As Christians we should be reading our Bibles, yes? Our theology should be based on what the Bible says. We have either worked out what we believe from what we read, or listened carefully to sermons and Bible studies and checked out the conclusions.
But what happens when the Bible disagrees with something we firmly believe?
This dilemma is being faced by increasing numbers of Christians today, particularly over issues like gender identity and sexuality. As society gets further away from God’s word, some Christians are compromising rather than taking a stand.
I am finding more and more Christians with strongly held beliefs which I consider to be unbiblical, and it makes for very awkward conversations if the topic comes up. I don’t want to offend them or fall out, and often I am not prepared at that moment for a detailed discussion. The sad thing is, neither are they.
As a Christian makes the decision to believe something with which the Bible disagrees, they do one of two things: They either cling to a few verses (sometimes a very few) which they feel support their view, or they discount the Bible entirely as unreliable or outdated. But above all, they close their mind.
When these subjects come up, not only is the time and place often inappropriate for a detailed discussion, usually the other person is absolutely unwilling to have that discussion.
I don’t want to discuss my views about various thorny subjects, maybe I’ll do that in future posts. This time I want to look at closed-mindedness.
I don’t claim to understand everything about Christianity, and I don’t claim to have everything right, but I am willing to discuss any issue, listen to your point of view and seriously consider it. There are issues about which I have changed my mind over the years, because someone, in person or in a book, explained a different interpretation of the scriptures that made more sense than my previous view.
I am always willing to listen, and willing to discuss my understanding of something alongside yours. When you refuse to discuss things, it looks as though you dare not have your beliefs examined because you know they are wrong.
The Bible is an amazing book. It’s central message can be plainly understood by anyone, of any level of education or none. Yet it’s deeper truths are worthy of years of study. There is a way through these thorny issues, but sometimes it takes a while to study and work it out. You might need to have help. Please don’t be too closed-minded, or scared, to find out.
You won’t be told what to believe, we don’t need blind faith, there are books, courses and internet articles to help you work it out. There are some wacky ideas out there, so be careful. Think seriously about what is said, check it out for yourself against the Bible, and pray, and you can come to a sound conclusion. You may agree or disagree with someone else’s opinion, but you will have thought about it and be able to defend your position from the Bible if anyone asks you.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk