Monday, January 28, 2008

Foundations Worth Firming

In The God Who Justifies, James White commenting on John Murray's interpretation of Phinehas' "righteousness" (Psalm 106:30-31) writes:

"Murray's interpretation takes something for granted that is no longer foundational in many circles: the accuracy, consistancy, andinspiration of Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ and as an instrument in the writing of Scripture."

The context of this quote is in chapter 12, Romans 4:12: Paul's Biblical defense of the gospel of grace, using Genesis 15:6 as his key proof text. The argument of some, is that there is an inconsistancy between Phinehas' righteousness in Psalm 106, and Abraham's righteousness in Genesis 15. John Murray is quoted to show a fuller understanding of the way "righteousness" is used.

What struck me about the way this was worded, was that in a much broader context within Evangelical Christianity, there are so many things that are no longer "foundational" or a basic understanding when it comes to Christian doctrine.

In my world, my kids have an advantage that a lot of kids and even adults today don't have. They are homeschooled and they have a Bible course that they open up five days a week, then on Sunday they sit under qualified, dedicated teachers that teach solid Bible doctrine. For six out of seven days, my kids are being taught what many would call Basic Bible 101. They are being instructed in foundational Christian teachings, and having that foundation made more sure, and more secure, with each passing week. They are blessed to have this kind of teaching, and I am blessed to be able to provide it. [Which is not to say non-homeschooled kids aren't be properly taught, since we all know that many of them are, and praise God for dedicated parents who do this!] I can only hope that this foundational teaching they're receiving as children, will stay with them as they grow up and hear so many unBiblical worldviews and theological ravings, that they will be able to counter such things with the truth of Scripture.

don't be sunkThe difference between this and so many other children and adults should be obvious. They are not in the Word each day, not actually studying it each day, and not building any kind of foundation to base their beliefs on, except maybe what they hear on "Christian radio" or watch on "Christian television" or read from the "best-sellers" rack at the local Christian bookstore, or at best, 30-45 minutes a week in a good Sunday school class, followed by another 30-45 minutes of a good sermon by the pastor. As most of my readers would agree I'm sure, so much of what you'll find in those areas of radio, tv and bookstores will do nothing to sure up a firm foundation, but in contrast can often take years to unlearn, once a dedicated study of Scripture begins, and being under sound Biblical teaching begins. In many cases, its nothing more building a foundation of quicksand, but its also doctrinally a dangerous place to be in.

It doesn't take more than a quick look around 'Christian' websites, blogs and huge mega-ministries to get a good idea of what I'm talking about. There is just no shortage of quicksand Christianity out there. From this movement to that one, prosperity teachings, word of faith, denial of the Trinity or the deity of Christ, or the Lordship of Christ, Paul's authority, unpacking this, redefining that, and on and on it goes. I know so many people that have a testimony that speaks to this very thing. People who have come from horrific, unbiblical, anti-trinitarian, anti-sovereignty, man-centered teachings - who spend years and years unlearning the things they thought they knew or believed.

I overheard a conversation recently about a new book out there that seeks to "unpack" Christianity and "redefine it" for a new, postmodern age. First, I'm so sick of hearing this lingo I could just scream, but more importantly, I find it striking and ironic that so many people fancy themselves wise enough to write books on this subject, when they don't even know what in the world they're writing about, nor do they even have any assurance of what they're writing about - but they want you and I to have that same sense of confused, ambiguous, fluffy foundation that they have, so we can all ooze along this journey together and dialog about it. Aside from being such utter drivel and a monumental waste of time, the startling thing is that scores of people are eating this up like candy.

No thanks. By His grace, I have a Bible (and Bible teachers who know what they're talking about) and I know how to use it. It's not at all complicated either, you just open it and expect and prepare to be humbled, molded, taught and set on a sure and straight course.