Sunday, June 22, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if some of us who call ourselves Christians really know what we believe and why we believe it. Considering the fact that 90% of Christians pray 30 seconds or less per day and read their Bibles even less than that, is it possible that the majority of Christians really know the heart of God? I doubt it. Can they contend for their faith in a crowd of unbelieving scoffers? Can they boldly and effectively witness if they don't even truly know what they believe in the first place?

Jude 1:3 says, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints". Fact is, many "Christians" rely on the faith of their parents and grandparents. They rely on a second-hand word from the Lord instead of getting the facts about their faith straight from His Word with no middle man to possibly 'muddy the waters'. We have an idea of what we believe, but only because it has been spoon fed to us from the time we were children. There is nothing wrong with teaching children about the Bible - we are commanded to do so......the problem comes when the children rely on the word of the parents (milk) instead of the Word of the Lord (meat).

Remember when you were little and you sat in a circle and played the game "Gossip"? Maybe I am the only one who remembers it. Anyway, it's the game where someone starts with a phrase and each person whispers it into the ear of the next until it comes to the last person and the phrase is almost always different by the time it reaches the end of the group. Word of mouth is often unreliable, but the Word of God directly from the pages of the Bible is never unreliable.

Let me give you an example of hand-me-down religion: When I was growing up, we were taught that it is wrong for a black man to marry a white woman (not necessarily taught that in my home, but in our 'circle'). It wasn't something that was plainly stated, but I just knew it was frowned upon in my community. No one thought anything of a white man marrying an Asian woman, but black and white? That was different. I can honestly say that I know people who would contend that the Bible says interracial marriages are wrong. Had I not studied the Bible for myself, I might have taken their word for it and just assumed that "Black men shall not intermarry with white women" was the "Eleventh Commandment". Even worse, one of my best friends from childhood is a white woman married to a black man - what if I had condemned her for something that is not a sin?

By the way, If you don't think hand-me-down religion is dangerous, then maybe you should Google Islam (bet that would change your mind).

I'll give you some examples of questions that we should all know the answers to, but probably many of us don't:

Do you know what the Bible says about speaking in tongues?
Do you know how and when one receives the Holy Spirit?
What kind of wine did they drink in Bible times?
Should a Christian drink alcohol at all?
What is the unpardonable sin?
Can everyone be saved?
What of predestination?
How does the "Emergent Church" square up with Biblical examples of the Church?
Why do we really tithe? - God doesn't need our money?
Should Church and State really mix?
Does the Bible teach that you can or cannot lose your salvation?
Should Baptism be by immersion or some other method?
Do you have the end times events in a timeline in your head or are you still wondering if you are a pre-tribber, post-tribber or other?
Do you even know what pre-tribber and post-tribber means?

These are just a few of the questions that we need to be prepared to answer - not just with our personal opinion, but with God's opinion straight from the Word.

You all know I have my own beliefs about each of those questions (And you know I don't care to share them with you all in detail ;-). The truth is that I have been confronted with two of those questions in recent weeks and I felt very ill-prepared to share what the Bible says in each area. (I'll leave the questions a mystery) I can tell you what I believe to be true in both these areas, not because of my own study, but because of what I have been told all my life. The problem with telling what I believe to be true is that I don't exactly know the scripture to back up my beliefs. There are just some subjects that are not discussed every day in normal conversation. At some point these subjects will come up and we need to be prepared to account for what we believe and give the scripture to back it up.

Remember in Hebrews 5 where it says "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" Some of the questions I listed above are not necessarily elementary, but they are relevant and important for each of us to answer so that we can be prepared to contend for the faith. Not contend for what WE believe or what we have been taught by mere man, but contend for what the Bible teaches. Because sometimes there is a world of difference between the two.


Rochelle said...

Wow... heavy post! But I agree with you 100%. We need to be able to answer these questions. We can't know it all, but we should be able to know where in the Bible to find the answers to these questions and more. Excellent post!

Greg P. said...

This is the third time I've had to rewrite my comments regarding your post. I'm not giving up until they post!

You were right on target with your post. So many times I could not immediately come up with chapter and verse when I tried to tell someone about Christ. I knew it was in the Bible and I knew what I was saying was true, but, I couldn't prove it at the time. That's my fault for being unprepared.

I remember the game you are referencing, just not by that name. But, the secret is always a lot different when repeated by the last person from the first. I'm sure that is how Bible information is also handed down. It's up to us to find out for ourselves. Very good post today. Thank you.

Fran said...

I need to do some homework. :) THanks for the questions and challenge.

donnaj said...

It is always good when roles change and daughters teach Mothers. Thanks for reminding me that it is imperative to be grounded in the Word. We must be able to back up our witness with the written Word and to do that we must know exactly where it is in the Bible.

Mommyluann said...

Yep..always use the Bible as your backdrop..never take anyones word as gospel till you see it for yourself.

Sarah Markley said...

Really great thoughts today, Bethanne. Thank you for sharing your ideas and your views on this. =)

Heather said...

This is challenging and so good. You are a great teacher and I'm sure a great mother to your boys!
(They are precious, by the way!)

Teresa said...

Ohhhh! This is a good post, too!!! I feel so inadequate so often when it come to having the answers...right when I need them. What a great challenge!

LynnSC said...

Ohhh! So true Bethanne. We have to be ready to answer the questions with what God says... not our own opinions. Sadly, I have found myself even testing what Pastors say against the Word. And... believe it or not... many will give you opinions, not the truth from God's Word.

What excellent questions... I will have to make sure that I can back up my answers with scripture. Thanks for the reminder. Lynn