Tag Archives: theology

Five Truths You Need to Believe about . . . Faith!

Five Truths about . . . FAITH:
Everyone, to some extent, lives by faith. I read somewhere that a question was sent in to a newspaper answer-man: “How does an elevator work?” The answer-man responded, “An elevator is essentially a small room dangling over a very deep shaft, held up by thin cables that are maintained by building employees who have tremendous trouble just keeping all the toilets working.”

We blithely eat the sandwich prepared for us at Subway without asking about the artisan’s background or hygiene. We (usually not men) ask total strangers for directions when we’re lost. We trust our political leaders — sometimes. Everyone “walks by faith” in some sense.

Faith can refer to one’s belief and confidence in how one looks at life. Or faith can refer to the content of truth which God has revealed to us. It is this latter definition that we want to closely examine.

“The FAITH” is used in the Bible to refer to the truths that God has disclosed to us about Himself, His world, and our need of a Savior. And we are to defend that faith vigorously (Jude 3).

Five Issues about FAITH:

1. The SOURCE of our FAITH: Where do we get our beliefs? Some cite their own reason or their experience for what they believe. Others will say they believe what some church authority tells them to believe. But the CHRISTIAN FAITH is derived from God’s supernatural revelation to us in the 66 books of the Bible.

2. The STUDY of our FAITH: We are to study the truths — the doctrines — of the Christian faith as revealed in the 66 books of the Bible. If we want to study, for example, the glory of God and we begin at Genesis and work our way all the way through the book of Revelation, that is an approach called “biblical theology.” If we collect all the Scriptures about the glory of God and put them into logical categories, that is an approach called “systematic theology.” Both study methods are useful and focus upon the data of God’s Word.

3. The CHALLENGES to our FAITH: We must ask, “whatever happened to heresy?” The term “heresy” literally means “a choice.” Jehovah’s Witnesses are heretics because they choose to deny the deity of Christ (as well as other doctrines). We must be aware of false teaching in our time and culture in order to refute it and present God’s truth. [I’ve touched on the issue of reading “boiling books” here].

4. The IMPLICATIONS of our FAITH: The Christian “faith” (the content of truth that God has revealed to us) has been given to mature us, to make us more like Christ. Knowing the truths of God is not enough. They must transform us. Our priorities, worldview, daily choices, affections must be challenged and formed by the biblical beliefs we affirm.

5. The SHARING of our FAITH: We are not to keep our FAITH to ourselves. We are under the great commission mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28).


TODAY’S HOMEWORK: Ask someone who is a friend what they understand by the word “faith.” When asked, explain to them the idea that one’s “faith” is one’s worldview, how one looks at reality. Feel free to write out a comment below!

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Posted by on November 5, 2020 in beliefs


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Satire from the Babylon Bee: Where Do You Get Your Theology?

NASHVILLE, TN—A new LifeWay Research study released Wednesday confirmed that over 92% of Christians get all of their theology from cliches on bumper stickers.

The study found that most theological ideas held by American Christians are just cutesy sayings they saw on a bumper sticker one time. Researchers believe rather than reading books, listening to good sermons, and seeing what the Bible has to say, most believers now just read bumper stickers, nod, and say, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.”

“Whatever simplistic platitudes they happen to see on bumper stickers, Christian coffee mugs, and inspirational posters make up pretty much the entire American Christian theological diet,” study lead Jim Gardner said further stating that many Christians felt “good or very good” about their theology diet after reading a bumper sticker or two every day. “Yeah, Christians don’t study theology anymore. They read a bumper sticker and immediately believe it as gospel truth.”

Favorite doctrines of American Christians included the following:

Cleanliness is next to godliness
If it ain’t King James, it ain’t Bible
Jesus saves – everyone else rolls for damage
Love the casserole, hate the calories
God helps those who help themselves
God won’t give you more than you can handle
When God locks you in the trunk, he at least gives you a snorkel
Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship
God answers knee-mail
Hipster Jesus loved you before you were cool
Son-screen prevents sin-burn

At publishing time, LifeWay study representatives had confirmed that “Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly” was voted the favorite Bible verse of American Christians.

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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in satire


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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes! (Introduction)

Years ago I contacted the publisher of Calvin and Hobbes with a great idea. As a theologian, I suggested putting together a book of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons illustrating theological ideas. They sent me a form letter giving me permission to use two or three cartoons — at a cost! They obviously didn’t understand what I was wanting to do!

So, this new series of posts will feature a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon — and I will share a theological or biblical point or two.

Theology puts things in perspective! And perspective is what we need in our confused, self-absorbed, transient world!


Posted by on May 1, 2020 in theology


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Know WHAT, WHY, and IF You Believe (A Course in Basic Doctrine): First Things First!

Friends: I am developing a survey of Bible doctrine course I’m calling “Know WHAT, WHY and IF You Believe.” Here’s my first class video (which is just over 11 minutes’ long). I would really appreciate any feedback you care to give me!


Posted by on April 13, 2020 in doctrine


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Uploaded Video for My Kirkland Students — Part 2 Christology

Friends: Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the next few weeks. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! The second video is about 15 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.

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Posted by on April 2, 2020 in beliefs


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Uploaded Video on Christology for Kirkland Students – Part 1


Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the next few weeks. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! The first video is only 11 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.

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Posted by on April 1, 2020 in beliefs


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Time for a Great Quote! A.W. Tozer on Scripture and Theology! (“We should set our hearts to study theology.”)

“Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion. The secret of life is theological and the key to heaven as well. We learn with difficulty, forget easily and suffer many distractions. Therefore we should set our hearts to study theology. We should preach it from our pulpits, sing it in our hymns, teach it to our children and make it the subject of conversation when we meet with Christian friends.”

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Posted by on March 30, 2020 in theology


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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 10: The End Times

These posts were inspired by the late Paul Little’s books Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. Those are certainly worthwhile questions to ask. WHAT exactly do we believe as Jesus-followers? And WHY do we believe such things?

The question that intrigues me is this: DO we really believe the things we say we believe? The question is WHETHER or IF we truly believe. Belief in the Bible leads to life-change, priorities’ reordering, a recalibration of one’s goals and dreams. IF I truly believe the Bible and the Bible alone is God’s Word, I will spend significant time and energy pouring over its truths. IF I truly believe that Jesus is the only Savior — and that man is in desperate need of salvation — then I will strive to be a friend of sinners like Jesus was.

What about the “end times”?  What do Jesus-followers actually affirm concerning issues such as heaven, hell, the intermediate state (that time period between one’s death and one’s bodily resurrection), the Second Coming, and the Millennial Kingdom?

Jesus-followers disagree with each other on some of the specific details, such as the timing of the Second Coming vis-a-vis the tribulation. But all believers affirm that Jesus is coming back.

One of the great controversies today is the very idea of . . . hell. Will the God of the Bible actually separate “the wicked” (those who die without Christ) from Himself and the glories of heaven forever? I’ve blogged a lot about this issue — because I came to Christ out of a fear of God’s holy judgment. But that’s not the primary reason I believe in eternal lostness. The Bible is quite clear that there will an eternal bifurcation between “the righteous” and “the wicked.” Matthew 25 makes this clear, as do many other Scriptures.

Today’s Challenge: We have no idea how much time is left before God’s final judgment. Are you and I looking for opportunities to share the gospel with others — before it is eternally too late?

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Posted by on March 24, 2020 in beliefs


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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 7: The Church

IF – is a big word, though only two letters long. These posts have been inspired by the very helpful books of Paul Little: Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’re asking the question not about what or why we believe, but IF we indeed believe.

We have asked IF we truly believe what the Bible teaches about Truth, Sin, God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation. But WHAT do we believe about the CHURCH — and do really, really believe it?

Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He is only building one thing — His church. The writer Dorothy Sayers once said that “God underwent three great humiliations in his efforts to rescue the human race. The first was the Incarnation, when he took on the confines of a physical body. The second was the Cross, when he suffered the ignominy of public execution. The third humiliation is the church.”

How do we bring humiliation to the Lord? Let me suggest several attitudes that reflect a poor view of the church:

(1) “I’ll serve — but only if I have the time. Afterall, don’t we pay the pastor and the staff to do the work around here?”

(2) “I really don’t care for the music. Maybe we should start looking for another church.”

(3)  “You want me to witness to my friends?! But what if they won’t be my friends anymore?”The early church in the book of Acts practiced four priorities: They worked hard at teaching the doctrines of the faith. Truth mattered to them. They practiced genuine fellowship with one another. They recognized the fact that when Jesus saved them, He put them in a Body. They worshiped together. They knew that their God was worthy of praise and adoration — and so they gave it willingly. They actually prayed with and for one another.

Here are a few questions to consider IF you and I really believe in the CHURCH:

1. How high a priority does your church give to truth? To the preaching and teaching of God’s Word?

2. How dependent are you and I on other believers — for their encouragement, service, fellowship?

3. When you or I leave a “worship” service, is our breath taken away by what we have learned about our God?

4. Do people in your church or mine ever actually pray for each other? Do you see that happening in the foyer or the parking lot?

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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Uncategorized


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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 6: Salvation

Paul Little was an evangelist with the Billy Graham Association. He fell asleep at the wheel while driving to a Bible conference in Canada. The night before he died, he spoke with a friend of mine who asked him, “Paul, how are you doing? I know you are extremely busy.” Paul responded, “Jim, I feel like I’m in a revolving door and I can’t get out.” The next day he was with the Lord.

I tell that story to remind myself that life is brief and that we have to be careful not to over-extend ourselves. There is much work to be done in the Kingdom — but you and I don’t have to do it all!

As a theologian, I’m deeply invested in helping believers know WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it. But the question I can’t escape is IF I believe. What I mean is — I can say I believe many things, but does my life show that I truly believe?

What about the issue of salvation? Jesus-followers say they believe that their sins have been forgiven because of Christ’s work on the cross, that they are now at peace with God, and that Jesus is the only way a person can know they are going to heaven when they die. Do we REALLY believe those truths? If so, how should our lives reflect those beliefs in our behavior.

One of my favorite texts is Titus 2 where we read —

God’s grace does much more than save us. It teaches us how to live (both negatively and positively, v. 12); it teaches us how to wait (v. 13); and it teaches us how to do what is good (v. 14). IF I believe what the Bible says about SALVATION, my life ought to show God’s grace as I live a self-controlled, godly, patient, pure life.

The Challenge: Thank God today for your salvation. And ask Him to direct you today to reflect one of those qualities of living a SAVED life!

Note: I wrote a small booklet entitled Saved: Rescued by God, from God, and for God a while back. Free copy to any who ask!


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Posted by on March 16, 2020 in theology


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