Truth Matters!

I stumbled across a local church website (which will remain nameless) and discovered something very interesting. I saw a list of the church staff and how to contact them, I saw a description of their two morning worship services, I saw a map on how to get there, I saw a description of how to dress (come as you are…I wonder if they REALLY mean that!), I saw a list of activities one could attend, I saw directions about where to take your children, and various and sundry other tidbits of information. However, the one piece of information that I most desired was nowhere to be found: what did they believe?

At first, I was confused about why they did not want readers to know what they believed, but then, the light dawned: their lack of a doctrinal statement IS their doctrinal statement! They were saying that doctrine is not important there! Pragmatism rules!

I am so grateful that when I was ordained to the ministry in 1981 that Dr. A. J. Quinn was given the responsibility of preaching my ordination sermon. His sermon consisted of reading without comment 2 Timothy 4:1-8 which made a lasting impression on me:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Thank you, Dr. Quinn, for challenging me at the very beginning of my ministry with the truth that doctrine matters!

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2 Comments

  1. Carol Ascol said,

    April 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    I also thank Dr. Quinn for keeping you on the right path and that our paths have crossed.

    • cliftonr said,

      April 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM

      Thanks, Carol. I have appreciated all the Ascols (and Strothers) that God has sent my way down through the years.


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