God is good! We can never be too pessimistic in man, but we can never be too optimistic in God.
I grew up attending a Presbyterian Church in Adelaide, so I’ve been taught about the bible, and the Christian worldview and Christian doctrine for my whole life. Like most people, however, it wasn’t something that I took personally until I was older.
Christianity is not something peripheral. It’s not just a habit or practice, but rather a set of beliefs about myself, the world and God which shape my view of everything. The central idea is that God made us to relate to him, but that He belongs at the center, not us. God is a provider who does not deplete his own resources when he gives. We are consumers and look to Him for all that we need. When we seek to put ourselves at the centre, we stuff everything up. But if we humble ourselves and put God at the centre, we are then equipped to understand the world correctly. As Proverbs says, ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’.
A second core Christian teaching is that Mankind is fallen. We don’t relate to God the way that we should, because we rebelled against him. As a result, we have within us a relentless drive to elevate ourselves and diminish God, which poisons our understanding of everything. Left unchecked, it can lead to unfathomable evil. God provides a way to be reconciled to Him, which is through Jesus, who gives us everything we need and restores us. Every individual needs to believe in this and turn to God if they wish to be restored to a right relationship with Him; He will give them the gift of adoption and a promise of future full restoration and resurrection.
Even when we become Christians, our natural way of thinking is still poisoned by a selfish worldview. It takes continuous effort to listen submissively to God’s word in the bible, to try to see the world as he sees it, and to let go of our wrong ideas. This doesn’t come naturally to us.
This is one reason I write articles about Christianity, and try to provide Christian worldview across all my writing. There are many lies getting around; the best lies are those that are 90% truth–the truth is like a Trojan horse bringing the comforting lie within our gates. It takes thinking, and study of the biblical worldview, to find the point where falsehood gets a foothold in truth.
An uncertain rich man… (short read)
The only way to be cheerful about losing your wealth is if firstly, you can trust God for tomorrow’s Manna. To have faith in a God who provides, contentment with what he provides, and love for whoever we have opportunity to share his provisions with.
Can you imagine sixteen-year-old men today lying about their age for the privilege of dying in a war? Today, lying about one’s age is a technique used for access to alcohol, not valour.
There are two obvious recommendations. Firstly, the Bible – it’s the only infallable source of all Christian teaching.
The second is to attend a church that has a reliable Christian ministry and gospel community. Unfortunately, there are many Churches that are not worth attending, because they will not direct you towards God. If you are looking for a church, only stay if you are directed to consider and trust God as revealed in the Bible. Jesus said “those who fall on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matt 21:44). The Christian message should be a difficult and challenging one if it is new. So don’t stay if you are flattered, but persist if you are shattered.
Regarding Christian teaching, a lot of my framework for Christian thinking was learned from R C Sproul, through Ligonier ministries. Since then, I have learnt to enjoy Biblical theology and exposition more and more. I recommend working through books of the bible with an expository commentary. When I am studying a text, I also buy an exegetical commentary for a deeper dive, and I visit SermonAudio.com and listen to a few different sermons on it.
In truth, there are so many sources of good Christian teaching. Christians write. A lot. Initially, however, it is difficult to be discerning and there is a lot of nonsense out there for the unwary. In Australia, I would recommend buying books from the Reformers bookshop (my good friend Tom is the manager there).