We have often failed to teach basic principles. This is more of a confession than a charge. Maybe we have thought that it was not necessary because “everyone knows” the “things most surely believed among us” or perhaps we are afraid of being too simple, and are attempting to impress others that we are capable of deeper things. Whatever the cause may be, we have, failed in many cases to give simple, basic teaching and have taken for granted that younger believers will “learn by themselves.”
It is not that such truths are never taught, but rather we ought to confess our failure to systematically teach basic truth. In recent experience, teaching has generated such a flood of questions from young and old that I am convinced of a great need. Questions have a way of bringing us down to earth, to the arena of conflict that Christians face every day in a godless world. We need to be able to provide answers from the Word of God with absolute clarity. A question is not a challenge, it is often an appeal for personal help even when it is asked in the third person.
What are these basic Truths?
Foundation Truths: the nature and character of the Triune God, His attributes, His names, His inerrant Word – the reliability of the Holy Scriptures in our own language His holiness, yes, we must preach law, not as a ladder, but as a mirror because men have abandoned God and have no righteous standard by which conduct can be judged.
Gospel Truths: the Person of Christ, His perfect Deity and true humanity, two perfect natures in one glorious Person; His impeccability; the infinite value of His sacrifice; His resurrection, a living, glorified Christ whose return we expect at any moment. Even professed Bible believers have denied eternal conscious punishment. We can put the words of Christ against all their reasoning. Great doctrines such as redemption, justification, reconciliation, and the distinction between propitiation and substitution need to be repeated.
Practical Truths: Sin’s penalty has been borne by Christ, sin’s power has been defeated, but sin’s presence is a reality in our flesh every day, but the Holy Spirit is able to apply the value of the death of Christ to our daily experience. The cross stands as a barrier between believers and the world. We must teach separation not only from the Sodom world, but from the Egypt and Babylon worlds as well.
Assembly Truths: the sole authority of Scripture, distinction between the spiritual body and a local assembly, the uniqueness of being gathered to His name alone, the priority of spiritual worship, plurality of gifts, the priesthood of all believers, the spheres of elders, brethren and sisters, and the autonomy yet interdependence of assemblies.
Family Truths: Our failure in this area has caused believers to look outside of assemblies for guidance Much that they hear may be good, but such teachers are astray on subjects such as separation from the religious world.
May God give elders and all teachers the honesty to confess our failure and seek to address our responsibilities!