Many Christian leaders today view themselves as defenders of truth. They’re the ones holding the line against the tide of heretical charismatics, the arrogant Reformed camp, or whomever your camp views as the “enemy.”
Many of us have so much loyalty to our circles that we have never stopped to ask: Are we really even seeking truth anymore, or are we just defending what we already believe?
When we hear some sort of divergent truth or something that doesn’t quite sit right given our theological foundation, where do we run for an explanation? We run to our own people, the ones we trust for natural reasons (they were the ones who led us to the Lord, the people our family trusts, whatever it is). And this makes sense. But, it does mean that we really only ever hear one side of an argument.
It’s worth asking the question: Why are you so sure that your camp’s theology is better than mine? It comes back to epistemology: how truth is acquired.
If you are reading this reading plan, you probably agree with me that Scripture is the basis for truth. If we all agree on that, then why do we have so many theological differences? Because there are differences in interpretation.
How, then, do you determine who has the best interpretation of Scripture? Is it whoever is most intelligent? Whoever has the best reasoning? The most humble and loving person? The one who is most in tune with the Holy Spirit?
Again, we will find ourselves at an impasse because even if we did know which of those measures should be used to determine whom to listen to, there are no objective ways to measure those qualities.
I point this out not to discourage anyone from studying hard to find truth but to caution you against arrogance.
You may consciously or subconsciously believe that you’ve got everything right and that the beliefs of other people or denominations must be completely unfounded, to the point where you will not even engage in an open conversation with someone of a different view. This kind of pride is only going to hinder you from hearing the Spirit of truth. If God gives grace to the humble, it’s hard to imagine that those who are most arrogant would be the most accurate.
Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter which many of us know at least part of by heart. At the end of his famous description of love, he writes : For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Any knowledge of God that we think we have here on Earth, everything that the most brilliant scholars have ever grasped of heavenly truth, is like a dim reflection of real truth in a mirror. Not like one of the mirrors we have today, but like a piece of shiny metal that you can just barely make out your face in.
It’s childish. It’s temporary.
If you’re having a hard time accepting that or are starting to feel defensive, stop right now and check your heart. Do you really think you have God figured out? Do you really think you have 100 percent correct theology?
If so, that’s a scary place to be.