Left Menu
Life News
Are we using our memory for the glory of God? by Timothy Raymond
Can we in good conscience vote for Labor? by Andrew Lansdown and Dwight A. Randall
National MP slams perversity of Safe Schools program
Adult children of gay parents testify against same-sex marriage by Kirsten Andersen
Domestic Violence: Women can be as abusive as men by Dr Augusto Zimmerman
With the Lord: Wilma Drew
18th Annual Walk and Rally for Life
Former senator speaks up for the unborn by Joe Bullock
Qurans deadly role in inspiring Belgian slaughter by Nabeel Qureshi
Germany:Christian refugees persecuted by Muslims by Soeren Kern
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
Pamphlets
by Andrew Lansdown
One for All
A Son to the war
Becoming a Christian
Train home
Sons Laid Down Their Lives
An Accurate Diagnosis
Starting again
Following hard after God
Starving our children
The first duty of fatherhood
The origin of fatherhood
An Easter Song
A Christmas carol
For This Purpose
In royal David's city
God's Placard
Believing the Bible: the issue of inerrancy
Marriage according to scripture
A biblical perspective on prostitution
Prostitution and social justice
Abortion: A biblical perspective
If people were dogs & other false arguments for euthanasia
How porn harms us
How Green is God?
Evolution?
Christians and Politics
When Christians Take Their Lives
The High Kings Watchmen

Doctrine bears repeating: Evangelicals need to brush up on basic Christian teachings

 

Doctrine bears repeating: Evangelicals need to brush up on basic Christian teachings

Charles Colson with Anne Morse [reprinted from Christianity Today, April 2009]

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Written in 1939, George Orwell’s words might well be addressed to the leaders of today’s biblically illiterate church.

The most obvious thing to be said about Christianity is that it rests on historic facts: the Creation, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection. Since our doctrines are truth claims, they cannot be mere symbolism. This is important to remember as we celebrate the Resurrection, which is often clouded by the pageantry of Easter.

It is obvious to me that doctrine matters. Some years ago, I visited Sri Lanka, just after Anglican Bishop David Jenkins was reported to have dismissed the Resurrection as a “conjuring trick with bones.” (It was later revealed that he had been misquoted.) Our ministry leader, who escorted me through the country’s prisons, told me the news had cost many conversions, because Buddhists and Hindus used it to convince people that Christianity is based on a mere trick.

Clearly, when we stop taking seriously the historical truths of the church, we undermine our witness, often with far-reaching consequences. For example, Muslim student groups today proselytize with pamphlets asserting that Christians worship three Gods: Father, Mother, and Son. Where did they get that idea? From seventh-century Egyptian Christians who gave up on the Bible and embraced this heresy.

Last June, a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey found rampant doctrinal ignorance among American Christians. Fifty-seven percent of evangelicals believed people who follow religions other than their own can enjoy eternal life. The results were so unexpected that Pew repeated the survey, asking more specific questions. The answers were virtually unchanged. Astonishingly, about half believed that everyone, atheists included, was going to end up in heaven. Heaven for the godless? That’s the old heresy of universalism.

Indifference to the truths of the gospel is seen in many other spheres, such as among those who champion “deeds, not creeds” (I do the deeds of prison ministry because I believe the creeds), and in endless discussions about new ways to “understand” or “do” theology. Some embrace another old heresy, that doctrines must be extracted from inward experience—that is, personal feelings. That’s a version of Gnosticism.

Still others want to make Christianity “fit” the postmodern era or “work out” their theology in public, with non-Christians helping to shape the outcome. Yes, we need to contextualize the message so that hearers in a given time and culture can grasp the truth we proclaim. But that is radically different from changing the definitive, concise summary of Christian truth the early church fathers accomplished in their councils.

As one reporter noted, even when Christians know correct doctrine, they are afraid of speaking the truth for fear of offending others. What right have I to impose my beliefs on others? is a thought that shapes too many of us believers.

This is why J. I. Packer, on his 80th birthday, said that the greatest challenge of evangelicalism is to re-catechize our churches. More than ever, Christians need to be able to speak intelligently and courageously about the hope that lies within.

Personal faith is of course vital, but it is not sufficient. And yes, doctrine has often been taught so that it comes across as dry and dusty. But as Dorothy Sayers noted, once we grasp what Christian doctrines teach, “The Dogma is the Drama.”

The determination to restore orthodox faith—the faith “that was once for all entrusted” (Jude 1:3)—brought about the Reformation, of which we are heirs. A new emphasis on orthodox doctrine could also transform the church and culture today.

Some years ago, I visited Athens and mounted the slippery rock called Mars Hill. At the top, I stood where I imagined Paul had confronted the Areopagus, the wise men of the cultural center of the world. Paul challenged them by referring to their own literature and false altars, and then boldly proclaimed the gospel, concluding that God had raised Jesus from the dead.

It’s the same message I preach in prisons today. I think it’s far more exhilarating to stand on a belief that has survived 2,000 years of persecution than to flit from one fad to another.

Few people accepted Paul’s invitation that day to follow Christ. But billions have followed him ever since, because Christ has an unstoppable power. He has the power to break Satan’s hold on our souls and joyfully transform our lives.

Orwell was right: In a crisis, we often have a duty to restate the obvious. And [it is always] a good time for Christians to remind their doctrinally confused brethren of the obvious truths of Christianity.

The greatest challenge for serious Christians today is not re-inventing Christianity, but rediscovering its core teachings.


Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
LIFE NEWS ARCHIVES
2015 Vol 3 Jul - Sep
2015 Vol 2 Apr - Jun
2015 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2014 Vol 5 Nov - Dec
2014 Vol 4 Sep - Oct
2014 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2014 Vol 2 Apr - May
2014 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2013 Vol 5 Dec - Jan
2013 Vol 4 Sep - Nov
2013 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2013 Vol 2 Apr - May
2013 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2012 Vol 5 Oct - Dec
2012 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2012 Vol 3 May - Jul
2012 Vol 2 Mar - Apr
2012 Vol 1 Jan - Feb
2011 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2011 Vol 2 Apr - May
2011 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2010 Vol 5 Nov - Dec
2010 Vol 4 Sep - Oct
2010 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2010 Vol 2 Sep - Oct
2010 Vol 2 Apr - May
2010 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2009 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2009 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2009 Vol 2 Apr - May
2009 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2008 Vol 5 Oct - Dec
2008 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2008 Vol 3 Jun - July
2008 Vol 2 Apr - May
2008 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2007 Vol 5 Nov - Jan
2007 Vol 4 Aug - Oct
2007 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2007 Vol 2 Apr - May
2007 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2006 Vol 5 Oct - Nov
2006 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2006 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2006 Vol 2 Apr - May
2006 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2005 Vol 6 Dec - Jan
2005 Vol 5 Oct - Nov
2005 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2005 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2005 Vol 2 Apr - May
2005 Vol 1 Feb - Mar