Christianity That Hits The Ground
How many times do you hear cries for a return to historic Christianity amongst Bible-believing churches? Shouts for reformation, revival, and doctrinal clarification abound through the hallways of local congregations gathered to worship Christ each week. Wholeheartedly, I concur with the sentiment desiring these great blessings for Christians in America and around the world. Yet, there is a fundamental piece of our belief and practice which needs to be reformed. If we are to return to the faith of our fathers we must find again the tie between the doctrinal and the practical. That interconnecting point outlined in Scripture where deep truths join hands with everyday living to spur an individual on to learn more and apply that which they know each moment. We need a Christianity that understands the deep things of God while also maintaining a desire to exercise those truths on the ground.
What we need to understand is the intersection point between deep doctrine and our daily lives. How is it that theological reality transforms our lives? It seems to me the chiefest and most practical way is by understanding Truth. Notice, I did not say “truth” with a lowercase “t” but “Truth” with a capital “T” because we are discussing Truth about all reality and Truth personified. In the person of Christ, we find pure Truth to the point He is even identified as the Truth (John 14:6). Yet, this is not merely truth in a solely academic or intellectual sense, no Christ came to earth as the God-man, both truly human and truly divine. He was pure Truth who walked on the earth both having an understanding of it and how to live it. In Christ, we see the One who lived with complete wisdom and who applied it in all things. It is in the light of Truth we both grow in knowledge and increase in our application of those precious doctrines.
There are those who classify doctrines as “stuffy” or “purely academic” and perhaps even “archaically outdated.” With vigorous passion, these individuals make it their position to assail any doctrinal conviction as something for only a select few in an ivory tower. Yet, their beliefs impact their life each and every minute. By downplaying the importance of doctrine, they are unprepared when the storms of life come because they do not have a position of stability. As many of you know, I am a beekeeper. There is a certain amount of knowledge one needs to possess if they are going to be successful at anything, and bees are no exception to the norm. When I walk into a colony for an inspection, I must know how to check the queen’s health, the colony’s nutritional needs, understand how to spot disease or pests, and competently perform all these tasks in a matter of minutes while making adjustments in real-time that have a massive impact. In the beginning, this entire process is daunting like any new venture, but over time it starts becoming more natural because you have a greater degree of experience. Yet, if I said that I did not need any knowledge because information about bees is for the “academicians” then I would not have the ability to go into a colony understanding how to react. So also, if we neglect doctrinal truth, we will not see the path forward in life as the waves of this world come crashing. We will be mindlessly wondering what we should do instead of knowing the way with clarity.
Still, though, we find another group of individuals who purely like to study doctrine, but never apply it. This camp of individuals love to read books about honey bees, they find pictures of the queen fascinating, and they cannot wait to get up another day to discover more information about the curious insect. However, they never actually go out into the colony. All of this knowledge is in their head, while in the meantime their colony crumbles around them. Many professing Christians follow the same course. They read about the doctrine of the family, but follow the path of the secularists instead. In their life, they may believe the Gospel is powerful in their head, but they never actually share it with the lost in their life. There is a disconnect between the doctrinal and the practical. A person who is purely focused on head knowledge may hold to many accurate truths, but they do not possess an accurate understanding of the need to apply those doctrines.
Truth’s Light and Heat
Truth, however, is not merely light that enters our minds, but also heat that sets our hearts ablaze. It is by the light of Truth we learn about God and our calling before Him as revealed in His Word. The Truth also lights a fire in our bones to live it out each and every day. It is here the doctrinal and the practical intersect. Christ is the personification of wisdom, yet He is also the most compassionate and loving. He had the greatest understanding, but still had the highest zeal for the glory of His Father. Light and heat meet one another in the beautiful rays of Truth. By soaking our minds in Truth we comprehend profound wisdom and knowledge which leaves us in awe. Simultaneously, our hearts are kindled to realize we cannot hide the truth, but we must live it out being impacted by it daily.
Here, my friends is the key, we need again a Christianity that is doctrinal and dramatically changes everything in our lives. To put it simply, we need to return to the historic, biblical faith. Christianity is Truth about all of life which means it should transform us in every realm of life. It not only teaches us about God’s patience toward us as His people, it also works in our own hearts so that we might be more patient with others. Christ changes how we look at the future and how we work in the present. Truth changes everything, and it is there the doctrinal and the practical join hands to work together for the Master’s renown!