Well worth reading, maybe it’s just obvious to the readers. But I know of only one church where the pastor regularly teaches through creeds and confessions. It’s more popular to focus on feelings and emotions, and “our better lives now” applications. Perhaps we miss something.
Mike, you are one of my favorite writers, over the years I’ve come to appreciate your writing and generally agree with what you say and how you express it. better than I can say it. Much like you experienced, my last 20+ years has been a journey into more reading and understanding of the Bible, and creeds and confessions, that express Biblical truth, and doctrine.
Along the way we both encountered J Gresham Machen, I read his book years ago, in which he writes, almost 100 years ago, on the changes taking place in the church. One can only imagine what he would say about the multitude changes that have taken place since then.
Mike’s article below is simple and to the point. The place of doctrine (which just means teaching) is so foundational. In fact so foundational, Jesus explains the whole OT teaches about him and his life. The resurrection is the cornerstone on which these truths are witnessed and confirmed.
Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Mike’s ending quote from Machen says this very thing….
“They came forward, not merely with an exhortation or with a program, but with a message,–with an account of something that had happened a short time before. “Christ died for our sins,” they said, “according to the Scriptures; he was buffed; he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” – J. Gresham Machen”
I suggest everyone read the full Machen article, Mike posted last year.(see the link). And pick up a copy of the book.
by Mike Ratliff
6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 1 Timothy 4:6 (NASB)
From January 1986 until the late fall of 2005 I probably would have, if asked, responded to the question in the title that Christianity is a life or at least a relationship while doctrine, though unnecessary, helps us understand that. I didn’t really believe during that time that doctrine was of any real value. Why? My whole understanding of Christianity is that it is based on my experience. For some odd reason I didn’t think much past that in an attempt to understand why my experience would be so radically different than other Christians’ experience.
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