(Credit to Ken Fransen for this term, although it may not be original with him.)
We have a lot of denominations in Christianity, and there are a lot of other religions in the world. It can get confusing. In the United States, we are seeing more and more churches that aren’t part of any denomination. Typically, they call themselves “non-denominational.” Often, they will assure you they are Christians.
Instead of “non-denominational,” how about “Biblican?” People who use the whole Christian bible as a reference for truth. Of course, people who believe and use the whole bible can end up on opposite sides of an issue, and use the bible a “proof” they are right, so maybe it’s not that simple. Still, it seems like a great reference point.
Back to an old question. Can you trust the bible?
Truth Telling and Truth Seeking probably overlap a lot!
Lessons in Chemistry (Apple TV) is an 8-episode series that grabbed my attention. It touched on so many things: attitudes of the 1950s, discrimination of many forms, abuse, suicide, and sort of a favorite topic of mine, science vs. religion. The show is full of terrible language, unfortunately, but of course that didn’t stop me from watching it all the way through. THREE TIMES! (and I’d happily watch it again, even knowing the ending.)
I haven’t [yet] read the book. There’s a chance I’ll like it even better. Or not.
A while back I asked what it is to be a believer.
Same idea, for Christians, what does it mean to “believe?”
Years back, John Fichtner of Liberty Church in Marietta, GA dug into what it is to believe, across many sermons and handouts and such. Our English word doesn’t really address all it means.
My super-short summary. There are two parts to ‘believe.’ Believe is like breathing, an exhale and an inhale:
Exhale: accept that selfish wants will never satisfy (die to the lie)
Inhale: receive God's Purpose, Power, and Spirit
Of course, this doesn't mention Christ's work, so that has to be part of the meaning
Many theologians would also say that believing, or more specifically being a disciple, has a cost.
If you are a Christian, how does that match your understanding of “believe?”
Old question revisited, how is ‘believe’ different from ‘faith’ or ‘trust?’
What is the Gospel?
Christians use this term all the time. We speak as if everyone understands it. Ask around and see how many different views you get!
Charles Spurgeon summarized it in four words: “Christ died for me.”
My rephrase takes seven, “Christ rescued me by taking my place.”
God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. Men are sinful and without hope. No amount of work by man can ever satisfy the need. God provided the one and only perfect solution in Christ’s death & resurrection. The pure, holy, sinless, took the place of the impure, defiled, and sinful. Justice was satisfied. Mercy was presented. And even more, Grace was given and continues to be given. The Christian life centers on Christ IN me!
God did what we are not capable of doing. He rescued us and adopted us as co-heirs of the Kingdom!
The awkward part. It’s a free gift. We can’t earn it. But it’s not given to all — only those who receive it. More awkward, only those whom He chooses to receive it. Oops, just drifted into that dangerous topic of predestination.
Is this even close to what you think of when you use the word gospel?
Challenging related thought: Who did Jesus save (or rescue)? Is it all, or just some?
Readership of my blog is fairly limited. So be it. For a while, comments have been zero, which was weird, until I realized comments were accidentally turned off. Oops! Well, that’s fixed now. Thanks to MM.