Bethel Presbyterian Church is located at 19856 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg, VA 20175
Sunday Services: 9:45am Sunday School For Children and Adults 11:00am Morning Worship Service 12:45pm 2nd Sunday - Fellowship Dinner and Communion Service
Mission: Bethel Presbyterian Church exists to bring people closer to God and one another through the finished work of Jesus Christ. We meet each Sunday to worship together, and learn about our God through the teaching of the Scriptures. We wish to introduce others to Jesus Christ, and the hope God offers through him. We also exist to assist Christians in their spiritual growth by providing clear teaching, prayer, counseling and other resources. We also believe in protecting our heritage and religious liberty by encouraging the application of biblical principles to all spheres of our life and culture. In the application of those principles, Bethel Church extends a caring hand into our local community through various ministries. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." This Great Commission is given on Christ's authority. Since Christ's dominion is universal, the gospel must go to the whole world. Such a task begins with each individual, in their own sphere of influence among family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. At Bethel Church, we seek to equip the saints to communicate what they come to know to others with love. Our denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, seeks to communicate our message throughout the world, both home in America through our Home Missions, and abroad through our Foreign Missions. The Gospel is wonderful news for all men to hear, to reconcile their broken relationship with God, to be forgiven of their sins, and live a righteous life devoted to pleasing our creator. Bethel Church is part of the Mid-Atlantic Presbytery.
Bethel Presbyterian Church continues to worship via livestream only. Join us at 11 a.m. online at bethelpres.com
OPC Disaster Response
"The coronavirus pandemic may be the biggest call to action for OPC deacons in most of our lifetimes. This pandemic is certainly a disaster! But, it’s a special kind of disaster in several ways: it is characterized more by an invisible wave of fear and sickness than by a visible fire, rain, or earthquake; it is local, regional, national, and even global; the impact of this disaster is physical (sickness, even to the point of death), spiritual (fear of the unknown, especially the fear of death), and financial (lost jobs and incomes).
Ministry of Mercy
What better time for an active, even proactive, ministry of mercy? In one of the most comfortable nations in the world, deacons in our churches are rarely on the front lines of disaster. Until now! The ministry to “shut-ins” has gone from a ministry to a few individuals to a ministry to the whole church in just a few weeks. Deacons in most churches are actively seeking to assist the elderly and most vulnerable with groceries, enabling them to shelter in place without risking exposure to this virus that is so threatening to their health and well-being. Deacons are also making preparations for caring for those who may contract COVID-19 and need to receive care without infecting others. Deacons are planning for the impact of lost income on their families and looking for ways to bring financial assistance.
Further, many deacons have been called to action to assist with the logistics of online worship services and the collecting and receipting of the gifts of God’s people."
Read more in the May 2020 issue of "New Horizons": https://opc.org/new_horizons/NH2020/NH2020May.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0GKM4JJr2DEbFYQb8vGGpAFUq1vt1XgA5HfZ40KzAT0y_npdzX3w194Qw
Bethel is preparing to resume worship at the building when the stay-at-home order is lifted in Northern Virginia, when we can prepare the building to provide for distancing, and when we are able to protect the vulnerable members of the congregation. Look for updates at the end of May.
bethelpres.com We will return to Bethel while protecting our more vulnerable members. Watch for specific updates about opening.
bethelpres.com The world is not reeling out of control. It is still in control of the God who sent his Son to die for us
"Though sundered far, by faith they meet around one common mercy seat." Worshiping May 3 via live stream.
A video message from Bethel Presbyterian Church.
bethelpres.com I'm not worried about Covid-19 so why should I wear a mask?
Having Jesus as King means that Christians submit to his rule, which rule is found in his Word, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Yet American theological trends over particularly the last forty years have caused the DNA of American Christianity to mutate cancerously, as though the whole of Christ’s law were summed up in one word: “Do as you please.”
bethelpres.com Having Jesus as King means that Christians submit to his rule, which rule is found in his Word, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Yet American theological trends over particularly the last forty years have caused the DNA of American Christianity to mutate cancerously, as though the whole
Bethel is connecting online during coronavirus closures. In addition to worship which has been live streaming since March 15, a Sunday school class and an afternoon small group met online today.
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27) A mid-week video meditation.
Generosity spans the globe. Our denomination tried to assist an overseas church as it experienced the early effects of the pandemic. Now as the virus spreads rapidly in the United States, another church sent surgical masks here. This week Bethel gave a portion of them to people serving on the front lines including the Leesburg Police Department and Tree of Life Ministries. We maintained social distancing with doorstep pickup.
HE IS RISEN!
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bethelpres.com Join in worshiping the God of all comfort.
bethelpres.com Practical things that you can do in this time
bethelpres.com At best, such a virtual sacrament is sentimental. At worst it is superstitious.
"He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble." See a video to encourage you and our neighbors.
From our Puritan forebears:
May we omit church assemblies on the Lord's Day, if the magistrate forbid them?
If the magistrate for a greater good, (as the common safety,) forbid church-assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him. 1. Because positive duties give place to those great natural duties which are their end: so Christ justified himself and his disciples’ violation of the external rest of the sabbath. “For the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” 2. Because affirmatives bind not ‘ad semper,’ and out-of-season duties become sins.3. Because one Lord’s day or assembly is not to be preferred before many, which by the omission of that one are like to be obtained.
- Richard Baxter, non-conformist, non-separatist minister of All Saints Church, Kidderminster.
Sunday, join us online for worship at Bethelpres.com
For encouragement as we end this week, click below to find a video about online worship. The page also offers articles for additional perspective during this trying time.
bethelpres.com Bethel offers community and hope during the coronavirus.
We will worship online again this week, but we truly gather before God. Worship Him with all your heart!
Pastor Chip Hammond tells us about the people involved in worship. During this time of having the church closed to the public, and only live streaming, it is...
Join us for worship over the internet. Bethel will live stream at 11 a.m. Sunday at Bethelpres.com
Here's a message until then:
Stress abounds with people's health and lives at risk. Our pastor, Chip Hammond, has a message of hope.
Character is in some ways revealed in the fires of adversity. But character can also be forged in those fires. People who have never been particularly brave, or wise, or truly helpful to others can be formed to do so in the crucible of exigent circumstances. C.S. Lewis observed, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
When my children were all living at home, we liked to watch my sons’ favorite show together as a family, Forged in Fire. The premise of the show is that bladesmiths are given the challenge of forging knives within the strictures of certain techniques, under compressed time constraints, often with unfamiliar steel, and sometimes with limitations on the tools they can use. These knives, once completed, are put through the most brutal tests of strength, sharpness and edge retention. All the individual bladesmith’s education, acquired skill, and practical knowledge of the craft are what is really being tested. Their own weakness or strength is revealed in the weakness or strength of what they produce. Sometimes their blades utterly fail and break apart. Failure may be due to weakness in their education and knowledge; they simply didn’t know the characteristics of the particular steel they had to work with, or the technique they were called upon to use.
We are now in the midst of a global pandemic and ensuing crisis, the likes of which none of us living have ever seen. Despite what politicians and pundits assured us of early on, it is not the flu. Italy is a country of 60,000,000 people. In all of 2019 Italy reported a diagnosed 2,000,000 cases of the seasonal flu with a recorded 250 deaths resulting. The first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in Italy on January 31, 2020. As of this writing (less than two months later), Italy is reporting 35,713 cases with 2,978 deaths.
Why was the disease not taken more seriously before this?
The “kings of the earth” were slow in responding to it for fear of harming their economies. Love of neighbor is a specifically Christian virtue. Jesus, who affirmed that we are to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39) and even our enemies (Matthew 5:44) as the evidence of loving God told us, “You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other or despise one and cling to the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). The kings of the earth weighed “acceptable casualties” against what effect taking mitigation measures would have on their economies. Some will think me very cynical, but I suspect that what has caused Italy to act as drastically as it has in recent days is simply that they ran the numbers. If as many people contract Covid-19 in 2020 as contracted the flu in 2019 and the numbers hold, it will mean the death of 1,700,000 people, or about 3 percent of their total population in a country with an already-declining population. Their economy will recover more quickly from taking mitigation measures than it will from losing 3 percent of their population. Well did Paul tell us that “The love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6:10).
The second reason we responded to it slowly here at home is American idolatry. We are invincible. We are exceptional. We have the best medical system in the world. We’ve never seen the spread of a disease that could bring us to our knees. Rather than receiving medical science and technology as a blessing and tool that God has given for our good, we’ve bowed down to it as a god. A convenient god, because we control it (unlike the Living and True God, who is not controllable. As Lewis’ character Mr. Beaver said to Lucy, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.”). And because we control it, we think we can save ourselves. “We don’t need to alter our behavior or change a thing. Our wage-earning economic engine will purr along just fine as the god of our exceptionalism, invincibility and medical science quietly, unobtrusively and without notice goes about its business of saving us.”
And so, we’ve blithely gone about our business. But now the cat is out of the bag. Johns Hopkins is keeping an updated map of the spread of the pandemic and the number of cases, deaths, and recoveries by country. The realization has dawned on the kings of the earth that without mitigation they will exceed their calculations for “acceptable casualties.” Short-term harm to the global economy will be nothing compared to the permanent harm to the global economy if this is allowed to go unchecked until medical science can come up with a viable treatment. The numbers are sobering, like nothing any of us living today have ever seen.
How should we respond to this? Historically, Christians have often led the way in being the blessing that society needed at its moments of crisis. But a quick perusal of the internet reveals that many American Evangelical Christians have become a part of the problem.
I have for a long time sounded the alarm regarding modern American Evangelicalism, particularly in recent years as it has drifted further and further from the teaching of historical Christianity and has radically reinterpreted the Bible in ways that the spiritual forbears from whom they inherited the Christian faith would not recognize. I’ve been thought a “snob” when I’ve decried the inadequacy of pastors receiving their theological degrees from cut-rate unaccredited theological schools that did not require them to learn Greek and Hebrew or read primary sources; that taught them that what they “strongly felt” was the infallible guidance of Holy Spirit, and what they and ten of their contemporary friends thought about the teaching of this or that passage of Scripture, particularly if they could find it supported anywhere by a contemporary writer, was the unquestionable, infallible truth (a situation that Lewis called “chronological snobbery”).
If we think of pastors as bladesmiths, and what they produce over their years of teaching in the lives of people as the blades, we see them being tested now in a most brutal test. And there is a lot of failure.
Look on the internet and you will see professed Christian people posting things like “It’s no worse than the flu,” “It’s a hoax and conspiracy,” “I’m not afraid of a virus (to justify living as they always have),” and encouraging wanton reckless living in the face of it as “Christian courage” and “confidence in the Lord.” Drill to the heart of it and you’ll uncover the ugly reasons for it – parents who don’t really like their kids that much and don’t want them at home, love and idolatry of money, or belief in the god of our own invincibility and exceptionalism, and the worship of our own convenience and comfort. Then there are the “Christian” hoarders, who saw the danger a little earlier than the rest and got to the store early to buy all the toilet paper they’ll ever need for the next hundred years, leaving their neighbors to figure out alternatives for today.
As I see these kinds of things coming from those professing to be Christians, I can only conclude that this highlights the failure of modern Evangelicalism with its irreverent, comfort-focused worship, idolatrous arrogant invincibility, do-as-I-please-under-the-guise-of-following-God attitude, all of it stemming from a woeful lack of knowledge of the Scriptures in the original languages (several years ago a general invitation went out to every pastor in the county who either never had, or who might like to take a refresher in New Testament Greek. A “reply all” came from the pastor of one of the larger churches, urging those who had received the email not to “waste their time” and instead focus on things that were “actually useful for ministry”), and the history of theology and of the Church.
Christians in churches which stand in solidarity with the historic church through the ages will know better, and if that knowledge has taken root, will live better. Let us be such Christians. The ability to apply the appropriate principles of Scripture to the right situation is the biblical definition of wisdom. The inability to apply biblical principles, or applying the wrong principles to a situation, is the biblical definition of folly and foolishness.
To the hoarders: read Luke 12:16-21, Matthew 6:19-34. And don’t think you can say, “I’m buying so I can share with others.” You are buying more than you need so you can be sure that you have enough for yourself, and are willing to “graciously” dole out any excess you may feel you have to others (that is, the others you choose to share with). Meantime, people are making unnecessary trips to the store and truck drivers are having to work longer hours increasing their exposure. Who made you the distributor of good gifts? You hoard because you think it will save your life. You fool; this very night your life might be required of you. Do you think God doesn’t see?
To those who say, “I’m not afraid of Coronavirus; it’s not going to affect how I live my life,” read Philippians 2:3-4. Many of our English translations blunt the force of the text with words like, “Do not look merely to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.” The Greek text has no hint of “merely.” The passage says, “Don’t look to your own interests, but to the interest of others.” Washing your hands, practicing good cough, sneeze and sickness etiquette, and engaging in this period of extreme social distancing is not about “being afraid of the Coronavirus.” It’s about loving your neighbor, which includes not only the people who live next door, but those who live in your own house.
It’s about not spreading the disease and killing the most vulnerable among us. I read a heart-breaking account from one Italian doctor who told of a family who despite knowing the risks took their young children to see their grandparents. Mercifully, this disease seems to manifest most mildly in the youngest and becomes more dangerous with every decade of age. But children are, in the words of one doctor, “crazy carriers” of it, and these children were. The grandparents both caught the disease and died. The doctor said, “I hope those children never come to the realization that they killed their grandparents.” I hope so too. It was not their fault, they were brought by their parents, But I do hope the full enormity and weight of the deaths of the parents fall upon the consciences of the parents, and I hope they repent of their evil and run to Jesus Christ to find forgiveness of their sin and be reconciled to God.
It’s not about “not being afraid of the Coronavirus.” Its about being there to care for your family. Even if you get sick and recover after 3-8 weeks, who will take care of your children in the meantime? Who else relies on you? It’s not about looking out for your own interests, but the interests of others.
It’s not about “not being afraid of the Coronavirus.” It’s about the fact that if you get sick enough from it to get into respiratory distress you will go to the hospital. And despite your extreme selfishness, doctors and nurses at risk to themselves will selflessly treat you. Some of these doctors and nurses will not know God, and you will become a living byword and proverb. Your selfish, anti-Christian attitude and actions (Christian though you may profess to be) will be met with the selfless, more Christlike attitude of those who may not even know Christ.
It’s not about “I’m not afraid to die.” If you deliberately court death, you had better seriously consider what your relationship to God is. In the second century Clement of Alexandria wrote, “We censure also those who leap into death (for these do not belong to us, but share the name only), who hurry through hatred of the creator to hand themselves over, these wretches who desire to die. We say that these, even though they are punished publicly, expel themselves without being martyrs. For they do not maintain the mark of faithful martyrdom. Not knowing the living God, they give themselves to death in vain, just as the gymnosophists of the Indians to foolish fire.”
It’s not about “trusting God,” but about being wise and not a fool. In the book of Proverbs, we find what appear to be contradictory principles (Proverbs 26:4-5, “don’t answer a fool according to his folly” and “answer a fool according to his folly”). Wisdom is in knowing which principle to apply to which situation. Do not be taken in by those who quote, “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1) to this situation. The proper proverb to apply here is, “A prudent man sees danger coming and hides himself, but the fool keeps going and suffers for it” (Proverbs 22:3).
In the book of Proverbs there are four Hebrew words that get flattened in English translation as “fool”: peti, kesil, ‘iuel, and nabal. The first of these (peti) refers simply to someone who is naïve, and therefore is reachable with wisdom. The second word (kesil) indicates a more serious condition but is often applied to the young who have a sophomoric (lit. a “wise fool”) attitude and yet is a person for whom there is hope. By the third designation hope starts to disappear. ‘Iuel does not merely indicate naivety, but an arrogant “no one can correct me” attitude and indicates moral deficiency. The last word (nabal) indicates one who is a complete moral and mental failure, who scoffs at correction, who may even invoke the Bible but is obstinate in misapplying it and will not be reasoned with.
Conspiracy theorists and “hoaxers” are those who have “done their own research,” and have reached a conclusion, and all the world’s epidemiologists, infectious disease doctors, attending physicians and nurses – including the Christians among them sounding the alarm – are all in on the conspiracy. These people are without hope, except by a miracle of awakening imparted by God, and for this we can only pray.
“Answer a fool (kesil) according to his folly (from ‘iuel), or he will be wise in his own eyes.” In some cases, the kesil can be delivered out of becoming an ‘ieul or worse. “Do not answer a fool (kesil) according to his folly or you will be like him.” If the kesil is committed to the path of folly, engaging with him will just drag you down it as well. You can’t reason with an unreasonable person. Wisdom is in discerning which kind of person you are dealing with, and so which proverb to apply.
The Church has before it an unprecedented opportunity to lead the way in wisdom, and in the days to come to demonstrate to those around us compassion and self-sacrificing love as the situation escalates. We have opportunity to testify to the truth of God’s Word that we can confidently seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness because God knows our physical needs and will provide for them. We can be different than the world around us; not different in an arrogant, out-of-touch way, but different in a way that will testify to the words we will have opportunity to share about the love of God in Jesus Christ. Let us redeem the time.
We are being forged in the fire of adversity. We are working with unfamiliar steel, with the tools we have at hand, under compressed time. Let us show our “metal."
bethelpres.com Character is in some ways revealed in the fires of adversity. But character can also be forged in those fires.
|Wednesday||09:00 - 17:00|
|Sunday||09:30 - 14:15|
Pastor Robert Butler First Lady Karen Butler
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