Religion & Spirituality
2.19 - The Berean Manifesto
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 19 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and since The Berean Manifesto is celebrating its two year anniversary this week I thought it would be good over the next 10 minutes or so to have a refresher on where the podcast got its name from and what it means.
A manifesto is a public statement of the views, beliefs, motives, and/or intentions of a group or organization. So for what this is, manifesto fits really well since we spend a lot of time fleshing out what we believe as Christians and why we believe them. We also spend a lot of time examining places that, as a culture, myself included, we’ve missed the mark in theologies and traditions we’ve embraced in The Church as a whole. We do this because we see all of Christianity as one entity, one body, that we want to see healthy. In my own body if my foot is injured, or is infected I don’t just try to ignore it and tell my hands that my foot needs to get it together. No, I go to the doctor for a diagnosis and treat what’s causing the problem. When we lay out criticisms against the modern Church the purpose is to challenge The Church to recognize the areas where we aren’t healthy so we can begin the process of healing and recovery in all parts of the body. We are a small organization but do not confuse size with potential impact, The Berean Manifesto reaches a worldwide audience with listeners in fourteen different countries.
For Berean, we find ourselves in Acts 17:10-11, “ As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.  The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” In context when we read that the people of Berea “examined the Scriptures” we have to understand that this event occurred about two to four years before Paul wrote his letter to the Romans which is, with some debate, the first book of the New Testament to be written. So Matthew through Revelations wasn’t a thing yet and the scriptures they were examining would be what we know as the Old Testament; Genesis through Malachi, with the likely addition of The First Book of Enoch and possibly First and Second Maccabees. But, that’s beside the actual point here.
The Bereans, in contrast to their brothers 51 miles away in Thessalonica who basically ran Paul and Silas out of town, received the message they preached with eagerness. But they didn’t just take their word for it, they examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul and Silas told them about the Gospel of Christ was true. In certain circles of Christianity, not all, but some, questioning the teachings of a pastor or minister because you’re not sure if it lines up with the Bible is not only discouraged but labeled as rebellion and therefore witchcraft. But, here in Acts it’s called noble to question the validity of teaching until you find proof of it yourself. In 1 John 4:1 it says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Not every message you hear preached in every church, or on every T.V. show, radio program, or podcast is correct or backed up by sound doctrine. We’re warned about this in 2 Timothy 4:3, “ For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.” We are definitely in that time.
We adopted the name “Berean Manifesto” because we believe it is the responsibility of all Christians to test every teaching they sit under against the Bible to see if it is true. If you find that what you’ve been taught is contrary to scripture then you should write down what scriptures you’ve found that leads you to your conclusion and take it to the one who preached the message. We don’t all have to agree on every line of doctrine, but we should all be struggling to learn and grow in understanding together.
1 John 2:27 says, “the anointing you received from (Christ) remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” You don’t need anyone to teach you. So this is what we do at The Ekklesian House. I release a Berean Manifesto episode on Sunday night. Then the next Sunday evening, after everyone has had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday to read or listen to the current episode and examine the scriptures we meet together and talk over that teaching. Everyone has a voice in this conversation because as we read in 1 John 2:27, Christ’s anointing, that is the Holy Spirit, teaches us about all things.
What I’ve described here is the ideal of The Berean Manifesto, and I would love to say that most people take advantage of this opportunity to be Berean and use the advance release time to come together prepared, but more often than not that’s not what happens, and with most people probably never will. It’s all good though, people have busy lives, and despite ourselves and our busy lives, we have great conversations where, for the most part, we learn and grow and lift each other up, everyone ministering to one another. If you’re local to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and want to join us on Sunday evenings you can get our time and location off of our webpage, www.ekklesianhouse.com. Or, if that’s not your thing, or your not local, then we’re live on Periscope at around 6:30 Central Time and repost that video on Facebook after we meet. Alternatively, you could e-mail questions, disagreements, or complaints about my teachings, or pretty much anything, to firstname.lastname@example.org preferably by Saturday or by Sunday noon at the latest and I can bring those up during our discussion of the most recent episode that you can then tune into on the aforementioned Periscope or Facebook video.
In closing, with your physical body, if you’re not growing and getting better then your degrading and dying. Your spiritual life and the life of The Church as a whole is exactly the same. The prize of what Christ went through for us on the cross is The Church. For that Church to be healthy its members, you and I, first have to be healthy. So I challenge you to be Berean. Question everything you're taught, and especially the things you’ve always believed until you find them for yourself in the Bible.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”
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