I think a lot of people have stretched what Dr. MacArthur said wildly out of context and out of proportion. So the first issue here is to make sure you have a clear understanding of what he actually said and meant from Dr. MacArthur himself, not from random bloggers or people on YouTube. You can read Dr. MacArthur’s position statement on this issue (written by spokesman Phil Johnson) here.

As for my opinion on Dr. MacArthur’s position, I think it’s biblical and well-reasoned, but this particular issue – as with most detail-oriented eschatological issues – is not something I feel compelled to expend much time and energy on. When Christ returns, events will unfold as laid out in Scripture. Until then, we have a limited understanding of what will transpire and the order in which things will transpire, and much of what constitutes eschatology today is educated guessing. I think it is much more fruitful to spend our time evangelizing the lost and discipling the saved so that the church will be spiritually ready for the return of Christ. Whatever may happen in the days surrounding His return, we know that none of His sheep will be lost.


Since my last “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, I’ve heard back from two of the readers whose questions I addressed, and I wanted to share their responses with you:

From the discouraged husband I asked you to pray for:

I am extremely encouraged by the people who are stepping forward and praying for me…Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. They reach into the darkest places and are invaluable.

From the lady needing help with her nursing home ministry:

Thank you Michelle for answering, I’ve been thinking of finding a church. I have to be truthful, it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for, but it is the answer I think I needed.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Movies

Movie Tuesday Double Feature: Hearing His Voice ~and~ New Life In Christ

Note:
I apologize, but I need to temporarily suspend “Project Breakdown“.
This project will be completed at a later date.


It’s a Movie Tuesday double feature! Get out the Kleenex and get ready for a heaping helping of encouragement. These movies will do something most others can’t: introduce you to some brothers and sisters in Christ whom you’ll meet in Heaven. So get comfy and gather the family around for a night of joy!

“Imagine how dark it would be to live out of reach of the Gospel and any of the hope that it brings; to only know Satan’s rule and fear of the spirits, an endless and terrifying cycle of appeasement. Imagine if murder, self-harm, and deception were a part of everyday life.

Hearing His Voice documents the story of what happened when a people group just like this encountered God’s Word for the first time. They were forgotten by the world in the jungles of Asia-Pacific until 20 years ago when a Christian pilot spotted them in the foliage below.

Watch Hearing His Voice to stand in awe of the power of God’s Word as it transforms a desperate people into a joyful community. The hero of this story is not the pilot, or the missionaries, or even a specific evangelism strategy… it is God alone and his precious, everlasting Word.”

Hearing His Voice is a production of Access Truth“We develop training resources for making the truth of the Bible accessible across cultures.”

This year, 2019, marks John MacArthur’s fiftieth year in ministry at Grace Community Church. On February 10, GCC celebrated his many years of faithful service. And as a little homage here at the blog, I thought you’d enjoy this movie featuring Dr. MacArthur, Jubilant Sykes, and members of GCC. All the way from 1979, here’s New Life in Christ.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (“Good Luck”, Miscarriage Funeral, Art Azurdia, JMac NOT partnering with false teachers)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Why do you still have Art Azurdia on your “Recommended Bible Teachers” list?

Genuine thanks to those of you who reached out in concern about this. I appreciate your dedication to sound doctrine and to protecting me from my own absentmindedness.

As many of you may recall, Art was removed from ministry by his church over the summer for committing adultery. The day Trinity Church released their statement announcing this, I added an update to the article (the article was written in 2016 – two years prior to his removal) linking to it and explaining the situation. I have since tweaked that update for clarity. The update to my article reads:

On July 2, 2018, the elders of Trinity Church announced the removal of Art Azurdia as pastor due to sexually immorality. Art subsequently released his own statement of contrition and repentance and stepped down from all public ministry. While Art’s sin does not change the doctrinal soundness of his previous books and materials, you may wish to use this information as a factor in deciding whether or not to use or continue using his previously released sermons and materials. Should Art take it upon himself to return to ministry in the future, I will not recommend him as he has disqualified himself from the biblical requirements (1 Timothy 3/Titus 1) for ministry. The above information now applies only to Art’s sermons and materials predating July 2, 2018.

Art has dropped off the face of the earth for all intents and purposes. With regard to public ministry, it is as if he died on July 2. His adultery does not magically change the content of his previously released sermons and materials from doctrinally sound to doctrinally unsound. Therefore, I am making the judgment call to leave the information in the article with the update and let people follow their consciences and decide for themselves whether or not to use his old materials.

Update (12/19/18)- Due to further information that has been shared with me privately from a firsthand source directly involved with the Art Azurdia situation, I have reversed my decision and have removed him from my list of recommended teachers. He is not someone I would now proactively recommend.


Did you know John MacArthur is partnering with false teachers at a conference next year?

There is an ugly rumor going around that John MacArthur is partnering with Rick Warren (and other false teachers) at next year’s Proclaim 19, the annual National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention. He is not.

Dr. MacArthur has been asked to deliver a sermon at the convention in honor of his 50th year of broadcasting Grace to You as well as his 50th anniversary of pastoring Grace Community Church. His appearance at the convention has no connection to other speakers who are speaking at other times and at other events during the convention.

I believe part of the reason people are being deceived into believing that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “sharing the stage” with false teachers at Proclaim 19 is that they do not understand the nature of this event. I attended a similar event a few years ago, the International Christian Retail Show, when my book, Jacob: Journaling the Journey first came out.

You need to understand that the NRB event, like the ICRS event I attended, is a products, services, and informational trade show for the people and ministries NRB serves, not a preaching and teaching Christian conference.

At a trade show, there’s a large arena with dozens or even hundreds of exhibitor booths. You walk around and look at what you’re interested in and what pertains to your ministry. You network with people you meet who are in your particular field. That’s it. That’s what you’re there for – a products and services fair – not to be taught the Bible. Some trade shows offer various tangential events, dinners, or lectures for attendees who might be interested in a particular niche topic. If you’re interested in the topic and/or speaker, you attend. If not, you don’t. It is at one of these “a la carte” types of events that Dr. MacArthur is speaking. As of today, the only other person appearing at that event is Joni Eareckson Tada, who will be singing some hymns.

Another thing to keep in mind about this event is that it is taking place over the course of four full days, and it’s a “come and go” type of thing. Thousands of people will attend at various times during the four days. At an event this large and fluid, it is very likely Dr. MacArthur won’t even lay eyes on Rick Warren or any of the other problematic personalities who will be attending, especially if, as could be the case with his busy schedule, Dr. MacArthur is only at the convention for a brief amount of time. I’m not sure how you can be “partnering with” or “sharing a stage with” someone you have no contact with and isn’t present at the event you’re speaking at.

The deceptive information that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “yoking” with false teachers is being spread mainly by a YouTube personality called “Servus Christi” . Friends, intentionally or unintentionally, this man is a deceiver and a slanderer, and he is causing division in the Body.

In the same way that you can’t trust every pastor or teacher to be doctrinally sound, you also can’t trust that every self-proclaimed “discernment” ministry is biblical, and Servus Christi most certainly is not. He routinely goes after “big name” doctrinally sound pastors and teachers with ridiculous and spurious claims in order to make a name for himself. (For example, he has falsely accused Paul Washer twice this year- once for “partnering” with Hillsong, and once for “partnering” with an associate of the Pope.)

Please don’t be deceived by this man, and don’t spread his deceptions by sharing them around on social media. Here’s the truthful information about Dr. MacArthur’s appearance at Proclaim 19 (the screenshotted statement is from Phil Johnson, head of Grace to You) and about Servus Christi:

 

If you’re considering commenting on this article to:

• defend Servus Christi, Jacob Prasch, or any other “discernment” ministry that slanders doctrinally sound teachers,
or to
• accuse John MacArthur (or any other doctrinally sound teacher) of heresy for appearing at this convention or for any other reason,

please save yourself some time and effort. Your comment will not be published.


This question was asked publicly on Twitter:

Is it philosophically inconsistent not to have some sort of funeral or burial of a miscarried fetus if you believe that fetus to be a human being with equal value and rights from conception? Asking for my wife and [me].

Great question. And if this isn’t a hypothetical question, I’m so sorry for your loss.

I think people grieve and honor lost loved ones in different ways and that, biblically, this is a matter of conscience. If you and your wife would like to have a full-scale funeral and burial for your baby, then go ahead and do that. If you’d like to do something more akin to a memorial service, that’s something to consider as well. You could also do something on a smaller scale such as a prayer gathering of your closest family and friends in someone’s home. Or, you could choose to follow whatever the hospital’s policy is for taking care of the baby’s remains. My thought is that as long as the remains are treated respectfully, as with any other death in the family, this is really a decision between you, your wife, and the Lord. Again, my condolences.

Thank you for your response, condolences, advice, and encouragement. I think God has provided an option for us that both honors our baby and satisfies our consciences. Thank you again.

Friends, would you please take a moment to pray that God will comfort this gentleman and his wife during this sad time?


Help me to respond to Christians that say “Good luck!” “Wish me good luck!” “We were lucky!” etc., etc., etc.! For the life of me I don’t understand.

Well…here’s how I would respond:

Her: “Good luck!”
Me: “Thanks! I covet your prayers.”

Her: “Wish me luck!”
Me: (In a lighthearted, sweet manner) “I’ll do you one better, I’ll pray for you!” (and then do it)

Her: “We were lucky!”
Me: “Wow, God really blessed you!” or… “I’m so thankful God protected you!” Or something like that.

I would not make a big deal out of this, especially if you know the person is saved and generally doctrinally sound. Most people just say these things out of habit and culture. It doesn’t mean they’re into New Age spirituality or anything like that. I mean, I eat Lucky Charms for breakfast sometimes, and I’m not into any of that. :0) It might make an interesting topic for Sunday School or Bible study class, though, just to help everybody become more aware of the things we say and why we say them.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Resource Round-Up: The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

What are your thoughts on the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel?

So much has been written and said about the Statement that I really didn’t have much unique material to add. In this vlog, I explain why I signed the Statement and give a few of my own thoughts on both the Statement and on social justice in general, but I’d mainly like to point you to the excellent resources below.

 

The Statement:

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

Essays (articles) on the Statement Articles by crafters of the Statement – John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Josh Buice, Tom Buck, Phil Johnson, Darrell Harrison, and more – expounding on various issues related to the Statement.

Please note: I am not familiar with a few of the blogs, websites, and podcasts linked below. The links below are not an endorsement of any content these sites may have created which contradicts the information at my Statement of Faith or Welcome tabs at the top of this page.

Articles on the Statement or on social justice in general

Social Injustice and the Gospel – John MacArthur

Is the Controversy over “Social Justice” Really Necessary? – John MacArthur

The Injustice of Social Justice – John MacArthur

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Tom Ascol

Why I Signed the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Josh Buice

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Pyromaniacs

Is Social Justice a Gospel Issue? – Kevin DeYoung

Covenant Theology, the Law, and Biblical Justice – Founders Ministries

What Does the Bible Say About Social Justice? – Gabriel Hughes

Social justice statement spurs ‘productive conversation’ – Baptist Press

If We Lose the Meaning of “Justice,” We Lose the Gospel – Stand to Reason

Social Justice: Why Jesus Didn’t Pursue it & Why the Church Shouldn’t Fight for It – Truth + Fire

Podcasts, Sermons, and Videos on the Statement or on social justice in general

Social Justice and the Gospel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 – John MacArthur

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel: Background, Exegesis, Application – The Dividing Line (James White)

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel with Tom Ascol – Sheologians (Summer Jaeger and Joy Temby)

Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 (ongoing) – The Sword and the Trowel (Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore)

Tom Ascol and the SJ&G – Doctrine and Devotion

Social Justice and the Gospel – Just Thinking (Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker)

MLK 50 Conference – Just Thinking (Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker)

Darrell Harrison on The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel – Airing the Addisons

Statement on Social Justice with Josh Buice – The Rapp Report (Andrew Rappaport)

Josh Buice, G3, & The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel – Dead Men Podcast

Social Justice & Issues with Parts of Social Justice Statement – The Briefing (Al Mohler)

President Reagan’s Faith, Interaction with Dr. Albert Mohler, Brief Comments on Justice – The Dividing Line (James White)

The Statement – Theology Driven

The Coming Social Justice Storm – Voice of Reason Radio

The Left Can’t Not Be Crazy – Relatable (Allie Stuckey) 8:20-13:10


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Church, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Planting a Biblically Sound Church: A Story of God’s Faithfulness

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com,
and let’s chat about it.

 

A Brief Word from Michelle:

I’m frequently asked by readers what to do if, despite their best efforts, they can’t find a doctrinally sound church within reasonable driving distance from home. One of my suggestions has been to look into church planting. When Laura told me about her experience, I knew it was a perfect fit to that question, so I asked to share her story here on the blog, and she graciously agreed.


Planting a Biblically Sound Church:
A Story of God’s Faithfulness
by Laura Moses

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Luke 12:37

This is our story of the painful decision to leave a church and the joy of planting a new one. In the last few years, the Lord Jesus has been gracious to teach us the depths of His Word through the faithful preaching of many of these men we regard highly as doctrinally sound. The more we learned the more we desired to be fed this way in our own local church. Over time, we had watched our church slowly begin to allow wider doctrinal stances. Further, we were concerned that authors and Bible teachers with questionable theology were not being vetted properly. (Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lysa Terkeurst, etc.) One of the many resources we used to discern for ourselves truth from error, in comparison to Scripture, were the source links Michelle provided that enabled us to hear what was being taught directly from the mouths of these teachers.

We would caution anyone not to leave a church too quickly. Stay and do the work involved by having discussions with leadership to effect change, if the Lord may be gracious to honor that, and PRAY! Pray for wisdom, pray for humility, pray for discernment, pray for truth to be spoken and heard by all those involved in the hard conversations.

Initially, my husband and I met with a few of the pastors and elders of our church and expressed our concerns and also our desire for deeper and more defined teaching. Unfortunately, they did not share these concerns and affirmed they would continue a lighter teaching to meet the needs of the unsaved and newer Christians. The elder board saw no issue with teachers we asked them to reconsider using because what they taught fit within the wide doctrinal positions of the church. After many months and many hard meetings it became evident that we were not going to agree on the direction the church was headed and the model of leadership they chose to use. There is value to walking away quietly rather than to continue and cause conflict and friction.

This was a heartbreaking decision as my husband was an elder and we had been a part of this church family for more than 20 years. We have many dear friends that still make this their church home. However, we felt the decision to leave was necessary for our family’s spiritual growth. As we began to search for another church we looked very intentionally for a church with a well-defined statement of faith. We realized that many of our concerns could be traced back to a limited doctrinal statement which allowed even opposing doctrines to be taught from the pulpit and in the classrooms. This makes it almost impossible to teach clearly and precisely on any given doctrine, and results in disunity among the elders who are able to have differing positions.

In many churches, the Gospel may be clearly proclaimed, but the doctrines that support it are handled without clarity. These secondary doctrines are of utmost importance, not to salvation but to lift a congregation to a high view of God and His Word. They gird the firm foundation of the Gospel, affirm the authority and sufficiency of the whole body of Scripture, and give the most glory to God who has revealed them to us.

After searching for many months, we did eventually find, through The Master’s Seminary church search and Grace Advance, a church 45 minutes away. Along with two other couples who had also left our former church for similar reasons, we began attending, albeit with hesitancy, as we had always served regularly at our church and had no idea how that would be possible at this new church because of the distance. Our main goal at this point was to be fed “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and the Lord provided this for us. We were able to observe a Biblical model of Christ’s plan for the church. They held to a specific doctrinal statement (almost identical to the statement of Grace Community Church), carefully vetted those applying for membership for many months before welcoming them into membership, and required Believer’s baptism. This church applied church discipline in a way that was soberly administered. We also saw the congregation joyfully praise the Lord together when the brother was restored to fellowship. The Lord graciously gave us a year there to be taught. After several months, we became members, as we knew that we needed the protection of the men in leadership for however long the Lord would have us there. Even membership class, (12 weeks long!) was a blessing as we were taught from Scripture the doctrines of our faith and the responsibilities of membership.

However, after several months, we found it increasingly difficult to attend weekday meetings and activities, as well as minister to the body due to the distance. We began a couples Bible study at our home using Behold Your God, Rethinking God Biblically with Dr. John Snyder. We cannot recommend this study highly enough. Other couples from our former church joined us.

We continued to feel a burden for our community in Bucks County, PA, located between Philadelphia and Princeton, NJ. We knew others who were searching for a church that had expository teaching and sound doctrine, but for some the church we were now attending was even further.

Since we were attending a Grace Advance church and John MacArthur had been so instrumental in our growth we decided to humbly submit an application to Grace Advance in hopes they would support us in establishing a Biblically sound church here in Bucks County. The application was quite lengthy and thorough as they wanted to make sure we had left our former church properly and there was a valid need for a church plant. Our boldness to ask for help came out of a deep desire to have the Lord build His church. We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Cor 4:7

We prayed He would honor the meager offerings of a few people willing to serve Him in whatever way He saw fit to use our gifts. We have had many conference calls with the elders of Grace, a personal visit from one of the pastors of Grace, more calls, and meetings with those that may commit to helping us. And then, just a few weeks ago, we rejoiced at the most wonderful news…our application was approved!!

We are now officially, The Master’s Church – a simple statement of truth affirming that this is Christ’s church. We chose this name based on Luke 12:36-37 and in appreciation for Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary training our future pastor and supporting our request for help.

We are praying and waiting for the Lord to make known the man He will call and has gifted to come shepherd us (1 Tim 3:1-7). The elders from Grace have instructed us to begin meeting on the Lord’s Day in anticipation of that call. We have the elder oversight from Grace for the time being and our Sunday mornings have been a joyful time worshipping with likeminded believers. The Lord has provided some qualified men willing to preach occasionally and in the interim we also have been learning from Pastor John’s series regarding our responsibility to the church and God’s strategy for church growth to prepare us further for the task ahead.

Finally, it is important to mention that Grace Advance offers a two week Academy in July to train up their seminary graduates in preparation for the unique task of church planting. One of our core group members was permitted to audit this course as we wait for God to call our pastor. The information they provided will be invaluable as we move forward.

This is our testimony to the power of God to equip and provide for those who are willing to be obedient and continually “dressed for action” (Luke 12:35). We can make no boast except in Him (2 Cor 10:17) and His promise to build His church (Matt 16:18). The providential circumstances that have led us to the humble beginnings of planting a church have been a blessing more abundant than we could have asked for (Eph 3:20). We have seen His Hand at work and it is a powerful one! We pray this testimony encourages and spurs many of you on to do the hard work of ministry that the Lord places in your sphere of influence.

We are grateful to Michelle for offering the opportunity to share our story and we want to encourage those who find themselves in our situation. The Lord may not call you to church plant as He has us, but He is faithful to feed His sheep. We must do our homework to find a church and be willing to drive or even move if necessary, as we are responsible to our Savior, in gratefulness to His sacrifice, to be fed pure truth from His Word. If you would pray for our beginnings as we watch our Master “add to our number” (Acts 2:47) we would be grateful. We would also welcome anyone nearby to join us on Sunday or in our one of our weekly Bible studies. Visit our website: The Master’s Church.

“Give us a church that loves Jesus Christ much. You will have mighty prayer meetings, you will have a Holy membership, you will have liberal giving to the cause of Christ, you will have a hearty praising of His name, you will have careful walking before the world, you will have earnest endeavors for the conversion of sinners.” Charles Spurgeon


Update (March 2019):

We have been sent our Pastor! God has graciously answered our prayers. Dr. Scott Basolo has accepted our offer to come teach and shepherd us. We have begun meeting in a new rental facility and we are growing. I want to encourage others willing to be diligent to work and pray, be confident that the Lord’s hears and answers according to His will and plan to build the church as He has promised. A few ordinary people with no church planting experience sought the Lord’s help through a proven faithful ministry and our prayer has been answered above all that we could ask in this Godly man that has a heart for evangelism, experience as a pastor, and educated to teach us well with clarity and conviction.

Praise God for Grace Advance and Pastor John. We are so thankful for the ministry of Grace Community Church to come alongside and help The Master’s Church.

Come visit us if in the Bucks County, PA /Princeton, NJ area!


Laura and her husband Scott have been married 24 years and have three children. They live near historic Washington Crossing, PA a suburb of Philadelphia, Princeton and NYC. She has homeschooled for the last 11 years, with one son still in high school. Their oldest two daughters are blessed to be at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. She and Scott love to open their home for men, women, and teens who desire to study the Word of God and enjoy fellowship with other believers.