One thing I’m noticing as I’m teaching through a series on our Sunday Evening class is this: People are looking for answers to hard question that Christians thought they had settled long ago. What we’re finding out, sometimes painfully, is that we might not be as right as we think we are.
Enter the Millennial Generation (and a few below) who are not satisfied with “pat” answers that we regurgitate from some preacher or book we read some time ago. People aren’t satisfied with the generic default, “because the Bible says so.” Now, don’t misunderstand me, if the Bible says something, we should live by it. That’s not the issue. The issue is that a lot of us, if we’re honest, have a very hard time knowing why we believe what we believe.
One of the greatest misconceptions about the people of God is that we are narrow-minded, simple, and backwards. We’re labeled as a people who check their brains at the door. Like any stereotype there is a reason it exists, but it is not the norm. The Christians I know are actively seeking the whole counsel of God, desperately searching the Scriptures to see why we do what we do. They won’t settle for simple answers but usually retort back,”Why?”
If Christians are going to play the active part in restoring the Shalom of God in this broken world that is marred by Eden’s curse, then we are going to have to do something that isn’t very comfortable. We’re going to have to have honest, open, non-judgmental dialogue about some pretty tough issues that we thought we had the corner on the market with. We’re going to have to prayerfully, seriously, and desperately seek to understand the Scriptures better. We’re going to have to discuss tough things. Like what? The role of women in worship services. Communion. Worship. The Unfortunate Marriage of Christianity to Nationalism. Homosexuality. Social Justice. I could go on and on and on, but I won’t.
When people question these issues (and 99.9% of the time it’s innocent) they are often shut down by a “We’ve always done it this way attitude” or “Don’t you know what your Bible says?” or even “Don’t ask questions, just believe.” That’s some dangerous thinking, by the way. The reason behind all of this? Fear. We, deep down, know that it might be just a little possible that we might be wrong…and when God’s word corrects and convicts it brings out the dirtiest word in church history: CHANGE. We are forced to look ourselves in the eye and realize that we don’t have this whole thing figured out, and that’s OK. It’s OK to question. It’s OK to search. It’s OK. We need to stop labeling those that would dare question the establishment as “change agents” or “liberals” because they are brothers and sisters in Christ. When the most vehement opposition is leveled out at a truth-seeking, God-desiring person, it has one goal: protect the establishment. Brand loyalty (denominational loyalty for our context) us the end game. Preserve the Species.
Anyone who refuses to put up what they believe against what Scripture says is actually, to their chagrin, disobeying Scripture:
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies (preaching) with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. (1 Thess. 5:19-22, NIV)
So I encourage you to search! Ask questions! Search the Scriptures, for in them you will find the very words of the One who longs to be with you. More than likely you’ll realize that there isn’t too much that will change about what you believe and why, but at least you’ll know that you know, and to a searching heart, that’s a beautiful thing.