[forthright] Concepts Have Consequences

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 2003 16:54:22 -0300
   Forthright Magazine
   http://www.forthright.net
   Going straight to the Cross

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   Geeks say it this way: Trash in, trash out.
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   COLUMN: Final Phase

   Concepts Have Consequences
   by J. Randal Matheny

   In 1976, Biblical Research Press published Arlie
   J. Hoover's study book called "Ideas and Their
   Consequences." He demonstrated that the tenets of
   modern naturalism have disastrous results. "The
   thesis is simple: bad theology and bad philosophy
   make for bad consequences" (p. 1).

   What we believe produces in our life inexorable
   consequences. What we espouse and teach multiplies
   those consequences in many lives.

   So Jesus says. How does one recognize false
   teachers? By the consequences of their teaching.
   "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16).
   "Fruits" is a picturesque way of saying results,
   consequences, product.

   The old saw says, you are what you think. No less
   true for its overuse.

   Perhaps the most important concept is one's belief
   about God. In his book "Your God Is Too Small," J.
   B. Phillips charged that limited views of God have
   devastating results for our faith.

   Paul quotes from Psalm 116 to express this truth,
   "I believed, therefore I spoke" (2 Cor. 4:13). His
   "speaking" expresses not merely a flow of words,
   but the entire effort of a lifetime to preach the
   gospel as the greatest demonstration of love
   possible. His "concepts" of God, of Christ, of
   salvation, of Christian responsibility, all led
   him to a specific course of action.

   Whatever we believe about God, about others, about
   ourselves, about our world will affect our actions
   and the outcome of our entire lives.

   Boiling it all down: To have the right concepts,
   the proper ideas, the truths which reflect reality
   as God created it, I go to the Scriptures. They
   guide my thinking, burst my illusions, correct my
   errors, open up the truth that may bring, to me
   and those around me, the eternal relationship with
   God.

   As Paul advised Timothy, "Pay close attention to
   yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these
   things, for as you do this you will ensure
   salvation both for yourself and for those who hear
   you" (1 Tim. 4.16).

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