Our pastor is Bro. James Harris. Bro. Harris is a native Texarkanian. He is a 1969 graduate of Texarkana, Texas High School, attended the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, and pastored four churches in Arkansas before coming to Bethel in September of 2013.
A Message From Our Pastor
The Barna Research Group website recently had a article titled "Meet Those Who 'Love Jesus But Not The Church.'" That sentiment cannot be substantiated biblically. That attitude is equivalent to saying, "I like to play baseball, but I don't want to be on a team." The Lord did not intend for believers to be "freelancers," working by our own authority and for personal benefit, when it comes to His Kingdom work. There are several problems with this "anti-church" attitude that so many seem to have today.
First of all, Jesus started true New Testament churches. A true church is a called out assembly that meets together for the purpose of carrying out the Lord's commands. In the Gospels we see Him calling out James, John, Peter, Andrew, and others saying, "Follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." These men were called out for a purpose -- to bring people to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
We also see this work of making disciples being presented as Jesus Commissioned His church in the book of Matthew. A close study of the Word will reveal that this work, this Commission was not given to just the twelve apostles, for we are told that He appeared to "over five hundred brethren at once" in First Corinthians 15:6. The work of taking the Gospel into all the world as outlined in the Great Commission is a church work that is to be carried out by individual members.
In Acts 20:28 we are told that true New Testament churches have been purchased by the blood of Jesus. The Ephesian elders were told to "feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." If Jesus loved His churches enough to shed His blood for them, how can a true child of God say, "I love Jesus but not the church?"
Another reason to love the Lord's churches is that a New Testament church is God's appointed place where He will receive glory. Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus of that in Ephesians 3:21: "Unto him (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." In I Corinthians 3:16, speaking to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul instructed that body to remember, "ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you." And, in his letter to the church at Ephesus he declared that a New Testament church is "fitly framed together" in order that it should be "an habitation of God through the Spirit."
And, finally, Jesus Christ is the Head of His churches. Ephesians 2:22 says of our Lord, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body . . . " How is it possible to love the Head, Jesus, and not love His body, the church? It is not!
The Lord has left only one kind of body upon the earth to carry out His work, and that is a New Testament church. It is His body, and He is the Head.
Those who would detract from the purpose and work of the Lord's churches need to spend some time in the Word of God. A church is not some meaningless institution that has been thrown together by the will of man. Each New Testament church is and is to be a pure body that is busy performing the work the Lord gave them to do, and that is carrying the Gospel into all the world, making disciples for Him.
Bro. Jim Harris, Pastor