Faith Focus: Are you checking behind your preacher?
FRANKLIN LIVING MARCH-APRIL 2023
“More than anything else, what we believe about God will determine how we live.”
California preacher Tim Spivey made this statement, and I believe most of us would agree with it – yet it raises an interesting question: How long has it been since you gave serious thought to how you arrived at your current beliefs about God?
Over time, all of us have come to hold certain beliefs, and we’ve developed them in a variety of ways. Perhaps they came from trusted friends or family members, such as a parent or spouse, or maybe from an influential religious leader or a religious school of some sort.
The term “deconstruction” has become common in religious circles today. If that term is new to you, Jon Bloom defined it as “a critical dismantling of a person’s understanding of what it means to be an evangelical Christian and in some cases a refusal to recognize as authorities those perceived as occupying privileged evangelical institutional positions who ‘supposedly speak for God.’” In other words, deconstruction includes the practice of asking “why” and not believing something to be true just because an “expert” says so.
Imagine the good that could result if more of us would open our own Bibles and seek answers for ourselves to life’s most important questions – rather than simply taking someone else’s word for it! We are blessed to be educated and to have free, easy access to the Bible. Through his word God has communicated, in an understandable way, how he wants us to live. With availability comes responsibility!
The biblical precedent for the importance of checking the Bible against what we are taught is the group of Christians at Berea. Acts 17:11 states, “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” Don’t miss what was happening in this passage: This group of Christians was checking behind the apostle Paul! If God endorsed checking behind Paul, there isn’t a preacher or teacher on the planet who doesn’t need to be checked behind by his listeners. The goal should always be to believe any teaching only because God has stated it to be so.
We live in a country where the number of people who believe in God has been constantly declining over the past couple of decades. If more people would read God’s word for themselves, this trend would reverse – and it needs to reverse, since God has promised to hold all of us accountable (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Please be sure you arrive at what you believe about God based on your own careful study of the most important book on the planet. Don’t make the mistake of staking your eternal future on what you haven’t proven for yourself!
Philip Goad has been serving as the minister at North Highlands Church of Christ in Russellville since March 2020.