One of Christianity’s most important doctrines is that of the authority of Scripture. Scripture is the basis for what we teach. Faith is an important part of Christianity—an essential part. But not just any faith will do—our faith must be in something that is true. Faith must not be a false hope—it must be based on evidence—and such evidence needs to be taught. The church Jesus founded is to be a teaching church, and his people are to be people who are learning. (The word “disciple” means “one who learns.”)
References to: Joseph Tkach
“I don’t want to study doctrine,” one person said. “I’m tired of doctrine. I want sermons to be short and inspiring – I don’t want them to be doctrinal.”
I can understand the feeling. Doctrinal arguments can be wearisome, and doctrine can turn people off. Yet I must point out that we still need doctrine – not in the sense of arguments, but in terms of understanding our faith. A “doctrine” is a “teaching,” and the important teachings of the church are those relating to truth about God.
Sometimes Christians assume that full-time pastors serve the Lord more than other members do. Although that may be true in some cases, it is not true in all cases. Paul tells us, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whenever Christians work in a bank, they do it for the glory of God. A Christian who teaches school does it to glorify God. A Christian who takes care of children at home glorifies God in changing diapers and cleaning floors. They are all serving the Lord—full-time, perhaps 100 hours a week!
Why do we meet together each week for worship and instruction? With a lot less bother, couldn’t we worship at home, read the Bible and listen to a sermon on the radio or the internet?
People often ask why God allows trials. When we are in a trial, we want to know why. Why has this pain come upon us? Why me? We may even stay awake at night thinking about it, praying about it.
But have we ever considered why God allows blessings? We usually don’t lie awake at night wondering why God has allowed such a thing to happen to us. We act like it’s normal for God to give us a good life. We accept these blessings, sometimes give thanks, and enjoy them without a lot of further thought.
What is the goal of the Christian life, and how do we help one another get there? One old catechism says that our chief purpose in life is to glorify and enjoy God forever. This is true. We were created for God’s glory and to proclaim his praises (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 1:11-12; 1 Peter 2:9). We exist to worship God, and in order to be genuine, this worship must come from the heart. It must be an expression of our real feelings. We adore God above everything else, and we submit to his every command.
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It's a wonderful blessing to live in a country that values freedom. Freedom, of course, is a two way street. If we are going to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend freedom to others. And that means tolerating the opinions of others, even if we don’t agree with them. One of the ideals the United States was founded upon is the Christian virtue of respecting the right of others to disagree with us. Jesus even taught that we are to love our enemies.
In Matthew 5:43-47 he said,
In a religion based on faith, why do we have rituals?
What does this have to do with the gospel?
Rituals were a prominent part of Old Testament worship. Christianity, in contrast, has only two basic rituals: baptism and the Lord’s Supper — and there are no detailed regulations for either observance.
In a religion in which faith is primary, why have any rituals at all?
Is baptism essential to the Christian life? Should people be baptized again if they change churches or denominations? Is it essential to be baptized in a specific way, such as sprinkling, pouring or immersion?
Rituals were a prominent part of Old Testament worship—there were annual rituals, monthly rituals and daily rituals. There were rituals for birth and rituals for death, rituals of sacrifice, rituals of cleansing, rituals of ordination. Faith was needed, but rituals were prominent.
The New Testament, in contrast, has two basic rituals: baptism and the Lord’s Supper —and there are no detailed regulations for either observance. Why these two? In a religion in which faith is primary, why have any rituals at all?