Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"Baptists are a people of the Book." I have been told that since my earliest days. "Baptist people are Bible people." It appears in a variety of formats, but it is always the same message. If you are Baptist you are a Bible believer. But more and more evidence suggests that is not the case. There have been serveral studies done that show that church members, by and large, do not know their Bibles. AND, according to at least one George Barna study, even when people demonstrate some biblical knowledge, they do not use it to base their lives on. In other words, they do not live out what they know.

Consider just a few examples ... according to those who claim to be "born again evangelicals" (as defined by the Barna Research Group), more than half think any good person will make it into heaven. A fourth think Satan is only a symbol for evil and not a real being. 6 out of 10 think the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all equally valid and true religious books. 4 out of 10 deny the existence of hell.

Now, I am not a rocket scientist, but (as my parents used to say) there is something rotten in Denmark. Things are not as they ought to be.

Beloved, we need to BE people of the Book. Let me make two important points. First ... "All scripture is given by inspiration of God ..." That is what the inspired apostle said. I think we fall into the trap of reading a lot about the Bible but we do not read the Bible. I was preaching once and during the sermon I started pulling out books I had arranged beforehand. I told the congregation ... "Here are Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Edwards 2 volume collection of works, James Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology, Hodge's three volume systematic theology," and several other books. I stacked them up and said "If you read all these books and understood what you have read, you will have a superior theology knowledge. But I tell you the truth, one single page of Holy Scripture is more valuable and profitable to your soul than all these books put together. Why? Because all scripture is given by inspiration of God. All these books are good, but this Book (holding up my Bible) is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God Himself." My friends, God has given His Church gifted teachers and theologians. We ought to read them and study them. However, we must never let them become a replacement for the Bible. "Jesus loves me, this I know" Why? "For the Bible tells me so." Read about the Bible, but read the Bible too.

Second, we have to learn to believe the Bible. I had a discussion once with a lady who denied eternal punishment for the wicked dead. I took her to the book of Revelation and showed her the Great White Throne judgment and the eternal lake of fire. After reading the passage carefully, she looked at me and said "I don't care what the Bible says, my god wouldn't send anybody to a lake like that." Balance that with George Mueller, who was asked what was the secret to his great faith. He replied "I simply read the Bible and believe it." Beloved, it is not for us to conform the Bible to our beliefs, but to be conformed to what the Bible says. It is US who change. When God speaks, we obey. And make no mistake, the Bible IS the word of God written. When the Bible speaks, God speaks; what the Bible says, God says.

The world has offered us alternatives to believing the Bible ever since the beginning. Satan's first recorded words in scripture are "Has God really said ...?" It is time for the world to see the power of a Bible believing, Bible living people. Not only Baptists, but every Christian who names the Name of Christ. Join me today and let us purpose in our hearts, in the sight of God to really be .... People of the Book.

1 Comments:

Blogger Bret said...

Good stuff brother. Everything you said is soooo true. Keep on preaching and writing brother John, and may the Lord be pleased to give you another church soon.

Your brother in Idaho,

Bret

9:04 AM  

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