Service Schedule

Sundays 

Traditional Service 8:00 am

Sunday School 9:15 am (adult and children's options available)

Contemporary Blend 10:30 am (child care available)

Junior Church (K-5th Grade) 10:30 am

BYM Sr (8th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm

 

Wednesdays

Choir Practice 6:30 pm

Prayer Meeting 7:30 pm

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm

BYM Jr (5th thru 8th grade) - 6:30 pm

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm

Directions

We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 

Beyond the Gospel of Sin Management

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 7:32 PM

I enjoy the beach -- the wind, the waves, the sun! I ride the waves, bake in the sun, charter a fishing trip, and read books on theology. And now I sit and post this blog. I know that other beach goers are not typically reading theology or blogging, but that's what I like.
As I packed for this trip, I reviewed my book list. Staring at my bookshelf, I pulled down my books by Dallas Willard. I quickly added them, because I wanted to rekindle the fond explorations from these works in my thoughts this week. I began with The Divine Conspiracy.
As I read, I quickly recalled the themes of kingdom, community, and apprenticeship. If you've never read him, Dallas mentored millions into a new way of thinking about the Good News of Jesus. He was a gentle, contemplative visionary who lived as an apprentice of King Jesus, and now keeps company with him since May 8th of this year.

As I read The Divine Conspiracy this week, I want to highlight some items from his chapter on the Gospels of Sin Management. In it, he questions the significance of the bumper sticker slogan: "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Although it sounds harmless, and to some inspirational, he warns that it unwittingly communicates a shallow version of the Gospel.

He likens it to a bar-code faith, where we can receive God's grace totally independent of the transformative power of Christ. In other words, it is not necessary to be a good Christian; it's all about having the correct bar-code. He continues, "Can we seriously believe that God would establish a plan for us that essentially bypasses the awesome needs of present human life and leaves human character untouched? Can we believe that the essence of Christian faith and salvation covers nothing but death and after?" And so faith is never visible, except to God's scanner. I can now die and know that my sins are forgiven because I fortunately prayed the right prayer.

Many start with the wrong proposition: "How does one get to heaven?" Willard says this is a forensic view of our condition rather than a vital reality or character. However, our salvation is really about having life in the kingdom now. The issue is whether we are alive to God or dead to him; not some arrangement for sin-remission and removal of guilt. Instead we trust Jesus in every dimension of our lives. In the Gospels we read how the Gospel is good news to the poor, meek, hungry, and humble, as the kingdom becomes available now and forever. That's what you find there; not sin management, or bar-code faith, or I'm not different, just forgiven stuff.

Willard's conclusion: We must preach the kingdom. And for those willing to enter this arena, beware. Many people want nothing more than to hear "Help us to just be forgiven; don't give us the other stuff."

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