Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Theological Fitness, Part One

This blog has been on a sabbatical, due to my downsizing and moving to Alabama, but I knew when Aimee Byrd's second book, THEOLOGICAL FITNESS: Why We Need a Fighting Faith, came out that I would be blogging about it as I did her Housewife Theologian earlier. See HERE for the beginning of this 2013 series. Aimee in both books asks reflective questions at the end of each chapter. Buy your book from Amazon or wherever and reflect with me on her questions.

Chapter One is called "The Toughest Event on the Planet". Aimee compares physical prowess of her brother and daughter to the spiritual stamina we need to persevere. We need the body of Christ to persevere, and we need to be encouragers with other Christians.

Aimee's questions are in red and my answers are in black.

1. My previous church was actually named Pilgrim Presbyterian, which is a great reminder of my pilgrim status. What exactly is a pilgrim? How does this status make us different from the rest of the world?
Pilgrims usually banded together. Many Reformed churches consider that they are part of this old Pilgrim faith that came to America. I once asked my Florida pastor, Dr. Kenneth Talbot, what church represents the current Pilgrims and he said the Reformed faith are essentially in the line of the Jonathan Edwards type churches of the 18th century. Seeing that we love one another is part of this tradition and also is biblical according to John 13:35.

2. In Philippians 1:27 Paul tells us to stand firm in one spirit, with one mind. How does this exhortation play out when we are in disagreement over doctrine or practice? How important is theology to our Christian union?                                         
Truth needs to come before unity. In choosing a church in my new location, I considered how the pastor treats the Word of God. The first Sunday I heard Dr. Randall Jenkins preach, he made a definite biblical statement about biblical marriage and I was impressed. I also liked how he and the church had left the PCUSA and joined the Evangelical Presbyterian over unity with that old denomination. Truth prevailed, even though it cost them to get out of the PCUSA.

3. The imagery of an advancing line of legionnaires against the enemy is both bold and intimate. Do you have relationships in your church that foster the vulnerability, trust, and soldiering that this illustration represents? When you are with your Christian brothers and sisters, do you have this kind of selfless solidarity, or are you more concerned with how you've been offended by something or someone who's not measuring up?
 I have significant fellowship on the Internet and with email friends. I have selfless solidarity by texting with a couple in my Florida church. I am developing ties in the church I am attending in the new city I moved to in June. About being offended, I had a secular person call me a hypocrite recently and I just choose to not be offended; he thinks that Christians have to be perfect and giving by his standards and we never will be perfect until heaven.

4. Have you made a fighting effort to get to know Christ's bride?                                                                              
Yes I have. For example, recently I volunteered to teach Vacation Bible School Science lessons in the church I am attending. I also was so comfortable with this church that I decided to not roam the countryside Sunday mornings looking for the perfect church, and also wasting valuable worship experiences. 

5.  How does the worship service affect your ideas about what is ordinary and what is extraordinary? Is ordinary bad? Why do you think God has ordained such ordinary means to convey such extraordinary grace? 
I do not attend church for entertainment. I attend for instruction and worship. God wants us to worship him in Spirit and in truth. See John 4:24.     

6. Do you find that your involvement in technology has made it harder for you to pay attention? What are you sacrificing for the constant interruptions from media devices throughout the week? How does this compare to your willingness to be interrupted by the gospel?
Several months ago I visited a church where in the row in front of me two people were on electronic devices, and I mean they were not taking sermon notes as I have done on my notebook computer, and also they were not using these devices to look up Scripture. They were using a smart phone to text. If during the week we are always on an iPad or iPhone, we are missing real opportunities to communicate with people and to have them minister to us.

7. Is regular church attendance important to you? How about membership?
Attendance is essential unless I am sick.  My membership is in my Florida church as I am working on a counseling dissertation at the seminary connected with that church. Aimee emphasizes Hebrews 10:23-25 on corporate worship and I totally agree.

8. When was the last time you were encouraged to persevere? What difference did it make?
Scripture continuously encourages me to persevere. I held on to Romans 12:12 this last half year. The daunting task before me had been to downsize and get ready to move. After moving the perseverance has not stopped, as I have had the tasks associated with getting settled.  If I didn’t do certain things, I feel I would be sinning as the direction for my move seemed to be what God had intended. (See James 4:17.)

Aimee highlights our need to be there for others, watching our own motivation as we encourage them.  On page 36 she writes, “We are exhorted to lift up our own drooping hands as well as to pick one another up.”  And there are more gems to follow in the rest of the book, so comment here and get your book so we can lift up each other's drooping hands.



  1. Sounds like an interesting book and reflective questions to answer. I do think it is important to go to church weekly and have pretty much done so pretty consistently. I am less likely these days to want to join a church. I've joined lots of churches we've attended, but right now am content to be on the fringes and not become a member (which basically means at present church I couldn't vote for things up for vote), but can serve and be involved with a small group fellowship etc. Once we settled on the church we are presently attending, we started tithing there; otherwise kept tithing to the church we went to in the San Diego area for consistency. I believe it is important for corporate worship; I'm just not sold on church membership currently.


    1. I do enjoy Internet fellowship and prayer with you, Betty. It does take some time to get established in a new church. You have so much to offer. Hate to see you on the fringes because you are a jewel.

  2. Well Carol, now you have my interest and I will have to join your study afterall. :) Book Study Coming.

    1. Great, Mary! So look forward to your input. Will wait several weeks for you to get the book and begin reading it before I put up Part Two.

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