Questions From a New Believer
February 6, 2018 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

A new believer in Christ, who is an online listener, wrote in with a list of important questions about Come and Reason and our beliefs, which I think everyone can benefit from.

Question. You said that trust in God comes from observing nature, from understanding Scripture, and from experience. What do you mean by experience? And how can we incorporate these truths into our lives?

Answer. This is such a great question because many people misunderstand how experience can inform and grow our faith. The experience that results in maturing, healing, and character growth is the intelligent testing of ideas against how reality actually works. This requires that we have some understanding of design law—the protocols upon which God constructed reality to operate—and then choose to take actions that test the truthfulness of that law, experiencing the outcome, and noting the impact in our lives and the lives of others. Experience goes beyond theoretical knowledge to applicable knowledge—to the actual doing in one’s life.

For instance, you can study the mechanics of swimming in a classroom, perhaps even write books on the best techniques, but until you get in the water, you still don’t know how to swim; you have no actual experience with swimming. 

Real experience is putting into practice the truths that one understands, then examining the results and adjusting one’s beliefs and practices based on the outcomes. This includes when we put our trust in God, examine our experience with Him, and reassess based on evidence. For example, when someone does us an objective wrong, we are often tempted by an angry desire for retaliation, but design law realizes that harboring anger and seeking to harm another person is out of harmony with health and life. Thus, we choose to forgive—which doesn’t mean what happened was okay, and it often doesn’t change the one who did wrong. Forgiving someone will relieve the offended from the anger, bitterness, and resentment and allow them to heal and experience peace. 


Q. How can I know I’m on the right track and not just satisfying my intellect with these teachings? How can I apply them?

A. I recommend Come and Reason’s Integrative, Evidenced-based approach, which harmonizes Scripture, science, and experience. You can know you are on the right path of implementing truths when all three threads agree. One cannot avoid injury when in violation of God’s design laws for life. Conversely, one cannot avoid improvement when one chooses to live in harmony with God’s design laws for life. 


Q. Since I’ve been studying Christianity with my church, I’ve been wondering if there’s anything else to being a Christian besides going to work, going to church, and being a decent and kind person. 

A. Genuine Christianity is being like Christ in character. Meaning, one has a heart motivated by love and practices the principles of truthfulness, presented in love, and leaving others free. This is a fundamental change in our typical inmost motives, moving away from a fear and self-survival approach to a love and trust approach to life. As such, one develops a mind that seeks to grow in truth, wisdom, and the knowledge of God’s designs with every passing day and live in harmony with God’s designs, because it makes so much sense to do so—no matter where one is in life. Such an approach goes far beyond attending worship services; it is transformational within the person. 


Q. Do you have testimonies of the Remedy really working? 

A. Yes! Tens of thousands have communicated to Come and Reason that when they changed their views about God from a dictator, who imposes law and is the source of inflicted punishment for sin to the Creator God, whose laws are the design protocols for life, their entire experience of life changed. Their fear of getting in trouble went away, their trust in God increased, and their love, admiration, and appreciation for God improved. Because of the law of worship (by beholding we are changed) they experienced change in how they treat others, saw improvement in their relationships, and experienced less conflict at home and work, less anger and frustration, and greater happiness and health.


Q. How much of it do we need, since perfection isn’t possible? Or is it?

A. What law lens do you understand “perfection” through? Imposed rules or design law? The traditional understanding is imposed rules, which makes perfection all about behavior—how well one performs and, thus, this leads many to discouragement and fear. 

However, design law is all about the attitude of the heart—the desire, the intent, the growing up into a mature trust relationship with God, such that we trust Him with our lives. Can a person come to trust God with his or her life, even to the point of death? History is filled with many examples of this. This is Bible perfection: a mature love for God and others, such that our intentions are to do good. But when we replace God’s design law with the false human-imposed law, people focus on performance and live in fear of punishment from God rather than in the freedom of love. 


Q. Do we continue to attend our local church, whose beliefs we don’t completely agree with anymore? They’ve been encouraging and pressuring us to get baptized and become members.

A. There is no black-and-white answer to this question. It must be answered individually, based on the evidence of what is transpiring in the congregation, your understanding of reality, and God’s leading in your life. I would encourage you to make this question a matter of prayer and ask God to lead you to where He wants you to be at this time in your life. 

We are not saved by institutional affiliation, nor ritual, nor proclamations of faith. We are saved by a personal trust-relationship with Jesus Christ: “This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). If your congregation is helping you grow in a trust-relationship with Jesus, knowing more fully His character, methods, and principles, then stay. But if your group is obstructing your growth in godliness, instilling confusing ideas, ideas that incite fear and undermine your trust in God, then perhaps it is time to seek a new group with which to fellowship.

 

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain. In 2022, Dr. Jennings became Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lynchburg, Virginia.