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« Hiding in Thee | Main | I'm a woman, not a house plant »
Friday
Nov232018

The things we believe when we're young . . . 

When I was converted at the age of 20, I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to know everything; now! I didn't know much about what to read, and the Bible wasn't always easy to understand. I relied a lot on the people from whom I'd heard the gospel. That makes sense.

The trouble is that in my haste to know, there was also the urgent feeling that I needed to fit in. The background of the people who shared the gospel with me was decidedly fundamentalist and there was little encouragement for intellectual pursuit. Yes, there was the encouragement to read the Bible, but I was to rely on the pastor and the Holy Spirit to instruct me. 

There are some things which I embraced without question:

  • All people who practice infant baptism are wrong, and likely not real Christians
  • All people from an Anglican, Presbyterian, or Lutheran background may be truly saved, but probably most of them aren't.
  • Roman Catholics were people to generally be avoided, because they were heretics and had nothing of value to say.
  • Nothing of value can come from someone in a mainline denomination.
  • Anyone who doesn't believe that there is a rapture denies the Bible (that one is actively promoted in my own church by some).

I am far from those days. It was a huge shock to me when I discovered that some people denied the rapture. It was a pleasant surprise when the woman who taught my children piano lessons was obviously a Christian, despite attending the Lutheran Church. The first year she taught them, she gave them a tract at Christmas with a candy cane.

I started reading a book by Fleming Rutledge, who is not only Episcopalian, but is a woman priest. She's also a brilliant writer. I bought her book on advent, because I was curious about the subject. I've read a few articles by her lately, and a friend of mine is reading her book on the crucifixion.

Rutledge, in the introduction to her advent book does not sound like a heretic. In fact, she sounds quite orthodox. And she sounds more informed than some of my evangelical friends and some evangelical leaders. Her book has also alerted me to the possibility that some evangelicals who are promoting advent don't actually completely understand it.

It's tempting to look back and wish I had not been so quick to believe without question everything people told me. Sometimes, that is just part of the process of learning. When one is saved later in life, she wants to abandon everything about her former life. I wanted to ally myself with a particular group, and sometimes, I simply agreed because I wanted to feel like I belonged. It's not their fault I did it; it's my own.

Some people may think that my attending seminary has brought out much of my re-evaluation of some things. Those who think women should not attend seminary may cluck their tongues and think, "This is what comes from giving women a tool they're not meant to use." In truth, this awakening began when I started homeschooling, and specifically when I began participating on The Well Trained Mind message boards. It was there that I learned that other denominations weren't all wrong. It was there that I realized that my pre-suppositions were not always right.

Our lives of faith progress. We come to understand more. We go through struggles where we see God's faithfulness and our hearts are more tightly knit to him. We re-evaluate and see things through a changed view. It's a good thing. It doesn't mean we're losing our faith. It may mean, though, that we're losing the tendency to come to poorly informed conclusions. It may mean we are not so quick to believe something; that we recognize the need to work through things. If I believe something and I'm willing to tell others, I want to know why.

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