Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why Faith & Practice?

Welcome to Faith and Practice, a weblog which originally started January 1, 2006. As of May 20, 2009, it has been resurrected as the pastoral blog for Grace Church of the Valley. The purpose of this blog is to promote both sound biblical doctrine ("faith") and authentic Christian living ("practice"). While our primary audience is GCV members, any visitors who wish to read along are welcome. Our concern for you all is that you will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our blog's name
"Faith and practice" has been used historically in the broad sense of doctrinal distinctives, encompassing all areas of both belief and behavior, doctrine and duty. At the same time, it is a peculiarly precise phrase since it focuses on the intrinsic relationship between theology in principle and theology in action. It underscores the fact that the two concepts—of faith and practice—go hand in hand. Genuine faith always impacts real life; and, conversely, deeds and decisions can always be traced back to an underlying system of belief. 

From a biblical point of view, faith and practice are so intertwined that—at times—they are almost synonymous. In the Scriptures, to believe is to obey. As Christ said in John 3:36: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." During His sermon on the mount, Jesus emphasized the fact that, "You will know them [false prophets] by their fruits. . . . So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit" (Matt. 7:16–18). The rest of the New Testament echoes our Lord’s emphasis, with perhaps the most clear reiteration coming from James: "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). In other words, where genuine practice is lacking, there genuine faith is also lacking. And vice versa.

Thus we chose the name "faith and practice" because it encompasses all areas of theology, from the systematic to the practical; and also because it serves as a vivid reminder to all of us that true Christianity does not consist of mere theory, but of wholehearted obedience to the truth (cf. John 14:15).

Our blog's purpose

Our primary objective, as in all facets of our ministry, is to glorify God. Fidelity to His Word is necessary to accomplish so lofty a goal, as is commitment  to what matters most to the heart of God. One immediate application of that belief is the content of this blog. Another is the audience. Because Christ loves His church, even giving His life for her, this is a blog for Grace Church. It is a pastoral blog, a blog written by shepherds for sheep. The flock of God among us, here in the San Joaquin Valley, is our primary audience. Our pastoral concern will drive what we write, why we write, how we write, how much and how little we write, and when we write. We are convinced that the local church is the hope of the world, and as such she receives our primary ministry opportunities, focus, and energies.

At the same time, we would be remiss to ignore the reality of the church at large. Ours is a global world. For good or ill, we live as Christians in the day of instant, worldwide, constant contact. Gone are the days of churches isolated in their own geographies, cut off from any outside Christian contact or knowledge. Our blog is readable by all, and so at times we hope to provide a perspective of faith and practice for those beyond the membership of our local church.

To that end, we intend to blog our pastoral perspectives which we hope will be of benefit to the body of Christ. Soli Deo Gloria!

Our blog's rules
Here at F&P, we welcome comments. Sort of. As always, our philosophy determines what we do. Since the primary audience of this blog is members of our church, we genuinely want the opportunity for comments, interaction, and questions from you, Grace Church member.

On the other hand, it's a big blog world. So, we moderate all comments and reserve the unabashed right to allow only what we wish to allow. Anonymous comments, as well as those from fake email addresses, will be instantly rejected. Comments from trolls, rabble-rousers, obstinates, argument seekers, and those wishing to use our comments as their own blog will be discarded at will, most often without explanation. We don't have the slightest hint of compulsion to allow any and all comments, and while we embrace free speech as an American principle we reject its validity as a blog philosophy. Forewarned is forearmed, so with that in mind comment away.


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