By BJMBC Faculty
Four identifiers that mark where BJMBC stands
Where BJMBC Stands
We live in a time when leaders, organizations, denominations, and churches are changing. Change is not inherently wrong. None of us brings a bullock to a tent on Saturday, cuts its throat, and offers it on an altar! On the other hand, change can be in the wrong direction. Sadly, the church that Jesus Christ said He would build sometimes does move away from Him instead of toward Him. The next several blogs will help you understand where BJMBC stands and the kinds of changes we are not willing to make.
Let's start with a clarification related to our name. Obviously, our name connects us to Bob Jones University. After all, we are Bob Jones Memorial Bible College. Sometimes people mistakenly assume some organic connection between us and Bob Jones University. Actually, there is no official connection between BJMBC and BJU. We receive no financial help from BJU. We are not an Asian branch or extension of BJU. We are not under the administrative oversight of BJU. Not in any way. Our name does not reflect official attachment but rather the appreciation by BJMBC's founders for what they received at BJU years ago. They especially appreciate the heritage put in place by Bob Jones Sr. We at BJMBC do too. Bob Jones Sr. stood for an uncompromising stand on and preaching of the gospel. If you want to catch his heartbeat, watch this video about the life and legacy of Bob Jones.
Rather than being a ministry of BJU, BJMBC is actually a ministry of Gospel Fellowship Association. Understanding where GFA stands will help you understand where we stand. The following excerpt from the GFA website explains their stand on "fellowship."
"GFA missionaries practice both ecclesiastical and personal separation and compassionately warn about deviation from biblical truth and practice. We partner with independent Baptist and other like-minded churches that practice believer’s baptism by immersion. We are committed to a reverent, conservative worship style. We are also cessationists, believing the sign gifts have ceased."
The excerpt above suggests at least four identifiers to clarify where both GFA and BJMBC (a ministry of GFA) stand.
1. We are committed to the doctrine of separation and identify with the fundamentalist movement.
First, we are committed to the doctrine of separation, which means we identify ourselves as fundamentalists or part of the movement known as fundamentalism. In the Philippines context, this can be a bit confusing since there is a fellowship of Baptist churches (Association of Fundamental Baptist Church of the Philippines) that call themselves "Fundamental.” By referring to ourselves as part of fundamentalism, we are not alluding to this specific fellowship of Baptists, although we hold common cause with the conservative constituents of AFBCP on many issues, but rather we are identifying ourselves with the larger fundamentalist movement.
2. We identify specifically with Baptist fundamentalism.
Second, we identify with Baptist fundamentalism. Historic fundamentalism actually included Presbyterians, Methodists, and others who held staunchly to the fundamentals of the faith. Believe it or not there were and are fundamental Presbyterians! But we identify more closely with Baptist fundamentalism, which includes independent Baptist churches and likeminded independent Bible churches. Even though GFA does not have Baptist in its name (and neither does BJMBC), our statement of faith is decidedly Baptistic and virtually all of us identify ourselves as Baptist in faith and practice. For example, every director at BJMBC is a member of a Baptist church. The director of GFA is a member of a Baptist church. And the list could go on.
3. We are conservative in our style of worship.
Third, we are conservative in our style of worship. We oppose the contemporary forms of worship often associated with so-called “Praise & Worship.” We are not opposed to recently composed music by conservative composers. We are very supportive of these composers. We stand against contemporary forms of worship that imitate the world such as CCM and its musical cousins. Reverent implies worship that reflects and honors the character of our thrice-holy God. Worship clarifies that the music is for God's enjoyment, not necessarily ours. Musical styles and lyrics that deliberately imitate that of the world surely do not bring enjoyment to a God who has said that friendship with the world is enmity with Him.
4. We are cessationist.
Lastly, we are cessationist. We believe that the kinds of apostolic signs and wonders that God worked during the founding era of the church have ceased (thus, the term cessationist). So we disassociate ourselves from the charismatic and/or Pentecostal churches that still look for signs and wonders. Also, a pursuit of signs and wonders often goes along with seeking some kind of second blessing that will catapult its recipient into a higher level of Christian living--almost as if some blessing was missing at the moment of salvation. Spirit baptism now occurs at the moment of salvation, and we have already received the indwelling Spirit and every blessing in heavenly places in Christ. Now we seek to work out this glorious salvation into our daily Christian lives.
It is a privilege to stand on the side of God and truth, is it not? It is also a grave responsibility. Over the centuries, ministers and lay people alike have toiled and suffered, sometimes terribly, in order to pass biblical Christianity on to the generations after them. May God help us in our day to hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Tim. 1:13) and pass it on undiluted to the generations that will come after us!
Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.