Sunday, 07 August 2011
It's no secret that there are some differences in Christian denominations. That's the beautiful thing about Christ's church, that there is unity without always having uniformity. There are some things that people will remain divided on, be it for good reasons or not so good reasons. But, as long as they hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus, then that's the important part. In our theological triage, we must decide what is a primary issue, what is a secondary issue, and what is a tertiary issue. If someone thinks that Jesus was a woman while on earth, or that good works get you to heaven, that is of utmost importance because that shows that person doesn't even understand the Gospel.
The president of the seminary I attend says, "You tell me what you believe about Jesus, then I can tell you 95% of the rest of your theology, because what you think about Jesus affects what you think about everything else." If someone is from an unknown, small denomination, it does raise a red flag to me, because usually that means you're in a cult or no one else thinks like you do. If you believe something radically different about Jesus than people have for centuries, there's probably a reason why, and it's usually not good.
So here's the deal. Doesn't it strike you as odd when someone believes something so totally different and radical than everyone else? If 90% of the mainstream Christian community believes something, there's a good chance they're probably right. Not always, but usually. Of course you need to think for yourself at the end of the day, but there are other people who know Jesus and perhaps have walked with him a lot longer than you have, so I would put some stock in what they have to say. We are supposed to seek "godly counsel" from fellow Christians, and we have positions in the church for that reason, so that people can go to them for wisdom and advice. Before I make a huge decision, of course my husband is the first person to go to because he's my spiritual head, but if he tells me it's up to me, then I usually ask the advice of two more people. It's never a bad thing to see what wisdom other people can share.
If everyone around you believes that the Bible teaches one thing and you think it teaches another, there's a couple things you need to do. You need to evaluate your beliefs to see how logical/biblical they are, and then you need to be willing to say that almost everyone is wrong but you. Wouldn't you agree that's almost never the case? If no one else thinks that way, then there's a reason: You're probably wrong.
Usually, it's not because you're smarter than everyone else. Usually, it's not because God has given an epiphany directly to you and excluded the rest of his children. And oh yeah, never does God reveal something to you that Scripture has already stated otherwise. God told you to cheat on your wife? Nah, don't think so. God told you to steal? Nope, sorry.
If you are the only one that thinks something, it doesn't always mean you're wrong, but it's usually a reliable indication that something's up. It really grinds my gears when some people think they can do whatever they want and think whatever they want about God and the Gospel and still call themselves a Christian, when they blatantly disagree with Christ's direct teachings.
Lastly, it is important to remember that I am talking about in the context of the Christian community. If five of your lost friends want you to rob a bank with them, I wouldn't do it just because you're outnumbered! Clearly, those with the Holy Spirit have discernment that nonbelievers do not. In fact, Christianity does believe things that almost every other religion doesn't. That's part of the exclusivity of it. But yeah, when it comes to being in a circle of believers, listen to what they think about things.
So, next time you're deciding what to believe on an issue, if no one else thinks that, maybe you shouldn't either!
Have you ever been the only one who believed something? Was what you believed correct or incorrect? How can we know whether what we believe is correct?