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(a side note from What I Believe)

Written By: Daniel Gregory - Aug• 15•11

Side article from What I Believe

In matters of personal faith I strive to have a biblical foundation for each principle, action, and attitude that I have.

Now as a side note I will say that that was a lesson and habit that was very difficult for me to integrate into my life because, like many people, I was happy to simply believe what I believed and not care why or whether it was right or wrong. Unfortunately that mentality has hurt the Church of Jesus Christ and stunted the growth of many Christians as well as weakened the witnessing power of those in the church. Apathy, dangerously dogmatic beliefs, and unfounded beliefs have all hurt the church tremendously and continues to damage the cause of Christ today.

Let’s face it, apathy is the prevailing attitude of those who call themselves Christians in the world today. There is no interest in knowing the foundation of their faith and even less of a desire to learn why the faith is worth defending. Perhaps one of the reasons why unbelievers have no desire to know more about the Christian faith is that they see Jesus Christ constantly being drug through the mud and those that proclaim their love for Him doing nothing to come to His aid. If those that have tasted the Living Water and eaten the Bread of Life have no desire to become fat off of its abundance what chance is there that a lost world will ever want to partake of it? Simply put if Christians don’t care about learning about Jesus why should those that don’t know Christ?

Almost as destructive as this are those that would dogmatically believe something but have absolutely no reason why or ability to defend their faith. For the sake of this article I’ll call them the dangerously dogmatic.

Now don’t get me wrong, being dogmatic is not always bad. There are certain things Christians should be dogmatic about, the deity of Christ, Christ’s bodily resurrection, and the inspiration of Scripture just to name a few.

What we must avoid being like is dangerously dogmatic, having no way to defend what we proclaim to be true. Like it or not a person without a good foundation of truth rooted in the Scriptures is ready to be deceived by false teachers that would twist the Word of God for their own purposes (cults), or they are ready to fall and abandon the faith the first time they hear a well crafted argument against a tenant of the Christian faith is raised. A Christian like this is much like a beautifully crafted house of cards. They have been told what is proper to believe. They have orthodox beliefs and quite possibly a holy life but all of it is contingent on the absence of questions, arguments, or challenges to their faith. Whenever these come their worldview comes crashing down like leaves in an autumn wind.

The last frame of mind that is destructive and dangerous is when individuals have beliefs that have absolutely no bearing or foundation in Scripture. Some of these go from the silly, like the old It’s a Wonderful Life saying that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings to heretical beliefs about numerous ways to heaven. It seems that we live in a day and age where people would rather choose what they believe based upon what sounds good to them or makes them feel good as opposed to what is grounded in God’s truth. What is truly sad is these types of baseless beliefs have been mixed and mingled together with the genuine Christian theology of people’s lives to make a message that sounds like a mix between Billy Graham and Dr. Seuss. Our message is heartfelt and compassionate but ultimately rejected and scorned because it is silly and has no foundation in reality.

Let me say this clearly, all these frames of mind are not only dangerous for individuals but also hurtful to the image of Christ and His Church.

Friends let me encourage you to know what you believe and why you believe it. We live in a day and age where good sound material about the Bible and what it teaches is in abundance. Today is a day where we are able to find a wealth of different Bible translations, sermon podcasts and radio broadcasts from great men of God, as well as opportunities to learn from our local churches. Like it or not we live in a time where ignorance really should be a rare event rather than the status quo. Yes I know through personal experience this can be a rough task to try and complete but in the end it is all worth it for the glory of God Almighty.

Practically speaking the easiest way I know of to begin the journey of knowing what you believe and why you believe it is to have one question at the forefront of your mind when thinking, speaking, or acting on what you believe and that is “why?” If you are promoting a certain belief or have an opinion about something you heard on the radio ask yourself why. Let it be that annoying voice in the back of your head constantly pushing you to give a reason for why you believe what you believe. Ultimately the goal is to be able to say the Bible says this and it teaches this therefore that is why I believe what I believe.

Now there are many resources available that can help in this process. Theology books, doctrine statements that have Scripture references, pastors, teachers, church history books, and various reference books by good Christian writers are all wonderful helps in this journey. I know that I used my fair share of all of these in my life. The bottom line though for me in this process was, what does the Bible say?

Now to be true this can take a lot of time and effort and searching and studying but in the end you will be wonderfully equipped in your knowledge and you will be amazed at the opportunities you will have to be used by God in this world. My hope is that these words of mine that you have just read has made you think and possibly placed a yearning in your life to dig a little deeper into your spiritual life and truly study the Bible and gain for yourself a deep understanding of the faith.

 

Let me leave you with these words penned by the apostle Paul..

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

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