What Can I Do?
Thank you for your interest in getting involved. True Christianity is not simply “head knowledge”, but it is proven by action:
Work Must Be Done by the Power of Christ:
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous (Rom 2:13).
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10).
There are many other scriptures that show Christians are called to good works, not of their own accord, but through the power of Jesus Christ. The first step to any Christian service is to repent and be baptized—as symbol of one’s own death—and to live one’s life as Christ lived His:
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20).
(Download PDF of our tract “A New Life” which explains what a new Christian needs to do.)
Seek Spiritual Gifts from God and Use Them Locally
As Christ traveled and taught, He did not look for people to “join His Church” or “give to His cause”, but for people who were willing to change their lives and dedicate them to God. The Bible indicates that “spiritual gifts” are given to believers to do God’s work (Rom 12:6-8; 1Cor 12-14; Eph 4:11-15; 1Pet 4:8–11). If you have not read these verses lately, please read them and ask God to show you how He wants you to work.
The work that Christ does is massive and much bigger than what we are doing here. In the first century, most of the preaching of the Gospel was carried out by face to face contact. If God is showing you that you need to encourage or teach others where you are, do not run away from the job as Jonah did. Much Christian growth can occur whether you are studying the Bible with two people in a home or helping to organize a service for 100 people in a hall. (Whatever the size, our article Starting a Local Congregation can help.) The New Testament mentions many congregations that met in homes, but never mentions church buildings, theology schools or a requirement for a “pastor” or “clergy” to have a service.
Obviously, there are many gifts other than teaching the Bible and organizing worship services. Helping people in need is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. Doing so directly—fixing their house or car, bringing them food, visiting them in prison—is usually much better than just giving them money. The needy often need Christian examples, companionship and encouragement as much as they need the money. It is important that good works be done in Christ’s name. (Giving money to a secular charity may help some people in need, but it hides the important fact from them that this good work was being done through the love of God.)
Some people seem to primarily serve others through heartfelt prayer. Jesus Christ was “closer to God” than anyone whoever lived—yet He prayed extensively. Individuals and groups have greatly affected the lives of others, received great miracles and altered the course of history through prayer. We certainly appreciate prayer for us.
Directly Helping with Church Bible Teaching Ministry
While most of Jesus’ and the apostles’ ministry was accomplished through personal contact, toward the end of their ministry the apostles wrote the books of the New Testament. That enabled their word to go to others, both around the world and through future generations (John 17:20). That Word has been occasionally miscopied and mistranslated—and greatly misinterpreted and misunderstood throughout those generations. The main reason for this is that those in charge of church groups and nations were more interested in using doctrine to keep themselves in power than they were in teaching truth (John 11:44-48). God willing, Church Bible Teaching Ministry has a little part in accurately teaching some of the truth of the Bible that has been nearly lost or largely untaught.
How can you help? There are a number of ways. Most require computer skills, but a few do not:
Bible teaching. We can always use more well written, well-researched Biblical articles. They should be prayerfully written to teach the truth and patiently showing the Scriptural problems with other points of view—not degrading people who want to follow God but who have been deceived by erroneous teaching. Articles should be focused on a particular subject avoiding touching on doctrinal problems that the article does not have room to adequately cover.
Historical and news writing. Much that passes for history and news in our world are well thought out part-truths designed to manipulate the masses according to whims of the wealthy and influential. On the other hand, much “alternative news” and conspiracy theory is written by small groups that do not mind distorting the truth to advance their own agenda. The entire world and specifically CBTM could use a lot more people willing to honestly research events to find the truth and publish it—whether it is the “truth” that the researcher hoped to find or not. CBTM has numerous leads if someone is willing to spend a few dozen hours, use the Internet and do some original research either over the Internet or by making personal trips.
Evaluating Articles. CBTM has hundreds of articles and could use experienced Bible students to read and evaluate them—recommending them for a publication, for a separate literature item, or for a web site. Some articles need to be fixed in places, others are produced by an author that wants no changes made—they would be better published “as is” with a disclaimer. Unfortunately, some articles would be better off left unpublished. A person who does this has to be able to see through unbiblical or illogical arguments, but also be prepared not to reject something just because they have never heard it before.
Detailed Doctrinal Study. CBTM has received dozens—sometimes hundreds—of papers on some subjects. Many of these papers are original research that is simply not available anywhere else. Even if the research is wrong, there is merit in explaining what is wrong with it. But in many of these papers we have discovered scriptures, relationships between scriptures and historical items that we had simply never thought of applying to a specific doctrine before. Someone who is skilled at organizing facts and able to think in a unbiased manner—and who can devote a few hundred hours to studying a particular subject could pour over this information and write a study resource that would be a blessing to many Bible students on the subject.
Document scanning and layout. We have numerous articles that we would publish, but they are not in a computer format. They either need to be computer scanned or retyped. After which they must be proofread.
Web site design and layout. If we had more people willing to work on our websites, we could put more on them. It is important that everyone use the same web development standards and tools. It would be nice if someone would like to take the responsibility for receiving the articles and laying out Shelter in the Word.
Proofreading. We already have several proofreaders, but we could always use more. This will make it easier to get an item proof-read on short notice.
Printing and mailing. We would be greatly helped by international brethren who would be willing to receive computer files of the magazines, duplicate them, and then send them out to the other brethren in their part of the world. If a group of people would be willing to print, collate, stuff and mail the USA magazines, it would be a great blessing (we would pay expenses).
As with any help, commitment—counting the cost—is very important. It is not helpful to spend time teaching someone to do something, only to have them quit before being of much useful service. At the time of this writing, we have had a number of people volunteer to help, but have not had time to give them all something to do—we are always trying to first catch up on the issues that we are behind. We have recorded their names and e-mail addresses and do plan to put them to work in the future. If you would like to volunteer, we will certainly keep yours. By enlisting appropriate help, we may be better able to produce our issues in a more timely fashion, as well as produce much other material.
Giving to Church Bible Teaching Ministry
Among the many spiritual gifts, “giving” is certainly listed (Rom 12:8). We at Church Bible Teaching Ministry try to follow the biblical instructions given in Matthew 10 and Luke 10:
Since these disciples served primarily by traveling, teaching, healing and performing other miracles, and we serve primarily by writing and mailing literature and communicating by phone and e-mail, we cannot apply all of our Savior’s words as they appear, above, but we can use His principles:
1. Freely give. We do not charge for teaching—we do not see it as a profit-making business.
2. Do not build up a great store of assets. It seems that when organizations or individuals are well-funded, people begin to join them for that reason and there is a tendency to forget God.
3. Those who work hard to teach others should receive their living from teaching. (See also 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.) All that is mentioned in these scriptures is the physical support of the man doing the teaching. In all likelihood, their home congregation took care of their families as their part in sending these disciples. Today, teachers must often rely on the support of the brethren they teach for both themselves and their families.
4. Accept what is given. Teachers were told not to go from house to house (getting something from everyone). They were to eat what was given to them—living on a similar standard to the people they were serving.
5. Do not try to force the message on those who do not want to hear.
Considering these principles, we do not charge a fee for any literature that we mail. Indeed, about half of the people who regularly receive literature from us never send any offerings. But because of the generosity of others, we have been able to produce, print and mail our publications, as well as help many people individually with Bible questions. Over a fourth of our mailing cost is for sending literature into international areas. For most people there, it would be a burden even to pay for the shipping. Since we encourage copying, we have no idea how many people we are actually reaching. God knows.
We believe each person is responsible for “bearing much fruit” with their Christian life. Those who have a gift of giving money need to know that their money is being used to bear fruit. We welcome questions from anyone who would like to know more about what we do. In addition to the thousands of people whom we reach with our publications, we have directly helped hundreds of individuals to find a local congregation. We have also assisted in the formation of many local groups. We also give personal Biblical teaching and encouragement to people who have no local brethren to help them.
Many will ask: are offerings (a more accurate word than “donations” or “contributions”) to Church Bible Teaching Ministry “tax deductible”? We have not filed IRS form 1023 to receive “501(c)3 tax exempt status”; but the instructions for form 1023 are in IRS publication 557 (Rev Nov. 99, page 21, col. 3.) which says: “Although a church, its integrated auxiliaries, or a convention or association of churches is not required to file Form 1023 to be exempt from federal income tax or to receive tax deductible contributions, the organization may find it advantageous to obtain recognition of exemption…” Since the Constitution protects Churches in the USA, we see no reason to file forms that are not required and that would partially subordinate our ministry to the state rather than to God.
Thank you very much for anything you may decide to give. May God bless you for it. Offerings by check or money order should be made out to Church Bible Teaching Ministry; PO Box 204; Port Austin, Michigan, 48467-0204, USA. Working in this ministry is the all-day labor of Norman Edwards and to a lesser degree, his family. Cash or items made out to any of the Edwards family members are treated as personal gifts. You may also give via PayPal:
Thank you again. May God bless strengthen you and enable you to serve as He sees best.