By Pastor James Brown Jr.
The ancient Christian faith stands as a timeless and unshakable anchor in the ever-changing tides throughout the history of mankind. Rooted in the revelation of God through Scripture and the witness of the early Church, it has endured trials, persecution, and theological challenges over the centuries. Yet, in the modern era, the foundations of this ancient faith are facing disbelief, dilution, and deconstruction due to a very disoriented, disorderly, and disobedient Western Church. The urgent need to rebuild these foundations arises from the call to preserve and proclaim the unchanging truth of the Gospel, ensuring that future generations will inherit a stedfast and powerful faith. If this is to happen, we must commit ourselves to the vital task of rebuilding the foundations of the ancient Christian faith. To begin this renewal, we must focus on three key aspects: a return to the authority of Scripture, a reaffirmation of core Christian doctrines, and a renewal of Christ-centered living.
Still, the Bible stands as the infallible and inspired Word of God, guiding the Church in matters of faith, doctrine, and practice. In the face of theological liberalism and relativism, a re-emphasis on the absolute authority of Scripture becomes paramount. This involves engaging in rigorous study and interpretation of God's Word, guided by the Holy Spirit and drawing from the wealth of theological insights found in the writings of the early Church fathers and reformers.
By immersing ourselves in Scripture, we can rebuild our understanding of God's revelation and rediscover the timeless truths that have shaped the faith for centuries. The Bible serves as a compass, pointing us to the person and work of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of our faith. As we root ourselves in the Word, we gain clarity in navigating the complex issues of our time and responding to cultural challenges with biblical wisdom and discernment. And, it is at this point that we cannot be content with attesting to the truth, we must do the truth.
Secondly, rebuilding the foundations of the ancient Christian faith requires a reaffirmation of core Christian doctrines. The early Church Fathers, in response to heresies and theological challenges, developed creeds and confessions that distilled essential truths of the faith. These doctrinal statements provide a framework for understanding the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, and the hope of Christ's return. A return to these core doctrines helps to safeguard the ancient faith from dilution and distortion.
Reaffirming core doctrines also fosters unity within the Body of Christ. As the Church grapples with diverse expressions of Christianity, a shared commitment to essential truths enables genuine Christian unity amid diversity. The creeds and confessions serve as theological anchors, grounding the Church in the historic and universal truths of the Christian faith.
Just as we cannot be content with being hearers of the Word, neither can we be content with being hearers of historical testimony. The words of the Church throughout history also mean something and must be put into action.
Finally, rebuilding the foundations of the ancient Christian faith entails a renewal of Christ-centered living. The early Christians lived counter-culturally, devoting themselves to prayer, worship, and sacrificial service to others. They were known for their love, compassion, and unwavering devotion to Christ. In contrast, the modern world often prioritizes individualism, materialism, and self-centered pursuits.
A return to Christ-centered living involves cultivating vibrant Christian communities where discipleship, prayer, and worship take center stage. By fostering authentic Christian fellowship and accountability, believers can encourage one another to walk in the footsteps of faithful saints who have gone before us. A renewed focus on spiritual disciplines and ethical living helps to embody the transformative power of the Gospel in our daily lives.
Rebuilding the foundations of the ancient Christian faith is an ongoing and challenging task. It requires a deep reliance on the Holy Spirit's guidance, a commitment to rigorous study and theological reflection, and a humble submission to the authority of Scripture. The work of rebuilding involves a collective effort by the Church, transcending denominational boundaries and cultural differences.
In conclusion, the urgency to rebuild the foundations of the ancient Christian faith arises from the desire to pass on an unadulterated and transformative Gospel to future generations. By returning to the authority of Scripture, reaffirming core Christian doctrines, and renewing Christ-centered living, the Church can stand firm amidst the currents of deconstruction and skepticism. Through this rebuilding process, the ancient faith regains its power to transform lives, bring hope to a broken world, and point people to the eternal truths found in Jesus Christ.