Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to post here. Recently through a dear friend and my wife, along with some serious soul-searching (as many call it) and some intensive Bible Study, the Lord, Jesus Christ impressed upon me that I was getting off track and needed to get back to where He wanted me to be. I have to confess that I allowed some (perhaps many) of my priorities to overtake and even replace the Lord’s plan for my life, my family and even my ministry. As I would simply put it, I had to hit the ‘reset’ button and return control of my priorities to the Lord.
There have been a lot of things happening, certainly not only with me, but with everything around us. Not only my immediate family, community and church, but our nation and the world as a whole. In addition to an increased diet of God’s word, the Bible, I’ve decided that in place of electronic sources of information I needed to get back to reading some good, old-fashioned books. Some books that I’ve had for some time, but never seemed to have the time to read. Between reading the scriptures, good books, more time to reflect and refocus on my family and other things, I’ve been wondering, where do I start after the ‘reset’?
I do my best to heed the admonition in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye ought to know how ye ought to answer every man.” With that thought in mind, I believe the most loving thing we can do as Christians is to loudly and boldy proclaim the truth. Whether that is the truth about the family, church, government (the three main institutions of society established by God) or the truth about ‘social’ or ‘political’ issues of our day. Abortion, homosexuality, now transgenderism, divorce, debt, euthanasia, the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, the ‘church’ is silent or intimidated by these very real issues clearly addressed in scripture. I’ve had one person write to me anonymously telling me, “Let’s not mix religion and politics!” I won’t dive into some of these issues today, but rather, I really wanted to address the ‘Church’ in America as a whole and especially those who claim the name of Christ, calling themselves ‘Christians.’ I have two questions and/or challenges for you. 1. Who are you following? and 2. What is your foundation?
In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church, he adressed this idea of dedication to who we follow. In 1 Corinthians 1:12, even though some claimed to follow Christ, the problem even of these is their apparent attitude of superiority and divisions based on who they followed. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, ‘I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas (Peter); and I of Christ’. He emphasizes his point in chapter 3 and verse 4 again. “For while one saith, ‘I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos;’ are ye not yet carnal?”
The point I am trying to make is that there are too many ‘Christians’ today who have set up speakers, whether pastors, evangelists, radio, television or You Tube personalities who they blindly follow regardless of any errors in doctrine or moral failures. Listening to them or watching them while they properly expound the Word of God is great and to be commended, but even the greatest of these are subject to failure. The question is, when they say or do something contrary to God’s Word, are they corrected? Do you know they have erred? What is their response when another Christian Brother or Sister gently and lovingly attempts to point out the biblical error, especially using clear scripture and scriptural principles? We ought to revere people who diligently preach and teach the Word of God, but understand that they are merely human and subject to failure. Everything they say ought to be filtered through the pages of scripture.
The Apostle Paul addressed this concept in the book of Acts, chapter 17, verses 10-11. To paraphrase, he praised the church at Berea as being more dedicated than the church in Thessalonica because the Bereans, “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Here’s what I’m trying to say in both questions, ‘What’s your bottom line?’ In asking, ‘what is your foundation,’ I’m trying to emphasise that the Word of God ought to be our foundation in all that we hear, read, say, think and do. Whether we listen to a speaker and think, “I’m not sure that’s biblical,” then go to look up their scripture references, compare our notes on what was said, and if necessary, dismiss their teaching as unbiblical. Along those same lines, when ‘social issues’ come up in the news, in discussion at work or school, potential laws or judicial rulings, it is not hateful, unloving, judgemental or discriminitory to declare what God’s word has to say about these things. God’s word MUST be our foundation in all things, whether we are at church, at home, at school, at work, the library, grocery store, or anywhere.
Let me conclude by sharing just a couple of things. I began studying the Bible in earnest LONG before I became a pastor, as I should have. I truly believe the Lord was preparing me for where I am today. In the course of time when He was preparing me, I developed my theology and understanding of scripture. In some cases, I was challenged by things I had heard growing up, some books or articles I had read or people I had listened to. In other cases, I was challenged in my theology by people who had studied more intently or longer than I and had a better understanding. As a pastor, even today, I am adamant that people who know me, whether they attend Bible Baptist Church or not check me out against scripture. Challenge me (in love, I would hope) to defend or clarify, and when necessary correct what I’ve said or written.
What you think of and do with God’s word, the Bible and Jesus Christ is far more important than following anyone teaching or being socially or politically correct.