Do you have a passion to share your faith? You do well. But do it with Discernment. One of our Elders processed the recent interaction on thecripplegate.com (one of my favourite blogs), regarding the Way of the Master, and the friendly critique it received at the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference. It is such a great example of careful reasoning and analysis that I asked him to share it with us here:
Thinking about thinking, as thinking, I think I may be on to the key element missing from the evangelical church today– careful thinking.
Reading an article this Morning in the Westminster Theological Journal reminded me of how uncritically we treat reports about church behavior from any source. One typically trusted is the Barna Group. We often frame our ministries, if not our very gospel presentations in response to what he has noted, yet in at least one case, there seems to be no basis for his assertions (http://goo.gl/U3zxf).
Ravi Zacharius calls his ministry, Let My People Think. He is calling Christians to have a thoughtful faith. Paul instructed the Ephesians to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). How does one do this? The Apostle instructs believers to walk, not as thoughtless fools, but as wise people. We are to: “understand what the will of the Lord is” (verse 17). The Greek word for understand means “to think about” and thus gain clear comprehension.
Proverbs 4:7 reminds us: “The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring get understanding”. Do we understand God’s will? That should be the first and only essential question we ask when it comes to life, godliness or ministry. Once we determine God’s will by careful thinking, then we might ask: “what is the most prudent way to accomlish this?” It is, to quote Luther, “by Scripture and plain reason” that the Christian life should be lived.
Let us think carefully about our faith and how we live it out.