Monday, April 15, 2013
Christians: focus your attention!
Earlier this week, I had an interesting conversation, diagnosing and discussing pressing areas of belief or practise, where Christians need to focus attention unto the future, for the sake of the church. That conversation is what spurred this quick post. In no particular order, five of my top "look here's" would be:
1. The need for a biblical understanding of saving faith, that sees trust in Christ as the crowing element of saving faith. This is crucial for everything from safeguarding against every works gospel imagined to having assurance of salvation. Those who believe put no confidence in what they have done, but trust in Jesus Christ (who lived, died, was buried, has risen and will return) alone to save them a sinner, resting solely upon (clinging to) Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and to be counted right before God. We who trust in Christ, that is collective, are a saved people through Jesus Christ.
2. The need to stand up for the historicity of the Old Testament - creation, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Garden of Eden, a literal Flood, a literal Exodus, etc. It is beyond me how anyone could read the New Testament alone and doubt any of these things are taught in the Bible. Suppression of the Scriptures to accommodate the world shows disdain for Christ's Lordship. Those who under the guise of being "thoughtful Christians" treat God's word no better than a medieval writing, turning the Bible into a theory to be critiqued, are demonstrably dangerous to other Christians and Christianity as a whole. I have never met anyone who has denied a literal Adam and Eve, while showing a love for God's word.
3. A proper view of the severity of sin the holiness of God, and to be more thankful. Justice = Christ did not become man and die on the cross at all - rather you are in hell right now under the wrath of an eternal and holy God who must punish sinners. Who God is and who we are before God is the antidote to the "this isn't fair", "how could God", "where is God" crowd. Be thankful He sends not only rain, but He even sent His Son! We ought promote a greater thankfulness to God for what we do have (and we have a lot to be thankful for), especially undeserved fellowship together as God's people in Jesus Christ, awaiting His return - our best life is not yet.
4. Acknowledgement that Christians are different. The greatest form of antinomianism I see today is the culture that promotes salvation in sin, rather than salvation from sin. Usually be making grave sins or lifestyles matters of Christian Liberty. Those who believe have turned from sin, to submit to the risen Christ as Lord. We are not saved as people who dwell in sin and are mastered by sin - we are new creations in Christ, who purpose to follow Him in duty and gratitude, serving Him awaiting His return - together, as a redeemed people.
5. The urgent need for proper education and accountability. Francis Schaeffer said, "Tell me what the world is saying today, and I'll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years." Theistic evolution? Separation of God and state? Homosexuality is natural? Gender identity? What is next? Welcome to the next generation of Christians, tossed around by atheistic education, where an increasing majority believe or tolerate all four. One century ago, would you believe me if I told you that theistic evolution would be the majority view in many once conservative denominations? We are seeing the same trend on those other issues. Christian children need to be trained to see Christianity as a worldview that actually interprets and assesses the world, they do not need to be trained to see Christianity as irrelevant to or being 'fixed' by the real world.
And "pastors" - please start taking the teaching qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 seriously. If you cannot teach the first five words of the Bible to your congregation, or teach them that God really did create a literal Adam and Eve as husband and wife, you are not "able to teach".