Dur- ing the days of His humiliation it was by prayer that Christ raised the dead. Transformation of bodies. Jesus Christ shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation into the likeness of His own glorious body. II Tim.
UN_Army Overcoming The Enemy: The Spiritual Warfare Of The Believer (Six Pillars From Ephesians)
Christ Jesus shall judge the quick and the dead. Jesus Christ is the bestower of eternal life. Seven distinctively Divine of- fices are predicated of Jesus Christ. Statements which in the O. Luke 2: Luke II Cor. I Thess. Many instances of this sort see all the Pauline Epistles. The name of Jesus Christ is coupled with that of God the Father in numerous passages in a way in which it would be impossible to couple the name of any finite being with that of the Deity.
Divine Worship to be given to Jesus Christ. Acts ; Rev. Jesus Christ accepted without hesitation a worship which good men and angels de- clined with fear horror. Is not the verb translated worship in these passages used of reverence paid to men in high position? Yes; but not in this way by worshippers of Jehovah, as is seen by the way in which Peter and the angel drew back with horror when such worship was offered to them.
Prayer is to be made to Christ. It is God the Father's will that all men pay the same divine honor to the Son as to Himself. The Son of God, Jesus, is to be worshiped as God by angels and men. Jesus Christ is a person to be worshiped by angels and men even as God the Father is worshiped. By the use of numer- ous Divine names, by the ascription of all the distinctively divine attributes, by the predication of several divine offices, by referring statements which in the O. One suggestion remains to be made in regard to topical study.
Get further topics for topical study from your book studies. A third method of study is the Biographical. This needs no definition. It consists in taking up the various persons mentioned in Scripture and studying their life, work and character. It is really a special form of Topical Study. It can be made very interesting and instructive.
It is especially useful to the minister with a view to sermon building, but is profitable for all Christ- ians. The following suggestions will help those who are not already experienced in this line of work. Collect all the passages in tte Bible in which the person to be studied is mentioned. This is readily done by turning in Strong's Con- cordance to the person's name, and you will find every passage in which he is mentioned given. Analyze the character of the person. This will require a repeated reading of the passages in which he is mentioned. This should be done with pencil in hand, that any characteristic may be noted down at once.
Note the elements of power and success. Note the elements of weakness and failure. Note the difficulties overcome. Note the helps to success. Note the privileges abused. Note the opportunities neglected. Note the opportunities improved. Note the mistakes made. Note the perils avoided.
Make a sketch of the life in hand. Make it as vivid, living and realistic as possible. Try to reproduce the subject as a real, living man. Note the place and surroundings of the dif- ferent events, e. Corinth, Philippi. Note the time relations of the different events. Very few people in reading the Acts of the Apostles, for example, take notice of the rapid passage of time, and so regard events separated by years as following one another in close sequence.
In this connection note the age or approximate age of the subject at the time of the events recorded of him. Summarize the lessons we should learn from the story of this person's life. Note the person in hand in his relations to Jesus, e. Of course many of the points mentioned above cannot be taken up with some characters. Meyer's " Elijah," and also other O. Moody's " Bible Characters. A fourth method of study is the Study of Types. We have illustrations of this in the Bible itself, as for example in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
It is both an interesting and instructive method of study. It shows us the most precious truths buried away in what once seemed to us a very dry and meaningless portion of the Bible. It need scarcely be said that this method of study is greatly abused and overdone in some quarters. But that is no reason why we should neglect it altogether, especially when we remember that not only Paul but Jesus were fond of this method of study. The following may serve as principles to govern us in this method of study: I.
Be sure you have Bible warrant for your supposed type. If one gives free rein to his fancy in this matter, he can imagine types every- where, even in places that neither the human or divine author of the book had any intention of a typical sense. Begin with the more simple and evident types, eg. Be on your guard against the fanciful and overstrained. Fancy is almost sure to run away with any man who is blessed with any imagination and quickness of typical discernment, unless he holds it in check.
Our typical sensi- tiveness and sensibleness will become both quickened and chastened by careful and circum- spect exercise. In studying any passage of possible typical suggestion, look up all the Scripture references. The best collection of references is that given in " The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Study carefully the meaning of the nanus of persons and places mentioned. Bible names often have a very deep and far reaching suggest- iveness. Thus, for example, -Hebron, which means " joining together," u union " or " fellow- ship," is deeply significant when taken in con- nection with its history, as are all the names of the Cities of Refuge, and indeed very many Scripture names.
Was it accidential that Beth- lehem, the name of the place where the Bread of Life was born, means " House of bread "? A fifth method of Bible study is the old- fashioned method of the study of the Bible in course, beginning at Genesis and going right on until Revelation is finished. This method of study is ridiculed a good deal in these days, but it has some advantages which no other method of study possesses. It is sometimes said, you might as well begin at the top shelf of your library and read right through, as to begin at the beginning of this library of sixty-six books and read right through.
To this it is a sufficient answer, If you had a library that it was important to master as a whole, that you might understand the separate books in it, and that was as well arranged as the Bible is, then this method of going through your library would be excellent. The advantages of studying in the Bible in course are: First, It is the only method by which you will get an idea of the Book as a whole. Second, It is the only method by which you are likely to cover the whole Book, and so take in the entire scope of God's revelation. It will be many a long year before any man covers the whole Bible by Book studies, or even by Topical studies.
Every part of God's word is precious, and there are gems of truth hidden away in most unexpected places, e. Third, It is the best method to enable one to get hold of the unity of the Bible and its organic character. Fourth, It is a great corrective to one-sidedness and crankiness.
uvinigyz.tk: Six Pillars From Ephesians series
The Bible is a many sided book, it is Calvinistic and Arminian, it is Trinitarian and Unitarian, it clearly teaches the Deity of Christ and insists on His real Humanity, it exalts faith and demands works, it urges to victory through conflict and asserts most vigorously that victory is won by faith, etc, etc. If we become too much taken up with any one line of truth in our Book or Topical studies, and we are more than likely to, the daily study of the Bible in course will soon bring us to some con- trasted line of truth, and bring us back to our proper balance.
Some people go insane through becoming too much occupied with a single line of truth. It would be well to have three methods of study in progress at the same time: first, the study of some book; second, the study of topics perhaps topics sug- gested by the book studies ; third, the study of the Bible in course. Every other method of study should be supplemented by studying the Bible in course. Some years ago I determined to read the A. It has proved exceedingly profitable, and I would not willingly give it up.
A sixth method of study is closely related to the fifth method and has advantages of its own that will appear as soon as the method is de- scribed. It is studying the various portions of the Bible in their Chronological Order. In this way the Psalms are read in their historical set- tings, as are prophecies, epistles, etc. American Tract Society. The course as outlined by Miss Petrie covers three years, and there are questions given for study and examina- tion.
To study the Bible in this way, make as com- plete a classification as possible of all the classes of men that one will meet. Write the names of the various classes at the head of separate sheets of paper or cards. Then begin the Bible and read it through slowly, and when you come to a passage that seems likely to prove useful in deal- ing with any class write it down upon its appro- priate sheet. Go through the Bible in this way. It would be well to have a special Bible for this purpose, and have different colored inks, or differ- ent letters or symbols, to represent the different classes, and underscore the texts with the proper colored ink, or mark it with the appropriate symbol.
The books mentioned will give you suggestions how to do it. As a suggestion for beginning in the work we give a list of classes of men, to which you can add for yourself. The careless and indifferent. Those who wish to be saved but do not know how. Those who know how to be saved but have diffi- culties " I am too great a sinner. The Hope of being saved by a righteous life. The Hope that " God is too good to damn anyone.
Those who lack assurance. Roman Catholics. Christian Scientists. Secret Disciples. The Sorrowing. The Persecuted. The Discouraged.
The Despondent. The Morbid. Worldly Christians. The Stingy. The results of this work will be of incalculable value. In the first place, you will get a new view of how perfectly the Bible is adapted to every man's need. In the second place, familiar pas- sages of the Bible will get a new meaning as you see their relation to the needs of men. The Bible will become a very living book.
In the third place, in seeking food for others you will be fed yourself. And in the fourth place, you will get a vast amount of material to use in sermons, Bible-readings, prayer meeting talks and personal work. You will acquire a rare working knowl- edge of the Bible. We have considered seven profitable methods of Bible study. There is something, however, in Bible study more important than the best methods, that is, The Fundamental Conditions of Profitable Study. The one who meets these con- ditions will get more out of the Bible, while pur- suing the poorest method, than the one who does not meet them will, while pursuing the best method.
Many a one who is eagerly asking, " What method shall I pursue in my Bible study? The first of the fundamental conditions of the most profitable Bible study is the student must be born again. The Bible is a spiritual book, it " combines spiritual things with spiritual words " I Cor. Spiritual discernment can be obtained in but one way, by being born again. No mere knowl- edge of the human languages in which the Bible was written, however extensive and accur- ate it may be, will qualify one to understand and appreciate the Bible.
One must understand the divine language in which it was written as well, the language of the Holy Spirit. A person who understands the language of the Holy Spirit, but who does not understand a word of Greek or Hebrew or Aramiac, will get more out of the Bible, than one, who knows all about Greek and Hebrew and cognate languages, but is not born again, and, consequently, does not understand the language of the Holy Spirit.
It is a well demonstrated fact that many plain men and wo- men who are entirely innocent of any knowledge of the original tongues in which the Bible was written, have a knowledge of the real contents of the Bible, its actual teaching, in its depth and fulness and beauty, that surpasses that of many learned professors in theological facul- ties. It would be as reasonable to set a man to teach art because he had an accurate technical knowl- edge of paints. It requires aesthetic sense to make a man a competent teacher of art. It re- quires spiritual sense to make a man a competent teacher of the Bible.
The man who had aesthetic discernment, but little or no technical knowl- edge of paint, would be a far more competent critic of works of art, than a man, who had a great technical knowledge of paint, but no aesthetic discernment; and so the man who has no techni- cal knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, but who has spiritual discernment, is a far more compe- tent critic of the Bible than the one who has a rare technical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, but no spiritual discernment. It is exceedingly unfortunate that, in some quarters, more emphasis is laid upon a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, in training for the ministry, than is laid upon spir- itual life and its consequent spiritual discernment.
The first fundamental condition of the most profitable Bible study, is, then, " Ye must be born again. Its best treas- ures are sealed to you. The second condition of the most profitable study is a love for the Bible. A man who eats with an appetite, will get far more good out of his meal than a man who eats from a sense of duty. It is well when a student of the Bible can say with Job, " I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food," Job, 12 R.
Many come to the table God has spread in His word with no appe- tite for spiritual food, and go mincing here and there and grumbling about everything. Spiritual indigestion lies at the bottom of much modern criticism of the Bible. But how can one get a love for the Bible? First of all by being born again. Where there is life there is likely to be appetite. A dead man never hungers. This brings us back to the first condition.
Abounding life means abound- ing hunger for the Word. The author can well remember the time when he had more appe- tite for books about the Bible than he had for the Bible itself, but with increasing study there has come increasing love for the Book. The third condition is a willingness to do hard work. Solomon has given a graphic pic- ture of the Bible student who gets the most profit out of his study, " My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Now, seeking for silver and searching for hid treasures, means hard work, and the one who wishes to get not only the silver but the gold as well out of the Bible, and find its " hid treasures, " must make up his mind to dig. The reason why many get so little out of their Bible reading is simply because they are not willing to think. Intellectual laziness lies at the bottom of a large per cent, of fruitless Bible reading. People are constantly crying for new methods of Bible study, but what many of them wish is simply some method of Bible study by which they can get all the good out of the Bible withbut work.
If some one could tell lazy Christians some method of Bible study whereby they could put the sleepiest ten minutes of the day, just before they go to bed, into Bible study, and get the profit out of it that God intends His children shall get out of the study of His Word, that would be just what they desire. But it can't be done. Men must be willing to work and work hard, if they wish to dig out the treasures of infinite wisdom and knowl- edge and blessing which He has stored up in His Word.
A business friend once asked me in a hurried call to tell him "in a word " how to study his Bible. I replied, " Think. Of Mary, the mother of Jesus, we read, " Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. In this way alone can one study the Bible to the greatest profit. One pound of beef well chewed and digested and assimilated, will give more strength than tons of beef merely glanced at; and one verse of script- ure chewed and digested and assimilated, will give more strength than whole chapters simply skimmed.
Weigh every word you read in the Bible. Look at it. Turn it over and over. The most familiar passages get a new meaning in this way. Spend fifteen minutes on each word in Ps. The fourth condition is a will wholly sur- rendered to God. Jesus said, " If any man will- eth to do his will he shall know of the teaching.
Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise wholly from the fact that the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the book. I have no will- but Thine. Teach me Thy will. It is simply impossible to get the largest profit out of your Bible study until you do surrender your will to God.
You must be very definite about this. There are many who say, " Oh, yes, my will, I think, is surrendered to God," and yet it is not. They have never gone alone with God and said intelligently and definitely to him, " O God, I here and now give myself up to Thee; for Thee to command me, and lead me, and shape me, and send me. The Bible becomes a new book when a man does thati Doing that wrought a complete transformation in the author's theology and life and ministry.
The fifth condition is very closely related to the fourth. The student of the Bible who would get the greatest profit out of his studies must be obedient to its teachings as soon as he sees them. It was good advice James gave to early Christians, and to us, " Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves. They see- what the Bible teaches, but they do not do it, and they soon lose their power to see it.
Truth obeyed leads to mQre truth. Truth disobeyed destroys the capacity for discovering truth. There must be not only a general surrender of the will, but specific practi- cal obedience to each 'new word of God discov- ered. There is no place where the law, " unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but? Use, and you get more; refuse, and you lose all. Do not study the Bible for the mere gratification of intellectual curiosity, but to find out how to live and to please God. What- ever duty you find commanded in the Bible, do it at once.
Whatever good you see in any Bible character, imitate it immediately. Whatever mis- take you note in the actions of Bible men and women, scrutinize your own life to see if you are making the same mistake, and if you find you are, correct it forthwith. James compares the Bible to a looking glass. Obeying the truth you already see, will solve the enigmas in't he verses you do not as yet understand. Disobeying the truth you see, darkens the whole world of truth. This is the secret of much of the scepticism and error of the day.
Men saw the truth, but did not do it, now it is gone. I knew a bright and promising young minister. He made rttpid advancement in the truth. He took very advanced ground upon one point especially, and the storm came. One day he said to his wife, " It' is Very nice to believe this, but we need not ' speak so much about it. The wife died and he'drifted. The Bible became to him a ' sealed book. Faith reeled. He publicly renounced his faith in some of the fundamental truths of the Bible. He seemed to lose his grip even on the doctrine of immortality.
What was the cause of it all? Truth not lived and stood for, flees. That man is much admired and applauded by some to-day, but daylight has given place to darkness in his soul. The sixth condition is a child-like mind. God reveals His deepest truths to babes. No age needs more than our own to lay to heart the words of Jesus, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has re- vealed them unto babes.
A child is not full of its own wisdom. It recog- nizes its ignorance and isready to' be taught. It does not oppose its own notions and ideas to those of its teachers. It is in ; that spirit we should come to the Bible, if we areto get the most profit out of our study. Do not come to the Bible full of your own ideas, and seelring from it a confirma- tion of them. Come rather to find out what are God's ideas as He has revealed them there. If a man comes to the Bible just to find his notions taught there, he will find them; but if he comes, recognizing his- own ignorance, just as a little child, to be taught;- he will find something infinitely better than his!
We see why it is that many per- sons cannot see things which are plainly taught in the Bible. The doctrine taught is not then- notion, of which they are so full that there is no room left for that which the Bible actually teaches. We have an illustration of this in the apostles themselves at one stage in their training. But is it any more wonderful than our own inability to comprehend plain state- ments in the Bible when they run counter to our preconceived notions?
Many a man is so full of an unbiblical the- ology he has been taught, - that it takes him a lifetime to get rid 'of it, and understand the clear teaching of the Bible. Why, it means' what it plainly says; but what you are after is not the meaning God has manifestly put into it, but the meaning you can by some ingenious trick of exegesis twist out of it, and make it fit into your scheme. Don't come to the Bible to find out what you can make it mean, but to find out what God intended it to mean. We all need to pray often, if we would get- the most profit out of our Bible study, M OhrGod, make me a little child.
Empty me of my own notions. Teach me thine own mind. Make me ready like a little child to receive all that thou hast to say, no mat- ter how contrary it is towhatM have thought hitherto. How it closes up to the wise fool, who thinks he knows everything, and imagines he can give- points to Peter and Paul, and even to Jesus Ghrist and to God Him- self!
Some one has well- said the best method of Bible study is " the baby method. But this man was sincere, yet he did not have the child-like spirit, which is an essential condition of the most profit- able Bible study. But there are many who ap- proach the Bible in the same way. The seventh' condition- of studying the Bible to the greatest profit is, that we study it as the word of God. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Church of the Thessaronians, thanked God without ceasing that when they received the word of God they " accepted it notas the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God.
Well might he thank God for that, and well may we thank God when we get to the place where we receive the word of God as the word of God. Not that the one who does not be- lieve the Bible is the word of God should be dis- couraged from studying it. The author of this book once doubted utterly that the Bible was the word of God, and the firm confidence that he has to-day that the Bible is the Word of God, has come more from the study of the book itself than from anything else. But while the best book of Christian evidences is the Bible, and while the most utter sceptic should be encouraged to study it, we will not- get thes largest measure of profit out of that study until we reach the point where we become convinced that the Bible is God's Word, and when we study it as such.
There is a great difference between believing theoretically that the Bible- is God's Word and studying it as God's Word; Thousands would tell you that they believed the- Bible is God's Word, who do not study- it as God's Word. Studying the Bible as tne Word of God involves four things.
Reason demands that we submit our judgment and reasonings to the state- ments of infinite wisdom. There is nothing more irrational than rationalism, which makes the finite wisdom the test of infinite wisdom-, and submits the teachings of God's omniscience to the approval of man's judgment. It is the sublimest and absurdest conceit that says, " This cannot be true, though God says it, for it does not approve itself to my reason.
A " thus saith the Lord " will settle every question. The man who studies the Bible as the word of God, will not discount any one of its promises one iota. The one who studies the Bible as the word of God, will be on the lookout for promises, and as soon as he finds one he will seek to ascertain just what it means, and, as soon as he discovers, he will step right out upon that promise, and risk everything upon its full import.
That is one of the secrets of profitable Bible study. That is the way,. This is the key to all the treasures pf God's grace. Happy is the man who has so. Obedience may,, seem,,. If yqu, would, get the very most profit out of your Bible. When you read a verse of scripture hear the voice of the living God speaking directly to you in these written words. One of the most fascinating and inspir- ing statements in the Bible is " Enoch walked with God.
We can have God's glorious companionship any moment we please, by simply opening His Word and letting the living and ever present God speak to us through it With what holy awe and strange and unutterable joy one studies the Bible if he studies it in this way! It is heaven come down to earth.
The eighth and last condition of the most profitable Bible study is Prayerfulness. The Psalmist prayed " Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Every one who desires to get the greatest profit out of his Bible study, needs to offer that or a similar prayer every time he un- dertakes the study of the word. Few keys open so many caskets that contain hidden treasure as prayer. Few clews unravel so many difficulties. What new light often shines from an old familiar text as you bend over it in prayer!
I believe in studying the Bible a good deal on your knees. When one reads an entire book through upon his knees — and this is easily done — that book has a new meaning and becomes a new book. It is a rare privilege to study any book under the immediate guidance and in- struction of its author, and this is the privilege of us all in studying the Bible.
When one comes to a passage that is difficult to understand or difficult to interpret, instead of giving it up, or rushing to some learned friend, or to some com- mentary, he should lay that passage before God, and ask Him to explain it to him, pleading God's promise, " if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upraideth not, and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting. It is simply wonderful how the seemingly most difficult passages become plain by this treatment. Harry Morehouse, one of the most remarkable Bible scholars among unlearned men, used to say, that whenever he came to a passage in the Bible which he could not under- stand, he would search through the Bible for some other passage that threw light upon it, and lay it before God in prayer, and that he had never found a passage that did not yield to this treatment.
The author of this book has had a quite similar experience. One day the country letter-carrier stopped us, and asked if we would not like to see a cave of rare beauty and interest,, away from the beaten tracks of travel. Of courses we said, yes. He led us through the woods and underbrush to the mouth of the cave, and we entered. All was dark and uncanny. He expatiated greatly on the beauty of the cave, telling us of altars and fan- tastic formations, but Ave could see absolutely nothing.
Now and then be. We began to have a fear that we might be the first discoverers of the bottom. There was nothing pleasant about the whole affair. But as soon as a magnesian taper was lighted, all became different. There were the stalagmites rising from the floor to meet the stalactites as they came down from the ceiling. There was the great altar of nature, that peasant fancy ascribed to the skill of ancient worshipers, there were the beautiful and fantastic formations on every hand, and all glistening in fairy-like beauty in the brilliant light. So I have often thought it was with many a passage of Scripture.
Others tell you of its beauty, but you cannot see it. He who would understand and love his Bible must be much in prayer. Study the Bible daily. Regularity counts for more in Bible study than most people fancy. The spasmodic student, who at certain seasons gives a great deal of time to the study of the Word, and at other seasons quite neglects it, even for days at a time, does not achieve the results that he does who plods on regularly day by day. The Bereans were wise as well as " noble " in that they " searched the scriptures daily.
A man who is well known among the Christian college students of America, once remarked at a student convention, that he had been at many conventions and had received great blessings from them, but the greatest blessing he had ever received was from a convention where there were only four persons gathered together. The blessing had come to him in this way. Since that day much of his time had been spent on the cars or in hotels and at conventions, but he had tried to keep that covenant, and the greatest blessing that had come to him in his Christian life had come through this daily study of the Word.
No one who has not tried it realizes how much can be accomplished by setting apart a fixed portion of each day, it may not be more than fifteen or thirty minutes, but it surely Should be an hour for Bible study, and keeping if sacredly for that purpose under all circumstances. Many will say I cannot spare the time. It will be time saved. Lord Cairnes, one of the busiest as well as most eminent men of his day, before his death testified, that the first two hours of every day were given to the study of the Bible and prayer, and he attributed the great achievements of his life to that fact.
It will not do to study the Bible only when we feel like it. It will not do to study the Bible only when we have leisure. We must have fixed principles and habits in this matter, if we are to study the Bible to the greatest profit. Nothing that we do will be more import- ant than our Bible study, and it cannot give way to other less important things. What regularity in eating is to physical life, regularity in Bible study is to spiritual life. Fix upon some time, even if it is no more than fifteen minutes to start with.
Select for your Bible study the best portion of the day that you can give to it. Do not put your Bible study off until nearly bed-time, when the mind is drowsy. It is well to take a parting verse for the day when one retires for the night, but this is not the time for study. No study de- mands all that there is in a man as Bible study does. Do not take the time immediately after a heavy meal. The mind is more or less torpid after a heavy meal, and it is unwise to put it on the stretch then.
It is almost the unanimous opinion of those who have given this subject careful attention, that the early hours of the day are the best for Bible study, if they can be secured free from interruption. It is well, wherever possible, to lock yourself in and lock the world out, when you are about to give your- self up to the study of the Bible. In all your Bible study look for Christ in the passage under examination. We read of Jesus that " beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Jesus Christ is the subject of the whole Bible and the subject pervades the book.
I remember in my early reading of the Bible what a stupid book Leviticus seemed, but it all became different when I learned to see Jesus in the various offer- ings and sacrifices, in the high-priest and his garments, in the tabernacle and its furniture, indeed everywhere. Look for Christ in every verse you study, and even the genealogies and catalogues of the names of towns will begin to have beauty and power. Memorize Scripture. The Psalmist said, " Thy word have I laid up in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
There is nothing better to keep one from sin- ning than this. By the word of God laid up in His heart Jesus overcame the tempter. Matt, iv: 4, 7, Discover the hope and strength you need to overcome your circumstances grow to the next level of Toggle navigation.
New to eBooks. Six Pillars From Ephesians Series. Filter Results. Last 30 days Last 90 days All time. English Only. All PDF Epub. Add to Cart Add to Cart. This term is not exclusive to local believers in the AP but extends to any believer across the globe who has converted to Christianity from Islam.
This advice leads us to the Great Commission in Matthew 28 that instructs all believers to go and to make disciples. As I expand my reflection on this passage in the following chapter, the discipleship meaning is emphasized as another facet of the process of making such disciples. The second aspect of the disciplemaking process is teaching new converts the Word of God to nurture their growth in their new faith. The discipleship process of BMBs in the AP takes different shapes, from distant discipleship on an individual basis due to specific circumstances, to face-to-face group gatherings that take place in houses due to contextual challenges.
In this study the term discipleship group refers to BMBs that are committed to meet in groups of two or more somewhere in the AP to pray, study the Bible, break bread and have fellowship Acts In other words, a discipleship group is the meeting together of believers in homes. David A. This study sheds light on barriers facing the discipleship process in the AP and the hindrances that prevent BMBs from assembling in discipleship groups. High-Security Countries of the AP This term refers to the numerically based coding system used in this research to avoid naming countries for security and ethical purposes.
In discipleship groups, storytelling and other oral approaches are used in an informal educational context for discipleship and leadership development. In this thesis, the term Orality addresses the learning preference of people living in the AW in general, and of those in the working group who participated in the action research. Spiritual Maturity The term Spiritual Maturity used here refers to the growth the BMBs aimed to achieve in their knowledge and spiritual discernment.
Such growth or maturity will be seen in their transformed lives: And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God Philippians Ibn Warraq, in his book The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, comments, There are said to be six correct or authentic collections of traditions accepted by Sunni Muslims, namely, the compilations of al-Bukhari d.
One usually adds to this list the name of Ahmad ibn Hanbal d. Tom Holland in his book, In the Shadow of the Sword, states, It was hardly surprising that the great labour of fashioning the Sunna took Muslim scholars so long. Such was the compendious quantity of sayings attributed to the Prophet that only in the eleventh Christian century, some four hundred years after his death, could jurists plausibly claim to have bagged the lot. In the Diaspora, the majority of Muslim immigrants tend to elevate Sharia over the law of the land in which they reside and constantly push for the governance of Muslims by Sharia Law.
Muslims across the globe believe they belong to the Islamic Ummah that includes Muslims from all people, tongues, tribes and nations. Shaban, in his book Islamic History: A New Interpretation, states the following in reference to the origin of the Islamic Ummah: The Madinans must have appreciated these qualities of Muhammad and must have arranged with Muhammad that he should have enough authority in Madina to organize a Madinan commonwealth…. Muslims across the globe share the experience of Ummah based on the pillars of Islam. Phil Parshall in his book Beyond the Mosque reflects on the foundation of the Islamic community and how Muslims enhance their experience of being part of it.
The Islamic Ummah is the global body of all Muslims who are united under the banner of Islam. The above mentioned facts about the Islamic Ummah pave the way to understanding the context in which the BMBs are engaged. Summary The focus of this study is to identify the reasons hindering the development of discipleship groups among BMBs in the AP.
The outcome of this study identified two main streams of barriers: external and internal. The spiritual growth experienced by the BMBs within the working group in this study helped them to build trust, fight their internal fear and promote the practice of continuous gathering and fellowship with other BMBs.
Participating in the pilot project, members of the working group helped each other to search the Word of God for teachings on how to fight fear in their lives. They also shared in discussion and exchanging experiences to deal with the lack of trust in others compared with the full trust they put in God. The end result of the three-month pilot project was manifested in noticeable spiritual growth that confirmed the increased inner strength of the working group members. They were better able to overcome their internal barriers and commit to meeting regularly for fellowship.
While external barriers continued to exist, the BMBs, when strengthened from within, persevered and continued to grow and be nurtured. The study focused on collecting data through a survey, followed by individual interviews, culminating in a working group action that laboured for three months to produce a contextualized oral curriculum that fostered spiritual growth. The working group studied three main topics related to the barriers they and other BMBs experience. They dealt with how to overcome fear and lack of trust, and learned the importance of fellowship with other believers by studying the Word of God and engaging in the discipline of prayer.
They also dealt with their lack of trust in others while focusing their trust in the Lord, who gave them the wisdom needed to overcome this and other barriers. Through the practice of studying the Word and composing lessons for the curriculum as a team during the three-month pilot project, they developed healthier fellowship and spiritual maturity, as was measured through the evaluation survey.
This maturity enabled them to overcome the internal barriers of fear and lack of trust, and led them to gather more frequently and consistently for fellowship. This research is designed to help BMBs and those who minister to them identify and understand the barriers that hinder their gathering in discipleship groups and impede their spiritual development. To build up this theological foundation, a brief history of Christianity in the AP before the advent of Islam is presented.
Secondly, an overview of Islam is provided to show how it contrasts with Christianity. Thirdly, to connect the barriers with the discipleship process that takes place through consistent interaction with other believers within the house fellowships, the latter part of this chapter expounds the theological understanding of biblical discipleship within discipleship groups.
In spite of the claims of Muslim historians that paganism and depravity dominated the AP before Islam, scholars provide accurate proof that Judaism and Christianity were the dominant religions in much of Arabia. Mikhail notes the following concerning the presence of some Christian heresies in the AP at the time of the Prophet of Islam: There were also many Christian cults in Arabia: the Ebionites, who denied the deity of Christ; the Docetic Gnostics, who emphasized His deity but denied His humanity; the Arians, who attributed to Him a subordinate deity; and the Nestorians, who denied the proper union of His two natures.
Christianity came to this region largely through al-Hira, the important Arab settlement on the borders of Sasanian Iraq, and so was Nestorian in orientation. John Esposito in his book Islam the Straight Path states, Islam was not an isolated, totally new monotheistic religion The Scriptures and prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism had a long-established presence and roots in Irano-Semitic socities. The three were daughters of the chief deity associated with the planet Venus, known as Al-Ilah Allah as mentioned earlier Berry , The above summary reflects the multi-religious context of Arabia and its influence on Muhammad and on Islam as it took shape in the midst of that culture.
The Arab community in the AP was influenced by the multi-religious practices and occult traditions, as mentioned earlier. Shaban, in his book Islamic History, quoted W. They lacked moral values and social reform. Muhammad rejected the malicious reality around him and sought after change.
Those revelations were claimed by Muhammad only in the year AD; no other witness shared such claims. After asserting that the visions and revelations had come directly to him from Allah through the angel Gabriel, Muhammad headed a spiritual mission to transform the pagan society around him to Islam, a new monotheistic faith for more historical details, refer to Amari, and Shaban, Islam is not merely a monotheistic faith; it is a political system as well.
Hence, Muhammad held a dual role in his lifetime: a religious leader and a political leader. Jesus was crucified Muhammad conquered his promised land, and during his lifetime achieved victory and power in this world, exercising political as well as prophetic authority. As the Apostle of God [god], he brought and taught a religious revelation.
But at the same time, as the head of the Muslim Umma, he promulgated laws, dispensed justice, collected taxes, conducted diplomacy, made war, and made peace. The Umma, which began as a community, had become a state. It would soon become an empire. Sue Penney, in her book Islam Foundation Edition, introduces those pillars. She writes, The five pillars of Islam are not real pillars. They are things that Muslims believe. A pillar is something solid which supports a building. Keeping the five pillars helps Muslims follow their religion properly. Penney , 14 The pillars of Islam are well known to Muslims and to non-Muslims who are closely exposed to the teachings of Islam, or to those involved in ministry to Muslims.
The literal meaning of the word Jihad is holy struggle. Jihad with its broader meaning of struggle or strive is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Isalm, although it has no such official status. Islam divides the world into two sects: believers and unbelievers. The beliefs here are related to Islam. Thus, the world of Muslim believers is called the World of Peace dhar al-Islam. And the world of the unbelievers is called the World of War dhar al-Harb Esposito , The pillars of Islam including jihad shape the mindset of devout Muslims; however, some nominal Muslims have different views as they practice only a few of the Islamic rituals periodically.
Those nominal Muslims usually are more moderate and view Islam as a peaceful religion. Fajr and Doha Al-Islam In this section, I continue to present the historical facts about Islam as they constitute the underlying foundation of the context of this research. The Islamic culture of the AP is rooted in such historical facts.
Fajr in Arabic means dawn while Doha means noon time. Over time, he gradually built a steady following of committed loyalists. They imposed hostilities on him and his followers. When Muhammad and his followers were forced to escape the persecution in Mecca in A. This journey to Yathrib is called Hijra, which means immigration. The Islamic calendar holds this event as its starting point, Mikhail writes, Islamic history does not begin with the birth of Muhammad or the year of his alleged call to be a prophet, but by the Hijra. Mikhail , 85 While in Yathrib; Muhammad gradually developed his leadership, not only as a religious leader but also as a political and military leader.
Lewis illustrated this by the following statement: The people of Yathrib welcomed Muhammad and his followers to their town and offered to make him arbitrator in their disputes and to defend him and those converts who would accompany him from Mecca as they would defend their own people In Medina, he [Muhammad] himself became ruler, wielding political and military as well as religious authority.
On the other hand, reflecting on the history of Islam, its conquering of Arabs in the AP and, thereafter, of the peoples of other countries by the sword as well as by the power and authority of the state, Mikhail notes, This is because it was at Al-Madina [sic] that Muhammad established a government, organized an army, and Islam first became a state religion. It is of great importance to notice that without the power and authority of the state, Islam cannot survive. Mikhail , 85 It was in Yathrib that Islam dawned and gained its strength and its political foundations.
The new horizon appeared, and the dawn turned to noon. The Islamic teaching grew and expanded, and history claimed that Medina became the first stronghold for Muhammad and his followers. The development of Islam and state institutions the caliphate, law, education, the military, social services were intertwined Within a decade, Arab forces overran the Byzantine and Persian armies, exhausted by years of warfare, and conquered Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Persia, and Egypt.
These are known as the ridda wars and took place from — During this time Muslim soldiers subdued all of Arabia under the banner of Islam. Second, after the subjection of all of Arabia to Muslim rule, the Islamic armies swept across the Middle East, through North Africa, into Spain, into southern Europe, and conquered territory as far east as modern-day Pakistan.
Large areas of the Byzantine Empire came under Islamic control, and the Sasanian Empire was basically crushed. While most Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians were allowed to practice their religion, they became subject to the laws of dhimmitude. Thus, Islam embarked on its quest to grow as an Umma with its calling and dominating ideology which will be explained in the next section.
Between both texts, the Islamic mission is interwoven. My research focuses on BMBs within the AP where the calling and the mission of Islam are widely spread in the minds of the people in their communities, giving rise to the barriers that hinder BMBs from committing to gathering in discipleship groups. According to Islamic scholars such as Al-Baghawi, this Hadith means that if all land and property actually belong to Allah, then Muslims should seek to consolidate the whole earth under the banner and control of Islam.
This practice of giving tribute was applied and the colonized were given a choice to convert or pay a tax and become a second class citizen. Islamic teaching actively seeks to elevate Islam above any other religion. The Muslim community opposes BMBs and considers them infidels and apostates, and they try hard to impose challenges and build barriers for them against their new faith in Christ.
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Throughout history, Islam has sought to destroy the essential message of the Gospel. In the meantime, Muslims are thirsty for the truth. Pointing to the spiritual vacuum that they are experiencing, Parshall states, Islam, as a theological system, is rigid and unyielding. It not only offers its positive message for obtaining salvation, but also attacks some of the basic tenets of Christianity e. However, as millions of Muslims move beyond cold, dead orthodoxy, we see them desiring that felt needs be met. Islam denies the Triune God Bennett , Islam denies the deity of Christ Bennett , : Muslims mistakenly understand the sonship of Christ to God the father as a biological sonship.
Islam denies the atonement of Christ: No one can die for the sins of another. Islam denies the crucifixion Bennett , : Jesus did not die on the cross: someone else died who looked like him. They claim that the Word given to Moses, David, and Jesus has been changed and corrupted. This doctrine of Abrogation is explored in more detail under the Islamic ideology subtitle. These Islamic teachings that oppose Christian teachings are drawn from the previously mentioned cultic origin of Islam, the Ebionites, the Nestorians and others.
Many Muslims still have the same mindset today. They continue to apply the same opposition to BMBs to make their lives difficult, if not unbearable. The Bible reminds us, Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Islam continues to speak from the viewpoint of the world verse 5 , and Muslims are blinded by their religion as they close their ears to the truths of the Bible. However, as the enemy of the souls has clearly blinded the minds of the unbelievers 2 Corinthians , it is necessary for the rest of us to differentiate between Muslims as people, for whom Jesus died and rose again, and Islam as an ideology that works against Christ.
Such theology was reflected in Muslim ideology with its ruling laws. Aspects of the Islamic community are then explained with a reference to its different contexts, the community among non-Muslims and the community among Muslims, and how Muslims see Islam as a universal system. Islam like Christianity is a universal religion….
Muslims are members of a specifically global religion, one that is in direct spiritual conflict, therefore, with Christianity, which is also a universally applicable faith Catherwood , Finally, the Islamic Jihad issue is addressed, as most BMBs are subject to persecution caused by Muslims who correctly understand their Islamic doctrine. At the end of this section is a summary of Islamic theology compared to Christian theology.
The Prophet stood up there and called them, saying, "O assembly of Jews! Surrender to Allah embrace Islam and you will be safe! Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do.
Wood Wood links the actions of Islamic militants to their origin in history: Muhammad and Islam. Ira Lapidus, in his book A History of Islamic Societies, explains the root assumption sought after by the early Muslims: From the very beginning of the Islamic era, the Arab-Muslim elite assumed that they would form a dual society in which the conqurors would constitute an aristocracy and the conquered peoples a subject population, the former Muslims, the latter not.
The many disparate verses are found in dozens of chapters and in a variety of topical and stylistic contexts. As can be observed from the tenor of the verse just cited, many appear to be in conflict with one another and both traditional Muslims and Western scholars have found their range of meanings and the policies commanded by them worthy of study and comment.
Islamists are often seen opposing their governments if the latter decide to ease the pressure applied to non-Muslim residents and allow them some religious freedom. This ideology, when adopted, creates tension between the extremists and their governments. Extremists fuel animosity against non-Muslims, including BMBs, violating their basic human rights. Thus, the Islamic ideal of community is not limited to the local community but expands beyond its boundaries to the larger community.
The whole world rightfully belongs to Allah; therefore, Islam is for the entire world. Many Muslims believe that things will not be right until the whole world unites into one community of faith to practice Islam because, by its own evaluation, Islam is the true universal faith Catherwood , The Doctrine of Abrogation The importance of this doctrine lies in that the latest verses are elevated over the earlier verses.
I will not examine in depth the abrogated verses, but clarify the context specific to BMBs in the AP and defend their fear that is generated as a result. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? Based on this doctrine of abrogation, the later verses that direct hostility toward non-Muslims now supersede the earlier verses that spoke peace. As mentioned earlier, Muslims deny the authenticity of the written Word of God; thus, the doctrine of abrogation is extended to dismiss all previous revelations of the Old and the New Testament.
As was also mentioned earlier under the religious history of the AP and under the birth of Islam, Waraqa Ibn Nofal and Bishop Buhaira helped Muhammad to memorize cultic teachings and distort biblical stories. Such a claim is in opposition to several clear verses of the Koran [sic].
Mikhail , John Kaltner in his book, Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know, further comments on this crucial issue: The Islamic view of the previous scriptures, however, is not an entirely positive one. Muslims believe prior texts like the Bible were corrupted because errors and inaccuracies were introduced into them. These distortions were not the work of Moses and Jesus, the prophets who received the revelations.
Rather, they are the fault of their followers who did not faithfuly preserve the message in its original form. Ibn Taymiyyah, an influential scholar, especially amongst salafist Muslims, came three centuries after Ibn Hazm and published his treatise on Christianity to refute the writings of Paul of Antioch in Bennett , This charge was to defend Islam against Christianity because Ibn-Khazem comes upon differences and contradiction between the Bible and the Quran. Believing, by faith that the Quran was true, the Bible must then be false.
But Muhammad tells us to respect the Gospel. Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians after the time of Muhammad. According to the doctrine of abrogation, the latter verses supersede the former. To achieve this ultimate goal of establishing the Islamic State Ummah , it is the religious, social and political duty of every Muslim living in a non-Islamic state to work toward gaining political power in order to oppose the reigning government and to bring in an Islamic state.
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The majority of contemporary followers of Islam are nominal, and either they are not aware of the true face of Islam, or they choose to ignore and deny this obligation, or they might disagree with this interpretation. It is unacceptable in Islam for a Muslim to convert to any other religion, which explains the persecution directed toward BMBs. Before discussing the Jihad in Islam, it is fitting to refer to the crusades of the medieval era of Christendom and clarify the difference between both.
An understanding of Islamic ideology and what Islam teaches its followers about Jihad provides perspective to the subsequent discussion regarding the barriers hindering BMBs from fully committing to a discipleship group to worship and pursue biblical discipleship. The individual Muslim is to strive to live up to the law fulfilling Islamic ideals. Striving also refers to the calling of others to the way of Allah or evangelism of non-Muslims.
This stage, also known as the Weakened Stage, applies to Muslims when they are a weak, small minority, living in a non-Islamic society. They submit to the law of the land and work to increase their numbers. Muhammad showed no animosity towards his enemies while living in Mecca. Gabriel , 85 2. The Jihad verses from this period refer to defensive and limited military actions. And slay them wherever you catch them and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the sacred Mosque, unless they first fight you, slay them.
Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. Before mentioning a few incidents of the applied Jihads, I would like to mention a few jihadist groups that are seen by the world as terrorist groups due to their unjustified military activities. Those groups are the continuation of the Islamic ideology demonstrated across the ages as stated by Catherwood, For hundreds of years, effectively from to , Christians lived in an era in which militant Islam posed a major threat to the very survival of Christian Europe.
Once again, Muslims of similar persuasion attacked what they perceive to be the Christian West, or the Christian Jewish Crusaders coalition, as they call it. To mention a few, the September 11th attacks in the U. The current threats and danger perpetrated by those Islamic groups confirm this point. All of the above leads me to concur with Dr. Persecution is one of the biggest challenges that face Muslim background believers, threatening their lives and hindering them from gathering together and pursuing biblical discipleship with other Christians.
Such a threat pushes BMBs to remain in hiding out of fear. Fear and lack of trust make it difficult to pursue and commit to fellowship with other believers in their community. Because Islam focuses on good deeds, and Jihad is considered one of those good deeds for the sake of Allah, it is fitting to compare the two theologies that BMBs are exposed to before and after their conversion. Figure 1 summarizes the major comparison between Islamic theology and Christian theology.
Those converts will be subject to the Islamic laws of condemnation Figure 1. BMBs understand the concept of Jihad through the Islamic lens, and they expect to be challenged by the Jihadist if their conversion is made known. For ex- Muslims, disclosing to non-Muslim friends is relatively easy, if often mildly frustrating, because they neither fully understand nor particularly care. Disclosing to trusted Muslim friends is more difficult. But the most challenging task is that of telling the immediate family, especially parents. Cottee , Figure 1: Comparison between the Islamic and the Christian Theologies modified by the Researcher from the Original presented by Martindale The culmination of the above mentioned history and facts about Christianity and Islam are intended to provide a contextual understanding of BMBs.
This leads to the examination of Biblical discipleship through the lens of the life and ministry of Jesus and His disciples. After their confession of faith and baptismal, believers still need biblical teaching that will provide them with the spiritual nourishment that leads to growth and maturity. This sanctification process is to be performed within the corporate body. Interrelation with the body of believers is one of the biblical principles shown throughout the Scripture. From the beginning, it was not good for Adam to remain alone Genesis The man was created to socialize and to interact with others in a community for mutual help and support.
Analogies such as the body Romans ; 1 Corinthians 12 , the vine branches John 10 , and the building construction Matthew refer to the Church. For BMBs to experience spiritual growth, they must seek to engage in committed fellowship with other believers. This is one of the practical implications of the great vision of the role of the Church in the world.
God has made us one great fellowship Gathering for fellowship is fitting with the local culture of the AP; however, the major challenge is that the fear experienced by BMBs prevents them from committing to gathering regularly for fellowship and, consequently, affects their spiritual growth. William Hendriksen, in his New Testament Commentary, further comments, Just as the human body, when properly supported and held together, experiences normal growth, so also the church, when each of its members supports and maintains loving contact with the others and above all with Christ, will, under the sustaining care of [Christ]…, proceed from grace to grace and from glory to glory cf.
When Jesus launched His public ministry, the first twelve men He chose to follow Him were known as His disciples. Bill Hull, in his book The Disciple-Making Church: Leading a Body of Believers on the Journey of Faith, discusses Jesus as a model disciple maker, stating, When Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, they knew what he meant: he had taught them by his example, and they understood the principles and priorities they had seen in his behavior. They were to win others to the faith and make more of what they were.
Hull , 28 Throughout His three-year relationship with the disciples, Jesus set the example and demonstrated the discipleship model. The call to follow Jesus meant a call to devout discipleship that required his disciples to come consistently under His leadership. They would submit to Him with the commitment of regular meetings face-to-face. The latter two are to begin as soon as, but not before the first has been completed. No one should be immersed or enrolled in Christian education until he has become a disciple.
The immersion does not require a long time. The teaching function is endless since the curriculum includes all that our Lord had ever taught us. This is a large order. It includes the entire teaching ministry of Jesus. Yeager , In this research, the term discipleship group refers to teaching of Christian education, the second aspect of the Great Commission, considered by Yeager to be the third in order. The term is meant to refer to the gathering of believers to worship, fellowship, and receive Christian education. In John ; —2, Jesus and His disciples are seen performing the first step of making disciples: baptizing.
In Matthew , Jesus is seen fulfilling the second aspect of discipleship: teaching. This model elevates meeting face-to-face or in groups for discipleship over fellowship at a distance. With regard to the local culture of Arab people, meeting with other believers to share in spiritual worship and enjoy social interaction fits the context. Community plays a key role in this culture.
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Holloman , 13 While it is helpful to monitor and evaluate the outcome of such gatherings, workers who are involved in ministry to BMBs in the AP are encouraged to promote group meetings for discipleship rather than individual discipleship. The ultimate outcome for the gathering of BMBs is to develop spiritual growth. About this fundamental principle, Holloman concludes: As in the biblical record of early Christianity, so now, God wants His people to develop spiritually 2 Pet.
This supernatural spiritual transformation will happen only as we apply the unchanging biblical principles of Christian nurture effectively within the context of our culture. This process of discipleship must be practiced within the context of the local culture; however, in the context of the AP culture, getting together for discipleship is challenged by barriers that are examined in this research. Discipleship Groups in the New Testament and the AP When they come to faith, new believers need to be nourished in the same way a little child needs pure milk that is rich in nutrients 1 Corinthians ; Hebrews , 13; 1 Peter Not only do new believers need simple food, but the older ones require solid food Hebrews BMBs, likewise, need spiritual nourishment for growth; however, they have limited options as to meeting places where they can receive such help and care from mature Brothers and Sisters.
In countries such as those of the AP where following Christianity is banned for national and local people, and church meetings are discouraged, the only way to receive spiritual nurturing is through connecting with the underground church. The nature of this community is therefore continually qualified by the One who summons or gather it. This accent is made explicit in many cases: the ecclesia or ecclesiai of God Acts , I Cor. BMBs are forced directly and indirectly to refrain from attending services inside church buildings and are at serious risk if they are found there.
The inception of the AP national churches is similar to that of the early church. As the early church was formed mainly from Jews who accepted Christ, the AP national churches are formed mainly from local believers who crossed from Islam to the Christian faith. Like members of the early church, BMBs face opposition from their former religious leaders. For this reason, BMBs are forced to worship secretly and in local hiding places, including discipleship groups that meet in homes.
Meetings in discipleship groups were common among the early church congregations as they used to meet in the temple and from house to house Acts The early Christians met in houses rather than in special ecclesiastical buildings. It has been said that religion was loosed from specially sacred places and centered in that universal place of living, the home. MacDonald , In countries such as those in the AP, the national Christians meet in homes, and discipleship gatherings take place away from an official church building because there are none. Across the entire area, church buildings are either rare or even forbidden, such as in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
It is living and growing across the Muslim world today!