Tag Archives: doctrine

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 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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What We Believe: The Bible

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 post will have sections describing What We Believe—each with a corresponding description of What We Do. This is also available as a free digital booklet (PDF).… Keep Reading

How Should We Define the “Gospel” when Sharing our Faith?

Some might see this title and say that it doesn’t matter how you define the gospel so long as the person sharing the gospel encourages the hearer to “believe Jesus.” That claim has a good motive; it expresses a desire to not over-think the conversation or burden it with many words. It is possible to over-complicate an explanation of the gospel and do harm. But a claim that “believe Jesus” expresses the essentials of saving faith is also dysfunctional. We can do harm by over-simplifying the gospel message to the point that it is no longer the gospel at all. Defining what constitutes the gospel message is a faithful task that honors God and demonstrates love for our neighbor. What is necessary to understand the gospel? What are the essentials of saving faith?… Keep Reading

Essential Christian Behaviors and Beliefs

Kevin DeYoung has a helpful list of 10 essential behaviors and 10 essential beliefs. While these lists aren’t exhaustive, they can help you to see when it might be worth it to gently provide direction or correction for someone that you are discipling.  Here are the lists:… Keep Reading

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