The Vision and Mission of Ronin’s Journey

What’s the point of this blog? Why bother? It’s because I see a need, a world that’s harassed and helpless. I want you to not only to apply what you learn here, I want you to know why. In a nutshell, I want to develop thoughtful purposeful Christians.

How?

By cultivating a life of the mind that’s connected to the heart, to create depth, a thoughtful Christianity. Then working outward in an application with a purpose. That’s the point of the two series, Simplified Systematic Theology and Learning Under Jesus.

There is a surface belief in the world, but it’s shallow. There’s little to no application. Why? Because it’s not real to people, they haven’t thought it through. The ones that have, live it or reject it.

Some History

That’s how this blog has been trending since 2014. Before that, it was politics and social commentary five

In the early days

 

days a week. Then a traumatic accident took my godson. Ronin’s Journey became a soul-searching grief journey in mid-2013. Little over a year later, I met Jesus in a way that was deeper than my cultural Christianity.

I began writing what it was like to actually follow him. Matthew 6:33 was the tagline and is still my life verse; “Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, all these things will be added to you.” Then I began refining the blog, and still am to this day. First by moving to private hosting this time last year. It’s not cheap, but I have more control, and no one can take it from me.

Why Bother?

At this point, we are surrounded by cultural Christians in an environment that is increasingly hostile to our worldview. They grew up in church, but never totally committed to Christ.

Does your foundation have the depth to withstand and answer the world’s questions? If not, prepare yourself; if so, prepare others. Take what you know and share it, live it as a testimony. It’s getting dark but that’s when the light shines the brightest.

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It…

Here are my goals for me, and for you if you so choose:

  • Grow in knowledge and service to Christ. How? By following him and thinking through the ramifications, deeply. Ask questions like, “What if I don’t do ____?” “Why should I do _____?” “What’s this mean?” “What if I do             ?”
    I’m confident that time and time again, it’s the best choice. Not always easy, but the best.

Here’s my challenge for you.

Every place that you are at, Jesus is there in you, Christian. Do what he would, in your place, at work, home, public, private, etc. Not sure how?

When I first took the plunge, Pastor Jaime told me to start by reading two things, the book of Romans in the Bible and Immediate Obedience: The Adventure of Tuning Into God. I started another blog, inactive but still there, to chronicle it. First Samuel 12:24. Click the title and it will take you to the first post ever, where I began a 90-Day challenge.

I can’t do this alone. I’ve gotten this far with a lot of grace, curiosity, and self-study, yet I’m reaching almost a thousand people online. You can do it too, you can do better, live a life that’s a worthy testimony and reach who you can your way.

What Is “Thoughtful” Christianity?

At the start of the year, I began categorizing a lot of posts under Thoughtful Christianity. What do I mean by it?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines thoughtful as careful reserved thinking. Dictionary.com defines it as careful, heedful or mindful. How is this different from intellectual?

Because it’s not solely a mental pursuit driven by reasoning and curiosity. It is related to it by study, reflection, and speculation, but should also impact life itself.

An agnostic, Julian Barnes, wrote, “What’s the point of faith unless you and it are serious–seriously serious–unless your religion fills, directs, stains, and sustains your life?”

The Christian Paradox

Christianity is a paradox in that the Gospel is so simple that a child can grasp it, and scholars continue to debate it’s finer points. The lens I view the world is in how is Christianity relevant here, what would help, what’s going on, and what am I to do? That’s the steady hum of thoughtfulness going through my mind.

We like to build narratives to make sense of our lives, little mini-narratives, but there is a meta-narrative. Creation, The Fall of Man, Redemption, and Restoration. That encompasses the Bible thematically.

The Fall explains why the world is the way it is, and why humans are so self-centered that we can’t be left unchecked. Not even a multitude of laws can fix it.

Deeper inside is how it applies to us. My favorite is the Wisdom books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes along with the entire New Testament. In the Old Testament, you have a people trying (or not) to live according to God’s standards, and being unable to. Their lives are examples of good and bad decisions. Later in the New Testament, a hope is developed and brought to fruition in the New.

Immerse yourself in the story.

“But it’s just a story.”

It’s more, you can pursue a strong apologetic foundation to cement it in place. There are types you can pursue, the best when you can overlap them and it makes sense. Here are the different approaches:

  • Classical Apologetics: It focuses on arguments for the evidence of God along with historical evidence supporting the truth of Christianity. Two steps characterize it, theistic and evidential arguments. (My preferred area)
  • Evidential Apologetics: Focuses on the need for evidence: rational, historical, archaeological and experiential. It’s broad in scope.
  • Presuppositional Apologetics: Like it states, this area starts with a few presuppositions, like Christianity is true, and then argues the case. It’s broken into four areas itself: relational, rational, systematic consistency, and practical.

A blend is best. But my point is that you can go deep with Christianity. Want philosophy, go to reasonablefaith.org. Want to blend that with existential, go to rzim.org. Popular level classic apologetics, go to str.org and coldcasechristianity.com.

When you trust that it’s true, you’re more likely to live it. Just like you trust that if go on a trip, you’ll get there. You don’t know what’s along the way, only what you’re bringing with you, and where you’re going.

Breaking It Down

When you have the big picture, know the background, the cultural context, explore the areas that systematic theology explores; it opens up. A thoughtful Christianity is hard to shake. The deeper you dive, the stronger your foundations, the more it comes alive.

A simple way to start is to just ask yourself, “how does the Bible apply here” in various situations. Not just in commands, like most think, but an explanation for life. Why did that person do that? What is happening here? And so on.

You can go as deep as you want from there, the only hitch…you have to know Scripture. Go on and try it, let me know what you get.

Is The Bible Sufficient?

We have arrived at the final part of the Doctrine of the Bible in the Simplified Systematic Theology series. I hope that you walk away equipped and ready to learn more. I didn’t cover all of it, so I urge you to check my sources I used. Now, let’s look at why the Scriptures are good enough.

What is the sufficiency of Scripture?

It means that the Bible has everything in it that He intended at that point of redemptive history. You can see it building up towards something or in our case, someone, Jesus. Now it has everything we need for salvation, trusting God, and obeying Him. (2 Timothy 3:15-16; James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23)

Why is it important that the Bible is sufficient?

So that we can find all that God has said on a topic. It allows us to focus on just one book, rather than everything written in the last 2,000 years. Think about what it’s like to look for answers in a bookstore, who do you pick, how, and do they even know what they’re talking about?

We can also collect the important doctrinal passages to see what they say about salvation, Jesus, and so on.

Does this mean that God cannot add to the words He’s already spoke?

No, it means that man can’t add any more words. The sufficiency of Scripture implies that God doesn’t need to speak any more words than what we already have.

How can we understand the process?

This helps us understand God’s progressive revelation, how it’s enough now, but later reveals more. It’s God who takes the initiative on what to or not to reveal (Deuteronomy 29:29) at each stage of history for His people to study, hear, and obey. (See How Did We Get The Bible?)

It started with the first five books of the Old Testament (the Torah or the Law), and that was good enough. Then God started speaking through the prophets as he worked through history, revealing Israel’s fate, and the coming Messiah. This became the rest of Scripture in the OT, called the Prophets, followed by 400 years of silence. And that was good enough.

Then Jesus was born, died, rose again, and ascended. This, along with the foundation of the early church as recorded in the New Testament, formed the last central act of redemptive history. It’s capped by the book of Revelation. Everything of relevance has occurred, or been laid out, nothing further is needed.

How do we know that the principle of the sufficiency of Scripture hasn’t changed?

In the time of Moses:

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.
Deuteronomy 4:2

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.
Deuteronomy 12:32

The time of King Solomon:

Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

The last book of the Apostle John:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
Revelation 22:18-19

It’s remained the same.

How does the doctrine of Scriptural sufficiency apply to me?

To encourage you to see what God says or would have you do about an issue or situation because no other book carries the same weight as the Bible.

It’s a reminder that all we need to know about God and His redemptive work is all found in the Bible. We don’t have to search for it. It also protects us from so-called modern revelations of God.

If it doesn’t match what is already said, then it’s not of God. Anything else isn’t on an equal level to Scripture.

In living the Christian life, we can know that unless it’s explicitly or implied as sin, we’re fine. Nor is anything extra required of us that isn’t clearly laid out or implied.

For teachers like me or preachers, it reminds us that in doctrinal or ethical teaching, we should focus on what the Bible focuses on, and be content with it.

That is it for the Doctrine of the Bible. Next month we begin to look at the Doctrine of God.


Doctrine of the Bible Posts
How Did We Get The Bible?
Is The Bible The Word of God and Does It Matter?
Is The Bible Inerrant?
Is The Bible Necessary?

Sources
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Chapter 8: The Four Characteristics of Scripture: (4) Sufficiency