What if you discovered that much of what you believe about God, Jesus, and salvation has very little to do with the Bible and a lot more to do with popular trends, modern culture, and ancient pagan philosophy? Would you be alarmed?
If you’re anything like most of us believers, then, normally, we tend to believe what we’re taught by spiritually sincere and well-meaning family, friends, pastors, and Sunday school teachers. The pastor who influenced you was a great guy, he held his Bible in his hand as he preached, everyone around you took notes, and even your Bible study group leader echoed the same things. How could things go wrong?
Of course you’ll take it for granted that that’s exactly what those Scriptures mean. It is sometimes almost impossible to think outside the “truths” we’ve been given in the beginning of our faith journey and have taken for granted over the years.
But as unbelievable as this may sound to you, at the end of the day, how do you know if what you’ve been taught is not wide off the mark? What do you do when you’re told just to “accept things by faith,” but you still have so many unanswered questions.
Today’s church is a theological zoo, full of so many combinations of biblical truth mixed with everything under the sun that it’s sometimes hard to find the real thing. You can walk in the door of a church and find anything from miscellaneous churchianity to Buddhianity to Chrislam, and everything in between. Sloppy hybrid Christianity has so thoroughly infused our preaching, liturgies, hymns, Gospel songs, praise choruses, and Bible lessons that sometimes we aren’t even aware of it.
Most of us never have the opportunity or even the inclination to remodel our theological house, and those who do typically remodel just one room at a time. If we stop thinking and learning new things about our faith when we were 10, then we’ll take that childhood understanding of God and the Gospel into our adult life and find that it hasn’t really kept pace with our increasing knowledge of everything else. Try comparing your first mobile phone with today’s model! This is one reason why so many Christians can’t offer a coherent defense of what they believe.
There’s one thing you can count on: if we just blindly accept as final what someone along the way tells us about God, Jesus, the Bible, the Christian life, or the ultimate future, then we’ll never really own the faith for ourselves and most likely will end up believing many things that are misleading or plain wrong. And, above everything else in life, this is something we absolutely must get right, for we have a moral responsibility to be intelligent and to do our best thinking regarding the things of God.
This Sunday, we’ll be focusing on Sola Scriptura and understanding the importance of daily and regular Bible reading—untainted by someone else’s speculation (or interpretation), God’s private “revelations” to them, or long-standing church tradition. More than a few have had their faith come alive for the first time when discovering that what they were raised with was pure theological drivel and should be tossed aside for the real, true, life-changing message of the Gospel.