Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

Biblical vs. Spiritual

This is an issue that keeps rolling around in my head and I will be addressing this Sunday.  I must admit, it has been a challenge for me to step in and lead a fairly large American church with 150 years of history and tradition.  Our church has a lot to be proud of and I am glad to be here.  Many of the traditions that we are familiar with are not bad, but they might not be expressly biblical either.  That’s not a problem – I mean there are a lot of things that churches do that are not expressed directly in scripture.  God gives you room to figure out the details for your time, culture and application.  The Bible was written to transcend all times and cultures, so God wrote it in a way to not specify too many “procedural” details.  I actually like that about the Bible.

This becomes a problem only when people hold fast to their traditions or thoughts about what they think God said and end up contradicting what He actually did say clearly in His word.  What is the actual role (job description) of a local church pastor?  What should deacons really be doing?  What does the church exist for?  What does God expect from me, personally?  What about politics?  What about social agendas?  Wow!  A person could get overwhelmed pretty quickly thinking about all these things.  Many people may not know the Bible answer to all the questions, but they know “what we have always done at our church.”  Herein lies the challenge.

There are a lot of programs and activities that are “Christian” or “spiritual” but not biblical.  That makes me nervous.  There are a LOT of “spirits” in the world, but only ONE of them is holy!  There are a lot of (weird) things that people do in the name of “Christianity” that have nothing to do with what God said.  (Can I remind anyone of the Crusades?!)  There is a genuine revival in spiritualism – everyone is spiritual these days – but few remain biblical.

My goal (and job description) is to be biblical and to teach others to be so as well.  There are a lot of ways to accomplish God’s revealed will and I am excited to see how He will lead us in 2012.  If it happens that someone is striving to accomplish God’s revealed will in a manner that is not strictly forbidden by the scriptures, let’s all agree to give the brother some space.  At the same time, let’s make sure that we don’t pick a (needless) fight over a tradition that we enjoy but cannot prove as biblically necessary.

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Thats good stuff and worthy of consideration.


Thanks Chris! Let’s pass the word along! Praying for you, friend.


Great message. I’m looking forward to hearing it Sunday. I’ve been to quite a few different churches over the years, and I can honestly say that only a small hand full could be considered Biblical(a fact I was reminded of when I watched a video of a sermon being preached in a small town in West Virginia). I am also looking forward to seeing what God is going to do this coming year and beyond. And, with God’s help, I also want to be an active part of what He is doing.


I believe “tradition and how we’ve always done it” is exactly how other faiths get sidetracked easily. Let’s learn “and practice “what He instructs.


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