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Written by: C. W. Booth

Monday, March 04, 2013

Adorn the Doctrine of God

Human logic is vastly inferior to God’s thinking on very many matters. Manmade philosophy frequently poses as piety, yet it fails to meet God’s expectations.

Pundits and pastors have often said that good works are more important than sound doctrine. But Paul’s letters to Timothy upset that deduction, stating that all deeds, good and bad, flow from doctrine, sound or unsound. Therefore, without first having sound doctrine one cannot have God-honoring good works.

When Paul wrote to Titus he said it rather bluntly. First he equated the importance of articulating pure doctrine while simultaneously displaying good deeds (see Titus 2:7), denying that one is more necessary than the other as the product of the believer.

Next Paul states that our good deeds “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” What a comment! Without doctrine our good deeds have nothing to adorn. Like a Christmas ornament decorates the strong and pre-existing structure of a pine tree, so our good deeds decorate the strong pre-established framework of God’s doctrines.

Watch out for the truth in this. Doctrine does not adorn or embellish our actions. No, our actions, which flow from our beliefs (our doctrines) beautify the doctrines which God has given us.

Without sound doctrine there is nothing upon which to hang our good works for exhibition. Like a glass ornament that has no tree branch to be its support, “good” works without sound doctrine will fall and shatter without meaning or purpose in this life.

Make sure your doctrine is first strong enough and sufficiently stable so that it can sustain the display of the ornamentation of the works which you will drape upon it. In fact, the works you select to exhibit will complement the doctrines which you will array upon them because your works are the fruit of your doctrine as well as their adornment.

--- Note: The outstanding analogy of the Christmas tree and ornament belong to my pastor who presented them during the Sunday sermon this past week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When Courts Change the Meaning of Religious Words -- “Marriage”

At the moment the Supreme Court is supposed to be deciding if an individual state may define for itself what a marriage is or what a marriage is not. It is doubtful that the constitution supplies a federal definition of "marriage" since there was only one meaning for the word back in 1787, and had been only one meaning for thousands of years.

Whatever the federal government does not legislate and the constitution does not regulate falls within the exclusive domain of the individual states of the nation to legislate on their own, if they wish. So if the Supreme Court suddenly offers a new national definition of their own for "marriage," which the states will be obligated to use, then they will be over-stepping their own judicial boundaries and will also be stepping on states' rights.

In short, if the court dictates their own definition of marriage to the states and churches they will have become legislators and not judges. Judges are not to make new law but to uphold what already exists.

In America religion has long provided the definition of marriage and the government has borrowed or adopted that definition. If the government wishes to create a new non-religious similar but different meaning for "marriage" then should the government not call it something different as well?

Perhaps it would be best to leave traditional "marriage" defined as it is (i.e. a man and a woman making a civil and often religious lifetime contract) and for the government to adopt a new term for non-traditional "marriage." "Civil unions" was such a good term, I thought. However, other options might include "domestic contracts" or "secular wedding" or "state wedding."

Whatever term is applied it really ought to be different from that of "marriage" since marriage has an historic meaning that goes back thousands of years and is based in religious doctrine. Governments fare poorly when they take on the job of defining religious doctrine.

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Page Originally Posted: March 31, 2014
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