This study of biblical doctrines is the second part of a project designed for training Christians to be able to minister in their churches and communities. The project is called “The Exodus Project” because it is based on the teaching of the Bible first found in Exodus 19 and then restated in 1 Peter 2 that the redeemed of the LORD are to be a kingdom of priests. Accordingly, Deuteronomy 33:10 teaches that the ministry of the priests included:
Teaching the Word of God,
Making intercessory prayer (“burn incense”), and
Enabling people to find access to God through the sacrifice.
Part One, which will be posted on this web site in the spring, is a series of lessons designed to help people be able to teach the Bible. It will include the full introduction to this project and how it can be used in the churches.
Part Three, which will appear later in the spring, will focus on intercessory prayer and the related spiritual services that derive from it.
Part Two, presented here, is a survey of biblical doctrine. Israel’s priests were to make the sacrifices so that others could find access to the living God. This required that they understand what the sacrifices were all about, and how everything worked in God’s program to bring people into communion with Himself. In other words, those intrusted with this service had to know God, understand His attributes and works, be able to explain forgiveness and salvation, instruct others in the rituals of the congregation, and be able to articulate the covenant promises and the hope of glory. Being a worship leader, then, goes way beyond singing a song in front of the congregation--it requires that people be articulate in the doctrines of the faith. Sadly, what is missing in the church today is the articulate Christian, the one who knows the faith and can explain it clearly. And, even more sadly, that quality is disappearing in the clergy as well.
It is, of course, impossible to study all the doctrines included in the Bible, or even a creed like the Nicene Creed in a short period of time. Each doctrine deserves the full attention of a separate course of studies; in that way the doctrine could be fully defined and all the supporting evidence from Scripture and the subsequent writings on the doctrine could be taken into account. Nevertheless, in a survey such as this we will be able to gain a full picture of the beliefs of the historic Christian faith in one sweep. The survey should then inspire individual Christians to read further on the doctrines, or on a particular doctrine.
The doctrines of the church have come under attack again in this generation. Whereas in the past they have simply been denied, now they are being reinterpreted to mean something very different. This survey is not designed to be a defense of the faith, for that would have to include all the false teachings that have arisen over the centuries. But in surveying the historic faith one will be better equipped to discern these subtle challenges that if embraced will change the church completely.
There are a number of ways that this material could be surveyed. I have chosen to focus more on certain passages of the Bible that are basic texts for the doctrines. After the first part on the meaning of faith, each section will give a brief statement of the doctrine and its meaning, and then use a Bible study to elucidate it. In other words, this will be a series of Bible studies on doctrinal themes. But the point of each section will be that the believer who is going to function as a part of this kingdom of priests--which should be every believer--should understand the doctrine involved.
In passing we shall consider what the Nicene Creed left out, or why it said things the way that it did. This will lead to additional studies in other creeds for those who are interested.