The man---a combination of lively intelligence, subtle humor, keen insight into people, gentleness of spirit plus an aggressive attitude of "Let's get the job done."
The pastor---an engineer by training with thirteen years of experience in steel fabricating prior to an equal number of years as an associate pastor at Peninsula Bible Church. His impact on PBC has been greatest in expository Bible teaching to adult groups, scriptural marriage counseling, home Bible class development, and church government.
The believer---an overwhelming belief that Christ will be head of his church and head of each believer if only we allow him opportunity; a quiet unshakable confidence in Christ's power to live in and through each member of his Body. An acceptance of responsibility as an elder and pastoral spiritual leader which is based on total commitment that the ministry of the church is to be carried out by each believer.
The husband and father---a successful husband of thirty-seven years and father of twin sons. A compassionate neighbor and father figure to many youngsters and young adults who prize highly their friendship with Bob Smith.
I'd like to dedicate this book to the two whose love makes life so great
for me: the Lord Jesus, who knows all about me and loves me anyway; and
my darling wife, Pearl, who knows more about me than anyone and still loves
me---with the same faithfulness and constancy of commitment as the Lord
My fervent hope is that my response to both the Lord and Pearl will contribute to the fulfillment of their own hearts' desire.
I am deeply indebted to my fellow pastors and workers in the church we
jointly serve, for all I have learned through them of the truth of God both
by what they teach and how they walk. I am no less grateful to a wonderfully
open-hearted board of elders, whose response of faith to the directives
of the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, has made possible
the recording of his activities in our midst.
Special thanks are due my dear friend, Dr. Donald Rhodes, whose encouragement moved me to action.
Knowing something of the heartbeat of all these, I'm sure they would join me in dedicating this effort to all the dear people of God who comprise the church, and to the One whose heart longs for the complete fulfillment and enjoyment of all he bought and paid for in his redeeming grace.
". . . has made him head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:22-23).
Every generation must wage its own unique theological battles. The sediment in the muddy waters of the 1970s settles into the issues of the doctrine of the church. Men and women---young people in particular---are spitting out the tasteless, lukewarm experience of the church to which they have been exposed. But the question nags, are they rejecting the church as designed by Christ or are they repudiating the church as denigrated by men? Perhaps we have offered them a caricature of the real thing. They may be rejecting the wrong item.
Resurrection is difficult in any realm. But Pastor Robert Smith dares to believe that these bones can live again when infused with the power and life of the risen Head of the church, Jesus Christ.
Bob Smith is no armchair theorist. He has been in the ball game. Since its inception, I have been privileged to see Peninsula Bible Church and this committed servant up close. I have watched him in the superb teamwork of that fellowship hammer out his concepts on the anvil of personal involvement. His concepts have been tested in the laboratory of reality experience.
Few men have earned the high respect of his peers and colleagues as has Robert Smith. He is a producer and above all a man of God. With clarity and simplicity, true to his personality, he has answered the who-when-what-why-where of his subject. Further, with his characteristic light touch, he has spelled out the all-important how in realistic, contemporary, but intensely biblical terms.
The book is neither pedantic nor blandly academic. Rather, it moves with informational and motivational dynamic. It will provoke a hundred questions in the reader's mind. In the final analysis, the test of a book like this is not what it does for you, but what you do with it.
One of the highest peaks is the final chapter where letters are addressed to twentieth century churches, such as the "Church at Bible City" and "The First Right Wing Church." Here remarkably penetrating and incisive questions are posed. The reader cannot pass by without thinking---long and hard.
It has been my high privilege to know Bob Smith personally for many years, and I commend his writing to you. I have long been impatient for him to express his excellent ideas in print. His hesitancy has been admirable, because he did not want to shoot from the lip. With nourishing experience behind him, he has now ministered significantly to the Body by sharing what God has shared with him. We are all the beneficiaries.
Howard G. Hendricks
Professor of Christian Education
Dallas Theological Seminary 1974
There is dynamic and exciting action in the new breed of young Christians.
When I contrast their contagious enthusiasm with the dull and dispirited
state of the church in general, my heart says there ought to be a better
way than we've been going. And when I add to that the sad picture of the
Lord Jesus being robbed of his inheritance in the saints I sense someone
ought to be speaking out loud and clear on the church in terms of our
Lord's opera-tional scheme-the biblical pattern. Somehow the Lord got the
message across to me, "How about you?" So here goes!
You may find areas of disagreement with my statements, and that is certainly your privilege-but please be open to consider whether you are arguing with me or with the Lord, will you? For I have made every effort to convey only what is sustainable on biblical grounds and demonstrable in practical experience; otherwise I'm convinced this book would have no real value. I have no motive other than to contribute to the strengthening and building of Christ's church.
I am not so naive as to think I have the last word on how the church should function, but neither do I think that most of us have even begun to understand and operate on the basis of the biblical information. My hope is to be able to alert all of us to the need for reexamining what the Lord has to say to the church so that somehow between us we can complete the picture drawn in vivid detail in the New Testament. You can write the sequel---let us hope in the form of living letters spelled out in live churches, where the Lord of the church is enjoying the full use of his Living Body.
Right now I see an arthritic church, with joints all swollen and deformed, causing the Body (including the Head) to hurt.
Would you seek with me a cure for this debilitating and painful disease?
Copyright © 1975 Discovery Publishing, a ministry of Peninsula Bible Church. This data file is the sole property of Discovery Publishing, a ministry of Peninsula Bible Church. It may be copied only in its entirety for circulation freely without charge. All copies of this data file must contain the above copyright notice. This data file may not be copied in part, edited, revised, copied for resale or incorporated in any commercial publications, recordings, broadcasts, performances, displays or other products offered for sale, without the written permission of Discovery Publishing. Requests for permission should be made in writing and addressed to Discovery Publishing, 3505 Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto, CA. 94306-3695.