Monthly Archives: September 2013

Truth by Gary Newton

While most people learn through their experience, the basis of truth is not our experience. Truth is truth whether or not anyone experiences it. It does not mystically become truth through our experience. While it is important for us to experience truth in order to know it personally, the validity of truth does not depend on our experience.

In John 14: 6, in response to a question from one of His followers about heaven, Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is making an objective statement about the nature of truth: He is the truth. The validity of this statement does not depend on whether people actually experience Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life whether anyone follows Him or not. Yet if people are to know truth, they must know and experience Jesus personally. People do not get to heaven by simply acknowledging the fact that Jesus is the way to get there. That would be as absurd as saying an alcoholic could be delivered from his addiction by simply acknowledging that he or she has a problem.

In order to understand this fallacy, we must separate “the nature of truth” from “how we know truth.” The “nature of truth” is objective and propositional. Yet “how we know truth” is both objective and subjective. While the nature of God is objective and propositional, knowing God has both objective and subjective experiential elements.

Jesus explains this principle in His response to the many Jews who had begun to follow Him. He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31– 32 NIV). In order to be true disciples of Jesus, we must know the truth personally, a task that demands a personal, experiential response of holding to Jesus’ teaching. The result of this deep, heart-motivated response of obedience to Jesus is true freedom. While the basis of truth is objective, knowing truth demands a response that is both objective (He tells us clearly what to do) and subjective (we must do it experientially). Yet the fact that we must experience truth in order to know it does not mean our experience is the basis of truth.

In order to understand the dynamics of heart-deep teaching, we must affirm the value of both objective, propositional truth and the experiential way we come to know truth. Heart-deep teaching depends on both.

This was written by Gary Newton in his book called, Heart-Deep Teaching: Engaging Students for Transformed Lives. This book is published by  B&H Publishing Group.


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The Power of the Gospel of Grace by Donovan Graham

I thought that this was a great section of a book I am reading for class. When we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are adopted as a son or daughter. There is so much more than the Gospel getting you out of going to Hell.

We are no longer orphans, fugitives, or hired servants. One of the first, and most fundamental, questions of life is “Who am I?” If I am an orphan, that means I have no one to protect me, to be an advocate for me, to provide for me, to treasure me or delight in me, to bless me or walk with me on the journey. No one knows who I am or cares. I am nameless, rootless, of no value—a castaway.

If I am a fugitive, I am guilty and on the run, trying to not get caught. No place is safe for me; I cannot rest anywhere. I cannot be a part of or contribute to anything stable or long-term since I might be found out. I have to hide my identity lest I be turned in. If I am caught, it is all over.

If I am a hired servant, there are conditions that I must fulfill in order to be cared for. I must do what is required, or I will not be fed. I must not make mistakes, or my “contract” may be in jeopardy and I may get tossed out. If I perform beyond expectations, I may get a bonus, and if I do not perform as well as expected, I may take a cut in pay and benefits. All that I receive, I must earn.

The Bible tells us that by faith we are beloved children of God—not any old children but the children of a King who rules over all. What is life like for the child of a king? Everyone knows that the son or daughter of a king is very special. The whole kingdom rejoices over the birth of a prince or a princess. This child has access to everything in the king’s castle. This child is the delight of the king, and he or she will inherit not only all the king’s material goods but also his authority to rule. There is no doubt about his or her identity, and home is the safest place on earth. And the prince or princess does not have to earn his or her keep. By birthright, everything belongs to the child of a king.

The way we live reveals our deepest answer to the question of identity—as orphans, fugitives, hired servants, sons, or daughters. It reveals the way we have answered the great “identity” question. What do our lives say? If we live as orphans, fugitives, and hired servants, we do not know much about the restorative grace of Jesus. If we live as sons or daughters, the delight of the King’s life, we have opened our hands and hearts to receive the grace that Jesus so doggedly continues to offer us.

Grace sets us free to live out the image of God placed within us. God makes it very clear that we are created in His image. That means when others look at us they are supposed to see a reflection of God—His character, His love, His very being. It is not the case that some of us have this image and others do not. What matters is the extent to which, and the direction in which, we live it out. That is determined by the degree to which we experience the freedom given to us through the grace of Jesus.

At the time of the fall, Adam and Eve did not lose the image of God; what they lost was the freedom and ability to live it out the way God intended. When the Bible says Jesus came to restore that which was lost, it does not mean to merely save lost people. It means to renew and to empower people to live out what God created them to be.

Apart from faith in Christ, we are limited to what we can muster out of our own gifts and determination. We are truly bound to the old self, the flesh. That is all we have from which to produce our efforts. Receiving the grace of Jesus in faith means we are no longer bound to those limits. We are now free to be what God created us to be and are empowered to do so through the living presence of the Holy Spirit.

We can again explore in awe and wonder the rest of creation. We can also rule over it (exercise dominion) with care and sensitivity and gratitude. We can love one another in trust and without fear. We can succeed or fail and all the while know that God has only good in mind for us. We can risk, we can invest, we can sacrifice, and we can live in reckless abandon and utter confidence, for we know that God is our all in all.

This is from the book, Teaching Redemptively: Bringing Grace and Truth into Your Classroom by Donovan Graham. The book was published by Purposeful Design Publications

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BREAKING NEWS: David Corning, former 20-year Chairman of the HBC Elder Board speaks publicly for the first time.

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