Church architecture tells us a lot about theology when you look more closely.
Walk into most any Catholic church and what do you find center-stage? The altar, the table where the Eucharist is served in virtually every Mass.
Now walk into most any Protestant church and what do you find instead in the center? Usually, it’s a pulpit or lectern (or these days, there’s a good chance you’ll find a bistro table).
That difference in sanctuary layout tells a huge theological story – that for Protestants the teaching of the Bible is one of the most pivotal activities in their worship service.
It begs a huge question: Why do we need to be taught? And why does a healthy church insist on teaching the Bible?
Here’s one answer the Bible gives. Because we all enter the kingdom of God as spiritual babies. Paul reminds Timothy how “from childhood” he had been acquainted with Scripture, thanks to a godly mother and grandmother (2 Tim.3:15). The word translated here “childhood” literally means “infancy”. (Parents, you should see a flashing light around this verse – teach your kids early and often! Wash, rinse, repeat.)
Scripture insists that anyone who enters God’s kingdom is, spiritually speaking, a baby. 1 Peter 2:2 say, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up onto salvation.”
There was a group of American tourists vacationing in England, who were walking through a little village one day. They passed an old man sitting in a park, and one of the tourists, being a wise guy, called out in a fake English accident, “Old chap, were any great men born in this village?” The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.” We all start off as babies.
Sometimes we look at the Bible and we see Moses parting the Red Sea, David slaying Goliath, Elijah taking on the prophets of Baal, Mary and the great courage she showed in being the mother of Jesus, and rather than be inspired by them, we’re intimidated. They’re so far above us, we think. But that’s not true.
Each one of them started off as babies. And they weren’t like Jack-Jack, the baby in the Incredibles who was born with the power to shape-shift and shoot lasers from his eyes and fire from his fingers.
And you my brother, my sister, have that same opportunity in front of you. The opportunity of growing in faith. Of growing in love. Of growing in purity. Of growing in fruitfulness. Of growing in peace and joy and contentment. What will release this growth in your life?
One thing – will you or will you not commit to learning, then living out, all the Lord’s teaching? Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. That’s it. It’s no mystery.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. He’s just released his latest book, “Living Under The Cross: A 40-Day Devotional Journey”. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is also the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.