Theology and Practical Christianity

Much of my life I have been a student of biblical theology. I was given books to read by my teachers and then I had to write essays, do workbooks, and take exams based on the reading. That covers Bible class for most of my early education grades 1-12.

Then I attended chapels, church services, and spiritual retreats where we studied the Bible and engaged in discussion with other students over the meaning of biblical passages and how they relate to doctrine and lifestyle.

There was much prayer and song during this time, and I learned most of the songs in the hymnal by memory. Needless to say I was immersed in Adventist theories and doctrine from the earliest of ages. I was educated by the best pastors and theologians in the world who taught me how to study the bible and how to pray. I learned the scriptures while sitting at the feet of Jesus Christ who guided my education,

One of the things that I learned over the years is the difference between theoretical doctrines and practical Christianity. We tend to get unbalanced when we focus on one at the expense of the other. We can give a bible study on the Trinity and the nature of Christ which is extremely philosophical in nature, or we can tell people how to schedule their day, how to spend their money, how to dress, how to live a healthful life, and how to live out the Christian life in a practical way.

I believe the most effective ministers of the gospel balance both theological and practical Christianity in a way that is interesting and inspiring to the members of their congregation.

The next time you read a verse of scripture ask yourself how this verse fits into the bigger picture of biblical doctrine and the plan of salvation, but don’t forget to look for the practical spiritual applications that can help you gain spiritual blessing from God as you apply His word to your life.

Stephen Beagles (2020)

Worthy is the Lamb

Jesus was crucified at 9:00 am and suffered for our sins on the cross until 3:00 pm on a Friday in April. During this time in 31 A.D. the sins of mankind were placed upon the messiah who bore the wrath of God in our place. God satisfied His own law by offering up His beloved Son Jesus to die as our substitute. From that point forward the entire universe has been singing ““Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”(Revelation 5:11, NIV).

As we celebrate the empty tomb of Christ this Sunday, let us remember that without the cross there would be no resurrection. Without the blood there would be no salvation for mankind.

Stephen Beagles (2020)

Take Heart in Jesus

It is times like these we need to be reminded God is the only one who offers us peace and security. All of the guns in the world cannot stop a deadly virus from spreading throughout the world.

However, we can sleep in peace knowing that God loves us and is watching over us. He will only allow for what is best for us and our families. Even in sickness and death we can trust Him.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” Job 13:15

Be at peace my friends and remember the words of Jesus:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Stephen Beagles (2020)

The Meaning of Holiness

One half of the Seventh-day Adventist church believes the other half is in apostasy. This is sad, sad, sad.

If there is a diagnosis for the church it is lukewarm on the gospel of Jesus Christ. They put rules before relationships and commands before compassion. It is high time for our leaders to cast aside the confusion they have allowed to fester in the ranks and take a stand for Christ and Him Crucified.

This does not mean we lower our standards of lifestyle or behavior. It does however mean that we set aside our individual differences to lift up the merits of Christ alone.

Let the people know that their salvation depends on the life and death of Christ their substitute who paid the penalty for their sins. Only the heart that has cast aside self-righteousness will receive the Holy Spirit who will make us Holy.

The more I know Christ as my Lord and Savior, I hear him tell me that holiness is about living a balanced life centered on biblical principles. Stay away from extremes. This means we will have to become stricter in some areas of life while becoming less strict in other areas. Stop straining out gnats while swallowing camels (Matthew 23:24).

Ellen White the founder of our Church warned against fanaticism and going to extremes: “As the end draws near, the enemy will work with all his power to bring in fanaticism among us. He would rejoice to see Seventh-day Adventists going to such extremes that they would be branded by the world as a body of fanatics. Against this danger I am bidden to warn ministers and lay members. Our work is to teach men and women to build on a true foundation, to plant their feet on a plain “Thus saith the Lord.”—Gospel Workers, 316 (1915).

We must be Holy as Christ was Holy. Remember, He was accused of breaking His own laws concerning the Sabbath. It was diligent Sabbath Keepers who demanded the death of Christ. Christ was perfectly balanced in His attitude towards the letter of the law and the Spirit of the law while rejecting the unhealthy fanaticism of the leaders of Israel.

Let us renew the urgency of the gospel of Jesus while guarding against the fanaticism of the evil one. Lift up Jesus and His death on the cross. Allow Him to draw all men unto Himself.

Stephen Beagles (2020)