Scripture and the Church

'Do Not Diminish A Word' - The Responsibility of Christ's Church

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
This is a time of testing. Will God's people stand firm?

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 6 of a series. Read part 5.

This is a time of testing. Will God's people stand firm?

Thus says the Lord: "Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word." (Jeremiah 26:2)

The same responsibility that applies to Christ's ministers, as we saw in our last article, also applies to Christ's church as a body of believers. The church as a body cannot diminish a word of the whole counsel of God. But it is sad to say that in our day many churches are doing just that. They are offering the broad way that leads to destruction, and not pointing people to the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Many are caving in to the pressures of political correctness.

As the Apostle John said of such religious leaders during Jesus' days on earth, "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). Jesus himself confronted such men: "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).

Let me mention just two recent examples of groups that have taken a courageous stand for the undiminished Word of God, emulating Moses, our forebear in the faith, in "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" (Hebrews 11:26).

Vanguard Presbytery

On July 30, 2020 I was privileged to attend the inaugural convocation of a group of churches that have come out of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) which was begun just fifty years ago but has become apostate. These former PCA churches have formed a new body called Vanguard Presbytery. Their first convocation took place in Nashville, Tennessee. I attended as an observer, but I also wanted to be present to encourage a number of men I know who were taking part.

The PCA consists of about 2,000 congregations in the United States and Canada. There were fewer than 100 congregations represented at this convocation - a small remnant, coming out and being separate. But at this first meeting of the Vanguard Presbytery, the keynote speaker stated the main reasons why these churches are leaving: The PCA has been corrupted from within by a philosophy that bears the strong imprint of cultural Marxism: the social-justice false gospel, Federal Vision theology, the LGBTQ agenda, evolutionary theory, and much more. Furthermore, Biblical evangelism in the PCA is essentially a thing of the past. 

Speaker after speaker declared in various ways that they cannot be part of the PCA's persistent diminishment of the Word of God. Corrective efforts from within have completely failed. Multiple speakers remarked on the fact that the Vanguard churches are a small remnant. As one speaker put it, "We are the nobodies from nowhere." What he meant by this is that none of the prominent PCA churches were represented at the Vanguard convocation. None of the big-name PCA pastors or seminary leaders were present. The prominent men of the PCA show no signs of taking a Biblical stand against apostasy. And so, the men of Vanguard Presbytery said, we can no longer stand with them.

Dear friends I would urge you to intercede at the throne of grace for Vanguard Presbytery. Pray for this remnant group that is seeking to take a stand on the unadulterated Word of God, and seeking to diminish not a word.

A Stand Against "Pride" in Perversion

I also think of my "home church", Reformation Bible Church, in this connection. On a Saturday in June 2019, men from RBC stood on the sidelines at the so-called "Gay Pride Festival" in Havre de Grace, Maryland, a city near the church. They simply held up, before an estimated 5,000 people who were shamelessly celebrating sexual perversion, placards stating the truths of the undiminished Word of God using Scripture itself. 

Their placards not only declared what Scripture says about the holiness of God, and what God says about their sin, but also the way of repentance, forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ. The men of RBC acted humbly and peacefully. They were fiercely shouted at, physically threatened, and spat upon. Homosexuals defiantly performed lewd acts in front of their placards for the benefit of news photographers. Yet they stood firm for the undiminished Word of God, following their Lord's example "who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).

RBC's senior pastor, Dr. John McKnight, who is also a member of TTW's board, preached a sermon soon afterward in which he described the experience titled Pride: A Nation's Shame and Judgment. I encourage you to listen to it or watch it, and to download the printed outline, using this link.

A Time of Testing

May Christ's church always and ever hold forth and declare the whole counsel of God, never diminishing a word. We have entered a time in the life of this country, and in the history of the church in America and many other parts of the world, when it is increasingly difficult to maintain that position. We live in a time when the reaction to the public proclamation of the whole counsel of God may, in fact, be violent.

Today the ability of sound churches and schools to maintain Biblical worship, Biblical hiring practices, Biblical disciplinary standards, and a Biblical school curriculum, is under attack. Many of the attacks come from government and organized religion, as well as academia and left-wing media. In such a time as this, we need to pray, as the early believers did, for boldness to stay the course.

This is a time of testing. Will God's people stand firm? May our Lord give us holy boldness, to diminish not a word of all that He has put in our hands to declare to the world, and to obey Him in every respect.



Next: "Do Not Diminish A Word" - The Responsibility of Christ's People


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