More quick links today because I’m at my church’s Family Camp.
More quick links today because I’m at my church’s Family Camp.
Nothing is more important for the long-term health of a Church than its preaching, and nothing more impacts preaching than a preacher’s view of the Bible.
1. The Bible is the Word of God
If we don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God, we will put human opinion and our own ideas on the same level as the Bible.
If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we will treat it with reverence and respect. We will not dare to treat any other book or any human opinion on the same level.
2. The Bible is Inspired by God
If we don’t believe that every word of Scripture was inspired by God, we will not spend much time looking at the individual words in the Bible. We’ll tend to skim over the surface paying little attention to the details of the biblical text.
If we believe that every single word was breathed out by God, we will pause and study every precious Word of God.
3. The Bible is Perfect
If we don’t believe that the Bible is perfect and without error, we will set ourselves up as critics above the Bible rather than students under the Bible. By highlighting the Bible’s so-called “problems” we will weaken confidence in the Bible.
If we believe the Bible is inerrant, then we will stick with the Bible whatever any other source says. We will see “problems” in the Bible as problems rooted in our ignorance or misunderstanding. We will come humbly to this precious book and seek to learn as pupils.
4. The Bible is Sufficient
If we don’t believe that the Bible is sufficient in the areas it claims to be sufficient, we will not study it intensely for answers to questions of faith and life. Instead we will turn primarily to human wisdom.
If we believe that the Bible is sufficient for matters of faith and life, we will want to study every part of it, knowing that somewhere in this book is the answer to every question we need an answer for.
5. The Bible is Authoritative
If we don’t believe that the Bible is authoritative, we will not proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord!” Instead, we will venture our opinions, we will make suggestions, we will offer advice. We will put doctrine and ethics up for debate and discussion, especially in areas that cross our wills.
If we believe the Bible is authoritative, we will reflect that authority in our preaching – not with proud arrogance but with bold and courageous confidence in what God has said, just as Jesus did to astonishing effect (Mark 1:22)
6. The Bible is Clear
If we don’t believe the Bible is perspicuous (clear) then we will not preach clearly and simply. We will often use words such as “mystery” “difficult” “who knows?”
If we believe the Bible is clear in its message, then our preaching will be clear, simple, structured, and memorable. We will strive to be as clear and simple as possible even when our subject is the most profound subject or truth.
7. The Bible is Relevant
If we don’t believe the Bible is relevant, we will treat it like a historical document and speak in past tense third person. Or we will just preach the week’s newspaper headlines.
If we believe the Bible is relevant, we not begin with “What does this mean for me?” but “What did this text mean when it was originally written?” But we will not stop there. We will go on to ask “What is its message to us today?” If that was what God meant in that situation, how do I apply that to my situation today?
8. The Bible is Powerful
If we don’t believe the Bible has any power in it, we’ll study it little, preach it little, feel it little, and care little about the results.
If we believe the Bible is powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, we’ll study it intensely, preach it passionately, feel it deeply, and look for/expect results (1 Cor. 1:18; Rom 1:16)
A high view of preaching can only exist where there is a high view of the Bible in the pulpit and in the pew.
Quick links because I’m in Indianapolis at the Reforming Families Conference.
What should you do when your young child expresses doubt about the Bible, or even outright unbelief and skepticism?
When Peter Enns’ six-year-old son expressed skepticism about the talking snake and the deadly fruit in the Garden of Eden, Enns replied: “You don’t really believe in God anymore? O.K., well, tell him.” He went on to explain:
Over the years, I have been thankful to God that I didn’t correct my son’s theology, for that would have been utterly stupid. Had I shamed him or coerced him into saying the right thing (so I would feel better about my parenting skills), I would have been responsible for creating another religious drone, another one who, at a young age, was already learning to play the religion game.
I’m sure Peter Enns is a far better father than I am in many ways. And I accept that no one knows a child’s particular needs like their own father or mother. But I hope no one thinks that this is THE model for dealing with their children’s spiritual doubts and unbelief.
While we want our children to be able to discuss their questions, doubts, and even unbelief, with us and with God, we can’t treat this in the same way as doubting the Humpty Dumpty narrative.
“You don’t believe in God anymore? OK”
It’s not OK. It’s a sin.
But it’s wonderfully forgivable.
That’s why we don’t just tell Him our doubts and unbelief. We confess it. God will not give us or our children victory over any sin, including unbelief, unless we repent of it and ask for faith.
And to be proud of not correcting the devilish theology that naturally arises out of our children’s sinful hearts? Heresy is more fatal than heroin. And to lovingly correct our children and teach them to submit their proud intellects to God’s Word is not to coerce or shame them into hypocrisy. It’s to love their souls more than they do themselves. It’s to intervene so that young heretics do not become old heretics, but rather live by faith and ultimately die in faith.
I believe, help my unbelief
Yes, let’s encourage our children to be honest with God, to pray about everything, even their worst doubts; but to do so in a spirit of contrition and humility, and with the prayer that God will always answer: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
How about something like this: “Well my son, I’ve had my own struggles with doubt over the years. Faith does not come easily or naturally to any of us. But to doubt God or His Word is a serious matter that we should always repent of. So, why don’t we lay this unbelief before the Lord in humble confession, and ask Him to forgive us, and also to give us the gift of faith that will enable us to believe in Him and every one of His precious words.”
After reflecting on his son’s skepticism, Enns concludes: “I am proud of that little six-year-old, who trusted himself enough not to play games.”
“Who trusted himself enough?”
The whole message of the Bible is trust God and not yourself. To trust yourself is to play a deadly game that no one has ever won.
As Spurgeon once said, “The man who goes through life trying to be consistent with himself will find out in the end that he’s been consistent with a devil.”
What’s a blog post worth?
Rob Jenkins: “Which ultimately does more good—an article or monograph that is read by 20 or 30 people in a very narrow field, or a blog post on a topic of interest to many (such as grading standards or tenure requirements) that is read by 200,000?”
I’m 13 and none of my friends use Facebook
The cutting edge gets blunt so quickly today.
The Amalekite Genocide
John Allister: “One of the standard ways that the New Atheists attack Christianity is by using some of the Old Testament war passages to argue that God is violent and petty.”
6 Areas Where Biblical Counselors are Growing
Sometimes growth is so slow it’s not noticed. Bob Kellemen’s post helps us to see the big picture of the biblical counseling movement, and it’s encouraging.
Living with guilt
The Gospel helps Kara Dedert battle guilt over whether she had some responsibility for her precious son’s brain damage.
Jesus on Every Page provides 10 simple ways to seek and find Christ in the Old Testament. In just over a week, on August 20, it will go on sale in bookshops and online, although you can pre-order right now. You can watch a couple of video trailers, read the endorsements, and choose from a range of online stores at jesusoneverypage.com.
As part of the launch offer, for a limited period of time (until August 31) , I’m making available $100 of Old Testament resources for free download to everyone who purchases the book in paper or eBook form. All you need to do is email your digital receipt or a scan of your shop receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you instructions on how to access the following free materials: