I wanted to do a quick post on some general tips for those who have been recently saved. Please note these are not hard, set in stone rules (accept maybe number four), just suggestions that if followed can be helpful, at least in my opinion. If anyone has some more suggestions please post in comment section.
ONE: Turn off the tube
This is probably my biggest, number one advice for the new Christian. I’m not talking about cooking shows. Most if not all of what is broadcasted on “Christian” television is entirely heretical. Any new Christian who makes a habit of watching stuff like “TBN” is going to be led down the wrong doctrinal path very quickly. That is not to say that every single program or teacher from TBN is heretical, but by and large most of what they broadcast are word faith teachers, Trinity deniers (I’m looking at YOU T.D Jakes), or people literally selling healing. Also, Christian broadcasting has added to the “American evangelical” picture of overly-emotional Christians who use the “evolution is simply theory” argument. In other words, they represent Christians pretty badly.
TWO: Learn some basic denominations and their teachings
This will help greatly when selecting a church. What do methodists teach and how are they different from baptists? What’s pentecostal? What’s the difference between Reformed and non reformed?
I am NOT suggesting getting into denominationalism. I myself am non-denominational, but will obviously still have fellowship with those in denominations within Biblical orthodoxy. Just knowing what these denominations teach will be of help though. I would recommend staying away from pentecostalism however, as they have some sects that teach some serious heresy (modalism for example, or baptismal regeneration, or tongues as a token of salvation) Again, use your better judgment.
THREE: Save the opposition for later.
Christianity is a 2,000 plus year old religion. That means for the past 2,000 years enemies of the faith have been thinking up challenges and attempted refutations to our faith.
For right now, don’t worry about these guys just yet. I say this because getting into apologetics (which I believe all Christians should do) can be challenging business for those new in the faith. Hearing arguments against Christianity while not even having a firm grasp in the basics of the doctrine will not be good for your spiritual life. There ARE exceptions to this those. Lee Strobel was an atheist who bought into such arguments until becoming a Christian. A person like him should indeed get into the doctrinal basics first, but him hearing arguments against the faith as a new Christian probably did not have much affect. However, for the average new Christian, focus on your new faith and learn everything about Scripture and from Scripture. Only when a firm grasp on the doctrines are in place, and there is a certain level of maturity, then feel free to start up in apologetic pursuits.
FOUR Remember the foundation
This next point goes back to my first post, the post was aimed at unbelievers, but Christians can benefit from this too. If you’re a new Christian, you’re going to be around other Christians obviously. Here’s something to keep in mind:
Christians are people, and people make mistakes. There are many people who become offended because such and such brother did this or said that. They then begin to question Christianity as a whole. While I don’t believe those genuinely saved will lose their salvation, or that we shouldn’t be careful around new believers, and believers in general, as a Christian you are not always going to have a pleasant experience in church buildings.
My point is, however, is that the behavior of Christians living in the 21st century has absolutely no bearing on that fact that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead in the 1st century. Read and grasp 1st Corinthians 15, where Paul lays out the gospel, and lays out the resurrection for being the sole basis of and for our faith. We are Christians because Jesus rose from the dead, not because we all have perfect manners and built a religion that rises or falls on the behavior of the members.
FIVE: OBVIOUS PURCHASES
Buy a Bible of course. I recommend the Authorized Version without a doubt. Also, please stay away from liberal paraphrases like the Message or the Voice translations. Those will not build you up doctrinally because they aren’t intended to. Don’t worry about not understanding the Scriptures. The Holy Ghost gives us understanding so I was never really worried about that. Just pray whenever you’re on something you cannot seem to understand. Also there are resources available for answering those questions, again, use discernment
Six: OBVIOUS NON PURCHASES
I would definitely stay away from the majority of Christian books for now. There are many, many Christian authors who will lead the new believers astray. Have a firm grasp first.
SEVEN: Pastors are people
Obviously one should not think their new pastor is the final authority and is right 100 percent of the time. Unless Paul or Peter is your pastor (I’d very much like to go to your church) just remember Scripture is the final authority. However, one should respect their pastor as a teacher and accept guidance in line with Scripture.
That sums up my personal recommendations.