Monday, January 23, 2012

Christian Service

2011 Christian Service

Heritage Christian University remains rooted in educating students for real-world ministry. Our faculty members not only hold academic credentials, but they are actively involved in ministry to the glory of God. Below, you will find the complete Christian service numbers for 2011.

Total Responses

  • Baptisms: 158
  • Restorations: 150
  • Prayer Requests: 1334

Total Activities

  • Sermons Preached: 1685
  • Classes Taught: 2351
  • Led Singing: 732
  • Personal Studies: 582
  • Correspondence Studies: 364
  • Visits Made: 2153
  • Benevolent Activities: 4670
  • Cards/Notes Sent: 2833
  • Youth Activities: 607
  • Articles Published: 488
  • Church/Community Service: 544
  • Counseling Others: 348

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Book of Hebrews

Introduction to the Book of Hebrews

Written by George Goldman

The book of Hebrews is often classed with Romans and Revelation as one of the three most difficult books in the Bible. This book, the letters of John, the gospels, and Acts are the only books in the New Testament with no name attached.

Since it is an anonymous book almost everyone mentioned in the New Testament has been nominated as its author. Martin Luther suggested Apollos; Clement of Alexandria suggested Luke as the translator; Tertullian nominated Barnabus; and others suggest Paul. Harnack believed the letter is anonymous because a woman wrote it. He nominated Priscilla. Many agree with Origen who said, “God alone knows who wrote Hebrews.”

The date of the book seems to be after many of the eyewitnesses to Christ have died (Heb. 2:3-4). Readers are encouraged to remember the former days (Heb. 10:32). Their first leaders were dead (Heb. 13:7-9 ASV). New leaders had arisen to take their place and exercise oversight (Heb. 13:17, 24). The word used here means to lead or guide (Mt. 2:6; Lk. 22:26; Acts 7:10; 14:12; 15:22).

The book of Hebrews demands an accurate knowledge of the Old Testament, especially a knowledge of the Hebrew sacrificial system. It is addressed to people familiar with the Old Testament. One must first understand the five books of Moses in order to understand Hebrews.

The theme of the book is the supremacy of Christ. The first seven chapters deal with that theme. Christ is greater than the angels (Heb. 1:4-14). Christ is greater than Moses and Joshua (Heb. 3:1 – 4:13). Christ is greater than the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 4:14 – 7:28). Priests were to come from the tribe of Levi; Christ came from the tribe of the priesthood of Melchizedek (Heb. 7 cf. Gen. 14). Melchizedek appeared on the scene without “father or mother;” that is without the proper credentials for priestly service. So also Christ could be a priest without being of the Levitical priesthood.

The next three chapters emphasize the abolishment of the Mosaic law and its replacement with the New Covenant of Christ (Heb. 8 – 10).

The last three chapters give the practical and faithful living required of disciples of the Lord. This kind of living includes a life of suffering. The heroes of faith include Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and countless more “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fires, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Heb. 11:33f). Chapter 12 tells of the suffering of Christ and the final victory of his immovable kingdom. Chapter 13 deals with the present scene in the first century. They should be thankful to God, kind to their fellowman, and loyal to their leaders.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Book of Philemon

Introduction to the Book of Philemon

George Goldman

Along with Colossians, Philippians, the letter to Philemon is one of Paul’s letters from prison. it was written from Rome (59 - 61 A.D.) (Philemon 9, 10 – 13). Philemon was a member of the church and a master of slaves. Paul’s letter gives us inspired insight into the slavery system.

It is addressed to Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the church in your house. The early Christian community was organized around the home. No doubt many churches were started in the homes of early Christians. There is no evidence of church buildings before the third century. The first traces of special houses for worship occur in Tertullian. He speaks of going to church. Clement of Alexandria uses the double meaning of the word church. About 230 A.D., the Emperor Alexander Severus granted Christians the right to a place in Rome to worship God. Around 250 A.D. Roman court records have a case involving a church building confiscated during the Decian persecution. The remains of the oldest church buildings is at Europas. Rome is supposed to have had forty church buildings by the 4th century.

The letter concerns Onesimus, a slave who, after robbing his master (Phile. 19) absconded to Rome, where he came into contact with Paul. We have no way of knowing how or why Onesimus visited Paul in prison. However, Paul converts him and sends him back to his master. Evidently actions taken before you become a Christian still count.

This letter brings the whole problem of slavery before us. There is no denunciation of Philemon’s right to hold slaves. Yet there is one significant phrase that transforms the master-slave relationship. Onesimus is returning no longer as a slave but as a beloved brother (Phile. 16). His emancipation is hinted at (Phile. 21).

In the Roman Empire there were about 60 million slaves. Papyrus letters offered rewards for the return of slaves or for information regarding their whereabouts. Plato in effect said that a slave was a motorized hoe that could reproduce. Aristole held that certain men by nature were meant to be slaves to serve the higher class of men. During the American Civil War Paul’s letter to Philemon became an almost insurmountable obstacle to the abolitionists. Many religious groups, discounting their wise leaders advice, divided because they made slave-holding a test of fellowship.