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Sunday, March 15, 2015

How Should We then Think?

For the past several weeks I have been leading a Sunday school class at our church.  The topic is “Free Will or Predestination.”  If you follow theology at all you will know that topic has been a source of division in the Body of Christ for millennia.
How Should We then Think?
It was never my intention to resolve the issue in the 8 weeks I was allotted for this class.  Rather, it was my objective to challenge those who dared to attend to think, and more importantly to think Biblically.  I am not sure how effective it has been.

We attended a Covenant church.  One of the legends about that denomination is that they continually ask, when it comes to issues of faith, “Where is it written.”  So, in keeping with that legend, and in alignment with my objective for the class, one of the rules for the class was that if we stated an opinion it had to be supported with Scripture.

One of the things I learned in seminary, probably the most important thing I learned as a matter of fact, is that I did not have very good reasons for my very strong convictions.  I had embraced the positions of those who had mentored me, I had listened to those who taught the Sunday schools, the pastors and speakers I to whom I has listened, and the authors of the books I had read, but I had not critically checked out what they said against what the Bible says.  In some cases, I found that some of those who shaped my thinking, were, in fact, incorrect in some of their assertions.

I have often quoted Acts 17:11 in these posts.  The Bereans did not accept what Paul told them about Jesus carte blanche.  They went to the Word.  In their case it was the scrolls in their synagogue.  They did not have YouVersion on their smart phones or tablets, their tablets were not all that smart.  Think of that they had to do to check out Paul. They had to go to the synagogue and pull out the scroll, go to the passage Paul referenced, and then look at it critically in context.  The Holy Spirit, through Luke, labels that behavior noble minded – as an aside, note that it is not noble spirited, or noble emotional, or noble experience, no it is noble minded – it matters that we have what we think shaped by the Word of God.

I mentioned this morning that we have a culture that is applying enormous pressure in attempts to squeeze us into its mold.  In many cases the culture has succeeded.  The Church has adapted or accommodated much of what the culture has demanded.  Churches’ positions on divorce, marriage, homosexuality, gender roles, race, and many others, have been dictated by the culture to differing extents.  I will not here comment on specifics – if you know, you know, if you do not I will leave it to others to inform you.

The point is, it is not important what your teacher knows.  It is not important what your pastor knows.  It is irrelevant what your denomination teaches.  When you stand before God you are not going to give an account for what your teacher or your pastor believes.  Nor are you going to have to defend what your denomination teaches.  You will give an account for what you believe.

My sense is that it probably should align with what God has revealed in His Word.

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