I remember when my son, Jack, was about ten years old, I decided to sign both of us up for Piano lessons. I felt that having some musical talent would broaden his horizons. I also felt it would give me an excuse to learn how to play a musical instrument.
I thought that I could sit right down and begin playing the piano like Beethoven, but I was in for a rude awakening. I was awful. My instructor would laugh at me as my left hand fingers tried, in vain, to play the notes independently of my right hand fingers. My brain just didn’t think that way. It was like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time…futile.
I had no musical background, so I needed to learn the basic staff before I could even think of moving on to the next beginner level. My instructor told me to think of two phrases that would help me remember what keys to put my fingers on:
Every Good Boy Does Fine (for my left hand) and FACE (for my right hand). This would tell me to place my fingers on the keys E, G, B, D, and F for some and F, A, C, E for others.
Only when I mastered the basics, could I build a foundation that would allow me to move on to the next level. This holds true for any profession. You can’t be an athlete not knowing the rules. You can’t be a builder without lumber and tools. You can’t be an artist, not knowing perspective and shade. How can one be successful, if no foundation is laid? You can’t be a musician, not knowing the staff. What good is a comic who can’t make us laugh? For success to be gained and your voice to be heard, get back to the basics, anything less is absurd!
Getting back to the basics is also important in Christian education.
In today’s society, Biblical principles and Christian education is being forced out of our schools and institutions. Where do individuals, families, and church members go to get the basics of the Christian faith? Many prominent Christian leaders are in agreement that there is a definite need within our churches to get back to the basics of our faith:
“In view of the current hunger for ecumenical compromise, nothing is more desperately needed in the church right now than a new movement to re-emphasize the fundamental articles of the faith.” John MacArthur, Grace to You
“Religious knowledge in general, including knowledge of one’s own religion is abysmal. This includes ignorance of some very basic teachings…the church simply isn’t teaching its members basic knowledge about the Bible and Christian doctrine.” Gary Bates, Pew Research
“Our churches do not educate people in the basics of their faith.” Dr. Daniel Wallace
Every year professional athletes attend training camp to get back to the basics of their particular sport. Regardless of their previous successes, they review the fundamentals (hitting, fielding, base-running, blocking, tackling, special teams, etc.) of their profession to insure that they have as solid foundation in which to excel Most games are won or lost because of a lapse in a basic skill. These are professional athletes making millions of dollars, yet they go back to the basics each and every year and before every game. They hone their skills to insure that they are foundationally sound so that the game to them becomes second nature.
This is what God is asking each of us to do as well. He wants us to get back to the basics of the Christian faith to be sure that we are biblically sound. Most parents and church leaders are failing in this arena! We have a generation of “believers” who are Biblically illiterate.
We need to have our church leaders TEACH and PREACH in order to REACH!
Jesus set the standard as He began His earthly ministry. It says in Matthew 4:23:
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.”
The Apostles followed the Lords example as it says in Acts 5:42:
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
Teaching, alone, and preaching, alone, is not enough. They must be done in parallel. We also have a generation of “believers” who are not SURE of their salvation.
America is a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, yet alarming statistics (as represented by a recent ABC poll) reveal that 89% of Americans (267 Million) claim to believe in God, yet 66% of those (200 Million) doubt that they will ever get to heaven! This sheds light on the increasing need for Christians to understand the basic principles that are foundational to the Christian faith.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12)
We need to get back to the basics and teach sound doctrine. We need to preach the Gospel in a way that will make it easy for believers to both remember and articulate the sure path down the Romans Road. When we do this, we build a strong foundation in which to build our faith and we reach the lost souls of the sheep who are without a Shepherd.