Monday, December 28, 2015

Take Off Your Theological Lenses!

So many different churches and pastors and priests teach different ways of getting to heaven or getting saved. Catholics teach a different way than Methodists, who teach a different way than Presbyterians, who teach a different way than Church of Christ, who teach a different way than Episcopals, who teach a different way than Baptists.
And many of these various splinters of "Christianity"teach different ways within the splinter groups of their own titles. For example, Reformed Baptist teach differently on salvation than other Baptist churches.

With so many types of Christianity that teach different ways to be saved, it begs the question: "which one is correct on their teaching of how to get to heaven?"

Well, rather than listening to what the churches, pastors, priests, and authors who hold to man-made theologies say, why not go to the Word of God itself? What does it say?

Acts 16:30-31 is one of, it not the most, straightforward verses on this matter. In the passage a jailor asks Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas promptly reply: "BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!". Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?

Sadly, verses like these are either ignored or twisted to fit a certain brand of theology.

Most of these types of Christianity are based on man-made theologies and philosophies that they interpret scripture though the lens of. Most have a preconceived idea or philosophy going into reading there Bible. They approach it with certain teachings or doctrines that they believe as truths. As they read scripture they understand certain verses to mean certain things in regards to their theology. That is how they explain the verses.

Heres an illustration to help you understand that:

Lets say that you have green tinted glasses, everything that you see through them will be various shades of green because you are looking through green lenses. But in reality, most things aren't really green. Sure, there are some things that really are green and those match up with the lenses,  but not everything is green.
Its the same with theological lenses. Sure, some things seen through theological lenses match up with scripture and are true, but in reality, a lot of things don't match up with them, therefore they only see them in light of that theology's teachings. People are so accustomed to wearing these theological lenses that they refuse to take them off and see what is actually there. They are so used to a world of green that they are convinced that everything is green and everyone who sees differently must be wrong.

I realized several years ago that the traditions and doctrines I had been brought up in didn't line up with scripture. Sure, they were loosely based on scripture, but when I started studying the Bible for myself I quickly realized the truth. I could either stick with the theologies and doctrines that I was brought up with, or I could believe in what scripture says. Now, don't get me wrong, the ways I was brought up in the church weren't that far off from the truth, but they were far enough that I could see an obvious difference between them and scripture. 

I prayed about this and started seeking the Lord's will in the matter. He showed me that sticking to scripture in context was more important than what any pastor, priest, author, or church says. In Acts 17:11 Paul shared the gospel with the Bereans. They received the message with great eagerness, yet they were wise and noble enough to be cautious not to automatically believe what he was saying. Instead, these people examined the scripture to see if what Paul said was true. This is how we should treat everything we hear. 

Ive heard many times that in order to easily detect fake dollar bills, bankers study every aspect and detail of the real dollar bills. If you study the real thing enough, the things that are false will be easy to spot. 

Like with the dollar bills, we should cast off all theological lenses and pray for the Lord to speak the truth to us every time we read scripture. We should dive into the word daily and allow scripture to speak for itself. I have found that many of the confusing passages of scripture can be understood by other parts of scripture. Use scripture to interpret scripture, rather than theology. 

I am by no means perfect. And Im not saying that the church I go to is "the only correct teaching". That would be arrogant and foolish. I am simply encouraging everyone to cast aside all external teachings and look to scripture for what it is. Allow the Word of God to shape your beliefs and your life, rather than what the church or church leaders say. Trust the Lord over man.  

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