Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chapter 10: The Discipline of Convictions

Some of the things that stood out to us this week where:

Absolute Truth: How familiar does this sound? “every man did which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25, KJV) As Jerry points out, this is they way our society is today. But not the church? Surely?... “What should disturb us, however, is that evangelicals are moving in the same direction. 'Four out of 10 people who call themselves evangelicals don’t believe there is such a thing as absolute truth, according to a Barna Research Group poll.' If this means that these 40 percent decide for themselves what is right and wrong instead of going to the Bible, then it is no wonder there is often little difference between the ethical views and behavior of professing Christians and those who have nothing to do with Christianity. Morality becomes merely a matter of ones’s personal opinion. In fact, I am aware of situations where Christians were confronted about sin in their lives and responded, “that’s just your opinion.” Page 165-166

But Jerry goes even further …, of those evangelicals who do believe in absolute truth (including ourselves), do we let our belief in the truth of the bible effect our behavior or change our character? Are we being transformed by the bible? Do we let the bible teach us change us and humble us? Are we living according to the biblical standard or do we just conform to the moral consensus in our own church or circle of friends. Let us live like we truly believe, that the bible is absolute truth. Let the Word’s standards be ours. 'One thing we can be sure of: If we do not actively seek to come under the influence of God’s Word, we will come under the influence of sinful society around us’. Page 171

Hidden Treasure: 'The question we must ask ourselves is this: What value do we place upon the Word of God? Do we search it as if we were seeking for hidden treasures, or do we read it and study it only because we know it is something we should do?' Page 176

When my husband and I first came across ‘reformed’ theology it was life changing. We realised that almost everything we had believed and been taught was full of errors. It was not biblical Christianity. We literally had to discard everything we had learned before and start again from the bible. At that time we really did search through the bible like it contained hidden treasure. We were excited about it and spent as much of our time as we could reading it, and searching through even familiar passages and learning things that we’d never seen there before. Reading the above quote drew my memory back to that stage of my Christian walk and I realised that whilst I still love the word of God, the intensity of my search through it has diminished. It was quite a challenge to me. Maybe, I have, as Jerry has talked about so often in this book, reached a point where I feel comfortable, and set cruise control, even with my time in the word of God. Is the word of God like treasure to you? Do you search it to find the truth? … 'We need to approach the Bible with the deep, settled conviction that it accurately expresses the mind of God and the will of God as to how we are to live.' Page 174. If we really believe this surely we should be desperate to seek out its treasure. 'Ask God to remove any doubts you might have and give you a settled convition that the Bible is indeed God’s Word, that it is complete and authoritative, and that it is absolute truth.' Page 174… as we study it let us follow Jerry’s advice… '... as you approach the reading or study of the Bible, don’t do so just to buttress your own previously held opinions or to affirm you favourite doctrines. Rather ask the Holy Spirit to teach you.' Page 175

Memorising Scripture: We all acknowledged that this is something we need to do more of. I certainly feel that I have not done enough, and am challenged by this chapter to increase my efforts in this area.

We also discussed different ways of memorising scripture. Some of us grew up memorising scripture as a family and learning whole books and passages together. This can be very helpful so that we not only remember the scriptures, but also their context and setting. Maybe this is something we could help our children with.

Music can also be very helpful. Some of us have found listening to scripture in music to be very helpful for memorizing. Some of the artists that have been recommended are:
- Sons of Korah.
- Jason Coghill
- Scripture in Song (Not sure if this link is to the same 'scripture in song' we all sung in Sunday school growing up. Looks like it may be an updated edition. Hopefully they are. Searching through blogs on the internet, people seem to be having trouble finding the audio but are able to get the books on Amazon and websites like that.)

In looking for a link for each of the above I found this website which might be helpful in finding good Christian music and scripture in song.

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