Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Purpose and Mission of Real Truth Matters Part 2

by S. Michael Durham

In our previous post we state that the mission and vision of Real Truth Matters is as follows:

Real Truth Matters exists to pursue the recovery of New Testament Christianity
by promoting the pursuit of Christ as the Gospel.

How do we present Christ as the gospel? Usually the gospel is thought to be about Christ and what He did, not Christ Himself. The way to answer the “how” question is by returning to the New Testament and examining the preaching of the apostles. The remainder of this post is the continuation of our last post and it is not an in-depth answer but it provides the salient points that will be later discussed in future posts.

2. The gospel’s presentation must be based upon the preaching and teaching of the apostles of Christ.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8).

Our message must be the same as the apostles from whom we should have received the gospel. Perhaps modern methods of evangelism may differ from theirs. It is not the custom of gospel preachers to come to a city and first go to the local Jewish synagogue to preach the gospel. But the doctrinal content must be the same. The following are a few of the things that the apostles preached that have been lost to many.

a. Faith is more than mental assent, it is the treasuring and trusting of Christ

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (Galatians 5:6).

b. Repentance is not a onetime act, but a life of pursuing Christ in all areas of life.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19).

But declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance (Acts 26:20.)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).

c. The apostles preached a fascination with Christ that translated into a lifelong pursuit of Christ.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).

d. This fascination should involve the mind, heart and will. In too many cases fascination involves one or two of the three, but seldom all three. But the mind, heart, and will must all be engaged! Our pursuit of Christ should not be academic alone, emotion alone, or action alone.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”
(Matthew 22:37).

e. The reality of Jesus Christ in the believer is by the Holy Spirit. He is to be experienced.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (John 14:21).

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me
(John 15:26).

It is Real Truth Matters’ prayer and genuine desire to be used by the Christ, who is the gospel, to stir men and women to pursue the Savior. Our passion is our aim. RTM will employ new methods to promote this passion, as long as the method will aid the message, not change it. RTM will use technology, innovation, and whatever the Lord puts in our hands to use. But the message will not change even if the medium does. The goal is as already stated, to bring others to a recovery of New Testament Christianity. In the final analysis, the recovery is not the truth, since Jesus Christ is the truth. He suffers no loss and therefore needs no recovery. The recovery is men and women who have yet to discover that the Real Truth does matter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Purpose and Mission of Real Truth Matters Part 1

by S. Michael Durham

Real Truth Matters exists to pursue the recovery of New Testament Christianity by promoting the pursuit of Christ as the Gospel.

An assessment of much of current American Christianity is that it has been diluted, if not perverted. It has been modified, if not altogether changed, leaving many to believe a false gospel. Our nation has not kept within its borders this distortion of truth. We have transported it by sea and land to pollute a good portion of the world’s Christian population. It should remind us of the infamous garbage barge that traveled all the way from New York City to Central America and back trying to find a place to dispose the garbage. American Christendom has dumped its theological garbage all over the world.

It is the mission of Real Truth Matters to work for the recovery of primitive Christianity without trying to recreate first century culture. Many have attempted to recover New Testament Christianity thinking the secret is returning to a resemblance of first century Judean culture. Others think we need to revive the early church climate and recreate their structure and practice. However, it is unnecessary to duplicate the cultural practices of the first century in order to revive Christianity. The gospel is transcultural, meaning, it will work in any culture. The answer to the recovery of the gospel is not cultural.

Another attempt to rediscover biblical Christianity recommends new methodology. It is suggested that if we can find better methods of communication or better contextualize the message we would advance the cause of Christ. Surely improvement in communication or contextualization is a worthy goal. But, if not careful, the goal becomes more important than the gospel and the gospel is compromised. Most efforts to better share the message has led to changing the message. And most enterprises to more cleverly blend Christianity into the present culture have resulted in a more worldly Christianity.

RTM’s mission is not methodology driven, but theologically driven. The answer is not in something new and improved but tried and true. It is the rediscovery and proclamation of the same gospel that the apostles of Christ proclaimed. In many circles the old gospel will sound very new. But its novelty is in the telling and hearing not in its longevity.

The above purpose statement is a theologically driven mission. The following outline is an explanation of this sentence and our ministry.

A. Christo-Centric—Apostolic Gospel

1. Christ is the gospel. The gospel is not about Christ, it is Christ.

The gospel is not just about the death and resurrection of Christ. It is Jesus. It is Jesus, His person as the Son of God and the Son of Man. It is all about what He is and has done in the redemption of sinners.

This constitutes a major portion of the problem of modernized Christianity. It fails to recognize Christ, Himself. Even though Jesus is the subject of its gospel, He is not the gospel to most professing Christians. Their gospel is what Jesus has done for them. But the New Testament does not tell men to believe in only what He has done. It tells them to believe upon Him and in Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40).

For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame (Romans 10:11).

Why is this significant? Because the gospel is not just believing certain facts about Christ. It is the reality of the person of Christ in the believer. Biblical Christianity is the life of Christ in the soul of man. Christ, in believers, also means more than having a companion. The life of Christ is the power from which the believer lives.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

This does not minimize faith in our Lord’s sacrificial death and in His triumphal resurrection. But His death would not have been effectual to the salvation of men had He not been who He is. Nor would He have risen from the dead. It is His person and all that He is and has done that is the good news.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lets Take a Pause

Well, we wanted to keep the blog updated more, but a massive ice storm took those plans away this past week! Due to power and internet outages, the blog has not been updated.

Please bear with us, and we will return soon.