Few issues are as essential to understanding as the place of doctrine in the Christian life. It’s common for people today to say to say, “Well that’s just what you believe”, as if belief were only a private affair. When people make such statements, what they are saying without realizing it is that there is no foundation for orthodoxy, and no way to know the Truth. Without realizing it, they are making sweeping statements with little-to-no understanding of the consequences of them.
Truth not a private; it is public. When we truly believe something, we will not be silent about it. For example, when someone enjoys a particular TV series or movie they will tell others about it. They will become evangelists of that TV series, movie, or hobby. They will also recruit people to watch that series, to engage in that hobby or sport. One other recent example comes from the NBA (the National Basketball Association). Franchise players recruit other major players to play on their team. Why do they do that? They do that to make the team stronger by having stronger and more talented individual players join, so they have enough talent to win the NBA Championship. Whether it’s in the practices of the NBA in the secular world, or in any other form of lifestyle/hobby, we are all evangelists of the things we love most. After all, what we love most is what we treasure most. As Christians, we are to supremely revere the treasure of Christ in the Gospel.
Truth is not relative to how you and I feel on a given day. Truth is also not a popularity contest. Truth has to have an objective standard by which it can be evaluated, believed, taught, and lived out. And this is ultimately why—whether it’s from advertising, sports, television, or movies—truth in our culture is portrayed as a subjective, private affair rather than as a public. Here we need to understand that behind this action is a theological, not philosophical, motivation.
When Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, He forever shattered the idea that there was any other Way to God but through Him. He also demolished the idea we could have Life any other way but through Him. And when He proclaimed that He is the Truth, He forever obliterated the concept of Truth as a private matter. Instead, Truth is both a private and a public matter. We know personally and privately the Truth in Christ Alone to make it known publically.
The Reformation was fueled by Christ-centered and gospel-fueled preaching and teaching of the Word. Martin Luther publically confronted the teaching of indulgences because he was concerned for the souls of men. He made known the truth of the gospel no matter what the cost. Men like John Calvin sent thousands of personal correspondence letters to pastors and missionaries all over the world to bring about Reformation in his day. Even Charles Spurgeon wrote thousands of letters to do the same.
In our own day, we need Reformation around the Word of God. From “pastors” saying that Jesus died in our place and for our sin is the equivalent of “cosmic child abuse”; to questioning whether Adam and Eve are real people, who lived in real history; to issues surrounding homosexuality, transgenderism, gender roles, and more; we are in dire Reformation inside and outside the Church.
At stake in all these issues is the authority of the Word of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus. These are not issues that are secondary—instead, they are primary. When the authority of God’s Word is undermined, there is no ground for Truth. Furthermore, when the Gospel is denied and dismissed there is no hope for mankind. Truth absolutely matters and must be defended with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We must stand up to those who are denying the gospel and lovingly say you are wrong, and here is why from the Word of God.
The Reformation was a public movement oriented towards the Truth for the sake of the gospel. It was not just men trying to proclaim their own teaching and understanding. Instead, it was men and women seeking to reform the Church around the Word of God to proclaim the whole gospel to the glory of God.
When men and women love the Word, love the Church, and love one another, they are obeying the teaching of the gospel. Such men and women are needed today those who take their faith seriously and seek to fan the flame of faith in others. The more we love the Lord Jesus, the more we will seek to take forth the gospel message. Since what we love most is what we treasure most, the gospel ought to be supreme in our hearts and affections. We ought to carry forth the Gospel and share it with others because we are truly being satisfied by it. Our desire to know God is by no other means than the Truth of God’s Word. Our great need for Reformation in our day is dire. People are perishing because they don’t know the Truth of the Gospel.
In this issue of Theology for Life, we are exploring the Five Solas. Also, you will read a number of other articles surrounding issues related to Reformation in biblical counseling, missions, preaching, and others. Our hope in this issue of Theology for Life is that you would learn historic Protestant Theology. And by doing so you’ll understand that doctrine is not an, “I feel proposition” instead it is a truth claim with serious and life-altering and life-demanding implications for all of God’s people.
As you read this issue of Theology for Life, I’m praying for you that you’ll learn that what we believe actually matters. It matters because nothing more than the Truth of God’s Word will satisfy the heart, and mind created by God to image Him. It’s only through understanding the Truth of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), Sola Fide (by Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (by Grace Alone), Solus Christus (Christ Alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (to the Glory of God Alone), that we come to learn the real storyline of Scripture that finds its apex in the person and finished work of Christ, and His soon return. Pick up, read, and learn the vital truths of the Reformation that began 500 years ago and our great need for Reformation in the Church around the Word today.
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine
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