I’ve heard about it (Bible Study Fellowships) for a long time now (close to 4 years). Some excerpts from the originating website reads:
What began as a desire of a small group of women to deepen their faith through a weekly Bible study more than 50 years ago, is now an international movement of people … all with that same desire.
A. Wetherell Johnson led that first Bible study … and the organization that grew from it. In fact, in its 50-year history, BSF has had just three leaders: Miss Johnson, Rosemary Jensen, and current director Jean Nystrand. After relocating from Southern California to Oakland in 1958, BSF’s headquarters eventually landed in San Antonio, Texas, where it has been since 1980.
An active board of directors helps shape the spiritual and organizational direction of BSF. A small, committed staff provides day-to-day operational leadership, while volunteers from near and far help accomplish key everyday tasks.
While keeping its focus and commitment on teaching the Bible, BSF has grown from a single living room to church meeting places around the world.
In all, there are nearly 1,000 BSF classes with 200,000 class members in more than 30 nations across six continents! Nearly 800 of the classes are held in the U.S.
The Bible Study Fellowship experience is more than a class. It is a daily opportunity to interact with the text of the Bible. From the first class, BSF has used a four-fold method to help people better understand the context and applications of what they are studying.
Good things about it (as is related to me, and having analysed it, come to conclusion):
- Learning from the Bible. The Word of God is open up.
- Teaching is given.
- Fellowship of believers (having a sense of a wider ‘professing Christian’ circle)
My other thoughts:
It is truly a telling sign when a church member goes elsewhere for spiritual food. Argument about the catholicity of church aside (which does not have a valid point here), it shows how undependable the ‘shepherds’ of the church has not dispensed their duties as the Chief Shepherd has mandated of the leaders. Sad scenario indeed.
The inevitable effect is the church authoritical structure (rule by elders) is looked down or at best, weakened. Where there is food, there is submission, is something that Jesus Himself castigated the people after the feeding of the thousands in the Gospel of John. You cannot but allow such thinking to creep in, especially being immersed in an inter-denomination structure (which is unbiblical of itself). A good example is the participation; professing Christians are merely that… profession. Who is there to discipline? What scope of disciplining is allowed? At the end, you are either submissive to your own church elders or you are submissive to this BSF structure. And biblically, it should be one. The church you are attached to.
Yes, there should not be nomadic Christians (unless your job calls you to that). But that is not what I’m addressing this time in this post.
I would applaud this for reaching out to non-believers. But for believers, I would not look highly on its benefits, unless you are in a ‘useless’ church. But then, if you are in a place that is deprived of spiritual food… why are you there then? Does the God of bible ask you to remain where His Word is not taught? Self imposed spiritual hunger is not glorifying.
Besides, diversified loyalty in spiritual matters really are but the first fruits of a diversed loyalty of our purpose of life. We all have to take heed on this things.
You might be wondering then; what is the alternative if I am in such a situation, where my church does not give me solid food, and BSF (or something similar) seems so much better? What if I really want to honor God in upholding the church as the ordained institution for christian assembly and yet want to have good spiritual food to keep me going in this race of life?
If you do, write a comment, and I’ll reply then. 🙂 Why go to the answer, unless someone really wants to know.