Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
Contending for the Faith
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints”(Jude 3). I just returned from another outstanding annual meeting of the Pre-Trib Study Group (www.pre-trib.org). The meeting took place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel near the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. This was my fourth opportunity to attend, having also attended in 2007, 2008, and 2011. The conference did not disappoint, proving once again to be Christ exalting, biblically focused, and academically stimulating.
Several papers were presented by various scholars around a common theme: Contending for the Faith in the Last Days. Dr. Thomas Ice began the conference with a paper on, “What Does the New Testament Teach about End-Time Apostasy?” Mike Gendron (www.proclaimingthegospel.org) presented a paper giving an overview of “Roman Catholicism’s Drift into Apostasy.” Tom McMahon (www.thebereancall.org) presented a paper on, “Psychology in the Church,” which to me, was the best paper presented at the conference. The so called church growth movement was discussed by the Monday evening banquet speaker, Paul Smith, where he discussed the church growth movement and how it was used to change the church’s focus from theology to sociology. Several other papers were presented, all focusing on end-time apostasy in the church.
I was once again privileged to enjoy a brief visit with Bill Koenig, a White House correspondent and director of World Watch International (www.watch.org). I have been a subscriber to Bill’s weekly newsletter for over five years and highly recommend it. Each week he summarizes the news from an end-time perspective. It is outstanding! The Tuesday evening current events session was the best to date, with Randall Price (www.worldofthebible.com), Bill Koenig, and Mathias Kern presenting. I had not previously heard of Mathias Kern. His background is in intelligence and international studies. His presentation was both eye-opening and challenging. He reminded us we must train our children in the scriptures as they are growing up in a world much different from the one in which we grew up. This new world will be one of intense persecution for Christians, especially Christians in the west who have typically escaped true persecution.
Contending for the faith is something we don’t hear too much about in Christian circles today. It seems far too many believers are more interested in not offending anyone rather than contending for truth. The Greek word for contend means, “to contend about a thing, as a combatant.” This is military terminology calling us to battle for the truth in light of false teaching. In this case it is referring to false teachers proclaiming a false gospel, misleading those who need to hear the true gospel. The words, “the faith,” refer to the whole body of revealed truth handed down through the Apostles and Prophets—the Bible. In other words, it is a call to know and live out sound doctrine. It is also a call to discernment: the ability to distinguish between truth and error, truth that is sometimes obscure. Finally, it is a call to be willing to confront and attack error. It amazes me the responses I often receive from fellow Christians whenever I have the audacity to confront error, especially when I name names. It is clear to me the church is losing ground when it comes to contending for the faith. I believe this to be a result of the years of neglect on the part of preachers and other Bible teachers. We have neglected expository preaching in favor of giving people what they want: “to have their ears tickled” (2 Tim. 4:3). Christianity has become more about experience rather than truth. It seems everyone is after some kind of an experience rather than truth. And remember, Jesus said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6).
So what’s the bottom line? Simply put, it is that you and I stand for the truth. Jude goes on to say we are to do this while we are, “waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 21). In other words, we are to contend for the truth until we see Jesus. Furthermore, we must remember that the error of false teachers has a devastating effect on those who embrace these errors—eternal damnation. Therefore Jude reminds us that by standing for the truth we will “save [some], snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). Jesus is coming soon for His church, perhaps a lot sooner than most folks are willing to believe. And when He comes many will be surprised to discover they were left behind, having embraced a false gospel propagated by false teachers. Therefore, it is imperative that we “Contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3).
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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