"Do we think it's any coincidence that the period of the church's greatest growth and expansion (33--mid 300's A.D.) occurred during the time when there wasn't (1) a Bible in every Christian's hand and (2) an obsessive preoccupation with Christians clustering to study it word by word, line by line and page by page?" -- Brian Jones
Here are some points for clarification. First of all the reason for the expansive growth is because it was when it first started. It also helped when Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire in the 300's. The overall point Jones keeps missing is that the absence of an official Bible did not mean that the early Christians were not armed fully with Scripture. Secondly, we see the not so subtle mocking of Biblical Christians continue from this Senior Pastor. If I am going to be obsessively preoccupied with something, it would seem the actual Word of God Almighty is a good choice. Thirdly if you read acts chapter two it seems the early church met in public and in house to house to fellowship and learn from the teachings of the apostles. You know, the Word of God. Acts also tells us that Paul considered the Bereans of more noble character because they searched the Scriptures to ensure what Paul was preaching was correct. The bottom line here is that the early church did study the Word line by line and page by page.
"Most Christians today assume that to be a Christian means to have a personal relationship with the Bible instead of the risen Jesus. To be consumed with it. To obsess over its details. To memorize curiously meaningless trivia about it. To study its root words and the historical data underpinning every sentence, every chapter and every book." -- Brian Jones
We are starting to see the NAR roots of Jones theology that formulates such poor doctrine. Beloved hear me very clearly. You CANNOT have a personal relationship with the risen Jesus without having a personal relationship with His Word. You simply cannot:
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? -- Luke 6: 46 (ESV)
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. -- John 14: 15 (ESV)
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' -- Matthew 7: 21-23 (ESV)
Why call me Lord and not do what I say? Where is what He said recorded? The Bible. Why do you say you have a personal relationship with me and not do what I tell you? It's the same question. So you say you are in relationship with Christ and love Him yet you not only do not keep His commandments but you mock people who try to learn them by studying Scripture? Good luck with that approach. Who does Brian Jones think are the people in the Matthew 7 verses saying Lord Lord? They are fully churched people. They even saw mighty miracles but because of their own biblical ignorance did not realize that the devil has emissaries that disguise themselves as angels of light to lead astray even the elect. Does Jesus say away from me you who have read my Word obsessively? No beloved. Away from me you have practiced lawlessness. Those who have not done what my Word said to do. Jones concludes: