While recently reading the book of Hebrews, a particular portion of scripture caused two questions to pop into my mind. But before I share the questions, allow me to share the apostle Paul’s exhortation and a brief thought.
“So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” Hebrews 6:1-3 (New Century Version)
Here is what stood out to me. The apostle Paul called the following subjects basic, foundational Christianity 101.
- Turning away from evil deeds
- Placing our faith in Christ
- Baptisms (note: the word “baptisms” is plural)
- Laying on of hands
- Resurrection from the dead
- Eternal judgment
Quite simply, Paul is providing a list of what is needed to build the forms and pour the cement to establish a firm, solid spiritual foundation. He went on to say that after building this foundation, we can advance to building the walls and structure (“become mature in our understanding”).
So here are my two questions.
- Question #1. In reading this list, have we as individuals and ministry leaders established these foundational doctrines in our own personal lives? I’m not talking about reading a denominational handbook’s explanation. Do you personally know these basics? I could ask an abundance of questions about each of these doctrines. For example, how solid is your understanding of the baptisms? (Salvation – baptism into the body of Christ, water baptism, and baptism in the Holy Spirit) How are they different? Why is each baptism needed? Here’s another Christianity 101 doctrine example. Do you understand the doctrine of the laying on of hands? Is it ceremonial? Is it merely symbolic? What happens in the realm of the Spirit through the laying on of hands?
- Question #2. Have we jumped around in our teachings without having first established these foundational realities in our children and youth? Children? Yep. Youth? Yep. Aren’t these subjects too deep? Absolutely not. If it wouldn’t be grammatically incorrect, the following sentence is so, so important that I would type it in all capital letters. Quit trying to build the second floor of a child/youth’s spiritual life before laying the foundation. While great curriculums abound, according to Paul, these are to be taught after (not before) the firm foundation is laid.
I will stop so that you too can ponder these questions that formed in my mind when I read this passage.