Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Are We Known More for What We’re Against Than What We’re For?


I listened to a sermon at our church from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In Philippians 4:1, Paul tells the Philippians to “stand firm in the Lord.” Burk Parsons recently stated in a Ligonier regional conference “So many professing Christians have lost their way because so many want to be loved by the world.” I think that is true. By the way, the 2023 Ligonier National Conference has the theme of Stand Firm.
As I was listening to the sermon about standing firm, I began to wonder if rather than standing firm for what we believe, Christians today are often known more for what we are against. For example, do others see us as those who are against the LGBT+ revolution, CRT being taught in schools, and abortion, rather than believing in the essential truths of Christianity? Are we known for our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  Do people remember that it was Christians that started a lot of the universities, missions, shelters and hospitals?

It is easy for people to “put us in a box.” In the workplace, I sometimes wondered if I was more known for being a St. Louis Cardinals fan than I was as a believer. Others may know me more for my political views.
Several years ago, I was having a one-on-one meeting in my office with a teammate, who happened to be gay. He saw a “W 04” (George W. Bush) campaign bumper sticker in my office in a place that I did not think anyone could see it but myself. He took my Christian beliefs and my conservative political views and put me in a box, saying that he felt he probably would not be welcome at my church. (The call of the gospel is open to everyone.)
Standing firm in our beliefs and being against those things that are condemned by scripture is not an either/or situation. It is a both/and.
The first Ligonier National Conference that we attended was in 1997. Speakers included Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, James Boice, R.C. Sproul, and others. The theme was Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. R.C. Sproul wrote a helpful book with the same title. There are essential truths of the faith and there are areas of freedom. Areas of freedom would include items such as the style of music in worship services and which version of the Bible your church uses.
If we are going to be known for what we believe, we should be known for those essential truths of the faith. Here are ten essentials of the faith to get us started:

  • The inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture
  • The virgin birth of Jesus
  • The substitutional atonement of Jesus
  • The resurrection of Jesus
  • The ascension of Jesus
  • The return of Jesus
  • Justification by faith
  • Perseverance of the saints
  • The reality of heaven and hell
  • The resurrection of the saints

These are just ten essential truths of the Christian faith. Sproul includes one hundred of them in his book. What are some other essentials that you hold dear, and you would like to be known as standing firm for?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Are We Known More for What We’re Against Than What We’re For?

  1. Great post Bill! You have raised an issue that deserves solemn consideration. Your list of essentials is pretty complete. I do think that it would be useful to contemplate carefully how each of those beliefs are to manifest them selves in our lives. Example “Since Scripture is inerrant, how am I to treat the poor?”
    Happy New Year!

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