A Guest Post from Mike Owens : An Extract from his book So, Why Didn’t They Tell Me That In Church? Chapter 10 of which covers conditional immortality.
Let’s Get It Right
Our theology is important.
Our beliefs about God. His attributes and character. What He has revealed about Himself. This area of what we believe our theology, is the most consequential subject we can grasp, and it deserves our serious attention.
Billy Graham stated that most people will spend weeks or months planning and anticipating a summer vacation, but rarely spend fifteen minutes in serious thought about eternity. Nothing will affect our lives more than our concept of God and His attributes, and our response to that understanding.
Getting our theology right is critical. If we want to think correctly, then we should desire to fine-tune our theology.
That’s the purpose of the book. To help you evaluate your beliefs and see the potential need for a tune-up. And to hopefully assist you in acquiring a more accurate biblical view.
So, Why Didn’t They Tell Me That in Church? tackles issues many of us have that surround the central issue of God’s sovereignty. Many important principles flow from a clear appreciation of this essential truth. The subject of God’s sovereignty in all things is something most Christians have only looked into casually. The book also tackles controversial —or perhaps not as controversial as they should be!—topics including tithing, the will of man, the nature of salvation, and a closer look at what the Bible tells us about the mortality of man accompanied with the language of destruction throughout Scripture. Particularly how these relate to our view of eternal punishment.
My hope is that you will take time to assess your current thoughts and ideas about each of these subjects. Open your Bible. Consider the points made in each of the following ten chapters. Then weigh, judge, and reason.
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” —Proverbs 18:17
For many of us, the views presented in this book will represent an alternate view—perhaps even a side of the issues that we were not aware existed. As this truth from Proverbs states, we need to be cautious about looking at only one side of an issue, even when we are not aware that there is an alternative view.
One important term in this book highlights the reason for studying these things. The term is traditionalism. In this book it can be defined as “beliefs that are founded in cultural acceptance.”
The comment below, from Dr. J.I. Packer, summarizes the primary incentive of this book, which is to help us identify ideas that we generally accept because of traditionalism and consider the biblical strength —or lack thereof—for those notions.
Quotes Worth Requoting
“We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world.
“It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has moulded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be ‘catholic’ tradition, or ‘critical’ tradition, or ‘ecumenical’ tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures.”—J.I. Packer
“You cannot separate what a man believes from what he is. For this reason doctrine is vitally important. Certain people say ignorantly, ‘I do not believe in doctrine; I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; I am saved, I am a Christian, and nothing else matters’. To speak in that way is to court disaster, and for this reason, the New Testament itself warns us against this very danger. We are to guard ourselves against being ‘tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine’, for if your doctrine goes astray your life will soon suffer as well. —So it behooves us to study the doctrines in order that we may safeguard ourselves against certain erroneous and heretical teachings that are as common in the world today as they were in the days of the early Church.”—Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Please don’t disturb me with the facts, I’m content in being lax. I won’t take time to think, you see; If wrong, that’s good enough for me.” —James E. Gibbons
“Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.”—Ravi Zacharias