Historically, a faithful pulpit/a strong pulpit was the foundation upon which a healthy church rested. And that is as it should be. If the church is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), then we would expect that the Bible would place a high demand upon the preaching ministry of the word, which it does.
1 Tim. 4:13: Paul told Timothy, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.”
This is the essence of all true preaching. It seeks not to inspire people or give God’s people a “pick-me-up” for the week. Rather, it endeavors simply to read the word of God, explain it, and then exhort it to God’s people.
Jer. 23:28-29: God told Jeremiah, “The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the Lord. Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”
The call of a faithful pulpit is not for the preacher to share “the burden” that God supposedly laid on his heart that week. The call is to speak God’s word in truth. At first this might sound uninteresting as listening to a charismatic speaker share his vision sounds a little more exciting. Yet, that is only because we fail to understand what exactly is God’s word. It is that which God used to create the world, raise the dead, and regenerate an individual. Accordingly, there is nothing more exciting for the people of God than when God deigns to bless the preaching of His word.
Accordingly, the focus of the pulpit ministry at Bethel is the reading, explaining, and exhorting of God’s word. We know this will not be popular in a day in which many of God’s people have gone after the Baals. Yet our call is not to be popular, but faithful to the word.
The typical sermon at Bethel last around 40 to 45 minutes. Rarely will it be shorter than this; sometimes it might be a little longer.
This is an important part of our ministry for it is through this means, God’s people are further equipped for the ministry. There are three emphases when it comes to this ministry at Bethel. The first section is the “Three through Reading Class” which is utilizing the Sunday school curriculum produced by Great Commission Publications. The focus of this course is to teach children the simplicity of the gospel through Bible story telling.
The second section is the “Reading through Eighth Grade” class. The focus of this is the learning of the doctrine of the Bible. Accordingly, this course is on a three year study of the Glories of Redemption in which God’s word is studied thematically. What is Sin? Who is God? What is the purpose of life? Such questions and many more are examined in the light of Scripture. The answer is then formulated into a creedal statement which the children are encouraged to memorize. The creedal statement used for this class is the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
The final section is the “Adult Study Hour” which currently consists of various sections for instruction. Currently we offer two classes. The first class remains in the auditorium to discuss the sermon. The second class is studying the history of the church. The material for this section is the “Church History” course taught by Dr. Robert Godfrey provided through Ligonier Ministries.
In conjunction with Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Bethel Presbyterian Church endeavors to provide seminary level education for all matriculating students. While The LOGOS Institute has been established as a means to train the men and women of BPC, it is anticipated that the scope of this ministry will go beyond our local church. The LOGOS Institute offers two study tracks: Master of Divinity and a Certificate of Biblical Studies. Local classes that have or are currently being taught include: Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology (Covenant Theology), Bible Survey, and Biblical Greek. It is anticipated the Church History will soon be added as well as a course on Cultural Engagement.
In 2 Tim. 4:13, one of Paul’s final requests of Timothy before the Apostle was to be martyred was a set of books and parchments. How important were quality books to the Apostle Paul! With the desire that BPC be a church of reading believers, a literature table is provided and financially supplemented so that quality books and pamphlets can be acquired either free of charge or at affordable prices.