Back to Basics

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 18, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi always started the football season and every camp he led by gathering all these professional players, who did nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe their sport with this: he took a football and said, “This is a football.” He always took each season and each camp back to the basic fundamentals of the sport, no matter how long the players had been in the sport.

Every sport coach who has any real value will never be able to emphasize enough the importance of constantly going over the basics, no matter how familiar the athlete is with the sport. You never graduate from the basics. In this past year as a fencing coach, this is something I have been learning. I often had the mindset of ‘once you know the basics, you keep practicing them, but you move on to bigger and better things.’ This is actually a dangerous position to be in, because you can easily get cocky, and then little by little you start to forget your basics. Once you start to lose your basics, you start getting sloppy and making errors. While you may be able to show flair and fancy skills, you likely won’t win the game.

A few weeks ago, the other assistant coach and I were leading footwork drills. In fencing, your footwork is the most critical part because that is what gives you both the distance and the timing to execute your actions. The other coach was running the drills while I observed how the players’ feet were going. I noticed a number of glaring errors in many of the fencers. I mentioned this to both the assistant and to the head coach so I took my Epee class (which was just two beginning fencers that time) and re-taught them how to properly lunge. For one of them, I saw a significant improvement over the evening. The other had already seen the lesson before and it helped her too.

No matter what field it is, you never should let go of the basics. It does not matter if it is a sport, business, science, academics, or our faith. One of the great dangers to letting the basics slip is that you tend to forget them and then think you are above them. I have seen that in fencers where they get a lot of skills and athleticism early on, but their entire skill is based on their speed, size, and athletics, and not on truly knowing the sport and the mental game. Those who have learned the game and have the skill to pull off what to do can figure out their weakness and shut them down. I am not always there athletically, but I can often see what they are doing. I know how to stop them, but I don’t always have the physical skills to do it.

Science is a field where the basics are frequently forgotten and overlooked. When I get people trying to defend the dating methods that show the earth to be billions of years old, I ask, “How accurate are those methods?” To this day, I can count ONE person out of many who defend these methods who even had a clue of what I was asking. Most answer by saying how repeated results with different methods produce the accuracy. The problem is, to be accurate, you have to compare your ideas to a given standard, not be able to repeat results. The latter is precision, not accuracy. Many science PhD’s do not know the difference any more.

If you pay attention to such models, you will also see they build their models on physics equations, but they forget the fundamental principles those equations are taken from. The Big Bang model, for example, violates practically every known principle of physics such as angular momentum and gas laws, despite using those equations in the models. They search for equations and scenarios that back their God-less ideas, and yet they fail to see that such scenarios violate the very principles they claim they stand on. How? They forget their basics and, in some cases, actually think they are above them. As a result, they have become the proverbial fools Paul warned us about.

But what about our Christian lives? How many times do you hear a sermon about returning back to your basics? I can’t think of one. Most of the time, any “return to basics” is ultimately little more than a sermon for a call for unbelievers to come to Christ. Now there is nothing wrong with such a sermon, but most Christians today do not know what the basics are, and when the idea of basics is brought up, they think of “going back to being a baby Christian, and I’m above that.” Back in May last year, I wrote about “Basic Christianity” and this idea has been stuck in my head for a while. So what are the basics?

The basics of Christianity can be boiled down to several things. It always starts with the nature and character of God. A couple years ago, I wrote about 13 of the attributes of God. One of my readers made a request to do a series on the names of God, and I’m likely to start that very soon. If we don’t know who God is and what he is like, we will go off on all kinds of wild tangents. Some other basics include that man is responsible for sin, and yet God sent his Son Jesus to pay the penalty for it. The cross is the central element to Christianity as everything points to it. You can’t get more basic than that. Salvation is by the grace of God, not by our own efforts lest any man be able to boast. Yet it is demonstrated through our actions.

Those are just some of the basic truths of Christianity. And while we hear these “basics” so many times that we just gloss over them, we need to know and understand that we never graduate from them. We never get past them. We must continually go back to them, practice them, and never forget them. We don’t “graduate” from the Gospel (as Voddie Baucham put it). While these same basic truths have infinite depth, “Level 100” is always in perfect alignment with “Level 1.” And “Level 100” is impossible unless “Level 1” is true. Unless we continue to work and develop “Level 1,” we will not be able to access “Level 100.”

Do not neglect the basics. Continually refresh yourself on the basics of anything you are doing; it does not matter what field it is. For me, I am seeing the need for it as I coach fencing in both my fencers and in myself. I see it in Christianity. It is also needed in every other field from education, to science, to business, to politics, to other sports, to raising families, to anything. Get back to the basics and start doing the fundamentals correctly. Once you start doing that, keep doing that. From there, you can build upon them and get a quality performance, and even sneak in some fancy stuff. But the fancy stuff doesn’t work unless you do so from a basic, fundamental foundation.

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