The Need to Equip the Saints

When Christians experience prolonged infancy and satisfaction with milk beyond normal infancy, they will have an immature and incomplete Christian worldview, which inevitably results in them advocating ideas that are merely human wisdom. George Barna’s research revealed, “Only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview…. [Those labeled] ‘born again Christians,’ the study discovered that they were twice as likely as the average adult to possess a biblical worldview. However, that meant that even among born again Christians, less than one out of every five (19%) had such an outlook on life.”[1] I would add to this that what Barna requires to be considered as one who has a biblical worldview is not by any measure demanding, but is in my opinion quite minimal.[2]

This dismal state of affairs is even more reason to return to an equipping model of the local church. If Christians do not have even a rudimentary understanding of Christianity, how can they communicate Christianity to a lost world, and how can they make biblical decisions in an ever-increasingly secular environment? If the shepherds themselves do not study deeply, they are utterly ill equipped to handle the task of engaging a hostile world.

They also are incapable of training those under their watch care beyond the most blatantly obvious truths of Scripture, which, when learned alone, are well suited for being reduced to clichés and the preferred diet of milkoholics (Christians who like to remain spiritually immature).

Man’s wisdom is not merely somewhat ineffective or unhelpful; it is as useless as a ship with no hull. Paul said, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless” (1 Corinthians 3:20). The consideration of what works in building the local church should always be evaluated by asking if it is human wisdom or divine wisdom as revealed in Scripture. If it is human, despite accolades received by the carnal, it is useless in building the temple of God regardless how fast or large the church grows.


[1] Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years.
[2] A “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn his way into heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In Barna’s research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

Pastors Dare Not Become Enablers of Spiritual Milkoholics

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able (1 Corinthians 3:2)

Note the past tense verb, gave milk, referring to times in the past when Paul taught the Corinthians milk because they were not ready for meat and that was okay; but the poignant criticism is indeed, even now, you are not yet able. Even now, still, at this point they were not able, when in reality they should have been much more mature and able to think as spiritual followers, feeding on the meat of the Word. Continue reading →

The Importance of Apologetics in Evangelism

Apologetics, which is intellectually stimulating as well as hard work, is critical to engaging our culture. It is a fallacious juxtaposition to ask should we seek to engage people with only the simple gospel, apologetics, or a loving life because it is not either/or but all of the above working in concert. Truly loving people must include telling them the truth about Christianity in a clear and convincing way. Continue reading →

Christian Sadness in the Death of a Loved One

Christians can feel free to cry at a funeral. While we do rejoice that our loved ones who know Christ as Savior go to be with Jesus, death is still a sorrowful time. Jesus did weep at the death of Lazarus (John 11:35). We are not like those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but as humans, we do feel deeply the absence of a loved one. Maybe we do more because we know God did not create man to die, but to live (Genesis 1-2). Continue reading →

Homosexuality: The Truth About The Sin and Need of Salvation

Homosexual thoughts, inclinations, and acts are sin and must be confessed and forgiven by faith in Jesus Christ just like any other sin or sinner must be. Society is constantly pushing for the normalization of homosexuality, but the Christian must remain true to the Scripture. (for a fuller discussion of the topic, see my other article entitled Loving the homosexual to Healing with Truth.) The following list highlights some of the biblical truths regarding homosexuality. Continue reading →

Homosexuality “Loving the Homosexual to Healing with Truth”

This article briefly considers homosexuality, both biblically and scientifically. For a more thorough treatment of the subject, you can download my series under the same title at www.trinitynorman.org/resources/.

The Scripture clearly teaches that while all sin is sin, some sins are more sinful than others. Matthew 12:30-32 speaks of the unpardonable sin, in contrast to every other sin which can be forgiven by faith in Christ; Matthew 23:23 speaks of the “weightier provisions of the law;” John 19:11 says that in comparison to Pontius Pilate, Judas has the “greater sin;” James 1:14-15 distinguishes between temptation, lust, conceiving, and sin. Sin can refer to full mental indulgence or the physical carrying out of that which is conceived. While the mental envisioning of say, adultery, is sin, the carrying out of the physical act worsens such sin. To wit, the thought of murdering someone is sin, but the greater sin is to carry such thought to its fullness and commit the physical act of murder. Continue reading →

A Day Is a Day Is a Day of Course: Unless That Day Challenges Evolution! Part I

Genesis has been a battleground for some time, and today is no different. This is particularly true of Genesis 1-3, which is the account of the creation and the fall. When I first began studying the Scripture, I recognized the importance of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, but in retrospect I did not fully appreciate the magnitude of their significance. As I studied other areas of the Scripture and began learning the breadth and depth of God’s revelation, I saw that without the truthfulness and perspicuity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, every major theme of Scripture lay in jeopardy.

Probably the most hotly debated issue is whether or not the days of Genesis 1 are lunar days or indefinite periods of time or even actual days that are representative of longer periods of time. In other words, did God create the world in six days (closely approximating our days) or is the simple language of Genesis concealing a deeper esoteric meaning only fully revealed to scientists quite apart from the Scripture? Even some evangelical scientists like Hugh Ross, who describes himself as a “progressive creationist,” still accept certain cosmological theories as fact and seek to interpret Genesis through that prism”.[1] Continue reading →

Think About IT: The Limits of Scientific Knowledge about God

Science cannot say that there is no God, no evidence for God, or that God is not knowable because He is by definition beyond the detectability of laboratory experiments, and His existence offers the best inferential answer to explain some observable data.[1]

 As far as Richard Dawkins’ naturalistic assertion “that what is knowable is what is observable,” we may respond to that dictum in the following ways. First, science has a long history of discovering things that existed long before they were observed through the five senses, one example being the atom. Second, science often concludes by inference that some material entities exist, such as genes, electrons, and other planets. Similarly, we know God presently by inference and spiritual experience, but He will one day be observable and knowable to all. Therefore, to believe in His existence today is reasonable, and I believe the best explanation of certain observable phenomena—the universe, love, morals, etc.

 


[1] See Antony Flew’s book, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, (New York: Harper One, 2007).

 

Think About IT: The Battle We Cannot Ignore

Francis Schaeffer (1912 – 1984) was a Christian pastor and apologist. He is responsible for helping countless pastors and Christian leaders to think more broadly and deeply about God and our world. He considered himself an evangelist. The following is a timely quote by him from almost thirty years ago.

“Make no mistake. We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ . . . It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God’s absolutes. But do we really believe that the part we play in the battle has consequences for whether or not men and women will spend eternity in hell? Or whether or not in this life people will live with meaning or meaninglessness? Or whether or not those who do live will live in a climate of moral perversion and degradation? Sadly, we must say that few in the evangelical world have acted as if these things are true. Rather than trumpet our accomplishments and revel in our growing numbers, it would be closer to the truth to admit that our response has been a disaster.”[1]


 

[1] Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984), 31-32.

Think About IT: Thinking Has Changed

Today longstanding shared presuppositions about reality continue to evanesce. We not only think about different things, but we think differently. The scientistic worldview that continues to expand legitimate science beyond its legitimate domain normalizes relativism. This relativism is not arrived at through philosophical reasoning, but rather by viewing life as either only understood or best understood by what science can tell us. Thus, each aspect of life, marriage, morals, child rearing, etc., are merely experiments, and as experiments, they are neither right nor wrong, but rather they either work or do not.

Christian apologist and evangelist Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) wrote similarly about the importance of this shift, “So this change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem, as I understand it, facing Christianity today.”[1]


 

[1] The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Book One: The God Who Is There, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 6.