Reprint from April 1980 Magazine

 Editor’s Note:  This was written in April of 1980 by Robert Heid, Editor of Word & Work (1976-86). It was referring to the School of Biblical Studies.  We think it is relevant today regarding our congregations and other activities.

            If we do not have some valuable, distinctive characteristics, what reason do we have to continue to exist? I think the following seven facets of Christianity should be in the spectrum of every congregation or Christian activity.

  1. Zeal for the whole counsel of God. Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders stated this accomplished goal. By the “whole counsel” we include redemption, justification, indwelling Holy Spirit, Gifts of the Spirit, holiness, decorum in the Christian walk, Satan’s opposition, prevalence of sin, coming judgement, etc.
  2. Biblical names and practices. Since the Lord Jesus is the Master builder of the church, we do well to restore and maintain according to His original plan. “Be sure that you make all things according to the pattern shown unto thee in the Mount” said Jehovah unto Moses in regard to the Tabernacle. How much more should we hesitate to make innovations or radical departures in the church of the Lord Jesus? We aim to have and hold all the attributes of the early church, as God enables and supplies.
  3. Local autonomy, with Christ as the head. What a privilege it is to hold this position! How it pleases the Lord to see His individual congregations (His candlesticks, as called in Revelation 2 and 3) each holding forth their light in their dark corners of the earth, while they function lovingly, and righteously, holding fast unto the Head.
  4. A constant feeding upon God’s holy word. Although literally millions of copies of the Bible have been printed, and distributed in all languages and in all lands, there is yet a dearth of Bible reading, and even less Bible understanding. The Holy Spirit is needed for Christians to grasp the biblical messages, so we cannot expect the world to have a clear concept of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. It is the church’s place to learn from God so well, that we will be able to “give an answer to any man that asketh us the reason for the hope that is within us.” In times that lie ahead, this could become a very frequent question, and an opening to share that hope with many, as the dark clouds gather.
  5. Simplicity in worship. “Man looketh upon the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart.” “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God chose the weak things, the things that are despised, yea, the things that are not, that He might put to shame the things that are.” “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not of ourselves.” Any riches or pomp or greatness of men will be a deterrent to heartfelt worship of Him.
  6. Holding forth the Blessed Hope. To many, the Christian hope for the rapture of the saints, the glorious reign with Christ on the earth, and the eternal abode (New Jerusalem coming down from God0 are all unknown. And more than that, there is the large segment of Christendom that contends against these truths. Congregations without the blessed hope are like ships without a chart. There is no haven to which they plan to arrive. Today we are witnessing a Pre-rapture alert” but many have to turn to distant places and unknown writers to know what the Bible has been saying for 1,900 years.
  7. An equal opportunity fellowship. The Church is a fellowship of believers, not and incorporation of saints vesting their leadership in a cadre of officers or directors. Each member (male or female) is free to go on with Christ, to a full-grown man, encouraged to attain unto the stature of the fullness of Christ, We can all say, with the apostle Paul, “Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect,” but the “pressing on” is still in order, and the Holy Spirit places no limit upon any individuals growth. D. L. Moody is credited with the saying “The world has yet to see what God can do with one Christian who is fully devoted to Him.”


-William Robert Heid, in “Word and Work,” April 1980