|Sept. 18, 2003|
|The CARM newsletter is up and running in its new HTML format. I hope that you like the improved look. This is the second one offered in this format. for those of you new to this newsletter, I hope that you enjoy it and that its edifies you.
To view past newsletters, please go to http://www.carm.org/newsletters_2003.htm.
| I mentioned in the previous newsletter that CARM now has a prayer ministry. If you are interested in participating in this ministry, in praying for others, then please check out the link at http://www.carm.org/prayer.htm. We have a Carm prayer chain for general needs regarding this ministry. We also have an urgent prayer request list where urgent prayer requests are sent out via e-mail. We have a burden bearers group which is for generic prayers. Finally we have an illness support group for prayer for special health needs.
Many of you are not able to participate in ministries in churches or neighborhoods. But you can certainly pray and ask the heavenly Lord of all creation to move, to heal, to intercede, etc., for people all over the world. Prayer is a vital and important ministry that all Christians should be involved in.
Finally, we've already begun to see answers to prayers come in. CARM has an answer page with the first two answered prayers: http://www.carm.org/prayer/answers.htm. It is a humble beginning, but it has begun.
Surgery: My wife will be having hand surgery on Sept. 23rd. It is to fuse her thumb in place. She has marfan syndrome (loosing of connective tissue) and her thumb joint has deteriorated. Please pray for success.
| Presupposition: a presupposition is something believed beforehand, often without examination. We all have presuppositions and they greatly influence how we view the world, ourselves, morality, purpose, family, etc. Our presuppositions help us make sense of the world and help us relate to it. It is very important that we Christians understand that the unbeliever has a set of presuppositions that influence how and what he believes. Though Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, that Jesus is God in flesh, and that He rose from the dead physically, those whose presuppositions deny the miraculous will also deny who Christ is. Therefore, it is an important fact, an important teaching that a person's presuppositions will govern his theological beliefs or lack thereof. Remember that when you speak to someone who denies biblical truth, find out what his presuppositions are and then examine them. See if they are logical, based on evidence, and internally consistent.
If you are interested in reading an actual dialogue I have had with an atheist that dealt, in part, on presuppositions, then check out http://www.carm.org/dialogues/atheist_dueling.htm.
| Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in. (John 2:19-21). Jesus still retained the wounds of His crucifixion (John 20:27; Luke 24:39) which proved that He had risen bodily from the dead. This simple truth is a fundamental Christian doctrine. Without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no proof that death has been conquered, that Jesus was who He said He was, and that His words and ministry are true. The resurrection of Christ is a doctrine that cannot be denied. To deny it, is to deny essential Christianity.
Furthermore, Jesus is, right now, both God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9). He is the risen Lord and He will forever be a man so that He might forever make intercession for us (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).
DOCTRINE. The word "doctrine" comes from the Greek word "didaskolos," and it basically means "teaching." It is used many times in the New Testament. Doctrine is extremely important in Christianity. By it we know who God is, what He has done, what the Trinity is, the deity of Christ, His resurrection, salvation, justification, etc. Doctrine is what defines the who's and what's of Christianity. In fact, you can't be saved without doctrine.
It is a doctrinal statement that you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23). It is also doctrinally true that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In fact, the doctrine of salvation teaches us that Jesus bore our sin in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) so that we could be justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) and escape the righteous wrath of God (John 3:18). Doctrine. It is important. It is vital to our relationship with God and our salvation. Good doctrine is like an anchor that prevents us from drifting into teachings that are false.
Unfortunately though, many Christians today shun the idea of learning doctrine. Too many think it is a dry and boring topic that doesn't meet their felt needs. Felt need theology is when a person goes to the Bible to find out what needs it can meet for them. They want God's word to help them out and make them feel better. This can be dangerous, especially if the majority of the body of Christ is more concerned with how they "feel" than what God says. Truth doesn't always make us feel good. That is why sometimes people prefer to ignore the truth. The danger is warned against in scripture: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires," (2 Tim. 4:3). We must guard ourselves and examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).
Putting felt needs before biblical truth, though usually not done intentionally, still happens far too much. Feeling our way through the Word of God and asking questions like "What does that verse mean to you?" is a pretty good "felt-needs" way to end up in error. Who cares what it means to us. The question is, "What does the verse SAY? Good biblical examination is concerned with the doctrine of the word, the teaching, what it actually says. Then, once that is known, we are to change to meet its truth. Feel-good and felt-needs Christianity, so rampant in churches today, bends the word of God to the needs of the individual. This is dangerous. Biblical examination should be based on sound principles, doctrinal clarity, and how we need to change to meet God's truth. This is a God centered approach. The felt-needs method is man centered.
When coming to the Word of God remember that when studying it you have two possibilities. You can seek to master the passage (Bible study) and/or you can seek to have it master you (devotional). Both are valid and both are needed. But either way, you must learn what it teaches. You must learn doctrine so that you will be anchored in truth, God's holy and powerful truth. This is why you must learn the basics of doctrine, that Jesus is God in flesh, salvation is by grace, the Trinity is three persons, there will be a future resurrection. Hopefully, you will then also learn more advanced doctrines such as God's covenant system throughout history, the priesthood of Christ, the difference between justification and sanctification, the righteousness of God, and so much more.
Whatever you learn in the Bible is equivalent to learning doctrinal truths. Do not shy away from the anchor. Do not let yourself be engulfed by felt-needs theology, the theology of man-centered expectations and wants. Instead, submit to God's word in truth, accepting the doctrinal instructions and teachings. Then conform yourself to them by the renewing of your mind. This is what the Lord tells us to do: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect," (Rom. 12:2).
|VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect," (NASB).
If you think CARM is a worthwhile ministry, please seriously consider supporting it financially and prayerfully. The goal is to contribute to that which expands the kingdom of God. If you want to help CARM move towards full time status, please consider giving to this non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm.
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.