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Category Archives: doctrine

DocDEVOS: Ten-Minute Devotionals on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith #2

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Friends:  These are devotionals from a book I had published way back in 2002.  DocDEVOS is out of print (although you can pick up a copy of it for a song on Amazon.com).  I plan on reprinting these short articles on this blog.  My dream is to produce a year-long DocDEVOS that covers all ten areas of Christian faith.  And have publishers chase me down, throwing gobs of money at me (just kidding).

Section One: First Things First
“A Faith That Forms”

If “faith” refers to the content of truth which God has given us, then Christian growth comes as we learn — and put into practice — what His Word teaches

Faith is not something one “loses”; we merely cease to shape our lives by it. (George Bernanos)

The atheistic German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made the following surly remark to some Christians one day:  “If you want me to believe in your Redeemer, then you’ve got to look a lot more redeemed.”

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

The Knowledge Nugget:
A pastor ran into a former church member on the street one day. “How are things going, Tom?”, the pastor asked.  “Well, Reverend, things couldn’t be worse!  I lost my job last week, the bank is repossessing my car, and my mother-in-law just moved into our basement.  It’s enough to make a man lose his religion!” “Sorry to hear of your troubles, Tom,” said the pastor.  “But it seems to me that it’s enough to make a man use his religion!”

It’s commonly said that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you — but is that really true?  If we don’t know that God is everywhere, the resulting loneliness could cripple our Christian lives.  If we know little about the doctrine of God’s goodness, then we may struggle for years, afraid to surrender ourselves completely to Him.  The doctrines of the Christian faith should not only inform us of what we need to know, but should also form us into the people we should be.

Ignorance of the truths of biblical Christianity hinders growth in godliness.  While it is quite possible to know the facts of the Christian faith but remain unchanged, the normal Christian life is one in which God uses His truth to transform us. What we believe should affect how we behave.

Real Life Says . . .
“Churches are full of hypocrites!”  How many times have you heard someone say that?  I know one pastor who responds, “I know exactly what you mean.  But our church is big enough for one more!  Why don’t you come join us?”  That may not be the best way to attract seekers to Christ, but it illustrates the fact that all of us probably believe far more than we behave.
Screenshot 2015-11-24 14.59.05My parents came to know Christ through the ministry of evangelist Leighton Ford.  He once stated, “God loves you enough to accept you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.”  The first half of his statement illustrates salvation: We do not clean up our lives to get saved; God takes us as we are.  But the second half of Ford’s statement is talking about growth in the Christian life.  God loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are spiritually.

But how does He shape and remold us into the image of Christ?  Romans 12:2 tells us, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The mind is renewed by truth — and the Word of God, the Bible, is the truth we need if we want to be renewed.  Whether we really believe the truths of God’s Word will be revealed by the Christlike changes that take place in our lives.

The story is told of a band of explorers in Africa who hired some villagers to help them in their journey through the jungle.  The group set out and pushed on without stopping for several days.  Finally the tribesmen sat down, refusing to go any further.  When asked why they were stopping, the eldest among them said, “We’ve been going too fast.  We must pause and wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”  Perhaps we need to pause and wait for our behavior to catch up to our belief.

But Lord . . .
Lord, forgive my arrogance in thinking that I know all I need to know, believe all I need to believe and practice all I ought to practice.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

To Ponder . . .
“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” (Max De Pree)

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2016 in doctrine

 

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Time for a Great Quote! (Dorothy Sayers on Jesus)

“We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 6.20.08 AMpreachers insist too much upon doctrine — ‘dull dogma,’ as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man — and the dogma is the drama. . . . This is the dogma we find so dull — this terrifying drama which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore — on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” (Dorothy Sayers)

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2015 in doctrine

 

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“If the South is the Bible belt . . .”

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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in doctrine

 

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“WORKING OUT YOUR OWN FAITH: FIRST THINGS FIRST!” (Section 3)

Friends:

I am teaching an undergrad theology course this  Fall semester and I’m using five theological Workbooks which my students will fill in.  I’m referring to these Workbooks as “retro,” because they are in a lay-flat format and the questions will be answered in the Workbook with pen or pencil.

I thought you might find this first Workbook interesting.  The topic, “First Things First,” refers to the introductory issues in theology which must be considered before diving into the doctrine of the Bible, or the doctrine of God, etc.

What I will seek to do over the next few weeks is provide several of the 50 questions which make up this first workbook.

The Workbooks are designed to be used by those who are not students in my class, so they may be purchased here:

SECTION #3: THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCTRINE!

We can easily fall into the thinking of our culture that all beliefs are really merely personal opinions and that none are more valid or true than another. Our fundamental convictions guide us in our daily decisions and priorities, don’t they? Solid thinking is vital for us to keep us from falling into something other than biblical Christianity. Let’s talk about some of these issues:

14. List out the four priorities of the Early Church as found in Acts 2:42. Note the 1st priority! Why do you think evangelism and missions are not in this list (read the rest of Acts 2)?

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15. One of the best sermons I’ve ever heard is John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life!” For extra credit please listen to that sermon (the audio is found on our website and the video is on my blog at http://tinyurl.com/7vfgt57). Take a few notes on that sermon below:

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16. Some argue that BELIEF is nothing other than merely holding a personal

opinion. Survey the gospel of John and write out your definition of FAITH or BELIEF below (give the references in John which lead to your definition(s):

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17. Someone named John Gardner once wrote: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” For extra credit, listen to — and take notes on — the message by Al Mohler on THINKING found at: http://tinyurl.com/869nr67 or at desiringgod.org or on our website.

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18. In that message on thinking, Albert Mohler referred to something called “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Read the following Wikipedia article and write out your understanding of what is meant by this term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism

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How do we Christians become theologically lazy? Name three practical steps that we can take to overcome doctrinal laziness:


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What have we seen in these six questions? We’ve seen that the early church devoted itself to the Apostles’ teaching, so that evangelism and missions were natural outcomes of believing the truths of God. We’ve learned from Piper’s sermon that the believer in Jesus can waste his or her life (see I Cor. 3:15 in this regard). Belief or faith, as used in the Gospel of John, means far more than holding a correct opinion. Are Christians guilty of moralistic therapeutic deism? It would sometimes seem so. If we rise to Albert Mohler’s challenge to think biblically, we will not be theologically lazy. In that regard, our last question in this section is . . .

If we are to love God with our minds, we will be challenged by an unbelieving world at every point. Do you presently have a relationship with a non-believer who challenges your faith intellectually? _______ (yes or no). If no, will you begin to pray for God to give you such a friend? ______ (yes or no)

 

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HERESY?

Three of these four articles, friends, have already been published in the Emmaus Journal.  The fourth is due to be published soon.

In these articles I deal with figures like Origen, Carlton Pearson, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and others who have deviated from the Christian faith.

Please click on the links below to read these articles.

The first article is entitled:  “Whatever Happened to Heresy” and may be found here:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HERESY_ ARTICLE #1 CIU pdf.

The second article is entitled: “Whatever Happened to Heresy?” “Heroes or Heretics? — Two Classic Examples” and may be found here:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HERESY_ ARTICLE #2 CIU pdf

The third article is entitled:  “A Biblical Approach in Dealing with Heretics” and is found here:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HERESY_ ARTICLE #3 pdf

The fourth article is entitled:  “Help!  One of My Friends and Some of His Friends Seem to Be, How Shall I Say It?, Uh, Heretics!” and is found here:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HERESY_ ARTICLE #4 – word pdf

Comments are always welcome!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in doctrine, heresy

 

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