The Forgotten Standard
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)
The church or denomination where we started out just happened to be where we found ourselves at the time of receiving God’s salvation. And as in our natural birth, our initial surroundings gave far-reaching shape to our understanding of things. Our first church atmosphere, with its pastors and teachers, automatically set the definitions for many key words such as prayer, worship, church, evangelism, God’s power, faith, even Christian itself. We didn’t first learn those concepts so much from the Scripture as from what we saw around us at church. We unconsciously absorbed a Presbyterian or Baptist or Nazarene or Pentecostal understanding of those important words.
Today those impressions still leap to the forefront of our minds every time we hear the words—whether they are what God intended or not. Thus, instead of coming to the Scriptures like a child, saying, “God, teach me,” we go looking for ammunition to back up what we’ve already embraced. Too often our main goal is to perpetuate the traditions handed down from our elders. We’re not really that open to change and growth...
When I stand before God, I will not be asked, “Were you a good evangelical?” or “Were you a good charismatic?” As a matter of fact, God doesn’t recognize our divisions. His calling is for us to be Christlike rather than a good member of some man-made denomination.
What will really matter is whether we honestly search God’s Word and let it shape our spiritual thinking and values. This is one of the great battles in the Christian life: to approach the Bible without presuppositions, letting it shape us instead of vice versa…
Neither your personal background nor mine is the norm! What the Bible teaches is what we should pursue. Whenever any of us encounter something new or different, we should not ask, “Am I used to that when I go to church?” but rather “Do I find this in the Bible?”
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Faith)
Read 2 Timothy 3:14—4:8.