What Is Bethlehem?

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Bethlehem is a vision of God.

Question: What are the documents that describe this vision?
Answer: There are at least four, and they are all available at the church.

  1. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (John Piper).
  2. What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism” (staff).
  3. “The Theological Distinctives of the Staff of Bethlehem Baptist Church” (Steve Roy).
  4. “Biblical Priorities: The Philosophy of Ministry” (second diagram) (Adopted by Deacons).

Question: In view of this vision of God, what is the purpose of Bethlehem’s existence?
Answer: The purpose is three-fold:

  1. To see and savor the vision.

    This implies an emphasis on earnest, God-centered, Bible-based worship that unites head and heart and goes hard after God in prayer.
  2. To study, instill, and support the vision.

    This implies Bible classes, the “20:20 Vision,” pastoral care, and ministries to students, youth and children.
  3. To send and spread the vision.

    This implies missions and evangelism, speaking and writing. It includes urban and social ministries, the apprenticeship program, the missionary nurture program, “90 by 90,” missions in the manse, etc.

Question: Can you put the essence of the vision in one phrase?
Answer: Yes: The supremacy of the glory of God in his own affections and ours.

Question: What does that mean?
Answer: To answer that I have dedicated my life in the company of this remarkable church.

A servant of the vision,

Pastor John