Archive - March, 2015

Relationship AND Doctrine

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Lately, in both children’s and youth ministries, there has been a renewed emphasis on the necessity for having a genuine, heart-felt relationship with Jesus. This is well and good—a hearty “Amen!” But sometimes there may be a subtle (or not so subtle) message also communicated with this emphasis on relationship: Doctrine doesn’t matter that much. Or, doctrine “stifles” relationship. So what should we emphasize to children and youth? Here is a helpful note from John Piper:

Sometimes it is necessary to stress that Christianity is primarily a relationship with Jesus rather than a set of ideas about Jesus. The reason we do this is because no one is saved by believing a set of ideas. The devil believes most of the truths of Christianity. We need to stress that unless a person has a living trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord, all the orthodoxy in the world will not get him into heaven.

But if our stress on the personal relationship with Jesus leads us to deny that there is a set of truths essential to Christianity, we make a grave mistake. There are truths about God and Christ and man and the church and the world which are essential to the life of Christianity. If they are lost or distorted, the result will not be merely wrong ideas but misplaced trust. The inner life of faith is not independent from the doctrinal statement of faith. When doctrine goes bad, so do hearts. There is a body of doctrine which must be preserved.

(From sermon, “Contend for the Faith,” copyright ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.)

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Who Wrote the Bible?

God's Word Cover

In her newly released book, God’s Word , Sally Michael gives children a simple illustration to help answer the question, “Who wrote the Bible?”:

How would you put a screw into a piece of wood? What would you use? You would use a tool called a screwdriver. You would direct the screwdriver, putting it where it needs to be, turning it the right way, and stopping when the screw is tight. The screwdriver would not put in the screw by itself. Your hand would turn the screwdriver—it would direct and guide it.

This is similar to how the Bible was written. God was the author. But He used men to do the writing. They were like tools in God’s hands. God directed them so they would write His Word. God is the real author, but He uses men to write exactly what He wanted to be written.

(copyright©2015, page 20)

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