Friday, February 07, 2020

Evangelize the Bay Area of California!

My wife and I currently live in the great state of Wisconsin, where we have approximately 5.8 million people.  California, by way of contrast, has approximately 40 million people.  The Bay Area, where Bethel Baptist Church is located in El Sobrante, has approximately 7 million people--considerably more than the entire state of Wisconsin! In fact, there are only 13-14 states of the 50 in the USA that have more people than the Bay Area on its own--of the 50 United States, more than 35 of those states have fewer people than just this one part of California!

How many historic Baptist churches are there in the Bay Area--an area with more people than the entire state of Wisconsin?  The Unaffiliated Baptist locator lists only one--Bethel Baptist Church.

There are a few other independent Baptist churches in the Bay Area, but if one wants one that stands for the perfect preservation of Scripture, local-only ecclesiology, gender distinction, and a Biblical gospel that includes repentance, the number is few indeed--possibly only Bethel Baptist.  Furthermore, many of the churches that are in California are not growing stronger, but are falling into contemporary/emerging apostasy through the influence of West Coast Baptist College / Lancaster Baptist Church or are under Hyles-type influence and do more "1-2-3 pray after me" and marketing gimmicks than pure gospel preaching. The need in California is very great--greater, considering the population, than it is on significant numbers (though by no means all) foreign mission fields.  It is a safe assumption if you are walking around in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin, and many other parts of the Bay Area that nobody in our lifetime has ever even one time knocked on the doors of the houses you are walking past in order to preach a true gospel to them (although the Watchtower Society might have gotten there in order to bring them into their cult).  It is a safe assumption that a very high percentage of the people you are walking by have never in their lives been offered a gospel tract even one time.  I know that growing up in the Bay Area I never, ever heard the gospel even one time, nor was I ever given a gospel tract--and I am very, very far from the only one, sadly.

Would we think it a terrible shame if, in one of these fifty united States, there was only one faithful church in the entire State?  Is the situation different if it is not a specific State, but instead a region with more people in it than over 70% of the States in the union?

While the need is very great, Bethel is a great place to be a member to help reach the area.  Bethel Baptist Church holds to:

a.     Historic Baptist belief and practice
b.     Careful preaching and teaching of God’s Word—the entire Bible has been proclaimed through solid expositional preaching over the course of several decades (2 Tim 4:2)
c.    Willingness to change/conform to Scripture—the church has grown and continues to grow stronger over time as Christ washes it with the Word (Eph 5)
d.     A commitment to Biblical discipleship of members of the congregation, producing a church of people who know, love, and obey the Bible
e.     A pure gospel, including Biblical repentance and consistent separation from those who do not preach it (Mark 1:15)
f.      Evangelistic passion, obeying the Great Commission to preach to every single person in the area house-to-house (Mt 28:18-20)
g.     Verbal, plenary preservation of Scripture in the Textus Receptus and stand for the KJV (Ps 12:6-7)
h.     Biblical local-only ecclesiology, accompanied with consistency in practice in baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Spirit baptism, and other areas
i.      Biblically dispensational, pre-Trib, pre-Mil eschatology
j.       Non-Calvinistic, non-Arminian soteriology
k.     Historic Baptist, non-Keswick sanctification
l.      Christian living and church practice by faith and trust in the power of the Word and the Spirit, rather than worldly or pragmatic methods of church growth methodology and promotion and marketing techniques
m.   Qualified leadership—men who personally meet the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1
n.     Emphasis on and careful teaching on the family
o.  Careful Biblical philosophy in a Christian school that uses the rod and reproof in obedience to God’s pattern (Prov 29:15)
p.    Sacred, reverent worship and obedience to the commands to sing psalms as well as hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-22; James 5:13)
q.     Gender distinction (Deuteronomy 22:5)
r.    Commitment to allow “no other doctrine” in the church (1 Tim 1:3) and separation from those who teach and practice other doctrine out of love for Christ
s.     Biblical philosophy and practice of world evangelism/foreign missions
t.    People who love, carefully study, and treasure the Scriptures, and talk of them regularly, seeking to conform their lives to the Word in every area

Lord willing, my wife and I will be returning to the Bay Area to serve the Lord near the beginning of 2021. We will be seeking to glorify God and fulfill the Great Commission with Bethel Baptist Church by helping to:

1.)   See men trained for the ministry, both locally and through distance education
2.)   Assist Bethel in evangelizing with the goal of seeing churches established in the Bay Area
3.)   Engage in other ministries, from preaching and teaching in church settings, to campus ministry at the University of California at Berkeley, apologetics/debates, helping the Christian school, podcasts and other Internet ministry, etc.

Please pray for us as we go, and pray the the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into His harvest for His glory:  "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).

Maybe if you pray the Lord will convict you to come to help as well--would He have you help reach this extremely needy area with His gospel as well?


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