I hope some good will come of this situation or circumstance.
For individual believers it might be used as a wake-up call of sorts. It certainly allows for an opportunity for reflection, prayer, and renewed commitments.
- Do I view faith as a one-time event? Do I view faith as a daily choice to love and serve God?
- Is my faith built on the rock or on the sands? Is it built on the Rock--Christ Jesus himself? Or is it built on the sands of my feelings and emotions?
- Does my faith have content? Do I view the Christian faith as having content and instructions? Do I acknowledge that it is something you are taught, that you learn, that you continue to grow in? Or do I have a more relaxed and fluid notion of Christianity?
- Do I hold the Bible to be the Word of God? Do I hold it be inspired, inerrant, infallible? Do I hold it to be true in its entirety? Do I submit to the Bible's authority? Do I allow the Bible to shape my worldview? Or do I allow my worldview to shape my reading of the Bible?
- Where do I go with my questions, my doubts? Do I go to the Word of God and search for answers? Do I pray to God and cry out? Do I go to my preacher? Do I go to other believers? Do I go to the world?
- Do I have an appetite for the spiritual? Do I have a hunger and thirst for the things of God? Do I long to know him more, to know him better? Do I love God? Do I live life like I love God? Do my actions reflect my profession of love? Do I value time in the Word of God? Do I value private prayer? Do I value public prayer? Do I value the preaching and teaching of the Word? Do I have a heart for fellow believers? Do I seek to encourage and build up others? Do I view Bible reading as a duty or a privilege?
- Do I believe in the doctrine of sin? Do I understand that God has more than one attribute? That God has to be more than just love? Have I ever sensed the weightiness of God's holiness? Can I name any attribute of God other than love?
- Can I put into words what the gospel message is? Can I explain who Jesus is? why Jesus came? why Jesus died? what difference his resurrection makes?
- Have I felt my need for God? Do I continue to realize my need for God? Are you humbled by God's love towards you, a sinner?
- Are you actively amazed by grace? Have you lived out--emotionally--the contents of the great hymns? Do you truly comprehend the wonder of it all?
Every single believer can use the publicity of stories like Jon's and take his/her spiritual temperature.
But I think the church is missing out on a great opportunity if they don't also use this as an opportunity to reflect and pray. These next set of questions are for pastors, teachers, leaders, and church members.
- Does my church uphold the Bible as being the Word of God? Do they hold that it is inspired, infallible, inerrant? Do they hold it to be wholly true? Do they teach that it is authoritative? Do they add to the Word? subtract from the Word?
- Does my church have biases? Does the pastor read his or her own world view into the Word? Is his/her preaching more a reflection of his/her world view, his/her philosophies, his/her ideas? Are the sermons more informed by the world, by the latest news broadcast, by the latest trends, the latest polls?
- Does my church interpret Scripture with Scripture? Or are there outside sources, theories, world views that they use to interpret what the Scripture really means? Do they rely more on latest scholarship, new theories of interpretation, etc.?
- Does my church teach anything contrary to the Word of God? If the Bible is crystal clear about something, does my church teach something different? something contrary? Does my church twist and manipulate the Word of God?
- Does my church encourage the asking of questions and celebrate the voicing of doubts? Does my church believe that there are actually answers to those questions and doubts?
- Does my church clearly preach the gospel in a way that it can be understood? Does my pastor preach the gospel often or infrequently?
- Does my church clearly present the bad news and the good news? Does my church uphold the traditional and biblical view that heaven and hell are real? Does my church believe that Jesus Christ is THE way, THE truth, THE life? Does my church believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the Father? That there is no mediator between God and man but Christ Jesus himself? Does my church believe in universalism? That ALL will be saved; that there is no hell, or, if there is a hell that it will be empty? That there are many, many ways to God? That Christian truths are not absolute truths? That truth is subjective and relative? Does my church value evangelism? Does my church preach that people can be saved AFTER they die?
- Does my church ever mention sin and uphold to the traditional and biblical doctrine of sin?
- Does my church focus more on living this life to the fullest? being happy, wealthy, wise, and blessed? Or does my church focus on the next life?
- Does my church encourage the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, meditation, etc.?
- Do my pastor's prayers sound more like sermons than actual prayers?
- Does your church present the biggest sin, greatest sin, being that of intolerance and close-mindedness?
- Does my church recognize the importance of repentance? does my church value discipleship and instruction?
- Does my church encourage members to GROW in the faith and GROW in knowledge and acquire wisdom and discernment?
- Does my pastor really only preach on a handful of topics no matter what the scripture reading is?
- Could a person living in sin, comfortable in sin, holding tightly to particular sins, feel perfectly comfortable sitting under the preaching ministry at my church?
- Is God given all the glory at my church? Is God's holiness emphasized?
- Does pride or humility reign at my church?
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible