Friday, April 4, 2008

Things Turned Rightside Up

Although this will be much a condensed version, we'll start where things really began to turn for us in our lives. It was August, 2002. Sue and I had been in a serious relationship for nearly a year. We held the typical doctrines that most "Christian" churches hold now, and we attended a church that strived to be "relevant" for today. Generally our doctrines were based on the idea that people needed to be convinced by attraction that they need Jesus. Much of our efforts at the church we attended were based upon that premise: being "sensitive" to "seekers", being enticing (with modern music, dress, etc.) to people to convince them Jesus loved them, etc. Sue was involved with the "worship team" (which is really just the music team, because worship is much more than just music); and I was involved with a new and ungrounded-Christian class that supposedly set those folks on the proper beginning path. Again, both of these "ministries" were founded upon the originally mentioned premise: working to convince people they needed Jesus, that essentially Christians generally aren't offensive, and that Jesus loves them exactly as they are.

The Lord, by His graces and mercies, began to show us the Bible spoke of things differently, and He began to show us some things about the basic tenets and doctrines of Christianity that were different than the doctrines we held at the time. The Lord led us to articles that pointed out some things the Bible says that we hadn't really been taught before: that people are actually evil by nature and from birth; that there is a group of people called the elect, chosen by God to be His people according to His will only; that Christ only died for (paid for the sins of ) people He actually saved (ie. those that go to heaven); that our wills are actually moved by His Spirit toward Him, and without Him doing that, we would still just naturally be and continue to be His enemy; and other doctrines.

Wow! What? We had heard some on election before, but not much, and not these other things, and not these things in churches we had attended all of our lives. Needless to say, it became personally difficult. Were these things actually true?

After study and these things spinning in our heads for several weeks, by God's graces and as revealed in the Bible, we began to understand these things to be true. Given that, our entire Christian belief systems were flipped around: instead of turned upside down, I like to say they were turned rightside up. From there the Lord granted that we might continue to grow in these understandings, and He has graciously continued to teach from His written word.

There is so much more behind this in the details, but I'll try to summarize: we hold to the orthodox Christian tenets of what are commonly called the doctrines of grace; that God is sovereign over everything, including salvation. Many people call this "Calvinism", but I believe many do this so they can categorize it (pigeon-hole it) and then much more easily marginalize it. However, these teachings are indeed in the Bible.

If you've never heard of these ideas before, or you have but still don't believe they are in the Bible, here is a document of scriptures which we prayerfully hope you will prayerfully consider: Election, Atonement, and Other Interesting Verse Sets.

So, this is basically where it started for us. We have since studied many, many things, including several interesting items which have been noted at our previous Web page By God's Sovereign Grace and Mercy. Although not brief, this page of ours encapsulates much of what we believe the Lord has graciously and mercifully taught us over the last several years, doctrinally and regarding our view of the world.

Beyond the doctrine, it is that element, our worldview, that we believe He has graciously continued to reform, causing us to decide to live our lives quite differently than what is common today. I will hopefully and Lord willing get into that in one or more of the next posts.

-- David

2 comments:

Adam said...

Thanks for the links about atonement and election. I have been reading them tonight. Your blog is very interesting and I thank God for bringing me to it. I'm starting from the beginning as I find the way He has led you to live fascinating. I feel that He's leading my family and I in the same direction.
Praying for you all today.

Adam

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Adam,

Thank you for the prayers. May the Lord guide and direct you, for His glory.

Thanks for saying hello!

-- David