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.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How Did You Come By Your Faith?

I have found, in this day and age that there are two kinds of Christians (and by extension .. all that I say of Christians can also be said of Baptists) ... those who came by their faith by conviction and those who came by their faith by association. Let me quickly explain.

Let me speak of the second group first. These are those Christians who believe they are Christians because they live in the United States, and people in the United States believe in God. People who believe in God are called "Christians" therefore, they reason, they too are Christians. Some in this group think they are Christians because their parents were Christians. Perhaps they think since they attend a church that they are Christians. In whatever way they come to the idea, they are "Christians" by their association with Christianity. They do not understand the teachings of the faith, they do not believe the doctrines of the faith, they do not live for God neither to they think of Him from day to day or moment to moment. If the Christians of this group really understood what Christians were and how they lived, they would disavow all connection to it (the Faith). But they do not, and so they go on in their ignorance, living in sin and believing God will overlook their many transgressions after they die.

Note this ... as I said in the opening paragraph, many who go by the title "Baptist" would very easily fall into this same group when it comes to their "Baptistness." These Christians and "Baptists" so called ... our churches are full of them. Jim Elliff of the ministry "Christian Communicators Worldwide" has written an article called "The Southern Baptist Convention: An Unregenerate Denomination." In it he mentions how more than half of the people on Southern Baptist church rolls don't even bother to show up for church even once a year. In fact, they are simply missing.

But then there is the other group. These are the ones who study the scriptures, like the Bereans, to see if these things are so. They hold to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints because they know it is the biblical faith. They know that because they read, they study and they hold their faith by conviction. They are convinced these things are true, and so they believe them, and they form their lives around these truths they hold dear. These are the ones who are Christian by conviction. Speaking of Baptists too, they (the ones who are Baptists and fall into this group) are those who are Baptist by conviction. In this modern day, there are all too few of this group.

I was once told that the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that there is a problem. Many people who speak prophetically to this age have seen the existence of this problem. Now, don't get me sidetracked. I do not believe in modern day prophets, however there are those teachers and preachers who seem to have a keen insight to the age we live in. Dr. Al Mohler is one such person. Dr. John MacArthur is another. More and more voices are speaking out about the nature of the problem and godly men and women are rising to the occasion to offer solutions.

Biblical preachers and teachers can once again be heard telling the old, old story. Biblical churches are once again being planted and other, older churches are turning back to the faith they had once abandoned. Still, there are few, only a ripple in the surface, but it is a growing group.

Let today be a day when you choose to stop being a Christian by association and become a Christian by conviction. Learn what you believe and why. Nominal Christians, mediocre Christians, sub-Christians, they are easy to find. Harder is to find true believers who are sold out to Jesus Christ in their hearts, minds, souls and strength. Such people stand out, why? Not because they are better than other people. They stand out because there are so few people like them.

So which group do you belong to? Are you a Christian by association? Or are you a Christian by conviction? It is something that bears thinking about.