Tag Archives: biblical christianity

Check Yourself: Testing Your Theology

Everyone is a theologian. No one is a theological blank slate. Since theology is the study of God (the process—doing theology) and expressing those thoughts (the product—theology proper), even an atheist who says “there is no God” is making a theological statement. Christians have the duty of being healthy theologians (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:2; John 4:23-24).

An earlier post pointed out that understanding your theology is an important aspect of interpreting the Bible. And as you interpret the Bible you inform your theology. So, what can we do to test our theology? Dr. David Mappes offers the following system for validating your theology[1].

“A model for theological method is necessary since the Scripture is progressively revealed and no one topic is fully addressed by any one author. Any valid theological model must be minimally measured by the following components:

Canonical: Is first priority and authority given to the canonical books of Scripture over personal experience, personal sensibilities, other writing, general revelation, speculation, etc.?[2]

Comprehensive: Is all biblical teaching on a topic examined with greater weight given to the clearest and most definitive passages, or are selective/vague passages used in a mere proof-texting manner?

Consistent hermeneutical approach: Is the … Keep Reading

Recommended Short Reads (8/8/2016)

5 Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Sexuality Jaquelle Crow outlines how her parents helped her have an understanding of sexuality from a Christian worldview. “There were certain truths they impressed on me—some implicit and some explicit—that were crucial for catching a Christ-centered vision of sexuality. Five stand out most brightly when I reflect on the past 18 years.”

Biblical Friendship Cannot Be Hacked “Surely something as biblical and supremely human as the discipline of friendship is worth recapturing. But where do we begin? How can we reclaim the biblical contours of such an important relationship?”

Two Ways of Thinking “There are fundamentally two ways to approach any concept, and only two. We can start with God and His Word, or we can start somewhere else; and the ‘somewhere else’ usually boils down to ourselves.”

My Favorite Book for Discipling New (and Old) Christians First, like I mentioned, the book really does cover all the basics. Not only does it include a section on taking up the cross and following Jesus, but also a section on why we can trust the Bible. Not only are the topics of Bible reading and church involvement covered, but also Christian sexual ethics and … Keep Reading

What We Believe: Prayer

What one believes drives what they do—that is an unavoidable fact of life.  We may not even be aware of all the beliefs that we have, but behind each of our actions there is a motivating belief.  This post is part of a series featuring foundational truths that Christians believe so that we can have those truths in the driver seat of our lives.  To that end, this resource features sections describing What We Believe—each with a corresponding description of What We Do. The topic for this issue is prayer and it is also available as a free digital booklet (PDF).

We Believe: Prayer is Necessary, Commanded, and a Privilege

Definition

You might be so familiar with saying the word that you don’t know exactly what you mean by “prayer.” So, really, what is prayer? “Prayer is personal communication with God. This definition is very broad. What we call ‘prayer’ includes prayers of request for ourselves or for others (sometimes called prayers of petition or intercession), confession of sin, adoration, and praise and thanksgiving.”[1]

Prayer is Necessary

God communicates with man through the Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, our relationship with God is not Keep Reading

When Should I Make the Effort to Correct Error?

If we are going to help someone grow in their Christian faith or study the Bible with someone—whether it is with an unbeliever or a new believer—we are bound to encounter some doctrinal and theological error along the way. Even if one has not given much thought to that possibility, we intuitively know that when we do encounter serious error at some point, it is our duty to lovingly correct the error in such a discipleship relationship.  We also know that we don’t want to be overbearing or perceived as constantly waiting to slap wrists with a ruler. So, how do we know when it is important to address matters of biblical truth?

Prioritize by the Person’s Situation

For the unbeliever, we are not dealing with a new creature in Christ that is aided by the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. We can’t expect them to exhibit Christian behavior or proclaim sound Christian doctrine—and we shouldn’t place that burden on them. We really should focus on communicating the gospel message to them. To spend time talking about what the Bible has to say about church discipline, for example, would be unwise and unfruitful.

Prioritize by the Impact of

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“What Are You Made Of?” What it Means to be Human.

Before stating what it means to be human, it should be noted by whom we are made. God made us. “God rules the world because he made the world. Like a potter with his clay, God fashioned the world into just the shape he wished, with all its amazing details. He made it, and he owns it.”[1]

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 ESV)

God made us to know Him, to love Him and to be known and loved by Him. All people are sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; we are made by God.

“then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

The question that this post seeks to answer is not how did God make man? or for what purpose did God make man? Instead the question pursued here is what is a human made of—what is our essence?

The Essence of Man is Two Distinct Elements: Body (Material)

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What We Believe: The Gospel

What one believes drives what they do—that is an unavoidable fact of life.  We may not even be aware of all the beliefs that we have, but behind each of our actions there is a motivating belief.  This post is part of a series featuring foundational truths that Christians believe so that we can have those truths in the driver seat of our lives.  To that end, this resource features sections describing What We Believe—each with a corresponding description of What We Do. The topic for this issue is the gospel and it is available as a free digital booklet (PDF).… Keep Reading

One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part IV: Advice Specifically for Churches and Organizations to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article provides additional guidance specifically for churches that want to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry. Unlike other articles in the one-to-one Bible reading guide series, what follows focuses on practical, organizational steps a church can take to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship team.

To see the theological basis for one-to-one Bible reading discipleship, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I

To see how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II

To see some resources to use in a one-to-one Bible reading meeting and a model meeting schedule, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III: Resources for a Successful One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry and How to Structure a One-to-One Meeting

This article will cover resource strategy and resource lists that are helpful for one-to-one Bible reading ministry. If you have not yet, I recommend reading Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method? and Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry from this One-to-One Bible Reading series.

Strategy: Read Books of the Bible in Context.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article explains how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, how to prepare for the meeting, and some other helpful tips for success. If you have not read Part I of this One-to-One Bible Reading series, you can read that here.

Step 1: Pray

“Prayer is addressing God, in words, where you are communicating your heart and desire; knowing all the while that He orchestrates all things from the greatest to the smallest. He exists, is personal, and changes lives — he uses prayer in a secondary cause sort of way where He changes things.” —David Helm, OnetoOne course at Covenant Life Church

The first step in this personal ministry of the Word is prayer. I recommend praying for the following:

  • that God would accomplish His work in His people (and all people) through His Word and that He would use your effort to grow His Kingdom
  • for God to give you a desire to help followers of Jesus grow
  • to identify specific people with whom you might read the Bible
  • that God would give you confidence and boldness to get started

Step 2: Invite

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method?

Before spending time on the practical and tactical details of starting a one-to-one Bible reading ministry, it is important to establish the principles and convictions that motivate us to the particular method of one-to-one Bible reading. Before talking about the how of one-to-one Bible reading, we need to discuss the what and the why.

What Would a One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry Look Like?

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