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Rev. Dr. Cecil Clements,
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Home arrow Articles arrow Beyond Specifics
Beyond Specifics

Calcium, Iron, Riboflavin Panthothenic acid extracts from professional chemistry? A pharmacist’s concoction? Or something as innocuous as infant formula! The list just mentioned is an extract from the contents label of Lactogen1, which reminded me of a similar infant formula found in Hebrews chapter six.

In chapter five verses twelve to fourteen the writer admonishes the Hebrew Christians for not having moved beyond baby food or liquids finding solid food still unpalatable. I have always been sobered by the list of doctrine that the writer equated with newborn grub.

The list includes the doctrines of salvation (soteriology), baptism, the laying of hands; resurrection (individual eschatology) and eternal judgement (general eschatology). Sound like a doctorate in theology? If you have ever laid hands on a copy of Berkhof’s Basic Theology the above subjects account for about 110 pages of closely typed print! Was the writer being unrealistic or even unreasonable, if indeed the Book of Hebrews was penned by Paul, one might assume that given his towering intellect, such topics would be child play for him but for the rest of us, well less said the better. In fact in two thousand years the leaders of the church cannot yet agree on even baptism or the laying of hands, how much more the ‘average Christian’ sitting in the pew.

After reading the Lactogen tin, I believe I have missed the point altogether. Just as the baby gulps the formula without caring a wit about the ingredients or even being aware of the ingredients for many years hence, perhaps so also the new born Christian receives instruction being more concerned about the whole rather than the parts. Some infants will no doubt grow up to be chemists and understand the chemical and biological make up of milk, as some Christians will grow into theologians and teachers.

For the most part neither will all infants become chemists or new believers become theologians, but if the infant formula is sound and balanced they will grow into healthy adults capable of ingesting and actually desiring solid food. The same is absolutely true for a child of God. Spiritual Lactogen needs to be balanced and complete yet presented in an easily palatable form. For those of us who still after years do not quite understand all that is involved (and believe me that includes just about everyone) and feel we missed out somewhere, let us take heart from the Hebrews by moving on in our diet just as we have in our physical lives even though we still don’t understand all the ingredients involved in our earlier diet.

May the Lord help us as we interact with others both as a church and as individuals to provide healthy and balanced spiritual nutrition yet wisdom to know when to switch to solid food. Bon apetit!

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Nathan Andrews 

 
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