This week’s episode is special for two reasons. First, it is inspired by a question from Daniel, a listener to the podcast. Daniel’s message to us read, in part, “Perhaps during a future episode you could talk about the importance of the local church, the relationship between the local church and universal Church, the relationship between the believer and the local church, and why we have devalued the local church in our culture.”
We happened to have Jeffrey Johnson in town for a visit, so we decided to sit down have and discuss Daniel’s question with him. Jeffrey is pastor of Grace Bible Church in Conway, Arkansas. He is an author, the founder and president of Free Grace Press and the Academic Dean of Grace Bible Institute. (Links below under Show Notes.)
Jeffrey also happens to be developing a major Bible study project on the Church for Media Gratiae in 2019, so the question fits perfectly. You can see an abbreviated outline of the discussion below the video. A list of all the resources they mentioned, with links, can be found under Show Notes.
(~0:00-8:00) Jeffrey and Matthew talk about how and why Jeffrey planted the Grace Bible Church. Matthew asks how Grace Bible Institute, the seminary attached to the church, began and the future plans for it. Matthew also brings up Free Grace Press, Jeffrey’s publishing ministry.
(~8:00-11:00) Matthew asks Jeffrey about his latest book, published by Reformation Heritage Books, titled The Pursuit of Glory: Finding Satisfaction in Christ Alone. As a pastor, Jeffrey has counseled several people over the years through life’s various trials. He wanted to have a small book aimed at high school students, young adults, or anyone struggling to understand their purpose in life. He wrote the book not to help people feel good about themselves, but to feel secure in God. (Link to The Pursuit of Glory is under Show Notes.)
(~11:00-13:00) Matthew makes the big announcement about the multimedia study that he and Jeffrey are developing for Media Gratiae. Stay tuned to the Behold Your God Podcast and our social media pages for more!
(~13:00-23:00) Matthew and Jeffrey begin discussing the issues brought up by Daniel’s question. They explain the categories of the visible and invisible Church.
(23:00-35:00) Then they turn their attention to the local church. While a person may be a member of the local church and not a member of the invisible church (i.e. a lost lost church member), being united to the invisible church will give a strong desire to be in a local body of believers. Jeffrey says this can be plainly seen because God intentionally creates us with deficiencies that can only be strengthened in a local body.
(~35:00-44:00) Jeffrey and Matthew discuss the final section of Daniel’s question, why have we so devalued the church and what does that say about our understanding of the gospel. It isn’t just culture that has devalued the church, many sitting in the pews have devalued her and the gospel she proclaims.
In the Supporter Appreciation Episode, Matthew gets Jeffrey to discuss some of the titles published by Free Grace Press. Jeffrey takes the opportunity to share not just the content of the books, but the heart behind them.
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The Pursuit of Glory by Jeffrey Johnson
Supporter Appreciation Episode
Free Grace Press books:
The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
Absurdity of Unbelief by Jeffrey Johnson
The Kingdom of God by Jeffrey Johnson
Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray