Learning the Historic Christian Faith

Resources to Help You Go Deeper

Biblical instruction. Theological training. Spiritual formation. Moral renovation.

The church has a responsibility to teach, train, equip, explain, guide, motivate, illustrate, illumine, and generally communicate the entire Word of God and the things of God to the people of God. We also have a responsibility to do this missionally. The Word of God is not just for God’s current people, it is to be presented in evangelistic, apologetic, and missional ways to those who are not yet God’s people.

  • Sunday morning preaching is a BIG part of how we do this at Living Word. We have 30 minutes to preach the Word of God in ways that explain it, motivate you to believe it, and equip you to live transformationally according to it. That is not much time.
  • So, we provide sermon-based devotional resources for you to take the sermon much deeper internally.
  • And we encourage you to be a part of one of our mid-size communities and/or join a small group. In both mid-size communities and small groups you learn more of God’s word.
  • We encourage you to read more widely in the Bible. The sermon resources guide that reading, but it is always good to read even more of the Bible.

Historically, many churches have created catechisms (a summary of Christian teachings) to help its people learn the core of the faith. The process of teaching the basics is “to catechize.” Churches do this for children, teens, and adults. In most independent churches (like Living Word), we tend to neglect the traditional texts used for catechism.

In the season ahead, we will creatively visit these tried-and-true texts of the historic Christian faith.

But, I always recommend books to those who value reading and who want to go deeper into a subject than a 30-minute message can take you. There is a new series of GEMS. These books are short and substantial.

The Ten Commandments: A Guide to the Perfect Law of Liberty
by Peter Leithart

This resource covers the Ten Commandments, which have historically been used to frame Christian ethical teaching. By the way, of the three books, I think this one is the least helpful for our church, and I HIGHLY recommend another book on the Ten Commandments. It is A Doubter’s Gide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson (see the end of this post). The Ten Commandments are the core that explains what it means to love God and love others.

With that said, Jesus took these ten commandments (torah—instruction) and transformed them. He took them deeper, he intensified them, he clarified them, he broadened them, and he fulfilled them. Living according to this torah is the pathway to flourishing in God’s kingdom.

The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father
by Wesley Hill

This book explores the most famous prayer of all. I want to emphasize up front that half of this book is on the ways of prayer and half of it is on the content of prayer. A mistake that has been made has been to focus on one or the other. Ways without content becomes shallow. Content without ways becomes abstract. This is a good combination.

Of course, if you want to do the deepest dive into prayer at Living Word, check out our core class on prayer, “Prayer: Opening Our Hearts to God.” Pastor Gordon teaches this at least twice a year.

We so value this prayer that we used it as the text for our prayer wall and prayer room off the lobby at Living Word. We encourage you to visit the wall, contemplate the beauty of its artistry, quietly pray (this contemporary version of the prayer), and submit your own prayer request.

The Apostle’s Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism
by Ben Myers

Many churches recite the Apostle’s Creed, at least from time to time. The early church faced a problem. There were quite a few bad interpretations of Jesus’ teachings circulating. The Apostle Paul had already begun to challenge and correct false teaching, but that false or bad teaching continued. So, the church would gather councils of theologians and pastors to discuss the Bible, to sort through the interpretations, and to affirm truth and point out error. The Apostle’s Creed is one of the early formations of orthodox belief.

The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostle’s Creed are foundational texts that explain the content of historical Christian faith. At Living Word, we want you to be fully immersed in, adhering to, and transformed by sound teaching (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5).

One of the ways we can help some of you is by recommending the best books on the things that matter. So, check any of these out. I bought my copies at Hearts and Minds. When you read, read with a pen in hand. Underline, highlight, make notes, and engage with the dynamic teaching of historic Christian faith.

And stay tuned for more teaching EVERYWHERE at Living Word.

Oh yes, and the book by John Dickson on the Ten Commandments is VERY good. He writes as an apologist and ethicist for the Christian faith. It is so good that I will have several blogs based on it coming soon.

Pastor Brian

Brian Rice