Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Everyone… Let’s Go Back to School

Too many American Christians don’t know much at all about what they claim to believe. There is nothing weak or ineffectual about the Christian Faith. Yet many of us who have placed our faith in Jesus while embracing a rather lazy approach to maturity fail to learn (and hence to live out) the implications of the Faith. By the “Faith” Christians for millennia have meant the body of doctrine and knowledge that lies at the heart of what Christians say they believe.  

It is true that Christianity at its best is a “relationship” and not a “religion.” Love trumps intellect every time. It dangerous, however, when we replace knowing the truth about Jesus and approaching an increasingly biblical world-view with mere feelings or a merely emotional sense of connection. Too many of us, and I mean Free Methodists in the North Central Conference, have settled for being quasi-Christian feelers rather than radical followers of Jesus fully committed to knowing and living out the best of Christianity. Chanting (if silently) “doctrine divides, practice unites” many of us have set aside learning, teaching and preaching core Christian doctrine and the concepts that are legitimately known as “the Faith.” I have actually heard some people say things like, “It doesn’t matter what you believe or what you do so long as you have faith in Jesus.” What then does it mean to have “faith in Jesus?” We follow Jesus’ proverbial “blind guides” when we place faith in our imagined “Jesus” made in our own image or follow a “Faith” developed by uninformed (though well-intentioned) spiritual leaders.

Free Methodists are a holistic connection of believers. We embrace the need for purity of heart and the rigors of the intellect.  We embrace the call to a personal faith in Jesus which saves our very souls and a commitment to public justice and social holiness which saves our very communities. We embrace spiritual experiences and scientific research, tradition and innovation, orthodox creeds and their fresh expressions, charismatic gifts and biblical obedience, freedom of conscience and voluntary cohesion through discipline that provides order.

Let’s TEACH our children. PREACH with clarity without “dumbing down’ the gospel. COUNSEL Biblically even as it challenges notions of amassing personal material wealth or engaging in any sexual choice. Let’s go back to school! 

Know your stuff!  Know your doctrines. Send your kids to Sunday School. If you’re an adult, TEACH Sunday School (you will more doing this than by merely attending). Study Scripture and theology in your small groups. Let’s commit to read something besides Facebook and the ESPN scrollbar. 

“Dear friends, you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pet.3.18).

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