Summary: Our purpose in this series is to reacquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of our faith.
Why We Believe What We Believe - Why Doctrine is Important
Why We Believe What We Believe Series
Gages Lake Bible Church
October 4th, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
At great risk to my life, I’m going to open with an illustration from the Green Bay Packers. I realize that Bears fans are not fond of the Packers. I hear that the feeling is not mutual from the other side.
If you know NFL history—and you should if you’re spiritual—you’ll know that the dominant team in the 60’s and 70’s was the Green Bay Packers. They were coached by the great Vince Lombardi.
It was said that Coach Vince Lombardi began every new season with a lecture to both the veterans and the rookies on the basics of football.
He literally held up a football and said, "This is a football." He talked about its size and shape, how it can be kicked, carried, or passed. Then he took the team out onto the field and said, "This is a football field." He walked them around, describing the dimensions, the shape, the rules, and how the game is played.
He did that every year -- even after the Green Bay Packers became NFL champs and then won the first two Super Bowls ever played. Can you imagine how "basic" and "fundamental" that must have sounded to his veteran players? And yet maybe that explains why Vince Lombardi was such a successful coach, because he began with the basics.
“Fundamentals were the foundation of my father’s coaching philosophy,” Vince Lombardi, Jr. wrote in his book The Essential Vince Lombardi
A New Series
It is with this idea in mind that I begin a new, 10-week preaching series, entitled “Why We Believe What We Believe.” I believe Christians today at all levels need to be schooled in the basics.
If you believe the mountains of church research done in the last few years by George Barna, Lifeway Research and others, you know that Christians have lost touch with the basics of faith.
Pastors can no longer assume that Christians in their congregations are either a) fully aware b) believe or c) understand the fundamentals of their faith.
Let me share with you some troubling findings. I took these second-hand from a paper by Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D., entitled, “Crisis in America’s Churches, Bible Knowledge at All-Time Low.” He has a great website at theologicalstudies.org.
According to George Barna:
• The most widely known Bible verse among adult and teen believers is “God helps those who help themselves.” – Which is not actually in the Bible and actually conflicts with the Bible’s central message.
• Less than one out of every ten believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for his or her decision-making or behavior.
• When given thirteen basic teachings from the Bible, only 1% of adult believers firmly embraced all thirteen as being biblical perspectives.
Here are a few more revealing statistics:
Gary Burge, who teaches New Testament at Wheaton College, finds that incoming students are knowing less and less of the core doctrines of the Bible. For instance:
• One-third could not put the following in order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost.