Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Answering Some Common Questions About CFBC, Part 5
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church  (St Louis, MO) 

1. Do you believe divorce is permissible?   —   We uphold and affirm a high view of marriage as the permanent union between one man and one woman. God designed marriage to be for life. But because of men’s hardness of heart and because of sin, and though it’s never God’s intended design, God provided occasions for a marriage to end. Never does God command a divorce but he permits divorce in only two instances. The Bible speaks of only two occasions when a believer may legitimately get a divorce. It must be said, however, that the believer does not have to pursue a divorce if these instances occur, but if he does find himself in such a position, divorce may be a legitimate last-resort option. The primary goal is always the preservation of the marriage union and to pursue any and all means to remain married, as God designed it. But if this is not feasible, then God has provided two, and only two, legitimate grounds for divorce. First, when one’s spouse is guilty of persistent, unrepentant sexual sin. When a spouse is guilty of unrepentant and ongoing sexual sin outside of the marriage with one’s spouse, that consists in legitimate grounds for divorce. Second, when the nonbeliever abandons the marriage and forsakes the relationship. These are the only two grounds for a believer to pursue a divorce. Of course, the preservation of the marriage is the first goal because marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.

2. Can someone get remarried who has been divorced?  —  It is our understanding of the Bible that when a divorce occurred on biblical terms (that is, if a believer divorced a spouse on one of the two biblical grounds), then that believer is free to remarry, but only in the Lord. The person who has gotten a divorce for unbiblical reasons, however, that the Lord does not permit in the Bible (anything other than the two grounds that are provided in the New Testament: ongoing sexual sin and the unbeliever’s desertion of the marriage), then that person must remain unmarried for if that person were to remarry another person he would be committing adultery.  If divorce occurred prior to one’s conversion, and then the Lord mercifully saves someone, it is our conviction that the regenerated person is a “new creation” and the “old things have passed away and new things have come.” And thus, we would allow that person to be free to remarry someone, but again, only a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  For other instances and questions, we advise individuals to seek out their elders for biblical counsel, wise guidance, and diligent shepherding through these life decisions.

3. Who pastors your pastor and cares for him spiritually?  —  Our shepherd-elders meet twice a month for elder meetings. From time to time, in the Bible reading and particular articles that they read together, they are able to shepherd one another and care for each other’s souls through accountability, prayer, exhortation, and confession together.  Our pastor has an older man who speaks openly, honestly, and candidly into his life to ensure that he is encouraged, sexually pure, devoted and faithful to his wife, caring for and shepherding his children, and deeply and devotionally in love with Christ.  These relationships are vital for the spiritual well-being of the pastor/elders. Sadly and tragically, elders advise church members to seek guidance and care for their souls while church leaders neglect their own counsel. Because this is the case, we praise the Lord that our pastor has men who faithfully, honestly, frequently, and diligently probe his heart in pastoral care.

4. Why do you encourage the young people to sit through the entire Sunday worship service?  — When CFBC gathers, children sit through the worship service with their parents. We do not offer children’s church, kids programs, or other occasions for our young people to be away from the service. The simple reason for this is because of our strong conviction in the sovereign power of the Word of God read, preached, and applied. We want our young people to be under the powerful Word and to hear it read, exposited, applied, and cherished. We understand that a 4 year old will not glean as much as a 15 year old. And a 15 year old will not receive as much as a 25 year old. Nevertheless, we believe the Holy Spirit takes His Word and accomplishes great things when the Bible is read, sung, prayed, expounded, and applied. We want our young ones to habitually be under the Word rightly divided. We want them to see the church family prioritizing and receiving the Word. We want them to be able to dialogue with their families about the sermons after church and throughout the following week. Much of the specific application and implementation discussions can and should occur as parents take the preached Word and speak in specific ways with their children following the sermon. Quite simply: our philosophy concerning this is tethered to our conviction regarding the power of God’s Word on all people — both young and old.

5. Why do you not have a youth group?  —  Our great passion and burden for our young people is to see them regenerated by the power of the Spirit, to help them grow in the knowledge of Christ and to equip them for a lifetime of ministry and service to the Lord wherever He may use and call them. We seek to provide resources for fathers so that they can be the primary ‘pastor’ and discipler of their youth. It is our ambition to see older men disciple the younger men and the older women disciple the younger women (Titus 2). We do not provide a youth group because we do not have someone at this time who can take such a load upon their plate. And with this, we have endeavored to include the young men and young women in various meetings, studies, and get togethers in the church. Rather than create a venue for people to hang out primarily with people their own age, we have diligently sought to teach and live out the older saints investing in the young people in the church. With that said, however, we do have a youth Bible study on Sundays at 4:00PM and we do offer a catechism class for our young children during the 4:00PM Family Bible Hour time. But the primary shepherding of our youth should come from the parents and we seek to assist our parents, encourage them to be faithful, and to equip them with resources necessary to shepherd their children toward Christ and in Christ.

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