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“The Reformed Doctrine of God” by DR. RC Sprout

The following is an article by the late Dr. RC Sprout entitled, “The Reformed Doctrine of God.”
His premise is why we need to read, study, and teach the whole council of God.
So, let me start with two questions today. Why is it important for us to study the doctrine of
God? Why is it important to know His character and ways, His nature, and attributes? You might
say it’s not important, but if you do not understand who God is and what He does, you will not
understand your nature, your sin, and your need to be saved. In fact, if you desire to study the
whole gambit of Christian doctrine, which is called systematic theology, you must start with the
study of God, or nothing else makes sense.
What I am about to say may seem contradictory, but all branches of Christianity believe the same
thing about who God is and what He does. The Reformed position is no different than another
Christian tradition, yet, the Reformed doctrine of God is the most significant distinction from the
other traditions.
The Reformed doctrine of God sets us apart from other traditions because no other tradition’s
theology takes seriously the doctrine of God’s relationship to every other doctrine. In most
systematic theologies, you get an affirmation of the sovereignty of God on page one of the
textbook, but then once you move on to soteriology (doctrine of salvation), eschatology (doctrine
of last things), and anthropology (doctrine of humanity), and so on, the author has seemingly
forgotten what he said about God’s sovereignty on page one.
Reformed theologians, however, see the doctrine of God as informing the whole scope of
Christian theology. They are self-conscious of this. That’s one of the reasons why Reformed
Christians tend to focus so much on the Old Testament. We’re concerned about the character of
God as defining everything—our understanding of Christ, our understanding of ourselves, our
understanding of salvation. We turn to the Old Testament because it’s one of the most important
sources that you find anywhere in the universe on the nature and character of God. Reformed
Christians tend to take the Old Testament very seriously because it’s such a vivid revelation of
the majesty of God.
Here are some of the key revelations of God in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 6, we find one of the
most vivid disclosures of divine holiness in all of Scripture. Then, of course, there’s the Lord’s
revelation of Himself and His covenant name to Moses at the burning bush that we read about in
Exodus 3. That’s a must-read chapter for anyone seeking to understand God’s independence and
self-existence. In Genesis 15, we see our Creator’s commitment to truth and His faithfulness to
keep His covenant promises. Here God swears by Himself to fulfill His pledge to Abraham to
give him innumerable descendants. For a vivid portrayal of God’s unfailing, effectual love for
His people—His bride—you can hardly find a better place to go in Scripture than the book of
There are many more examples, but what do these episodes all have in common? These
revelations of God all take place at various crisis points in the lives of God’s people. Both Isaiah
and Moses were about to be sent on a great mission to proclaim the greatness of the Lord to
hardened people. What did they need most at a time like that? Not a promise of success—indeed,
Isaiah was told that his message would harden hearts. No, what they needed was an
understanding of the Lord’s character. When God wanted to give them assurance, He gave them
Himself. The same was true of Abraham and Hosea. Humanly speaking, Abraham had little
evidence to believe that God would give him many descendants. So, the Lord assured the
patriarch of His faithfulness by committing Himself to His own destruction—an
impossibility—should He not keep His Word. Hosea lived in a day when it seemed as if God had
fully and finally cast off His people for their unfaithfulness. What hope could the Lord provide
that He loved Israel with an everlasting love? It was the revelation of Himself as the Husband
who is perfect in love and faithfulness.
Reformed theology’s doctrine of God and its emphasis on all His attributes at every point in the
unfolding of salvation sets it apart from other Christian understandings of the Lord. Our doctrine
of God is drawn from Genesis through Revelation, from the Old Testament as much as from the
New Testament. Why, therefore, wouldn’t we soak up the whole counsel of God and read both testaments with great devotion?


Pastor Appreciation Month

What Is Pastor Appreciation Day and Clergy Appreciation Month?

October is National Clergy Appreciation Month, a time set aside to recognize the contributions and service of pastors, priests, reverends, ministers, and all other clergy members. Within Clergy Appreciation Month is Pastor Appreciation Day. 

Dolores Smyth Contributing Writer
October 3, 2022
October has long been recognized worldwide as Pastor Appreciation Month, or Clergy Appreciation Month. The call to honor our church leaders’ contributions can be traced back to St. Paul. In establishing the first Christian churches, St. Paul advised the congregation to give “double honor” to the elders of the church who managed the affairs of the church well, “especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

St. Paul further urged Christian communities to acknowledge those “who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you,” holding these spiritual leaders “in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).

In 1994, the American Christian organization Focus on the Family began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national month of observance. In highlighting Clergy Appreciation Month, Focus on the Family sought to encourage the faithful to outwardly show their appreciation for religious leaders on a national level.

When Is Pastor Appreciation Day?

From Pastor Appreciation Month grew the idea of emphasizing one specific day to nationally pay tribute to our clergy. This day became known as Pastor Appreciation Day. Also referred to as Clergy Appreciation Day, this day of showing national gratitude for clergy members is celebrated on the second Sunday in October. In 2022, Pastor Appreciation Day will be Sunday, October 9th.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Pastors and Clergy Members

As of mid-2018, there are approximately 51,000 people in the United States who are officially employed as clergy. When we consider all that religious leaders do, it becomes clear how important it is to celebrate and uplift our hardworking clergy.

Reason 1: Pastors and clergy serve the church daily. On a daily basis, clergy members prepare weekly messages, manage the maintenance and financial obligations of their church, and, most importantly, nurture the spiritual well-being of their congregants.

Reason 2. Pastors and clergy serve the church and community during major life moments. Aside from these daily duties, clergy members participate in the highs and lows of the lives of their church-goers and other members of the community. 

Clergy members lead mourners during funerals, pray over the sick, and minister to the imprisoned and abandoned. Moreover, clergy members bear the emotional pressure heaped upon them by disgruntled congregants and also absorb the hostile criticism of an increasingly anti-religious society.

Our clergy members also oversee our most joyous occasions. The clergy play a vital role in marriages, baptisms, Holy First Communions, and requests for special blessings. Religious workers also uphold the institution of marriage by counseling struggling couples to hold fast to their marital vows and guide the Lord’s flock by giving clarity to those with a fractured sense of faith.

Reason 3. Missionaries sacrifice their comfort and safety for the gospel. Last, it’s important to note that clergy members often risk their physical well-being for the sake of doing God’s Work. Clergy serve as missionaries in hostile areas worldwide, cares for people with contagious diseases, and literally stands at the front lines of social justice movements.

7 Ways to Celebrate and Honor Your Pastors and Clergy

Given everything that the people who serve pastorally do, we should take time to appreciate and encourage them and their staff members. Whether you choose to honor your spiritual leaders and their staff during Pastor Appreciation Month or another time of year, here are 7 ways to show your gratitude for their service and sacrifice:

1. Send your religious leader a clergy appreciation greeting card or a hand-written note with a message of gratitude for him or her.

2. Ask your children to draw a picture or create other artwork for a clergy member or Sunday school leader.

3. Lend your pastor a hand by volunteering at the organization where he or she ministers, such as a hospital or nursing home.

4. Take a group photo with fellow church-goers in front of the church or other organization where the clergy member works. Present the photo as an already-framed gift.

5. Give your religious leader a “thank you basket” filled with his or her favorite brand of coffee, favorite snack, or hard-to-find allergy-friendly food items.

6. Create a photo calendar with a picture of saints or inspiring Bible passages for each month of the year.

7. Request contributions from your congregation to update your clergy member’s office with ergonomic chairs and keyboards, new software, new artwork, or other furnishings.

A Prayer for Pastor Appreciation Day

Dear God, We pray for our pastors to be encouraged. We ask that you would minister to them and give them a deeper sense of hope. Send laborers into their lives to extend needed help, support, and friendship. We pray that they and their families would be protected and covered by the precious blood of Jesus. May our pastors be restored and refreshed during this time. 

We pray, Lord, that our pastors would not be discouraged, or afraid, or grow weary. But instead that you would uplift their spirits, encourage them in their trials, and recharge them when they are feeling overwhelmed. We ask that you would help them to put their hope in you and that you would in return renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). We thank you for our pastors, Lord, and all the work they do for your kingdom.


Let’s Not Forget the Importance of Sunday School

Written by Renae Lind, Youth Director at Bethel
Is Sunday School still important? This is a question I have heard over the past few years. Here at Bethel, we value the time spent teaching and nurturing our children as they grow to know Jesus. Not only are they growing in their own faith, but they are building relationships with adults who live and model that faith. Children grow in their own Christian faith, when they are taught and shown the love God has for them, reminded often that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and that the Holy Spirit lives within them when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
We as adults need to take away all the excuses for not wanting to attend Sunday School. If your child says, “I already know all of the stories being taught,” we should remind them that no matter how many times we read a book or watch a movie, there is almost always something new that we discover each time we read or hear it? If they say that “Sunday School is boring,” we could respond with, “It is only as boring or as fun as you make it.” It is amazing when we as adults respond with a positive attitude and take away excuses how much more willing our children will be to attend Sunday School with their peers and enjoy it.
So is Sunday School still important for students of ALL ages? Without a doubt, YES!
Sunday School classes resumes on September 13 from 10:30-11:15 a.m. (note new time).


New Online Worship Options, September 2022

Due to changes in the Facebook platform, Bethel has chosen to subscribe to a dedicated streaming service to avoid portions of the service being disallowed. We still offer a call-in number, in addition to the live stream, for those that don’t have internet access. The team has been trained on how to produce the live stream using the new platform, but they are also taking it one step at a time and will be making enhancements as they familiarize themselves with all the options. 
Virtual Service Access Information:
Dedicated Dial-in number (US): (508) 924-2160
Access code: No access code needed
Facebook Live: Bethel Brandon on Facebook
Church IOS/Android App


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