July 13, 2024

Saturday, July 13, 2024
July 13, 2024

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The Truth Is Under Attack: UK Calvary Chapels See Believers Hungry For God’s Word – ‘The Bible Is More Clear Than Ever’

“God’s people are hungry for the teaching of God’s Word,” exclaimed Pastor Steve Vickery of Calvary Chapel Oxford, England. “And when they taste it, they can’t get enough of it!” At a recent Calvary Chapel Association conference in the United Kingdom, Steve witnessed his countrymen’s hunger to hear the Bible taught. “We often take this for granted in our Calvary Chapel circles where verse-by-verse teaching is the norm, but in England, it’s quite rare. When people discover it, even after being Christians for many years, they find it life-changing.”

During England’s COVID-19 lockdown, Christians began listening to different Calvary Chapel pastors online. One expositor whom believers began to follow was Pastor Jack Hibbs of CC Chino Hills, CA, who journeyed to Great Britain this past June to teach alongside Steve and two other CC pastors from the UK. Steve and the British believers were thrilled by Jack’s willingness to join them.

Jack witnessed this hunger for the teaching of God’s Word during his visit. “I observed their hunger for the Word by seeing their Bibles open and their notebooks ready with pen in hand. It was awesome during worship as they sang with hands lifted the entire service; from start to finish, it was so Christ-centered. All they wanted was Jesus! It was beautiful!”

Pastor Steve acknowledged, “Teaching God’s Word is at the heart of the life and ministry of the church.” The Teach the Word (TTW) conference began in 2008, with the hope of bringing all UK Calvary Chapels together for study, worship, and fellowship. Initially, many of the CC churches in the country were fairly new and small. The TTW team hoped to provide a place for pastors, leaders, and congregants to gather and ultimately strengthen the relationships between all CC churches in the UK. Steve added, “The heart of the conference echoes the words of our Savior in John 17:20. Not only has that heart and mission been growing over the last 15 years, but the unity in faith has stretched ‘across the pond’ (Atlantic Ocean).”

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” John 17:20

Pastor Steve recognized the nearly 100 different churches in attendance as “one church gathered, with one heart and mind to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and to worship Him.” He then introduced Pastor Jack Hibbs.

Pastor Jack Hibbs: The Church Under Attack

Truth is under attack. God’s Word is under attack. The church is under attack. Families are under attack. Our faith (anchored in the foundation of Christ Jesus) is under attack. The goal of the enemy is to remove God, the Bible, and believers.

“The world has chosen to remove God because they have elevated themselves to the position of a god with the power to create ‘life’ through technology like artificial intelligence.” But as Pastor Jack stated, “Today, the Bible is more clear than ever.”

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Jack warned, “Unfortunately, the church today is veering away from solid biblical doctrine. We must stand together on His Word, unified in Christ Jesus. [But] we must not unify because of some modern movement. Satan is the master of information warfare. The main goal of the enemy is to confuse the church through wrong doctrine. We must stand on the truth of [God’s] Word and speak up. The more Bible you know, the more protected you’ll be against false doctrine.”

Thomas Fretwell: The Unseen War

The Ezra Foundation exists to “encourage and facilitate the serious study of the Word of God by producing resources that promote a biblical understanding of Israel in the plan of God.” Pastor Thomas taught out of Revelation, Chapter 12, addressing “the unseen war” of spiritual warfare. “The task of the expositor is to understand what [the symbols in Revelation] mean,” he emphasized. The Scripture needs to be the guide for interpretation. Satan continually attempts to deceive the entire world. It seems as if the world has dismissed common sense—through that, one can observe the movement of Satan. His oldest weapon is to undermine the Word of God: “Has God really said?” We can understand the entire Bible through these two narratives: God’s promise to bring a Messiah into the world through Israel and Satan’s attempt to stop it. Events throughout history demonstrate these narratives. This is what Pastor Thomas calls “the unseen war”. The exciting thing is, he noted, we know the ending and have been equipped to engage (Ephesians 6:10-17).

Kevin Berthiaume: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1

The Church as a whole needs discernment concerning spiritual warfare. Two extremes exist: The first believes that nothing spiritual is going on, while the second believes everything is a result of demonic or spiritual activity. Apostasy (a deliberate departure) can be attributed to spiritual warfare. When someone departs from the faith, they are drawn to something that resembles distorted truth, but it is not truth. If a teaching is contrary to the words of Christ Jesus, it is satanic at its core. The Church has always been in danger of being misled by crafty, false doctrine. Doubts need to be quickly replaced with truth. Take God at His Word. Falling for Satan’s schemes comes from a lack of discernment. Kevin advised, “All spiritual warfare is going to come to you through the conduit of your own sinful flesh.” Just because God is love does not mean He ceases to demand holiness in our lives.

Pastor Steve Vickery: Suffering for the Faith

The weapons for our daily battle are spiritual. Suffering for our faith is somewhat foreign to most of us. It is important for believers everywhere to familiarize ourselves with a biblical definition and perspective on suffering for our faith. Cultural values are changing, where biblical truths are becoming unpopular and even unacceptable. Christians need to be aware of this. We have not been accustomed to receiving this kind of response from the world.

The temptation arises for believers to soften or to change our message—to move from witnessing truthfully to offering something watered-down. Jesus told us we would see these things come to pass in Matthew 5:10a: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness.” We are called to rejoice when we are persecuted for His sake. Why? Because we are blessed and our reward awaits us in Heaven, together eternally with Jesus. But in the meantime, Steve reminded, 1 Peter 4:14 tells us that there is a special blessing of God that rests upon the person who is going through persecution for Christ’s sake. “That blessing of God’s grace is not to remove the persecution and the suffering,” Steve said, “but to enable that person to endure through that suffering with great joy unto the glory of God.”

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“God’s people are hungry for the teaching of God’s Word,” exclaimed Pastor Steve Vickery of Calvary Chapel Oxford, Eng