Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Essential Christian Doctrine

The importance of essential Christian doctrine simply can't be overstated. These are the doctrines that form the line of demarcation between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the cults. As believers, we can debate nonessentials without dividing over them, but there has to be unity when it comes to essential Christian doctrine. Hence the maxim that I repeat over and over again on the broadcast: in essentials, unity, in nonessentials, liberty and in all things, charity.

Not only so, but essential Christian doctrine is the North Star that sets the course for Christianity. Just as the North Star is an unchanging reference point that sailors use to safely guide their ships, essential Christian doctrine has safely guided the church through doctrinal storms that have sought to sink it. Shooting stars can light the sky for a moment, but following them inevitably leads to shipwreck.

Essential Christian doctrine is also the foundation on which the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rests. From His Deity to the certainty that He's going to appear a second time to judge the living and the dead, essential Christian doctrine is foundational to the Gospel. All other religions compromise, confuse or contradict essential Christian doctrine.

Muslims, for example, dogmatically denounce the doctrine of Christ's unique Deity as the unforgiveable sin of Shirk. They readily affirm the sinlessness of Christ but adamantly deny His sacrifice upon the cross and His subsequent resurrection on the only hope of salvation.

We are so passionate about essential Christian doctrine at the Christian Research Institute that we have spent a good deal of time in the present issue of the Christian Research Journal dealing with essential Christian doctrine because doctrine is under attack - not only particular doctrines like the resurrection or the incarnation or the Trinity, but the very idea of doctrine itself is considered today to be antiquated, irrelevant and downright divisive.

28 comments:

Kari Rodems said...

Thank you so much for upholding and holding to essential christian doctrine. So much written and preached these days seem to take careless or intentional provocative liberties with the essentials of the Christian faith. God bless you.

reality check said...

Why does truth need to be upheld? Can't truth stand on its own?

Kari Rodems said...

Uphold: To aid the cause of by approving or favoring: advocate, back, champion, endorse, get behind, plump for, recommend, side with, stand behind, stand by, support. Idioms: align oneself with, go to bat for, take the part of. (from about.com)
Truth being truth remains standing no matter who would choose to malign it, but to uphold it simply means, in my humble understanding, to champion it, to stand with it or align with it etc... :)

Billiam said...

RC, truth stands on it's own when people willingly see it and acknowledge it. When those in power don't like it, they'll change it incrementally over time. Just look at the way history is revised, or the way the meaning and intent of the Constitution has been changed. Truth needs people to defend it and preserve it.

reality check said...

billiam...interesting that truth changes ("When those in power don't like it, they'll change it incrementally over time"). I was under the impression that truth is supposed to be objective and not subjective.

Kari Rodems said...

All truth by definition is God's truth. (Capital "G") God's truth is absolute. God is truth. Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Now some may hold that truth is relative. They typically also hold to the precepts of any number of gods (little "g"). Truth by it's very nature is true or it is not. Now what people uphold as truth can change as quickly as the wind blows, but it doesn't change the truth. Calling a rock a tree doesn't make a rock a tree. It will remain a rock no matter what someone decides to reasign it's value to be. Truth remains. God never changes. At this point I'm not certain if you are honestly seeking after truth or just intent on parsing words, either way, I hope you find what you are longing after. - Blessings - :) Mt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Billiam said...

RC, you missed my point, or maybe I didn't make it clear enough. If someone doesn't like a particular truth, say, someone in power, they can slowly change the perception of that truth. The truth itself hasn't changed, rather the perception or context of that particular truth. By changing these, you effectively change a persons belief of that truth. Is that a little clearer?

Billiam said...

An example would be the 'Palestinian people' canard. The truth is that Hadrian started calling it Palestina because it was an insult to the defeated Jews, since one of their biggest enemies were the Philistines. Palestinians are actually Arabs. Yet, this truth, while still true, has been slowly changed over time so that most people believe the "truth" that there are actually palestinians and the they originally came from "palestine" rather than what is now Jordan, Syria, Lebannon, Egypt, etc.

Anonymous said...

Another example is the Sabbath. Nowhere in the scriptures does it ever say anything about changing from the 7th day to the 1st day. Yet the Catholic church changed it because they had the power to and a dislike for Judism (wether or not the Jews believed int he Messiah or not). Even to this very day if a caller calls in to Hanks show and asks a question regarding the sabbath being on Saturday Hank is quick to laugh and make snide remarks about not making a spark igniting your engine to drive somewhere or you can be soned to death. Which in itself is proof the more needs to be studied because the stonign can only happen if there is a temple and a sanhedrine inpower which neither do at this time and even if they did they have no power here in the U.S. The people going to seminary keep learning the same thing....the law has been done away with (wrong). The law still stands firm, but trying to obey it in order to gain salvation is legalism and wrong. Just a few tidbits of info that you may not know about to show you what I mean about the changes we have been made to believe against the Word of God........

James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, 88th ed., pp. 89.

"But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."

Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd ed., p. 174.

"Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?

"Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her-she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."

The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."

So you see, should we be made to change our observing Gods Holy day of rest or be fed MANS rules which have overruled Gods Word. I obey God because I have been grafted in to the family of Israel (says Paul) so I do as a family member should (just like the mixed multitudes did during the exodus, I must obey God as they did by obeying all his commands not jus thte ones that I think apply to me) I obey God as a child would obey his father....because I love him. Who am I to question His commands. He said EVERYONE for ALL time were to obey his commands. I do as Yeshua (Jesus) did to the best of my ability. If a man teaches something that is not taught in the bible or that contradicts it then I study and obey the words written and in their original texts Hebrew for OT and Greek for NT. The bible IS the Word of God why should man make changes to it?

-Jay

Matt McMains said...

Jay, do you still offer animal sacrifices for you sins or worship in the temple? Do you do any work on Saturday? My point is, the law has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ...we no longer need to offer sacrifices or worship in the temple, because he is our sacrifice and the antitype for the temple. Christians celebrate the sabbath on Sunday to honor the resurrection of our Lord. It is not about a particular day, is about honoring Christ throughout the whole week. The law has not been abolished, but it has been fulfilled in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Matt,
This is a normal misunderstanding of the scriptures. The Greek word pleroo means to fulfil as in Mathew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." This doesn't necessarily mean that it is done away with though.

According to Strong's Concordance:
to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment.
Jesus came to teach us how to obey the laws in the correct way. The Pharisee had been adding to Gods words and making extra rule and regulations. Yeshua (Jesus) came to teach against this and to teach us how to do it correctly. He came to show us how His Father wanted our lives lived out. Don't add to or take away, not one jot or title.
So Matt, what could possibly be wrong with obeying God. You act like it is a bad thing. I'm not working my way into heaven by obeying Gods laws. I believe that Jesus is the Messiah the son of God, just like you do. But when I say anything about obeying the Sabbath you act like I'm doing something wrong, Why? You do understand that neither God nor Jesus ever said to change the day. Paul nor any appostles did either. Actually Paul said "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." The greek word for establish is histemi means:
to establish a thing, cause it to stand

a) to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything

So how can Paul say "get rid of the law but keep its authority"? We have a translation problem on one hand mixed with a history of "men" making changes that were not authorized by Adonai. And NO, No sacrifices are needed today thanks to Yeshua taking the sin upon himself. He did away with the need for sin offerings or guilt offering. If a temple were in Israel right now I would have no problem doing a grain offering of thanks for the food he has supplied for me and my family. Do you think that would be a bad thing, a burnt grain offering as a thanksgiving to God? I think it is time that we all start studying the bible FOR ALL IT'S WORTH like Hnak says. That doesn't mean that we read the bible and then ponder what it means "to us". We need to understand the culture and the language in order to get a better idea of what is meant by the words we read. Most of the time reading will be fine but when the time comes where you see God getting rid of one of His commands then you better stop and do some research because you are missing something. God spoke very few times and in those times He told us what He wanted from us, and how He wanted us to live our lives. #4 of His 10 Commandments is honor the sabbath, and we actually think that we have the authority to make this change, how arrogant. Just because the appostles met on the 1st day of the week and worshipped doesn't mean they changed the sabbath. They met almost every day and worshipped at least three times a day. If you did your research you would know this. There are three main times of prayer the morning prayer or Shacharit and the afternoon prayer or Mincha and the evening prayer or Ma'ariv/Arvit. So when it says they got together on the first day of the week and worshipped that was something they did everyday. Because we are ignorant of this we assume everybody on earth does it like we do here in America and that isn't true. I would start studying if I were you Matt. Why should you be scared to obey God? I don't understand why you would rather listen to men then God.
In Yeshua ha Mashiach.
Shalom.
-Jay

Anonymous said...

Matt,
By the way for you to focus on the temple is silly. Yes Yeshua is the temple I understand this. The temple has NOTHING to do with obeying Gods commands. And no, I do not work on Saturday it is Gods Holy day of rest. You do realize that you can go to church on Sunday and honor God by keeping Saturday Holy at the same time don't you?

Marshall said...

Anonymous, you are missing the whole message of scripture. As Hank states over and over, "read the Whole Bible for all it is worth". The sabbath as a law is not mentioned in the NT, only when Jesus explains that the Sabbath is made for man not man for the Sabbath. Jesus came to end the old convenant. Sabbath worship is essestial but it can be any day of the week. Tradition for 2000 years has Christians worshiping on Sunday not Saturday as you infer. If you are going to take the OT literally then you must be stoned to death if you disobey and work on the Sabbath. The symbol of the Sabbath is our eternal rest in Jesus Christ. Re-read Hebrews 4.

Anonymous said...

Marshall,
Let's take a look at Hebrews 4 like you said.

Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
In this verse the Greek word katapausis is used which means the following:
1) a putting to rest
a) calming of the winds
2) a resting place
a) metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended
(this does not have anything to do with the Sabbath day of rest....let's continue.
4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
The same word katapausis is used for the word rest in the above passage as well
4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
katapau├┤ is used in the above passage and it means the following:
1) to make quiet, to cause to be at rest, to grant rest
a) to lead to a quiet abode
b) to still, restrain, to cause (one striving to do something) to desist
2) to rest, take rest
4:5 And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest.
katapausis is used above (not meaning relax or no work as in the Sabbath day rest)
4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
katapau├┤ is used in the above passage and it means the following:
1) to make quiet, to cause to be at rest, to grant rest
a) to lead to a quiet abode
b) to still, restrain, to cause (one striving to do something) to desist
2) to rest, take rest
4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
This time the Greek word sabbatismos is used it means the following:
1) a keeping sabbath
2) the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshipers of God and true Christians
4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
In this verse the Greek word katapausis is used which means the following:
1) a putting to rest
a) calming of the winds
2) a resting place
a) metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended
4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Same as previous passage.
What we have here is three words that have different meanings one is speaking of the heavenly place where God dwells (heaven) which is where we labour to be (as spoken of in the last passage 4:11). Another which speaks of the act of resting as seen in 4:8 and another that confirms the Sabbath still exists (4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.) the words "rest" here means Sabbath rest.
So as before when someone tries to say God said one thing and then did another (contradicting His perfect word) all that is needed is reading it FOR ALL IT'S WORTH. I'm doing it why don't you do it too Marshall? You all are acting like I'm doing something wrong by following Gods COMMANDS. I have not went against Gods word or teaching. I believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah. The place where you and I differ is when you say that we are not to follow Gods Commands anymore. But it is only by misunderstanding Gods words and leaning on mans interpretations that we fall short. Why is it SO hard for you to see? People act like it is difficult to follow Gods commands yet we will go to the ends of the earth to follow the Adkins diet but we won't refrain from eating food Gods says it bad? I do NOT believe that by following these commands we will enter into the kingdom, we can not work our way there. I obey because I love my Father in Heaven and he said to do it. I find it extremely arrogant for anyone to say we have the authority to change Gods word, which is what is being done every time we say "we don't have to do this anymore". Yeshua didn't die to take away the need to follow Gods commands, He died to take away our need to sacrifice a sin offering. He is the sacrifice, our Passover Lamb. What a slap in the face to our Savior we give Him when we speak out against His word. He died because He taught the Pharisee what they were doing wrong. Just like I tell you today that you are doing it wrong. You get angry like they did yet we do the same thing. Don't do away with the laws, obey them, just don't add to or take away from them. I hope this helps.
-Jay

Anonymous said...

Marshall, you said:
"If you are going to take the OT literally then you must be stoned to death if you disobey and work on the Sabbath."

I can not be stoned to death for disobeying anything in the bible unless the sanhedrin is in power and it isn't. Also, I would have to live in Israel for them to have authorityover me and I don't. One other thing, you said that Jesus said that sabath was made for man not man for the sabbath. Correct but do you know what that means? It reffers to the time when Yeshua healed the sick person on the sabbath. The Pharisees were saying that he worked on the sabbath. What Yeshua says is that people are more important than the sabbath. You can't see someone choking and say to yourself, "hmmm, I would like to help that person but if I do then I will be working on sabbath and thus be breaking the law of God......hmmmmm, sorry Bob you will have to die because I wil not break Shabbat." It doesn't mean that we don't honor the sabbath Marshall. So, I do work from time to time on Sabbath. I work in the medical field helping people. So I do not worry about anyone throwing stones at me any time soon.

-Jay

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Hank, I'm glad to see you have a blog! Thank you for the work you do.

Sincerely,

LuLu

Elrond said...

Jay, you're starting to sound a bit angry...

reality check said...

It's nice to see that the truth of the Bible is so objectively clear that everyone can understand it and not argue.

Anonymous said...

Elrond,
That is the problem with this medium. You (people in general) tend to read into things that are not there. My tone is not angry. Sorry if it came across that way.
-Jay

Elrond said...

No prob, Jay. Just to let you know, I wasn't offended by your words, but reading the dialog between you, matt and marshall, it seemed that some frustration was flying around. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping the Sabbath to a Saturday, nor do I believe that observing it on a Sunday is wrong... or any other day for that matter. Hank spoke of this just a couple of days ago on the BAM program (maybe it was yesterday.) He said that the Jews began observing it on Sunday shortly after Christ's ascension because...(someone correct me if I misquote,) to a Jewish person, one of the most horrific mistakes one could make would be to fail to observe the significance of Christ's resurrection, or something to that effect. Whether or not that is accurate, I think that to some extent it's pointless to debate over something that isn't what we would term a "Core Doctrine" with the presupposition that one is absolutely right and that one's theology is flawless. We're human and we can only interpret the Bible as well as we can. Now don't peg me as a liberal Christian or someone who goes around saying that we should all just get along above all else and abandon what we believe to be true, nor am I a person who believes that truth is relative and a person can create their own "truth"... aka whatever works for them. I do, however, believe that Christ looks at the heart, and if there is a matter that is of debate among Christians and a person is truly seeking to do what is biblically correct through prayer and seeking God's will, then we can't necessarily say that they are wrong. Oh, and don't think I'm just waving my finger at you, because I'm not. I would direct this towards those refuting your convictions as well.

Wow, that was a lot more than I thought I had to write. Sorry about the length. I like your attention to details, Jay. I wish I had more time to study up on the subject. Unfortunately, I don't. But I hope this helps anyone reading it and encourages them.
Later, All...

Anonymous said...

If any of you wish to read a really good article onthe history of the Sunday worship change goto this site and read. It will show a little more detail on why the day changed from Saturday. Also, it will show that the "known world" according to Sacrates was following the Sabbath (7th day) except for 2 places. Rome and Greece (known for 2 things men being worshipped as gods and a hatred of the jews) and those places are where the changes from Saturday to Sunday occured, with NO scripture to back them up only their person reasons and egos at stake. Anyway here is the link:

http://www.biblehistory.com/The%20Origin%20of%20Sunday%20Worship.html
-Jay

something good here said...

I have been following along a bit on the debate about the Sabbath and I would just like to chime in with some thoughts and a couple scriptures I didn't see anyone bring up. I personally believe whatever day you set aside for the Lord is fine as long as you are doing it for the Lord. I personally consider my day of rest to be on Sundays, but I understand and respect why some people still hold to Saturday as the Sabbath after all it is the 7th day of the week. A couple scriptures that I believe support my opinion of whatever day you set as your day of rest whether it be Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the week are

Romans 14:5-6 (NLT)

5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. [1]
[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.


and another one is

Colossians 2:16-23 (NLT)

16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels,* saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

[1]
* Or or worshiping with angels.

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

Elrond said...

Thanks for the verses! =)

Andrew said...

Your welcome :)

Anonymous said...

Andrew,
I agree with your point (Romans 14: 5-6). We are not judged on what day we worship God. He does know our hearts. The point I'm striving so hard to make is this. People who teach others not to follow the commands and laws of God are doing a disservice to the students (listeners). Just like the changes made so long ago that began changing how we view the sabbath and other feast or festivals or laws. They were NOT done with authority from God and thus are not scriptural. I just wish they would stop being taught as though they are equal to the word of God when they are only mere babblings of sinful/flawed men. I believe with all my heart that each person here is good, Godfearing people who I will joyfully embrace one day in the presence of Almighty in the heaven to come. It is the early teachers that changed Gods word and the teachers of today (that aren't willing to take the time to study out the truth for fear of being looked upon as a borderline cultist or legalist christian) that I have a problem with.
Colossians 2 I personally see as meaning that the christians (appostles) were continuing to keep the sabbath day, feasts and festivals, the new moons and such and THEY were the ones being discriminated against by the people around them. Truly, how many christians today do you know that do anything concerning the new moons. This verse doesn't have anything to do with a Christian that started eating unclean foods and worshipping on Sunday being made fun of by the kosher keeping, sabbath keeping jewish christians. It was the other way around and we know this because in verse 2:8 it tells us who was doing the "discriminating about new moons and sabbaths etc.. here is the verse:

Col 2:8
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

....then Paul continues by telling us in the following verses what to be carefull of like people judging them based on new moons and sabbaths etc...

So we see that it wasn't a sabbath keeper making fun of a non-sabbath keeper but instead we see that it was the deceitful philosophisers that were teaching MENS teaching and NOT Gods Word.

Good passages though Andrew. Again I want everyone to understand I'm not judging anyone but I will continue to study and search out Gods words and it's TRUE meaning (which we have at our disposal by using a Concordance).

Andrew said...

Jay,
I appreciate your feedback and respect your conviction. I do agree with this statement of yours "People who teach others not to follow the commands and laws of God are doing a disservice to the students (listeners)." And I would like to add to it that I believe this comes down to a lack of Christians reading Gods Word and testing what others say. I see so many preachers on tv (TBN) that have huge followings of people that if they would just pick up their Bible and read they would see these are false teachers that are intentionally or unintentionally misleading the flock and it is very frustrating. Some of my convictions have changed over time as I study the Word and continue to learn and test what I hear whether its at Church, on the radio, in a forum like this, or on TV. And since you mentioned a Concordance let me throw one out there check out www.e-sword.net it is the best free Bible study software out there with the most free resources and if your interested in a paid version that I think is the best especially if you are into the original languages check out www.logos.com and if you want to see lots of demo/training videos on what it can do check out http://logos.com/videos

Godbless,
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrew,
E-sword is pretty nice, I'll have to practice with it to see all I can do with it. Another good site to check out for an Old Testament/Torah view of the New Testament is:

www.ffoz.org

Enjoy.

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