Michael Card was in our church recently. Michael’s music has a spiritual depth that causes the listener to reflect on the spiritual journey. Card is also a very good bible teacher. While in our church in Hackensack, Mn., he conducted a bible conference on the gospel of John. But what impressed me most about Michael Card was his character. He is a genuine humble man, who is able personally to connect with ordinary people. A phrase he used as stuck with me. For a deeply held conviction, he would say, “for that I can take a bullet.” For what would you take a bullet? I would for the following.
First and foremost is a high view of Scripture. Simply put – Scripture is God’s inspired Word to us, our final authority in matters of faith and practice. I have never wavered in this commitment. Early in my walk with God I memorized II Tim. 3: 16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Men, I encourage you to call into question any teaching in the church that does see Scripture as the final authority. Let Scripture be your guide, light and compass as you navigate “the spiritual minefields” of our culture.
Secondly, the Triune God of grace. God has chosen to reveal himself as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, living in perfect harmony and love. I like to visualize the activity of the Trinity as coming from the Father, through the Son, by the presence of the Holy Spirit. God is One God, yet has expressed himself in a community of three equal persons. C.S. Lewis calls it “The Great Dance.” Men, we are invited to participate in this dance. For me this makes the Trinity not a doctrine but a relational reality. I have always told folks, “don’t mess with the Trinity and you will be OK in your view of God.” Remember you are invited into the great dance.
Thirdly, the message of the cross. Early in my ministry I took to heart the word of Paul, “For the message of the cross, is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Cor 1:18). There is power in the message of the cross. I have never tired of pointing people to the foot of the cross. At the cross our sins are forgiven and we find deliverance and healing for our souls. Men, I simply say, “Bring your burdens to the cross and leave them there.” I often quote I Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.'”
Finally, the beautiful summary of our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. As a former Lutheran Pastor, I would lead the people weekly in confessing our faith by reciting the Apostles’ Creed. We would alternate with the Nicene Creed. Yes, it could become rote. But I would often remind the congregation that in the creed we have expressed in three articles relating to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a concise expression of our faith. You can’t go wrong if this is what you really believe about the revelation of God. I encourage you to memorize the Apostles’ Creed. I would take a bullet for the Apostles’ Creed – yes, every word. The early church fought for those words.