As pastors, leaders and teachers, one of our main day-to-day activities within the church involves responding to questions from new and recent believers. After all, it’s quite natural for someone who recently converted to Christianity to have questions about their newfound faith. Often the questions relate to how one should live out his or her faith in light of how the Christian worldview informs and directs our actions and decisions within society. In New Testament times, church leaders wrote letters and books to help answer questions believers had about their faith.
In his introduction to the third gospel and the book of Acts, Luke specifically mentions Theophilus as one of the main readers of these two works. Whatever might have been the relationship between Luke and Theophilus, we can conclude one thing for sure: Luke intends to instruct Theophilus in his faith. Luke’s purpose is for Theophilus to “know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed” (Luke 1:4). Whether Theophilus was the patron who sponsored the writing of Luke’s gospel or a high ranking official who could be favorably influential in Paul’s trials, he was a believer who needed a deeper comprehension of the Christian faith. Theophilus was a Christian who lived and worked in secular society just like most Christians do today.
Since Christians need to live out their faith in the world, and not hidden within the walls of a church building, questions as to how we are to live and respond to issues with regard to politics, religion and culture need to be addressed. This requires pastors and church leaders to develop biblical and theological principles to train believers in the faith. Instead of skirting questions and shying away from hot button issues, church leaders are expected to give advice regarding matters pertinent to a faith lived in this world.
Are all religions suitable paths to God? How must a Christian vote? Why are there so many denominations and why do they disagree doctrinally? Do Black lives matter? Is there such a thing as a just war? Can a Christian work in law enforcement? Can a woman pastor a church? Is suicide an unpardonable sin? Why is there so much suffering in the world? These are only some of the questions Christian leaders today need to address.
For this reason, Living Faith is launching a summer series under the heading Dear Theophilus. Our aim is for contributors to respond to important questions a new (or not-so-new) believer might have concerning the faith. Our hope is to provide thoughtful responses to significant questions believers and nonbelievers may ask about the Christian faith in order to instruct a modern Theophilus (lover of God) who desires to live a public faith. We invite you to read and share these articles with fellow believers who are longing to deepen their faith.
Check back in two weeks for the first entry in our Dear Theophilus series. For more information about the GCU College of Theology, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information button.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.