Disclaimer: About This Blog
THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.
Monday, February 9, 2009
What I don't know
The more I study the less I know... sadly that seems to be the way my earthly mind works.
So here is a summary of stuff I don't know... I will likely update this post as I discover more things I don't know with certainty.
I don't know which denomination has the best theology and doctrines
I have spent most Sundays in 'evangelical protestant churches'. However as I look at the different points of the protestant reformation, I can not say with certainty which side has the most correct answers. Both sides use scripture and logic to back their positions, but place greater emphasis in different places. I see some areas of concern in some Catholic doctrines. However I don't see any consensus in an evangelical systematic theology either. The holy scriptures were not written as a list of doctrines, maybe we are not supposed to create an airtight system of beliefs on all issues.
I don't know who all will be saved
I am not the final judge on this - thankfully God is! I will try not to be a judgmental Christian. I don't think the criteria will be based on which doctrines and statements of faith you agree with. It may have more to do with how we lived in relationship with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and all His creation. But what about all the people who love God without understanding and loving Jesus? Or believe without following? Or follow without believing (if that is possible)? Or died as a child before they could really believe or follow? Or had the emotions of a child through some disability and could not understand? Or just believed and did the wrong things because that is what they were taught to do by their religious leaders? Or the ones who used to believe and follow, but then in their last months of life lost the passion and didn't end well? What about losing the passion for the last years of life? Or most of their adult life? I'm not qualified to be the judge. I'm OK leaving all this to God.
I don't know what to call the thing we do on Sunday morning
I believe I don't go to church, I am part of Christ's church. Should the word 'church' refer to an event, location, building or organization? I do value worshiping with others, and supporting others in their relationship with God, and we do this on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.
I don't know if the wicked are eternally punished in Hell
I don't know if the wicked are punished in Hell forever. Either way eternal life with Jesus is still the obvious choice. I'm just questioning if the doctrine of Hell, that most denominations support, is true to scripture. To be destroyed or perish may simply mean that those who do not choose life with Christ do not get to live eternally.
I don't know if the Bible has clear answers on all issues
The Bible gets used to give support for many topics. But does the Bible give clear answers on all issues? Should the Bible be used like a magic 8 ball to give answers on every topic? Many of these issues were not meant to be the central message of the gospel. We need to balance the fact that unity is essential, and loving everyone is essential, before we become dogmatic about any lesser issue.
I don't know why only 'church' leaders perform baptisms
Who was the great commission given to? To all Christ followers? Then who was instructed to baptize? Why do most Christ followers leave the great commission to the 'professionals'?
I don't know why some identify with John Calvin
There's some stuff about John Calvin that I think we should all want to distance ourselves from. However some people still call themselves "Calvanist" or "new Calvanist". What do they mean by that? If it means they are in agreement with some of the teachings of John Calvin that's likely OK (I have concerns with those beliefs too - but it's OK to have different beliefs than me, I don't have it all figured out either) . But why can't they just say they are follower's of Christ? Are there some teachings of Calvin that are different than the teachings of Christ? If they are the same, why the need for another label?
I don't understand Predestination
The way I see it, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists have points where they must admit they don't understand something. I am quick to admit I Don't Understand Predestination. I think this is safer than defending some of the conclusions further down their logic path.
I don't know if I've grown up allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me enough
Why so much emphasis in Christian circles on teaching each other all truths? Are we letting others replace the role of the Holy Spirit? Take a look at Hebrews 8:7-13 and some other passages.
I don't know if Jesus paid my debt
I can not find any passages in our Bible that describe a legal transaction in terms of Jesus paying a debt. I think there is a difference between paying a debt and paying a ransom. I also think the over-use of this language may help shape an unhealthy view of God. Same goes for the thinking in Penal Substitution.
I don't fully understand Christ message about poverty and wealth
Christ came preaching good news to the poor. But I don't fully understand what it was, and what my responsibilities are yet with this message.
I don't know if Christians should be religious
Did Jesus Come to Start a New Religion, or did He come to free us free us from religion and connect with us in new relational ways.
I don't know why the gospel of the kingdom isn't preached often
Jesus and His discipled frequently preached about the good news of the reign of God. What Gospel does you neighbor need to hear? I don't understand why we don't follow Jesus example on this. I've looked for the Gospel in the Gospels - and I'm not sure why it seems clear to me, but different for others. Are people not interested today in understanding the Secrets of the Kingdom?
I don't know a lot of other stuff.
I plan to post a few more under the what I don't understand label category. I'm humble about what I don't know - and proud of it. :)
... I've got a few other questions floating around in my head, but I shouldn't list them here until I do some further study. I'll be updating this page as I learn more (and likely understand less).