Preface to Christian Basic Training
What is Truth? This is an age-old question, but in late 20th century Western civilization, it has become an accepted fact among most “learned” people that we can know “truth” (with a small “t”)--but that we cannot know “Truth” (with a big “T”). We can identify pieces of data, events, conditions, etc., as being real and factual--but the big questions of the universe, ultimate Truth, are impossible to answer. In the mundane, important, tragic, comic, or happy events of everyday life, the sages of our age will allow us to perceive little bits of reality, without admitting the possibility or at least the knowability of Reality. This has been somewhat changed in the past decade by the growing popularity of so-called New Age thinking, which takes in various forms of mysticism and superstition, and which is no “newer” than ancient Babylon or Egypt. But the mushy, all-inclusive concept of Truth prevalent among these groups of neo-pagans is no closer to the real thing than the secular version.
Christianity--that is, real, Biblical, evangelical, orthodox, born-again Christianity--has the only answer to the quandary of modern men and women as they face an uncertain future with either no foundation, a false foundation, or a foundation of sand. The problem is that our churches and our professing believers (at least in America) have been so influenced by materialism, “touchy-feely” psychology, and existentialism that we are in danger of becoming a non-factor as the world plunges headlong into a great abyss. We organize politically, we write our legislators, we demonstrate, boycott, rally, and vote, but what are we accomplishing? Where is the revolutionary effect that the church had on the world of the first four centuries of the modern era? The early church revolutionized three continents without the benefits of modern communications or democratic rights, and in the face of great personal danger--where is that power today? Where is the radical, society-challenging and changing power that our spiritual forebears exercised in the Reformation, the Puritan Revival, and the Great Awakening? Has the Holy Spirit abandoned us? Or, have we abandoned His way? Oh, there are those who speak of real revival--we often hear it prayed for. There have been tiny moves of the Spirit in various places. And, there are voices popping up to urge us on to excellence. There is smoke--but where is the fire? Some polls have claimed that 60 million people in the U.S. claim to be born-again Christians. I wish it were so. If there were 60 million true believers in the U.S. consistently following Christ, abortion, the drug culture, rampant poverty in a land of richness, physical and sexual abuse, pornography, and many of our other evils would be ground into powder!
Only the Holy Spirit of God can bring the revival of true Christianity that this evil age calls for. This is not a day for the weak, apathetic, or uncommitted. This is a day for God’s people to arise and follow Him (John 10:27).
There is no magic equation that will fix the 20th century American churches--there is no computer program that we can load, start, and then forget about it while it runs. What is required is what the first church did--and it has nothing to do with controversial gifts, extraordinary phenomena, or any of the organizational ideas of the first church. The four things the first church excelled in are listed in Acts 2:42 “and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The results? Thousands (eventually millions) were saved, and the church grew to worldwide proportions! Did extraordinary phenomena take place? Yes, the Spirit was pleased to grant such things. Were gifts in evidence? Yes, once again, the Holy Spirit was pleased to give gifts to the churches. These things, however, were by-products of revival--they followed the church’s obedient, steadfast devotion to the basics. We in the 20th century American church are sadly lacking in these areas, especially in the areas of teaching and prayer--and without these two legs, the table falls, however strong the other two.
We are woefully inadequate in the area of teaching the truths of the gospel to our people, in equipping them for ministry, for being salt and light in our world. “But,” someone says, “there are so many wonderful teachers, so many books, video tapes, and other materials available.” True, and that only increases our guilt--for we have done little with such riches. Simply put, we may know a lot about end-times prophecy, we may be well-schooled in denominational positions on Baptism, the gifts of the Spirit, Eternal Security, etc., but are our members well-versed on the fundamentals of the faith? We may have a social outreach program of some sort to all different groups in our community, but what do we do with those we reach? How long does it take for a new believer in our congregation to become well-versed in the doctrines of Christianity? If our new believers do know essential doctrines, have they “internalized” them--do the teachings affect the way they live?
The goal of this book is for local churches to awaken to their need to teach and live the basic doctrines of the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints, and to provide a supplemental textbook for that purpose. (Only the Bible can be the main text). This book is not written for scholars, but for students. It is not written to evangelize the lost, but to build up the saints. It is not written to convince the agnostic or the cynic, but to confirm the seeker and comfort and edify the believer. May God’s Holy Spirit aid in that task. Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be the Glory).
Related Topics: Basics for Christians