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basic-training-orientation

It’s an honor for me to be able to say that my family has a love of country and of military service. My dad served in the Army, as did his dad. My husband served in the Air Force. Our oldest is currently serving in the Air Force, and his younger brother is currently serving in the Navy. Numerous members of my extended family have served or are serving in every branch of the military.

If you’re close to someone in the military, maybe you’ve heard him tell heart-wrenching or horrifying tales of combat. But often, the more humorous stories are the ones that transpire prior to battle- while greenhorns are being transformed into soldiers, AKA: boot camp.

At boot camp, recruits undergo rigorous physical training, but they also learn the most basic of military customs, procedures, and protocol: how to stand in formation, how and whom to salute, how to march, how to properly wear their uniforms, and so on. Sometimes they goof these things up, and their drill sergeants…well…let’s just say their drill sergeants correct them in such a memorable way that the recruit won’t goof it up next time.

The military doesn’t expect civilians to know military procedure, which is why basic training exists. But they certainly expect seasoned soldiers, sailors, and airmen to know the fundamentals as well as they know how to breathe. We might chuckle at the story of a rookie confusing “attention” with “at ease,” but a lieutenant? A captain? We’d wonder what was wrong with him and why he hadn’t been properly trained.

Now, ladies, you and I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. We may never fly o’er the enemy, but we’re in the Lord’s army! Yes, sir! (A little VBS humor there for all you oldsters like me.) If God has been our C.O. for a while, we should know the basics of Christianity and the Bible.

But, sadly, I’m discovering more and more Christian soldiers who are clueless about some of the some of the most fundamental tenets of our faith. Not because they’re dumb. Not because they’re rebellious. Not because they don’t sincerely love the Lord. But simply because they’ve never had a drill sergeant who properly instructed them in these things.

Maybe that’s you. Maybe you’re a Christian who has spent most of her life in a church that was heavy on comfort and encouragement and light on doctrine. Maybe you’re a baby Christian who’s never darkened the doorstep of a church. Maybe you’ve been in a good church all your life and were out sick the day a particular subject was taught. We’ve all missed something along the way. Nobody has “arrived” yet. We’re all still learning, and we’re all in this together.

That’s why I’m starting a new blog series today that I’m calling Basic Training, and it’s for everybody, whether you’ve been saved for five minutes or fifty years. We’re going to cover several of the practical basics of church, the Bible, and Christian living. Things like…

  • Repeating a prayer doesn’t necessarily make you a Christian.
  • Christians are to join, and faithfully attend and serve, a doctrinally sound local church.
  • While Christians are not under the Old Testament law of the tithe, we are to generously, regularly, and cheerfully give offerings to our local church.
  • Homosexuals have to repent of their sin in order to be saved, just like everybody else.
  • Baptism is important and isn’t optional for a believer (not to become a believer).
  • Ditto the Lord’s Supper.
  • Being “led” by the Holy Spirit and studying and obeying the Scriptures He authored are not two separate and unrelated things.
  • Scripture prohibits women from preaching to, teaching Scripture to, and holding authority over men in the gathered body of believers.
  • Just because Jesus didn’t address a particular topic during His earthly ministry doesn’t mean we can do what we want to about it.
  • The Bible, not our own feelings or opinions, is to govern what we believe and what we do.
  • Cohabitation and sexual activity prior to or outside of wedlock are sins.

I probably won’t address every single one of those topics, and there are others I will address that aren’t included in the list above, but you get the idea: basic things you would expect someone who’s been a Christian for years to know and are surprised to find out she doesn’t.

Here’s where I need your help. As you can see, I’ve got a good list of topics started, but I don’t want to leave out something that’s important to a lot of people just because I didn’t think of it. What are some things you as a new believer, or someone who’s new to sound doctrine, need to know? If you’re older in the faith, what are some basic biblical teachings or issues you’re surprised to find other believers just aren’t aware of or knowledgeable about? Comment below and let me know. Let’s help each other out!

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