For one to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18), means there must be things we learn along the way. To grow in knowledge of the Bible and doctrine is a joy and privilege afforded to Christians, as they mature spiritually.
One must look and listen to other Christians, and it does not take long to find someone who knows the Bible and theology better than you do. This is why we do Bible studies and theology in groups. God surely intends for His people to grow and to be protected by learning and testing one’s doctrinal position…often.
The Word of God, the Bible, does not change, but just because you own a Bible, you have not cornered the market on knowing and understanding everything contained in the Scriptures. In addition, no one can claim they have an infallible interpretation of the Scriptures. For example, the vast majority of American Christians hold to some version of the Arminian heresy. Where did they all learn this man-centered theology? They were sitting under pastors who never learned, nor understood the sovereignty of God, especially in salvation.
No one reaches a working understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty, and then reverts back to a low view of God and high view of man. There is a progression to learning the Bible, and it begins with our self-centered, man-centered view of the world and of God. The more we learn the Scriptures, and grow in grace to understand them, the lower our view of man becomes. From a deficient view of human potential and positivism, we are consequently faced with the irrefutably low view of humanity found in the Bible.
If a man were to say, “My Christian doctrine has not ever changed,” I would be very suspect. No one becomes a Christian with a perfect set of doctrines and comprehensive knowledge of the Bible.
Depending on where one begins her pilgrim’s journey, as a new believer in Jesus, having been regenerated at God’s appointed time and circumstances, her doctrinal course may have few or many changes. There is an ocean of heresies to swim through, too. Even learning the basics from the experts can be daunting, as one sifts through three views on this doctrine and four views on that doctrine. It is utter naivete for someone to say, “I have my Bible, and I got the right teaching on doctrine the very first go round.” It also may be a bad case of ignorant pride.
The Roman Catholic must discard much of the ingeniously concocted church traditions. Denominations add extras that eventually must be reduced to the status of non-essentials. Legalism is always a problem. Sacred ways of doing this or that turn out to be not so sacred. It can be exasperating learning, then unlearning, because the error of what you learned was exposed for you by others.
The process of God’s sanctification never ends until the day of one’s death. We grow and get pruned from one season to the next. God is at work, and that is really all that matters. His grace is sufficient for the ones He loves, and He chastens us back into humility, when we think more highly of our mountain-top doctrinal superiority than we ought.
May it never be that in this life you will claim that you have cornered the market, or run the race to become king of the mountain of theology. All they will say is, “The king has no clothes.”
Far better is it for us to walk humbly with our God, knowing that He alone gives us knowledge, and the increase in knowledge, when grace chooses to visit us, to keep up growing. That way you can give an even better reason for the hope that is within you.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 20, 2021