Honest To God

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Oftentimes in our quest to stand on solid convictions, we sacrifice integrity. Well, I’ll admit that I have. The above passage brings to light an attitude of which we all must be reminded. Honesty is not the best policy; it’s the only policy.

In the face of all that opposes Christianity, I want to be able to stand up and shout, “Lord I believe!”

But sometimes it’s hard to admit, “help my unbelief!” Even so, it is better to be honest before God than to pretend to courageously stand for something. God will bring you down if you attempt to make yourself the almighty-know-it-all-defender-of-Christian-truth. However, if you’re humble enough to ask the Lord for help in areas of uncertainty, He will lift you up:

Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The first and most important epiphany I’ve ever had was that Jesus Christ died for my sins, rose from the grave, and that He saved me by grace through faith. My life would not be the same otherwise. The second great epiphany I’ve had was when I was challenged, as a teenager, to “biblically justify everything.” That seemed outlandish to me – would I have to carry around a Bible and look for a proof text before every decision? Well, in high school I practically did that. But the point was to know the Bible in order to know the mind of God in order to make the right decisions. My life as a Christian would be utterly shameful if I didn’t come to terms with the primacy and authority of the Word of God.

The thrid great epiphany for me has been rather recent. I think it’s been a common one for young fundamentalists of late. It is the fact that I don’t always have to be right.

I could be wrong. After all, the Christian life is growing to the stature of Christ and forsaking besetting sins. In other words, we are constantly changing. There are things in our lives that God wants out. There are things we neglect that He wants in. It’s pretty easy, once you get the hang of it, to admit the way you’re living isn’t always in line with God’s will.

Doctrinally, however, we have another story. Many of us have come to fundamentalism from other movements. We have gradually accepted the tenets of modern fundamentalism, and have seen how questioning an iota of it would be a grave compromise. So as we entered our churches and Bible colleges we took off our thinking caps and accepted that whatever the preacher said, it was right. And if it seemed wrong, it required extra digging to find that it was right (I speak of some extreme examples; obviously it doesn’t apply to everyone).

Now that I’ve grown to reject a few (and I mean a few) of modern fundamentalism’s positions, I’ve had some accusations come my way. This is what we’ve all gone through, and it helps to clarify things a bit.

It’s amazing that the exact opposite is often true. For example, I’ve been accused of “scholarolatry.” It’s been said that those who question things in fundamentalism are full of pride and trying to be intellectual. Nothing could be further from the truth. First off, there are scholars on both sides of the issues. The difference is a matter of what scholarship is more trustworthy. I could easily accuse the other side of the same if they provide a footnote here or there. Secondly, the fact that we even question things proves that we’re not prideful- we are admitting that we don’t always have the answer! I have been humbled. I have espoused positions and tried to defend them and have gotten worked up about them and then the Holy Spirit got a hold of my prideful heart and showed me I was wrong. I’m just not afraid to admit it.

Yes, sometimes young fundamentalists have become too critical and too smarter-than-thou in their approach to such matters. I’ll just have to answer for myself.

No, I am not trying to be intellectual. No, I am not trying to be a “scholarolater.” No, I am not trying to be rebellious and heap to myself teachers because my ears a bit tingly. We who have accepted other positions will reject them if we find them to be out of line with the Bible. I just feel we’re more prone to do it, because others simply don’t ever want to admit they could have been wrong. I’ve been wrong before, and I can be wrong again. I’ll change in a heartbeat at the Holy Spirit’s prompting. One thing has to be made sure: although we can be wrong, the Bible is always right. Everything must be tried by the Word of God.

I am just trying to be honest. That’s the best thing we can ask for.


3 comments so far

  1. TJ on

    I don’t know how many times I have heard fundamentalist preachers say that if they found another denomination or position that was closer to the Bible, they would “change tomorrow!” But, then the mentality with which those other positions are approached is one of “I’m right, so let me figure out why they are wrong.”

    First – “I’m right”
    Second – “How are they wrong”

    When you approach an issue already having the presumption that your position is right, there will be no way to convince you otherwise, no matter how wrong you may be. If you always assume you are right, you will never allow yourself to be proven wrong.
    That’s quite the opposite mentality that, say, Martin Luther took. His thought process was

    First – “God’s Word is right”
    Second – “To the best of my knowledge, I am in line with God’s Word”
    Third – “On the basis of God’s Word, how is the Roman Church wrong”

    It’s also quite the opposite mentality that, say, Paul took.

    First – “God’s Word is right”
    Second – “To the best of my knowledge, I am in line with God’s revealed truth”
    Third – “On the basis of God’s Word, how is Peter’s insistence of circumcision wrong”

    Many of us today fall in the trap of skip that all-important first step. Regardless of what are position may be, does it line up with God’s Word. If it does, let the defense begin!
    If it doesn’t, then by all means and God helping us, we must change until it does!
    It’s a great privilege we Christians have, the ability to be wrong. Our religion is not based on the consistency of our argument (*cough*Romanism*cough*). Our religion is based on the eternal Word of God.
    With all that said, let’s continue to justify everything by the Bible just like you were advised. If any disagree, let them show us from the Scriptures where we are wrong.

    “…my conscience is captive to the Word of God…. Here I stand, I cannot [honestly] do otherwise, God help me. Amen.”

  2. DT on

    What a well-thought-out comment.

  3. TJ on

    Well, you know, what can I say? I’m a “well-thought-out” kind of guy.

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