developing intimacy with christ in the Context of the Historic Faith and Mother Kirk
Beholding the Lord
In Ezra 7:10, Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord. The Bible teaches that the law of God cannot be studied without the heart. Psalm 27:4 says, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his temple. II Corinthians 3:15-18 then tells us that the beauty of the Lord is actually found in the law of the Lord. Therefore, the highest priority in the life of a man of God is that he knows Christ intimately through beholding His image personally, and corporately, in all of Scripture.
Isaiah 37:31 proclaims that the remnant of Israel will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. This portrays the priorities of the minister of the Word as being first to take root downward in Christ, then, as an overflow of his walk with Christ, he bears fruit. Ministry is only of Christ if it is an overflow of a life lived in constant communion with Him.
We literally tell our men that they have to choose to make time with the Lord a major discipline in their lives to avoid worshiping the ministry rather than the Lord, as Martha did in Luke 10:38-42.
We strive to inculcate this intimacy with Christ through having the pastors read through the Bible in a year during their time with us, and share their devotional observations with each other as they go. We also require that they memorize the Navigator Topical Memory system of 60 Bible references under the titles of Live the New Life, Proclaim Christ, Rely on God's Resources, Be Christ's Disciple, and Grow in Christlikeness
During our intensive courses we also sing Psalms, and have a devotional service at the beginning of every day.
The Historic Faith
One of the consistent tendencies of the modern world is to try to have the new wine of the Spirit with no wine skins. One part of the wine skins is the Historic Christian Faith, once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 3. In helping men grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, we teach them that we must affirm the following all the while:
- The creator, governor, and perfecter of all things is the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who alone is to be worshipped by all people.
- The Bible is the Word of God written, and is absolutely and comprehensively authoritative and without error.
- The three ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, are a true summary of the core teachings of the Bible about God and salvation in Jesus Christ.
- The human race came under God’s condemnation through the rebellion of the first man, Adam, and salvation and glorification come to fallen man only through being united by the Holy Spirit in the life, death, resurrection, and glorification of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, a gift from the Father received by faith alone.
- Reformed orthodoxy, as found in the Westminster Standards and in the Three Forms of Unity (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort), represents faithfully and accurately what the Scriptures teach.
- The Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned his Church to proclaim the glad tidings of the Gospel to all men and nations, and the faithful preaching of the Gospel and the self-sacrificing love of Christ manifested by believers for the lost world transforms every aspect of life, faith, and culture.
We use the historic creeds of the Church in worship and in personal discipleship.
Personal discipleship is first and foremost a call to fulfill covenant obligations to the Lord Jesus Christ by faithful formal worship, under the rule of elders, on the Lord's day. Personal discipleship is never a call to compete with the Lord's day worship, but to prepare for and perfect it. Leviticus 23:3 requires a holy convocation on the Sabbath. The Sabbath with this convocation is one of the rites of the covenant God made with His people, Exodus 31:16. This Sabbath is called the Lord's day in Isaiah 58:13, which day in Rev. 1:10, still exists, but has been moved to the first day of the week, Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2. On this day, we teach our pastors, heaven and earth unite in the general assembly, Hebrews 12:22-24. In this way our personal discipleship unites us weekly with the Jerusalem that is above, who is the mother of us all, Galatians 4:26.
The Year of the Disciple
Easter 2012-Easter 2013
For the first time, we enrolled ourselves and encouraged all the elders in the 10 churches across nine time zones in our movement to enroll in the Year of Disciple program. This program required that our student-pastors:
- Read the Bible through in a year on our Bible reading program.
- Memorize 2 verses per week of the Navigator Topical Memory System.
- Review once a week the 12 verses of the previous pack of verses.
- Each pastor must enroll at least one man, either one of his elders or elder candidate, in the program with him as an accountability partner, and meet with him weekly to share lessons learned from that weeks 28 chapters of Bible reading, and quote verbally, word perfect, references "fore and aft" the verses due that week of the TMS, and quote the previous pack to each other. (II Timothy 2:2)
- Meet monthly with all the other current pastor students and the dean of students, pastor Evgeni Kruzhkov, via Skype, to share progress in the program.
We suggest your church or presbytery, or family, also to enroll in this challenging program, if you have not done a similar program recently.
Pray for us according to John 8 below, please.
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”