Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why is doctrine important?

Uncle Ben brought to mind some thoughts that I hadn’t really pondered in a while. Is the gospel message commonly preached here in America the same gospel message we are preaching overseas? And if so, is this a good or a bad thing?

Josh’s deployment made “the Iraqis” real people to me, so I am particularly protective of the physical security of these real people. It is an issue one really doesn’t think about until faced with the reality of the situation. A friend of mine became a missionary to South East Asia under the guise of being an English teacher. The people she and her husband witness to are real people to me.

When using the most common witnessing tool, “The Four Spiritual Laws,” how do you define love to someone from another culture? It is hard to merely stick within the sales pitch without defining what you are teaching, exactly. Here in America, it is still common knowledge that Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God. This is not common knowledge in Arab countries, and it is a capital offense to believe and preach such a thing.
When catechizing someone in the beliefs spelled out in the Apostle’s Creed, one needs to be realistic in knowing that the person you could be talking to may die for the message you’re presenting. So, when you witness to someone who could die for the message, how do you explain “and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Forget about what Christ as done for you lately. Yeah, God gave me hope, comfort, perseverance, and a caring environment, and relatively few inconveniences during Josh’s deployment. What does this matter to someone who can really suffer for the message of the Gospel?

Sure, you use D. James Kennedy’s two spiritual questions… one of which is “If you were to die tonight, why should God let you into heaven?” OK, so to a young person, you say, “Well, you could die in a drunk driving incident on your way home.” And the statistical odds are slim. Let’s put some real urgency into this by reminding your friend from a different culture, “Yeah, you could get beheaded for even listening to what I have to say.”

Here in America, you’ll likely see your friend again. Overseas, maybe not. This is the reason doctrine matters. Are you preaching Christ Crucified for my sins, or Jesus will make your life better then Oprah can? Who really cares what Satan thinks of your church? The question should be: what does God think of your church?

What about Romans 5 where Paul trades his sorrows and sickness and lays them down for the joy of the Lord (Yes Lord Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord). Go and read the account of Paul’s beatings from Acts to a doctor, Soldier, or Marine and ask them to speculate what Paul’s thorn is. You’ll get a variety of answers, but most of them more legit then some theologian saying, “Oh, he maybe had an eye or brain disease.” What Paul, and later Peter, is teaching is that he is learning endurance and embracing his beatings for the Joy of the Lord. And Paul would eventually die for the Gospel.

The Word of God preached in the sacraments is life changing. The Word of God in Scripture is life changing. Make sure you are faithful to both.


  • At 12:54 AM , Blogger Kara said...

    Thank you for this post. I always learn so much from you!

  • At 1:06 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    Hey, I learn from you, too hon! See you Saturday!

  • At 7:29 AM , Blogger TK said...

    "what does God think of your church?" The answer to that question would definitely reveal the persuasion of a particular church. I would hope to hear the answer that it is a house of repentant and broken sinners who gather together to hear the good news and receive strengthening of faith and forgiveness of sins.


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