07 Jul My Reconstructed Faith
Dear HLPC family
The other day I read an encouraging article with the title, “My Reconstructed Faith” by Phillip Ryan. You can find it HERE. The author talks about the current attention some individuals have received for their stories of “deconstruction” or deconversion. I can think of several. Phillip takes the time to describe his own re-constructed faith and what God used to bring him from near apostacy back to genuine trust in Biblical Christianity.
I think his insights are helpful for us as a church and as parents. What are the things to which we should remain committed? Let me say at the outset, I don’t want to suggest there’s a formula we apply and are guaranteed certain results. For example, sometimes parents who do everything “right” still see their children struggle spiritually. God’s gracious covenant, however, always leaves us with hope. There is a path to follow that is Biblical and God honoring along the journey of seeking a strong faith in ourselves and in our family. What are those things we need? Simply put, we need the ordinary means of grace, the ordinary means God uses to grow and sustain us in faith.
The phrase “ordinary means” comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, question #88:
What are the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.
The primary place for us to experience those means—His Word, sacraments, and prayer—is in the church. We need the body of Christ to sustain us and strengthen us. We need to sit under God’s Word read and preached. We need the fellowship and encouragement of His people. I love a quote that Ryan uses in his article from Puritan author George Swinnock who said, “The cruel pirate Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy.”
As a pastor, I’ve seen it happen over and over- not just in times of doubt but in times of marital crisis or other struggles—people drift from the church. The community God has created to come alongside is abandoned. Then a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs: the church does nothing because people distance themselves from the church and her people. “See, no one cared,” it is said. It’s like a person who refuses to take their medicine and then says, “Those meds don’t work—see, I’m still sick.”
HLPC needs to be a church that is faithful to the ordinary means of grace. It needs to be a body of believers that welcomes and enfolds. We have a responsibility to reach out and pull people in. You also need take advantage of opportunities to plug in like LIFE Groups, School of Discipleship, or other ways to connect with the church.
Don’t set sail without being part of the convoy!