There is a “How to share your faith” evangelism program that suggests asking the question “If you were wrong in your beliefs, would you want to know?” as a means to open up further discussion. That’s both a good and a bad question. On the one hand, it’s a good question because who wouldn’t want the right answers? Further, most people don’t want to risk appearing “close minded” and so they are likely to answer “Yes” and then the discussion continues.
On the other hand, it is a bad question to ask because when trying to be winsome and approachable (the message we carry has offense enough) it can appear arrogant to the non-believer and may shut down further communication which is the exact opposite effect we were hoping for. Now you and I both know that Jesus is the Truth so if we know Him then we know the truth… but conveying that to others… well, that requires some delicacy doesn’t it? We should be bold and unashamed of course yet there is a great deal of finesse involved in being bold while being humble. Making sure that our speech isn’t filled with grandiloquence (much like using the word grandiloquence in a blog) but with grace is our goal.
Here’s the point to all of this… we who are disciples of Christ are messengers of His gospel. We are His ambassadors and we are serious students of His word. We study it, we memorize it, we meditate on it and we are ready always to give an answer for the hope that lies within. We seek out good, sound, doctrine because we have a humble and teachable spirit and we want to study the truth. Don’t we? Do we? Is any of that correct?
For a large part of the modern American Evangelical church, they would be trackin’ when I said “messengers of His gospel” and “ambassadors”. They would likely nod in agreement at the appellation “serious students”. When the conversation starts to turn to doctrine however, we’d be hard pressed to find the enthusiasm that we would hope to find. Doctrine? It sounds so dogmatic.
Doctrine is teaching; it’s precept. To say of someone “That person has sound doctrine” is simply saying “That person was taught well”. Now here is the tricky part… I betcha every single Johnny Churchgoer out there believes that they have sound doctrine. I mean, who would want to think otherwise? It would be like saying “I’m being taught some bad stuff and a lot error but you know, I just don’t care.” Something pretty amazing happens however when one does seek to be a serious student of the Bible. They learn.
When Mike and I were new Christians we were just happy to be saved. We went to a church that was all about just being happy to be saved. There’s nothing wrong with that. We should be happy all the time… I mean ALL the time especially in light of what we deserve and what we actually receive. The trouble is… we didn’t go too much beyond that. Our church was content to splash around in the kiddy pool of “Isn’t it great to be in the club?” which left an ocean of “Who it is that saved us” unexplored. Sad.
Thankfully, God placed in our path those who were not content with the shallows but sought to go deeper and to take others with them. We are still learning and with each new fathom explored we realize how close to shore we still remain. His depths are ever deeper and we will never exhaust all that there is to learn about the seemingly simplest truths from His word.
Some of those “teachers of good teaching” challenged us to rethink some of the things that we thought. The gauntlet was not combative or presented in an “I’m right and you’re wrong” manner. It was an invitation to appeal to the Scripture, to allow Scripture to shed light on itself, to prayerfully study the word of God with diligence and humility and to allow the truth of His living word to instruct us… doctrine.
Because we are grateful that our Lord has put good and godly teachers in our path we would love to use our resources to do the same for you.
Please join us each Wednesday night (if you are in Okinawa) as we start a semester long Theology course… exploring the depths of Who He is and What He requires. If you follow us on this website, stay tuned as we would love to share some of our Wednesday nights with you.
It all starts this week with Christology- the study of the work and person of Jesus Christ.
Can’t wait to dive in to the deep with you.
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