“13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17
I sat down for lunch the other day with a friend from my church, and one of the many topics we discussed was where to go with our church’s men’s ministry after Yoke Fellows 1 and 2. The two main themes that kept coming up were Family and Theology. Family because the two Yoke Fellows classes take up the better part of a year (12 weeks for One and 22 weeks for Two, not including off weeks for certain holidays/events/etc.). Also, as we are called to do, we want to be able to grow as a family, not just always as men. And, secondly, Theology. Peter wrote that, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”(1 Peter 3:15). Now, from my memory, almost all Christians at some point at church, whether it be in Sunday School class or a more poignant Bible Study at someone’s house, are taught how to share their testimony. And the basic three-minute outline is used: One minute for how our lives were before we were saved. Second minute to tell about our salvation experience. And the third and final minute to talk about how our lives are since God saved us. That’s great and all, and a wonderful thing to know. But, what happens when you’re witnessing and they ask a question, a difficult one. “How do you explain the trinity?” “Is there anything that I specifically have to do to be ‘born again’?” Well, you’re Baptists, so, why don’t you baptize infants like Catholics or some other churches?”
I can recall I time when I was going to Midwestern Baptist College and we went out to do some evangelism in a part of Kansas City near the seminary. We went to one house where a man, probably in his late 40’s or early 50’s, answered the door. And when we introduced ourselves, he asked a question, a difficult one. No, I have no recollection of the question. What I do recall is that I had no clue what the answer was or how to even begin to explain it. I was at a loss. I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure. Now, some seven years later, could I answer that question? Probably(if I could only remember the question!). But, that time out going door-to-door was very embarrassing, but, also helpful. Remembering it makes me strive to know that, even though there are so many secondary doctrines out there, we need to know them. Giving the “Jesus” answer or saying “God’s ways are higher than our ways”(Isaiah 55) and telling them we just have to have faith, just doesn’t cut it in today’s society.
“5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” –1 Timothy 1:5-7
A lot of people don’t like talking about secondary doctrines, such as election and varying eschatological views. They think that we are being too legalistic or serious or straying to far away from the main focus: That Jesus Saves. But, ask yourself this: How does Jesus save? Now you have an answer in your head, where does it say it in the Bible? Here’s another question: Can you explain to me the Trinity? Can you explain the hypostatic union between Christ and man?(Do you even know what the hypostatic union is?). Why do bad things happen to good people(trick question!). Why do bad things happen at all? Consider these questions, and remember, they are all primary doctrines. And, when you learn about them, you’ll see that so many of those “secondary doctrines which don’t really matter because they detract from the focus of Jesus Saves” really do matter and play a vital role into the shaping of not only how we view Primary Doctrines, but how we share and explain them as well when we are evangelizing and discipling. We must always remember and never forget: “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” –2 Timothy 3:16-17