Remember the last time that you were shopping for a church home? Maybe you just moved to town. You wanted a church that was friendly, a growing church that had a vibrant atmosphere, a place where the music invited you to worship. You also wanted a church that was busy with ministry and Great Commission-outreach. And you wanted a church that taught the Bible.
But what is taught? What is believed? I suppose it’s not enough these days to just look at the label: Baptist or Methodist. If I were church-shopping, I’d want to examine the church’s statement of beliefs.
This week, I’d like to suggest seven theological truths that are non-negotiable. These are foundational doctrines that must be believed and taught. Let’s start with this: The Bible is God’s Word!
On the South Georgia Baptist Church web site, you will find a statement of beliefs that includes this paragraph: “We believe the Bible is the complete revelation from God and the contents are inspired. Holy men of God, qualified by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, wrote in obedience to the divine command and were kept from all error, so that the Bible can actually be classified as the very Word of God and the books of the Bible are of divine origin and authority. As the result of believing this, we also believe what the Bible teaches about doctrine, history, prophecy, and stewardship. We believe the Bible is our source of faith and practice. It is the final authority in all spiritual matters.”
After Jesus was resurrected from the grave, He accompanied two disciples on their journey from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. The interactions between Jesus and the two travelers makes it quite clear that Jesus believed and taught the Old Testament Scriptures! “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, (Jesus) interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. They came near the village where they were going, and he gave the impression that he was going farther. But they urged him, ‘Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?’ ” (Luke 24:27-32, CSB).
The American culture declares that truth is relative. My truth can be mine while someone else’s truth can be different. Truth is a moving target, they say.
God had the authority and power to declare, “Let there be light...” He is absolutely all-powerful and sovereign! He has the right to determine truth. If he says that gravity is going to pull the apple toward the earth, then I can’t arbitrarily decide that the apple will rise. Why? He is the final authority.
He says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CSB).
“No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21, CSB).
It’s non-negotiable. We believe that the Bible is God’s word!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor