The year 2016 and its “Equip for Discipleship” theme is a wrap! All of us at the BAP hope that you were encouraged and challenged by our year-long exploration of the “Ones” of Ephesians 4:4-6. We will continue building on these seven singular foundations in the coming year. In fact, the January-February issue will be in your mailboxes in about a month. While you wait, let me fill you in on our plans for the year.
What kind of church are we? What kind of church do we want to be? The Bible Advocate will explore these questions in 2017 with the help of two broad themes.
First, in 2017 the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) is dedicated to the message “Transforming Vision into Reality.” You are probably familiar with our long-held ten-point vision:
Christ Centered, Spirit Formed, Bible Based, Sabbath Celebrating, Distinct Yet Inclusive, Passionate in Worship, Compassionate in Service, Engaging in Witness, United in Fellowship, Committed to Discipleship.
President Loren Stacy and Executive Director Jody McCoy have been traveling the country sharing the TVR message and calling on the Church to seize the vision and strive to become the people we are. The BA will aid in this effort by exploring the key themes of the “Transforming Vision into Reality” message throughout the year.
Second, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. When Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany (1517), he had no idea that his reforming challenge would launch a movement that reverberates around the world to this day.
Recovering Holy Scripture as the rule of faith and practice was central to Luther’s reform message. His later summary of the reforming spirit dovetails nicely with the BA’s own mission: “Here is the sum of the matter: let everything be done so that the Word may have free course.”
We believe that the Reformation theme, with its enduring priority on sola Scriptura, sola fide, solo Christo, makes it a happy partner with the General Conference’s TVR theme. Taking these two elements together, the BA team hopes to challenge and encourage the Church of God in 2017.
We kick things off in the January-February issue with the ever timely theme of Solo Christo and finding our identity, not in the divisive ways of this world but in our shared participation in the life of Jesus alone.
May the Word of God have free course among us!