Recommended approach

Sojourner's paradigm challenges atheists and skeptics to make a shift in the way they examine and approach the claims of the Bible and Christianity. It is best to first watch the gospel message video and read the foundational truth of God. Other blogs speak on a variety of topics.



Monday, November 8, 2010

The Reformation: Foundational truths to Christian Faith

At this time of year, the Reformation is spoken of often. But you may have forgotten from your history class what the Reformation was really all about. The Reformation is typically identified with five concise terms — these phrases denote the gospel truths that the leaders of the Reformation fought and gave their lives to defend and protect. They are truths that are still foundational for biblical ministry today:

• Sola Scriptura — Scripture alone is the sole and final authority for life and godliness.

• Sola Christus — Christ alone is the mediator between God and man through His work on the cross.

• Sola Gratia — Grace alone is the reason for salvation; man does not merit and cannot earn the favor of God.

• Sola Fide — Faith alone is the mechanism by which the free gift of salvation is received. Justification from God is realized only through faith.

• Soli Deo Gloria — The glory of God alone is the purpose for which all things are done.

In a word, the Reformation was about the gospel. It was about returning to a Biblical understanding of how men are saved and brought and kept in right fellowship with God.  And the gospel is so very important, as Stephen Nichols notes:

“The things that matter most to us all center on the gospel. The church simply can’t afford to forget the lesson of the Reformation about the utter supremacy of the gospel in everything the church does.…If he said it once, Martin Luther said it a hundred times: ‘The church’s true treasure is the gospel.’” [The Reformation.]

So the Reformation was about the gospel, and the Reformation was important because it was about the gospel.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An aside: Addressing the issue of abortion

The core issue in the abortion debate has little to do with the mass of rhetoric clouding it. This core issue does not concern societal issues of unwed mothers, a woman’s choice, the poor, rape and incest, governmental funding, women’s rights, the religious right, or any other fodder which lies in the periphery of this wretched blot on humanity.


The foundational truth governing the issue of abortion is that a life begun in what should be the safest place on earth, a mother’s womb, is just that… a life. But even this foundational truth does not address the deeper reality. At the heart of the abortion debate, as it is for any other debate, is, in a word, worship. Who or what we worship will determine who or what we value. If we worship ourselves then any matter will be up for debate. If we worship the Sovereign Lord of creation then we will value His truth. We will value a life begun by His sovereign hand.


A great dispute began and continued throughout the 19th century over the issue of slavery. States rights, preservation of the union, financial losses, potential societal burdens and hardships, political fallout, anthropological viewpoints, and many other concerns were addressed over the issue of slavery. And yet, an estimated 620 thousand American lives were lost along with unthinkable suffering before a basic truth became apparent. The black man was no less of a man than any white man and was worthy of the dignity endowed upon him by his Creator. As such, it was a grave injustice to claim ownership of another human being. Once again, the core issue is one of worship. Do we worship ourselves or our Creator who created all men?


Have we not learned the lessons from Nazi Germany? Would we tolerate any of the same kind of rhetoric we hear over the abortion debate if it applied to whether or not to end the life of a Jewish man, woman, or child? Would it really be necessary to have to defend the lives of our Jewish brothers and sisters? Would our defense be one of financial or societal consequences?


If one who favors abortion is to defend abortion, then that person must defend a lie. The truth stands. The life begun in the womb is just that, a life. In fact, by the time one is even able to verify a pregnancy, the beating heart of that life has already begun. Therefore, since the life of an unborn is truly a life begun by God, then for those of us who take a stand for that life, the matter is settled.


It is true that we cannot hide our heads in the sand and pretend that societal and cultural consequences of “unwanted” pregnancy can be ignored.  These matters pertaining to the poor, care for newborns, financial hardship, psychological factors, social issues, rape, incest, tax dollars, and so many other issues must be addressed for sure. But let these matters be addressed first and foremost with the understanding that a life begun in the womb is a life begun by God almighty. He is a gracious God. He is also a just God. Let us also hold to these qualities, along with the foundational truths established by the Giver of life.