Monday, May 21, 2012
One of the things that delights me often is being presented with a whole new idea. Many times these come from lessons I am studying, but many other times they come from out-of-the blue: almost accidental sources. But, since I don’t believe in accidental education, I take delight in thinking that God has something He wants me to think about.
The subject I am about to broach came at me through a surprise blog post in Christianity Today’s on-line magazine. I was sent there by another blog call “The Poached Egg” which was set up purposely to direct people to apologetic sights of interest to Christians searching for more information on defending our faith. Otherwise, I would never have known that Christianity Today had a web site let alone a blog aimed at women. The particular pageI was sent to was written to women asking them to consider becoming apologists. It basically suggested that we women need to get better at defending our faith and maybe even work more at doing so. It gave me pause: Imagine all the studying that would involve. :)
Meanwhile, I am studying in James and Matthew and both are encouraging us to KNOW, without a doubt, what we believe and stand firm in it.
Then last week I received a newsletter from my cousin-in-law who is a missionary pastor in the Vancouver B.C. area. His teaching thought for the day was about the overabundance of self-made religion around us today. Basically this takes the form of piecing together what we like in religions and putting out the things we don’t like and then stating that this represents our beliefs. The example he gave was not even a Christian believer, but one who followed (?) a very different religion and kept the things he liked in his religion and pretty much ignored the things he did not like. That would have been a fun conversation to hear, I think, because my cousin likes those kinds of challenges.
So, then came Sunday and the book of Jude. Our pastoral intern was at the podium speaking about the purpose of the book as well as enlightening us to the controversies that come up about the book. (I have read Jude at least four times. I felt as if I had never seen it before in my life. That really got my attention.) But what stuck out for me was the call to “Contend for the faith…” Once again, a call… to do what? To KNOW what we believe and defend it against all comers, or at least STAND OUR GROUND when they come at us with their false teaching.
Interestingly enough, one of the things these false teachers were guilty of was teaching that our firmly established salvation gave us license to sin, to the gory of God. That took me back to when I was 17 and had only recently been able to stand up for my faith, be baptized and join a church after 7 years with out any church connection. I was definitely a babe in the woods. We (the youth group plus) were painting the interior of the church. A couple I did not know and never saw again came over and started telling me about how we could not really sin because God controls everything and He would not let us sin. Supposedly everything we would do would be approved by Him ahead of time or we wouldn’t be doing it. Talk about bologna!! Even with my total lack of education in the Word, the Holy Spirit turned on the light in my mind and made me able to chuck that whole idea on the spot. He stepped right in and saved me from these false teachers and I am forever grateful. He helped me stand my ground.
Now, looking around us, who can we help stand their ground? Do we have a sure enough knowledge of what we believe to actually assist others needing to defend what they believe, let alone resist those who would destroy their faith? I don’t know about others, but I do know that I could never sit down and write a list of the Distinctives which define my church and get them all right without looking at them. And neither can I jump to specific Bible verses which are supposed to prove my point. But I have been blessed to realize that I do know what I believe and I hope that as I share things, others will be blessed to know that the reading and studying and thinking that we do does enrich us, strengthen us and embolden us to stand firmly in our faith and let no false teaching intrude.
May we all let the excitement of discovery send us searching in the Word for more and more Truth, and may we be eager to share what we discover as we walk with God.