In contemporary society, Christian spirituality is generally defined as a set of beliefs, values, and way of life that reflect the teachings of the Bible, the holy book of Christianity. Much research has been devoted to this topic, ranging from practical to academic. But what does the Bible teach on this issue?
First, Christian spirituality is biblically defined as the practice of the beliefs of the Christian faith. It includes both knowledge and action. James 1:25 notes, for example, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” From the earliest writings of the New Testament, the principle of integrated and authentic faith and action has been taught as essential to Christian spirituality.
Second, Christian spirituality relies on the power of the Holy Spirit to live according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit serves to lead us into all truth (John 16:13), gives joy (Ephesians 5:18), and convicts when we sin (Ephesians 4:30). For example, 1 John 1:5-8 teaches, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” True spirituality depends on the supernatural power God gives through the Holy Spirit rather than dependence on human strength.
Third, Christian spirituality is concerned for all of a person’s life. Rather than separating spiritual, physical, financial, social, and other life components into distinct areas, Christian spirituality is concerned with how all of life connects to our relationship with God. For example, the use of our finances reflects the attitude of our heart (Matthew 6:21). How we treat our body reflects our spiritual life in important ways (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Finally, the pursuit of Christian spirituality will result in what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). When a believer lives by the power of God’s Spirit, it produces godly qualities as well as brings honor to God. As Jesus taught, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Seen from this perspective, Christian spirituality is for the honor of God, personal maturity, and serves as a blessing to others, both through the good deeds that take place as well as a heart attitude that points others to God.
It is important as believers for Christians to learn church history. It helps us learn from our ancestors. Followers need to understand where we came from to understand where we are going. We can also learn from the mistakes of early church leaders if we understand their missteps. Lastly, learn key events that occured in church history over the last 2,000 years.
The earliest Christians did not have church buildings. They typically met in homes. (The first actual church building so far found is at Dura Europos on the Euphrates, dating about 231.) They did not have public ceremonies that would introduce them to the public, and they had no access to the mass media of their day. So, how can we account for their steady and diverse expansion over the first three centuries?
After the Apostle Paul, we do not run across many “big names” as missionaries in the first few hundred years of Christian history. Instead, the faith spread through a multitude of humble, ordinary believers whose names have been long forgotten.
Early Christianity was primarily an urban faith, establishing itself in the city centers of the Roman Empire. Most of the people lived close together in crowded tenements. There were few secrets in such a setting. The faith spread as neighbors saw the believers’ lives close-up on a daily basis.
And what kind of lives did they lead? Justin Martyr, a noted early Christian theologian, wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius and described the believers:
“We formerly rejoiced in uncleanness of life, but now love only chastity.
Before we used the magic arts, but now dedicate ourselves to the true and unbegotten God.
Before we loved money and possessions more than anything, but now we share what we have and to everyone who is in need.
Before we hated one another and killed one another and would not eat with those of another race, but now since the manifestation of Christ, we have come to a common life and pray for our enemies and try to win over those who hate us without just cause.”
In another place Justin points out how those opposed to Christianity were sometimes won over as they saw the consistency in the lives of believers, noting their extraordinary forbearance when cheated and their honesty in business dealings.
When Emperor Julian (“the Apostate”) wanted to revive pagan religion in the mid-300s, he gave a most helpful insight into how the church spread. This opponent of the faith said that Christianity “has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers and through their care of the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar and that the [Christians] care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help we should render them.”
On the surface, the early Christians appeared powerless and weak, they were an easy target for scorn and ridicule. They had no great financial resources, no buildings, no social status, no government approval, no respect from the educators. And after they became separated from their first-century association with the Jewish synagogues, they lacked institutional backing and an ancient tradition to appeal to.
But what finally mattered is what they did have. They had a faith. They had a fellowship. They had a new way of life. They had a confidence that their Lord was alive in heaven and guiding their daily lives. These were the important things. And it made all the difference in laying a Christian foundation for all of Western civilization.
Could This Ever Happen In A One Man Show Church? Pastor Perry Noble Fired After 16 Years at NewSpring.
Perry Noble was removed from his pastoral position at NewSpring Church. (YouTube) After 16 Years of Service
I know many of us might not know who Pastor Perry Noble is, but he is in need of our prayers Now as member of one Body. I do not know him personally either but I salute the courage of the elders in this church and I also salute the spirit of humility in this son of the Most High called Perry. It is no news how evil are being covered up in the Churches today in the name of brotherhood. Kind David at one time begged for secrecy to cover king Saul death in his dirge in 2 Samuel 1; but in the New Testament Church, we are taught to judge amongst ourselves to save each other from hellfire. This is what the elders in Pastor Perry’s church courageously did. You may be down today, you are coming back stronger, satan has not seen the last of you. The Church elders at NewSpring has done the best for the Body of Christ in their collective resolution, they had done the best also for Pastor Noble. In my opinion he was not disgraced in any way, he was not embarrassed in this matter. It is the culprit, satan, that is finally put to shame. What we must do is to keep him in our prayers. Our Lord Jesus Christ said,
“So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” God will have mercy on Pastor Perry and grants him a full deliverance as he corporates with the Holy Spirit. If it were in a one man show business church, this cannot happen. No one has the ordercity to call G.O to order.
Unfortunately I live in a part of the world where church is run as a personal business or a family enterprise. In my part of the world the name church is abuse so much so that a jobless man can call God into business of church (God don’t call them). A necromancer, an occultic do starts church business to trap the souls of men into satanic pit of bewitchment, and in no long time they pull massive amounts of crowd who can die for them. Church has become part of family business acquisition, where it is listed among the things to be inherited, and be shared among the family members, in case Daddy G.O. has gone the way of the earth. Church can be bequeathed to the next of kin whenever the general overseer dies. The families have always found a way of putting one of theirs as replacement. A wife succeeds her late husband’s church/ministry because it is not The Church of Jesus Christ, but their family business; such is a common occurrence in the church circle today. No wonder they have no elders, no deacons, no wonder the G.O is infallible in decision-making. It is no longer Church of Jesus Christ, but “My Church” “My sheep”
I once lived with one called Fatai with an alias of T.B. Joshua of the infamous The Synagogue in Lagos Nigeria for over a decade under delusion and witchcraft. Aside having sexual perversion, and other demonic vices, mammon is the god of T.b. Joshua, The Emmanuel TV partnership business started, when Joshua called us one day into his office, and informed us his inner caucus, how he discovered how foreign funds can be flowing into the synagogue. He planned the strategy of ripping foreigners off, Joshua is a fraud! Whenever the incoming money is much, t.b Joshua would stand up from his chair to dance for the money he had received. Synagogue like many of its kind has no elders, no financial secretary, no deacons, and no financial committee who monitors how inflow is being spent and disbursed. Joshua gives account to no one. He is the overall and he uses the money you send to the poor as he pleases, with fleet of luxury cars, imported designer clothes, private jet, his children attend the best International schools. Why cannot everyone do his or her charity work on your own as the Holy Spirit leads you? It is a personal accountability before the Lord. Most people believe in lies that Joshua is praying for them because they partner with Emmanuel TV as he made them to believe, You are so duped!
Joshua has none of such time, he only thinks of himself and his children. If you have ever donated anything to SCOAN or Emmanuel TV, you are a victim of a fraudster. You should file for a refund immediately. You are only funding Joshua’s excessive lifestyle, which a follower of Christ should not be supporting.
May the Lord open our eyes to the Truth. A “church” where there is no elders, no deacons according to the laid down rules in the scripture is A SCAM.
HOW SHOULD A CHURCH BE ORGANIZED?
The church is to be governed by spiritual leadership consisting of two main offices—elders and deacons. “Elders” were a leading body among the Israelites since the time of Moses. We find them making political decisions (2 Samuel 5:3 ; 2 Samuel 17:4 , 15 ), advising the king in later history (1 Kings 20:7 ), and representing the people concerning spiritual matters (Exodus 7:17 ; 24:1 , 9 ; Numbers 11:16 , 24-25 ).
The New Testament refers a number of times to elders who served in the role of church leadership (Acts 14:23 , 15:2 ,
20:17 ; Titus 1:5 ; James 5:14 ) and apparently each church had more than one, as the word is usually found in the plural. The only exceptions refer to cases in which one elder is being singled out for some reason (1 Timothy 5:1 , 19 ). In the Jerusalem church, elders were part of the leadership along with the apostles (Acts 15:2-16:4 ) Pastor is a gift not an office.
A GREAT LESSON FROM PASTOR PERRY
Perry Noble, founder and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, has been fired after 16 years. Elders of the Baptist megachurch cited alcohol abuse and the pastor’s “posture toward his marriage” as concerning.
Executive Pastor Shane Duffey delivered the church leaders’ official statement to the NewSpring congregation Sunday morning: “Through much prayer and with a heavy heart, we have important information to share with you regarding our pastor, Perry Noble. As of Friday, July 1, and in accordance with the governing bylaws, the directors and the pastoral advisory team have removed Perry as pastor of NewSpring Church. While this is the most difficult and painful decision we’ve had to make, unfortunately it was necessary. Perry’s made some unfortunate choices and decisions that have caused us much concern.
“Over the course of several months, our executive pastors met with and discussed at length with Perry these concerns regarding his personal behavior and spiritual walk. Perry’s posture toward his marriage, increased reliance on alcohol, and other behaviors were of continual concern. Due to this, the executive pastors confronted Perry and went through the steps of dealing with sin in the church as outlined in Matthew 18. Because Perry chose not to properly address these issues and did not take the necessary steps toward correcting them, he is no longer qualified as outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and the church bylaws to continue at NewSpring Church.
“We will continue to love Perry and his family during this difficult time, and we are committed to continue to pray for his healing, and we are also committed to continuing to provide personal support to Perry and his family in the days ahead. Though we know you may want more details to satisfy your curiosity, to do so would not be helpful to Perry or his family as they take these next steps. Our faith remains strong, rooted in the power and the promises of Jesus Christ, and the gospel gives us hope that Perry and his family can experience healing. The same gospel also gives us confidence that NewSpring Church will continue to make a difference in our state. In the coming weeks, we ask that you join us as a church family in continual prayer for Perry, his family and our church. We do believe the best is yet to come.”
Duffey also delivered a statement Noble prepared for the church. In it, Noble said, “Hello NewSpring, I hope you had an amazing week and I know the service today is going to be awesome. However, I come to you with a heavy heart to let you know that effective July 1, I will no longer be the senior pastor of NewSpring church. I wish this were a joke or a part of a sermon illustration; however, it’s true. I’ve often told you that NewSpring exists to help hurting, imperfect people. I have joked that you should not attend NewSpring if you are already perfect, because I will mess you up. That was my way of telling you I am traveling on a journey each day alongside each and every one of you to try and take my next step to become more like Jesus. If you’ve attended NewSpring for any length of time, you know I’ve never claimed to be the perfect pastor or even the perfect Christian. What we’ve seen the Lord do over the last 16 years has been a modern-day miracle.
“However, in my obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 and beyond, it has come at a personal cost in my own life and created a strain on my marriage. In my opinion, the Bible does not prohibit the use of alcohol, but it does prohibit drunkenness and intoxication. I’ve never had a problem drinking alcohol socially, but in the past year or so I’ve let myself slide into, in my opinion, the overuse of alcohol. This was a spiritual and moral mistake on my part, as I began to depend on alcohol for my refuge instead of Jesus and others. I have no excuse. This was wrong and sinful, and I’m truly sorry. For those disappointed in me, let me assure you that no one is more disappointed in me than myself. I realize that I cannot continue to do effective ministry if this issue in my personal life is not adequately addressed.
“I plan to immediately seek the spiritual guidance of some amazing men and women of God in my life, and I am currently under the treatment of an excellent psychologist who is helping me take some major steps forward. Let me be very clear, neither Lucretia nor I have committed any sort of sexual sin. I have not stolen money. I have not been looking at porn. And there is absolutely no domestic abuse. This is the story, period. I simply need to address an issue that has gotten out of hand in my life.
“I receive this decision as from the Lord, as I trust the leadership of NewSpring Church, and I ask you join me in trusting them as well. I still believe NewSpring is the greatest church in the world. I still believe our children’s ministry is going to provide Jesus on the level of the children who attend there. I still believe the next generation will be loved and invested in, and I know every Sunday in our church, lives will be changed as Jesus is exalted and the gospel is declared.
“As for me, I’m uncertain as to what my next step is. The one thing I know: I am going to put 100 percent of my time and effort into becoming the best father and husband I can become. I would ask that you pray for my family and me as we seek out what’s next in our lives. I’ve preached that the best is yet to come for 16 years. I can’t say it for you. I must receive it as well. I don’t know what’s around the corner, but I know Jesus isn’t finished with me yet and He’s not finished with NewSpring Church. I love you and always will. I’m really sorry and ask you to forgive me.”
In recent weeks, Noble forfeited the pulpit to guest speakers Brad Cooper and Clayton King.
The South Carolina church reportedly held a closed-door meeting with their elders earlier this week. The church has multiple campuses throughout the state and averages 30,000 people each weekend. This is a true Church of Jesus Christ, not a one man show. May the Lord’s Mercy continue to be upon His Church.