Have you ever publicly questioned a long-held belief or challenged a traditional practice? Let’s admit it, there is comfort in believing that you are right and everyone else is wrong. It is like a warm blanket that allows you to write-off everyone else and go to bed at night while curling up with a false sense of religious superiority. Ok, maybe that was a little over the top…but you get the point.
I propose, that although we should have confidence, we need to make sure that our religious comfort is not due to exegetical laziness. If you really believe you have everything figured out…why study? If you think you are right, you never have to work to get better. If you think the way you do things is the best, you will never seek to improve. We have a tendency in the church to gravitate toward apathy. Why? It is because we have stopped questioning, improving, and pushing ourselves to grow. We often instead espouse the old adage “If it is not broke…don’t fix it!”. I propose that if we are not looking for areas to improve, we are already broken. We must question everything in order to grow!
D.A Carson in his book Exegetical Fallacies writes,
Many local Bible teachers and preachers have never been forced to confront alternative interpretations at full strength; and because they would lose a certain psychological security if they permitted their own questions, aroused by their own reading of Scripture, to come into full play, they are unlikely to throw over received traditions. (15)
What was the last practice you questioned or longstanding doctrine you doubted? Spend time in Scripture, allow its living words to speak to you. Seek out meaning and answers from the text and the text only. Forget what other preachers have said or written, ignore what accusations may be thrown your way. They may call you “liberal”, “extreme”, “Pharisaical” or “heretical”. Who cares! They called Jesus a “drunkard” and a glutton” (Mathew 11:19). Don’t just assume the way “things have always been done” is the way things “should” be done. The conclusions of “sound brothers” in the past may have not been so “sound” after all. But don’t get arrogant, you too, may be wrong.
Do you want to grow? Do you want to push yourself into a closer relationship with God and a deeper understanding of His Word? Do you want to be better, live better and serve better? It is time to start asking questions and looking for answers!