Square One and Beyond

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
sunset10.jpgSince the summer of 2004, the Square One Column has existed to teach those who are unfamiliar with Christianity and to lay down the fundamentals of the faith. Readers have been very kind and generous in their support of these articles.
The column has been a great blessing to me and the kind words have fueled a pursuit of excellence that will continue as the Square One column ends with the waning days of 2008. Nature abhors a vacuum so Forthright will see a new column arise that aspires to new goals and horizons.
I will be beginning a column in the New Year entitled, “Living the Faith,” that will address important topics of the day and active Christian living. Square One taught us how to become a Christian and understand its basics. Living the Faith will help us on the paths that follow as we mature in the faith.
Some lessons come from the Square One column as we reflect on its history.
First, Bible fundamentals are indispensable to the faith. Far too many Christians and congregational leaderships feel that they are too enlightened to study the basics. As a result, churches suffer and fall away because their foundations are crumbling.
This disdain for the basics has led Christians away from studying the Old Testament, for example. Most all of the doctrines of the New Testament have their roots in the Old Testament. Where do we find the Old Testament scholars in the Church today who teach truth? Will there be any tomorrow?
False teachers lead deluded Christians away because these children of God do not know enough to protect themselves against attack (1 Peter 5:8). Their young people, especially, often do not know these truths, so they find themselves threatened by apostasy. The prophet warned, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6, NKJV).
Second, critical thinking is still prospering. Square One has sought to take the complex and make it understandable. Accordingly, I have tried to do so in a way that penetrates our defenses and forces us to examine things in a new way.
I have tried to push people to think and we see less of that today. Marketing companies appeal to the lowest common denominator and frame everything in terms of base desires. As a result, consumers do not realize that they are being insulted.
Moreover, sometimes people write articles with just a recitation of facts without forcing the reader to make application. We must do the hard work to produce better, more penetrating, material.
Writing is an art that is supposed to call people to a higher plane. We engage our minds and analytically attack a problem and seek a solution. Today, however, too many people read emotionally and ask to be spoon-fed.
Third, the teaching of truth guarantees attacks. Jesus said that truth would always have enemies (John 15:18-23; 2 Timothy 3:12). We must stand against these attacks and remain true to God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2). The world desperately needs truth and Forthright strives to carry out this mission.
Finally, we can take the fundamentals expressed in the Square One column and take them on the journey to come as we occupy ourselves in “Living the Faith.” Take the journey with us each Tuesday. I will see you there.

2 Replies to “Square One and Beyond”

  1. Richard,
    God has blessed you with such eloquence and wisdom! As the door closes on Square One another one opens in Living the Faith.

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