Generic instructions
Basics for all campaign team members all the time

Generic instructions are the basics that apply to you and everyone else on God's campaign team. They cover campaign goals, methods, and the story of the campaign up till now. We find them in the Bible, a sort of campaign manual we are to live by. Ways to stay engaged with Scripture weekly or daily

The basics are non-negotiable. For example, without exception, campaign team members are required to do things the way Jesus wants them done. We don't need any special personal instruction about these things, like living humbly instead of arrogantly, helpfully instead of aggressively, promoting healing not inflicting wounds.

Being in SYNC with Jesus and the Bible is not just keeping rules though. It is also a matter of being in SYNC with the flow of the whole story of the Bible. If we see ourselves in the big picture, many things will be obvious to us. More: Seven versions of the biblical story and our role in it

Unfortunately we will still guess wrong sometimes if we try to figure out our campaign role on our own. We need some extra help in order to discover the personalized assignments God has for us, and God gives that by putting the Spirit of Jesus inside us. The Spirit is in charge of logistics and communications, making sure we each know what the Campaign Director wants us to do and that we have what we need to do it.

Being in SYNC with Christ means moving with both the generic instructions in the Bible and the personalized instructions from the Spirit. We stay on high alert for both kinds of instructions because they save us from ourselves. They guide us to do things his way whether that matches our way or not.

FAQs


Aren't God's generic instructions obvious? Why do we need to keep reading the Bible all the time?

Don't non-negotiables mean bigotry? Isn't it better to be open-minded? 

If we emphasize following God's instructions and giving him total control of our lives, doesn't that kill human freedom?

If we treat things in the Bible as non-negotiable, won't we be hopelessly behind the times? What about all the changes between then and now? 


How do we know which things in the Bible rise to the level of non-negotiables? Is everything non-negotiable?
 
 
 

FAQs on generic non-negotiable instructions

1. Aren't the generic instructions obvious? Why do we need to keep reading the Bible all the time?

 

True, many of these basics are so obvious, but the Bible is not a typical campaign manual, focused on obvious and timeless rules and principles. The majority of it is the story of the campaign so far, and that story is full of twists and turns. 

 

God wants us to see ourselves in the flow of that fascinating story, the one story that runs through the whole Bible. That is why SYNC puts so much emphasis on looking at the big picture of the biblical story and the way we fit into it.

 

For example, we come to see ourselves as fulfillments of God's ancient promise to bless the world through the descendants of Abraham. Then it is obvious--we care about people who are poor, people under stress, people who have no clue who Abraham was or why it matters. If we do not care or even lift a finger to help, we are out of SYNC with God's campaign goals. We are not playing on the campaign team. 

 

We keep going back to the Scripture all the time, pondering it, and discussing it with friends in order to keep getting a better grasp of God's campaign story and how he wants us to fit into it. Ways to stay engaged with Scripture weekly or daily

2. Don't non-negotiables mean bigotry? Isn't it better to be open-minded? 

 
One of the great myths of our century is that tolerant people have no absolute rules. They absolutely do. For example, "Thou shalt not tolerate racism," or, "Thou shalt not allow a wealthy, powerful man to extort sexual favors from female staff members."
 
Self-styled "tolerant" people consider those commands to be non-negotiable, absolute, universal. No excuses of personal background. No cultures where these might be OK. Always and everywhere, those things are wrong and unacceptable. Passing judgment on them and harshly enforcing your judgment makes you an exemplary person, not a judgmental one. Thus say the tolerant people.
3. If we emphasize following God's instructions and giving him total control of our lives, doesn't that kill human freedom?
 
We lived in Colorado for a while, and I learned one thing about skiing. When beginning skiers get out of control going down a slope, they never shout, "I'm free! I'm free!" On the ski slopes, control and freedom are partners not enemies. Because the veteran skiers know how to control their skis, they are free to enjoy the challenge and the spectacular scenery of the double black diamond ski runs (the most dangerous ones).
Same with God. The more we are under his control, the freer we get. His control is liberating. We can try to get out of his control, but that isn't "freedom." It's an out-of-control crash and a "free" ticket off the ski slopes, hauled off on a sled by the ski patrol.
4. If we treat things in the Bible as non-negotiable, won't we be hopelessly behind the times? What about all the changes between then and now? 
Archeologists have not yet proved or disproved the theory that the cave man's club was actually invented by a cave woman whose husband cheated on her. Seeing its effects, male friends of the victim later adapted it for hunting. 
Hunting weapons change, as does all technology. Humans not so much. The biblical non-negotiables deal with the human unchangeables.
 
In fact, the non-negotiables may well turn out to be the wave of the future, exactly what we need to prevent destructive abuse of our new technological capacity. The jaw-dropping advances in technology are neutral in themselves, but that means their potential for harm is equal to their potential for good. If we ask, "Which person or group would want to use these advances to harm others, and how could we prevent or limit that?" we are right back in the middle of the biblical non-negotiables.
 
5. How do we know which things in the Bible rise to the level of non-negotiables? Is everything non-negotiable?
 
Very good question, and people divide sharply over how to answer it. The entire history of Christian creeds illustrates that. Without saying the SYNC approach is the best one, let us put it forward for consideration alongside whatever other views may already be familiar to you.
SYNC answers this question with the seven versions of they "Who Are We?" (W.A.W.) story. Non-negotiables are the things that make the story go the way it goes. For example, in all seven versions of the story, the whole story falls apart if Jesus is not the center of it. His centrality is non-negotiable. Or again, if people do not trust God enough to obey him even when he hasn't given them a full explanation, the story loses one of its main points. It becomes a different story. 
 
Of course, this is not a precise answer to the question, but that is intentional. The emphasis in SYNC is not on pinpointing how many non-negotiables there are in the Bible. It is on SYNCing with the God of the Bible as we know him through the panoramic story of the Bible (the "W.A.W. story") and through the nudges of his Spirit today. We just keep obeying whichever non-negotiables God highlights for us at any particular time. That is plenty to keep us busy without figuring out all the theory behind everything.