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Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Major In The Minors

This weekend Mrs. WideAwakeChristian and I were out of town and were blessed to be able to visit a church where the pastor was Pastor Al Pittman, a godly man whom we hear on the radio every day at 5:30 in our abode 100 miles away. Pastor Al's messages are always meaningful and poignant and have always been an aid in our walk with Jesus, and this time it was an extra special blessing to be able to learn from him as we sat right there in front row center. I don't care what anyone says, recorded sermons loose a little something that happens in a live setting. 

One of the points that Pastor Al made was "Don't major on the minors". To me this sounds like a military phrase that a good NCO will demand of his troops on the lines of "Don't get stuck on stupid", and considering that in the near vicinity of Pastor Al's church there are a minimum of 5 military bases and the fact that Pastor Al's father was a career soldier I didn't think much of the use of the phrase at the time, considering it a throw away "attention getter"that the military loves to use when making a point. But it's really an important concept to keep in mind especially for us Christians. 


We as Christians must determine every day what is a major and what is a minor, meaning what is important and what is not important, and prioritize making sure we major on the majors and not on the minors. What is a major? Jesus spelled out what the very most important major is for us:
37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)
This is it, the most major major of them all, next to this everything else is a minor. The next commandment is a major too
The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39)
So can I believe that everything Jesus commanded us to do is a major? He did give us an awful lot of direction to follow. He told us to repent, He told us not to worry, He told us to watch for false prophets, to hear the word of God and obey it, he commanded us to love each other. He even told us to do the dishes. (ok, I threw that in as a bit of levity)

Sometimes the difference between a major and a minor is confusing to me. Here's an example: while at the service Pastor Al asked folks to come down front and pray, and many did, kneeling at the edge of the stage. They were praying for forgiveness, for help, and at least one couple rededicated their marriage to Jesus. And to add to this let me say that I know people who can Pray (notice the capitol P). Their prayers are truly a work of art, eloquent, poetic, fluent, full of all forms of 'churchy' phrases and use every syllable in their 66,000 word vocabulary. Their prayers are both a thing of beauty and length, seemingly designed to impress both the bystander and God. But Jesus tells us
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:5-8)
So is running down to the alter to pray in view of everyone a major or a minor? Are prayers that are so eloquent and long winded that they would make Shakespeare take eager notes on the proper use of the English language a major violation of Jesus command against long winded repetition? To me it's a minor because it has nothing to do with my salvation.

I know a fellow who follows Jesus' command in Mark 16:16 and believes it's true when it says 
He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 
However Mark Freil believes that believing baptism is part of salvation is heresy, and some bloggers believe that those that believe in baptism as a part of salvation Are Not Christians. Personally believing baptism is part of salvation to me is a minor because 1. It says so right there in the bible so this comes down to a matter of interpretation therefore I'm not going to discount a command from Jesus. In fact I worry much more about a church that calls itself Christian but does not believe in baptism at all. 2. The bible is full of directives on getting baptized so it's a good thing even if it doesn't do anything for your salvation, and 3. even if you do think it's a work; James 2:24. 

Baptism is part of the great commission:
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Is the fact that a man believes that baptism is part of your salvation a major? No, it's a minor, because it does not discount biblical doctrine such as salvation through faith. Is the fact that the Family Bible Church of the Holy Hills (or what ever) does not believe in baptism a major? I think so, because we are told by Christ to baptize in His name, if a group is ignoring this one simple command, what else are they ignoring?

Then again if someone teaches that this man isn't a Christian because he believes baptism is necessary, this is a major to me because I know that baptism, or the lack thereof, is not a test of Christianity, and should not be mistaken for such. If that man is branded not a Christian because he believes in the sanctity of something we are told to do by Christ where does the fingerpointing and the legalism end? 

But I'm not going to worry about it, Jesus said not to, but I will pray (in my inner room) for folks who put legalism over the commands of Jesus.

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