Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 2nd August 1998
From the Pastor: Our 21st Birthday!
In the old days we always regarded someone's "twenty-first" as when he came
of age. Youthful frolics were over; he was now a responsible adult. "When
I became a man, I did away with childish things", remarks Paul
(1 Corinthians 13:11), though he does not indicate that that was when he was
twenty-one! Can we say the same of a congregation, however? Surely that
has some truth too: witness the Apostle's complaint that the Corinthian
congregation were mere "babes in Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:1); the Hebrews'
author echoes the same theme by implying that his readers were but children
(Hebrews 5:12); and Paul again expresses his aim as building Christians
"to mature manhood" (Ephesians 4:13).|
How then, does a congregation become mature? For a start, this can only
come about when at least the leadership and leading members are themselves
mature in understanding, in spiritual development, and in Christ-likeness.
Then they can help others to reach the same status. Be assured, however,
that the arena for this is the local church: there may this development
take place, for it is the place of Christ's appointment. For much of this
century evangelicals have thought too much in terms of movements: holiness
movements, fellowship movements, Second Advent movements, charismatic
movements, to name a few. Movements have proliferated, but spiritual
maturity has declined seriously to the point where Biblical literacy,
even among believers, is almost at an all-time low. One does not obtain
this maturity from movements, whatever their good points.
Another point regarding movements is that with time they fizzle out. That
can certainly be said of the Ecumenical Movement, which has dominated the
Church during this century: its "use-by" date has expired. For a church
which holds to the Word, lives by it, and whose members show the
characteristics above, God's promises are sure: it shall endure and bear
fruit. May He bless Caulfield likewise, even with our small numbers.