We are on the front end of a series of blog posts that explain a little more about the things that we have come to value here at Sojourn. We started last week with “The Centrality of Grace”. This week we will consider “Deep Content”. Remember, these values are not just for our pastors or our staff or our leaders. These values are for every one of us.
Teaching the Bible can be a tricky endeavor. The Bible has been around for a long time, it is the #1 best seller in the history of the world, it tells of what happened before humans were even on the earth and it tells what will happen after this world as we know it comes to an end. So it is not a surprise that a lot of people have a lot of opinions about the content of the Bible and what it all means.
So how do we approach the teaching of the Bible? Well, there is so much to say but let me try to summarize.
We are committed to teaching that is intelligent. I am not a genius and we are not a church of geniuses but we do want to work hard at being informed. We want our preachers and teachers to read secular books, read the articles and magazines that are impacting our culture and be aware of the movies that are molding our collective opinions. We also want to speak fairly and accurately of divergent viewpoints. This commitment demonstrates respect towards any who may not agree with us. This does not mean that we think if we are “smart enough” everyone will believe that Christ is their only hope. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 clearly tells us that will not be the case.) Neither does this mean that we do not/will not have significant disagreements with other world religions, our secular culture or even other streams of evangelical Christianity. It simply means that we want to lead the way in showing honor even as we explain the good news of Jesus. Even more, we believe that the message of Christ really does speak to all of life. That takes hard work and an intense level of preparation.
We are committed to teaching that is Christ-centered and gospel-saturated. These are my soap-boxes so I will intentionally be short because once I get started…watch out. Let me just say this: our goal is that when the Bible is opened and any book, chapter or verse is taught we walk away with a greater understanding of Jesus as our ultimate satisfaction and our only hope of rescue. He is a perfect example but he is so much more than an example, he is our Savior. As Milton Vincent said “The gospel is the craziest thing I have ever heard in my life and it is true.” Even more, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just true…it is good.
We are committed to teaching that engages the heart. We want to teach intelligently (head) but we want to make sure we ultimately teach to the heart. Jesus did it that way because the heart is the key. So we want to do what Jesus did. He was always going deeper than we want go. Always going after the heart. We can have all kinds of head knowledge or we can go and do lots of good deeds but if our hearts are not warmed with the message of the gospel then we are missing the target that matters in the end.
We want to lift up Christ so we can see him more clearly and love him more passionately.