Right at the start, we said that this would be a blog for people with messy lives. In other words, this is meant to be a practical blog helping us to think about how we live as believers. So it still may seem a little strange to think that we’ve spent so much time talking about doctrine and revelation. And yet, hopefully we’ve begun to see that this is not a mere intellectual exercise. What we believe affects how we live and we’ve started to see some of those practical implications.
In summary, our beliefs have to come from somewhere. In fact, there are four different places where we get our beliefs from.
Tradition: This is received wisdom. Some beliefs are passed down to us as truth. Tradition might suggest a long history of ideas passed down through the generations and sometimes this will be the case. However, I also like to talk about things received from parents and grandparents as tradition.
Culture & Community: This includes common sense: things generally considered to be true and wise. It also includes peer pressure. There are things we choose to believe, or to act upon as true because we want to fit in with others around us.
Reason: As we try to figure things out and understand our own experiences, we will use reason to interpret what is happening. By the way, our reasoning may be wrong if it’s based on faulty logic or if there are gaps in our knowledge.
Revelation: We have seen over the past few weeks that this is the only sure basis of truth. We can only truly know because God reveals truth to us. God’s truth is revealed to us clearly and with authority in the Bible.
We have seen that if we believe that God reveals truth to us – truth about Himself, creation, us and the future – then this will affect how we approach counselling, worship, teaching, evangelism and apologetics. If we believe that we know through revelation then we will want to ensure that God’s Word is central to how we do all of these things. We will want to avoid attempting to make things up for ourselves. By the way, this is liberating. A huge weight of responsibility is lifted from our shoulders. We are not expected to come up with all the answers ourselves. We simply take people to the one who has the answers.
After Christmas, we will start to look in more detail at what truth God’s Word reveals to us. We will start by discovering what Scripture tells us about who God is and we will see how what we believe about God affects how we live and how we worship.