November 2023 click here for printable copy
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me,
in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13)
In September we held our first commencement exercises for Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby. There were 18 in our pioneer class. They persevered through a pandemic and personal loss. They sat for many exams in a classroom, and took many exams online. They learned, they laughed, they loved, and they lived out their profession of faith in Christ Jesus. They did outreaches, held public evangelism, taught day school, taught Sunday school, and preached in markets and homes and pulpits. Some went to the Highlands; some went to the islands. The reason we call our graduation exercises a “commencement”is because it is not supposed to be the end, but it is supposed to be the beginning. The beginning of learning, the beginning of reaching people for Christ, the beginning of discipleship, the beginning of a fruitful life in service of our King!
Our students’ stories are varied. Each one is dear to Lena and me. Our prayer is that God will use them all for His glory and the advancement of the Gospel in PNG and among the peoples of the world.
Soon after graduation, we had the privilege of having our son Nate coming to speak for youth camp here at Capital City Baptist Church, where our son Matt pastors. Nate brought our grandson Graham, and it was a wonderful, busy, and fruitful time of ministry and fellowship. God did great things at youth camp and in our local church. Our BBIPOM students even enjoyed a luncheon meeting with Pastor Nate while he was here too. God is so good!
HOLD FAST THE FORM OF SOUND WORDS
Our world is very different than it was just a few short years ago. Deception and division continue to rise, faster than any time in living memory. Strong beliefs in the Truth are necessary if we are to live and lead effectively. Wishy-washy idealism will not inspire confidence in others.
It is vital that we “hold fast the form of sound words,” those core beliefs of Christianity such as inerrancy of the Scriptures, existence of a personal God, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the redemption of man through the sinless atoning sacrifice of the blood of Christ, etc. But too often we blindly repeat what others say, rather than stating truths which we ourselves have studied, meditated on, and been transformed by. In the early stages of our Christian life, it was good that we found others whom we could trust and lean upon for our foundation. But as we mature, we must “Prove all things; [and] hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thes. 5:21) In our present world with its constant challenges to historical, biblical Christian beliefs, we must have sound, biblical answers for ourselves and for those who ask a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).
We must have a Bible-based theology to lead God’s people in an effective manner in these tumultuous days. We must be students of the Word of God. We must love it and search it and believe it and wrestle with texts that are difficult. The Word is our bedrock as shifting winds of culture blow against our beliefs and our faith in God. It must be the Word of God that points our people to Him as they navigate these same storms.
I am unapologetically dispensational in my theological outlook for the future. The Word of God and two eyes open to the world around us scream that this is unlike any time in world history. One could argue that such-and-such has happened repeatedly in human history, that there is “nothing new under the sun.” What one cannot ignore is that these things have never come to pass so concurrently on a global scale. Just think of the governmental instabilities, the military alliances, the rampant rise in anti-Jewish sentiment around the world, and the promotions of wickedness as normal; plus inconceivable advances in AI technology…we have never seen such a surging toward the end as we see it now. Even a cursory reading of eschatology (Ezekiel 38-39, Matthew 24, Revelation 6-18) gives one pause as to where we are headed.
We must know what we believe. To know what we believe, we must study the Word and learn from those who went before us, those whose testimony is biblical, faithful, and sure.
Hold fast what you know is true. Be ready to go or to stay. And be sure to keep telling others about Jesus.
Pressing on by His Grace and Goodness,
John & Lena Allen