Westmont Magazine Beliefs Matter
A few weeks ago, a recent Westmont graduate was telling me about his girlfriend. We were discussing the emotional side of their friendship and the role that “romance” should play in their decision regarding marriage. I was very impressed when he said, “Well, I really don’t care so much what she feels. I care about what she believes.”
This perspective is not very common these days. We are living at a time in our society when people are ruled and driven simply by their feelings. Many people remain true to their spouse only as long as they feel in love with them. And in their marriages, they act lovingly only when they feel like it.
Much of the same thing is happening in the Christian church these days. “I don’t care about your theology or the church you come from; all I care about is whether you love Jesus.” Have you ever heard that? Well, I understand the point, and surely agree that the essential element in the gospel is our love and commitment to Jesus Christ. But if we are to commit ourselves to Him, we better know who He is!
For some members of Christian churches today, Christ is just a wonderful role model of how to live, a great teacher, the mystical presence that makes life better, or a “buddy” who thinks we’re great, or…… Our theology, our personal beliefs about God, define who Christ really is to us, and thus how we must respond to Him and live in this world. Each of us needs “a place to stand,” a firm base of belief grounded in Scripture, which can guide us in how to live, how to worship, and how to share our faith with others.
Christian faith is not simply a matter of emotions or feelings. It is also matter of beliefs, understandings, and truth. Jesus said He was “the way, the truth, and the life.” So if we want to love Jesus truly, we better learn about the way, the truth, and the life. There is a great need in the church today for clear thinking. Too many Christians are superficial or careless regarding their beliefs.
It may be that at one time in history evangelical Christians were seen as too dogmatic and unbending in our commitments. Perhaps the church has overreacted to that error by adopting in part the relativism of our society, and giving up on virtually any commitment to fundamental beliefs that guide our lives and ministries.
Westmont understands the healthy and positive role of emotional development. But we build our program and curriculum on the basis of what we have learned about God and His expectation of us. It is an exciting venture, and absolutely imperative for the future of the Christian church. Our local churches desperately need more people who can clearly and attractively present their beliefs about Jesus Christ, and who also build their lives in accordance with those beliefs.