Beresford has long been a regular speaker at various House Church Conferences in different parts of the world, and the purpose of such is to explore and outline what scripture teaches concerning all aspects of church life. This perspective is obviously reflected heavily in the talks made available in this series.
In this talk Beresford defines what a church actually is and reveals it to be simply an extended family of God’s people relating together as such. He also outlines what he calls the minimum requirements for a biblical church and appeals for believers to return to the way shown us in the New Testament as opposed to the traditions of mere men that go completely against it.
When churches in New Testament times met they proceeded in a way totally at variance with the differing forms of church services found today. In fact, the early church didn’t have services at all, and Beresford shows clearly from scripture just what they did do, where they did it, and why! If a believer from the apostolic church went to what passes for a church gathering today – indeed, for the last 1800 years- they would wonder what on earth we thought we were doing and ask why we don’t just do things the way the apostles taught them to.
Nothing has so damaged the church as the false teaching brought in by the Early Church Fathers concerning leadership. Beresford here examines biblical eldership in the apostolic church and shows clearly it’s functional, as opposed to positional nature. He further demonstrates that, far from being governed by elders, each church was actually run along purely consensual lines with the decision making process in the hands of the church corporately. Verses traditionally used to teach that leaders are supposed to be in charge, and are somehow over the people in a church, are dealt with from the original Greek and shown to mean something entirely different. Ministers, pastors and big cheeses everywhere had better watch out if believers en masse ever get hold of this and then do what scripture teaches.
The title for this talk is a bit of a mouthful but Beresford was glad to have been given it to do. In fact, he maintains that it is one of the most important subjects going given that it demonstrates that, contrary to most people’s understanding, scripture clearly reveals a set way to do church, and that the apostles planted one type of church, and one type only, and that they did this because they had been commanded to do so by the Lord Himself. The idea that we are free to just have whatever different types of church we fancy, and that we can just go as the Spirit leads in that regard, is shown to be pure fallacy and demonic deception. This talk will blow you away!
A lot of church planters and believers today are trying various models of house church in the belief that it is the best approach for effective evangelism whilst others are trying it just because they feel led to by the Holy Spirit. Beresford here explains that the only really legitimate reason for how one does church, indeed, does anything, is because of what scripture teaches. It is actually possible to end up doing the right thing for the wrong reason, but when that is the case the foundation is shaky at best and ultimate failure will probably be the end result. This talk was followed by a question and answer session.
It is clear from the New Testament that the Lord raises men up with itinerant ministries who can come in from the outside to help and strengthen churches they are not themselves actually part of. This talk homes in on the pastor/teacher and outlines in detail the importance of what his function actually is, Beresford being well qualified to do so, himself having just such a function. However, the New Testament also outlines important safeguards surrounding such ministries, and it is vitally important to understand the basis upon which any such men can be considered as being safe. The so-called ‘house church movement’ is replete with, biblically speaking, completely unqualified men parading themselves as such ministries, yet who do more harm than good precisely because their lives don’t measure up to the standards outlined in the New Testament. The cautionary aspect of this talk will put all who hear it in good stead for protecting themselves from invalid itinerant ministries.
In most churches once you have established what leadership structure they have you have also established what church government they adhere to. Or to put it another way, leadership equates to executive authority in the church. However, in this talk Beresford clearly shows from the New Testament that this is far from being the scriptural way. Biblical churches do indeed have leadership, but it is of a completely different kind from unbiblical churches, and is quite distinct from the scriptural basis for a church’s decision-making. Church government, he shows, should be on the basis of the consensual and collective decision-making of all in a church, and not merely the say-so of eldership. The verses in the New Testament which are used to justify executive leadership in church life are thoroughly examined and shown to be erroneous translations of the original Greek.