Christ's Body—All Things Are Yours

 

While ministering at Centinela State Prison in November of 2013, an inmate, seriously seeking a deeper walk with the Lord, asked one of our team members a lot of questions concerning the body of Christ. He subsequently wrote a letter to that member. The inmateís letter is attached followed by our team memberís reply. This ministry felt that both letters merited posting on our website. It is our hope that the reading will enlighten the eyes of your heart as to the most important thing to God:
His body.

Dear Mark,

Peace to you! It was a great pleasure to meet you and your fellow brothers and sisters of Faith Community Church at the D-Yard chapel this afternoon!

Iíve only been at this prison for two weeks and today was my first visit to the Sunday chapel. Iím very encouraged to hear of the existence of Christian congregations modeled after the biblical examples found in the New Testament.

I was raised in a Christian environment in the town of Los Gatos, near San Jose, California. After 17 years of that, around the age of 25, I stopped practicing Christianity and went off into the world. In early 2007, at the age of 34, I attended the memorial of a friend that died that was held in the building of the congregation of my youth. I saw many people I hadnít seen in years. By that time, I had already had a run-in with the law and I knew I needed God in my life again. So, I started attending meetings with this congregation again. Previously, I stopped associating with this group because I was disillusioned. I never stopped believing in God, but I didnít think that Christian denominations were teaching accurately from the Bible on some major topics. So, in early 2007, I decided I would pay close attention to be sure I wasnít being deceived by misunderstanding or false doctrine.

fter three months, I stopped going cold turkey. The same issues bothered me and I had come to see that this group was teaching things that clearly contradicted some basic Bible teachings. However, I continued earnestly studying the BibleóI was determined never to return to the world. I even felt moved to be baptized again (in the Pacific Ocean at Half Moon Bay). Spiritually, my life has been blessing upon blessing. About 11/2 years after being baptized I was arrested and prosecuted for things done or believed to be done during those years that I was living in darkness. God is not mocked; a man reaps what he sows. I have always enjoyed teaching from the Scriptures. No less than five Christians have told me that I am blessed with the gift of teaching. I have been afforded the opportunity to read a lot while incarcerated the past few years. I especially enjoy the more academic books on Bible doctrine, translation, archaeology, and apologetics. My favorite translations are the Holman Christian Standard Bible, the Revised English Bible, and the Jerusalem Bible. I also respect the English Standard Version and the Revised Standard Version. However, the vast number of modern English translations can be overwhelming.

There are two new ones that I havenít had the chance to learn about: the Godís Word translation and the Common English Bible. Please tell me more about how your congregation and meetings are organized. How does your gathering resolve differences of opinion on doctrine or how a Scripture is to be interpreted? Do people use interpreters if someone uses the gift of tongues? Who determines what Scriptures are read or discussed at a meeting?

I am very excited about meeting and corresponding with Christians who are earnestly seeking the truth of God, who walk in the truth, and who arenít mentally enslaved to denominational traditions and doctrines. Jesus quotes Isaiah at John 6:45: ďAnd they shall all be taught by God.Ē Indeed, Christís elect submit to the authority of Godís word, and not to the erroneous teachings of men. Everything we needóall the instruction we needóis found in Scripture.

Thank you for being willing to correspond with me. I am happy to write to anyone who wants to talk (or write!). Feel free to share my address

At the chapel this afternoon, Rick prayed with me on behalf of my homeless mother. I havenít received a letter from her since early August and I am very concerned. She raised me by herself and I pray the Lord will remember her and provide for her.

How did you come to learn of Faith Community Church? Does your congregation have doctrinal beliefs that differ from the larger Protestant denominations? Do you consider yourself Protestant? Iím still trying to work out what is going on with all the Christian denominations. Paul clearly teaches against sectarianism at 1Cor. 1-3, but I canít deny that every Christian denomination has to one extent or another contributed to the spread of the message of Christ. Yet, the various denominations teach contradictory doctrine. Interpretations belong to God, and there can be only one truth. Does it matter that the Mormons have a sacred book that disobeys Galatians 1:8, just as long as they still follow Jesus as Lord and Christ? And how does Philippians 1:15-18 fit in with this? Well, anyway, you now have a glimpse of some of the subjects I ponder. Letís talk!

May Godís blessing be upon your family, your congregation, and your ministry.

Yours in Christ,

Baron

Read Mark's Response

 
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