Some time ago I told a friend that a few years back I had to return to the drawing board on many issues. Recently he wrote me asking how it is I did that. How did I start over and “figure out what” I believe. Did I read the bible straight through? Did I read other books? Or what?
I feel like my response to him would make a nice little “mini-post”.
To answer your question, I can only tell you about me. I think everyone is on their own journey.
For starters, yah, I went back and read through the bible straight without referencing commentaries or footnotes et cetera, and that was a good start because many things I was told just didn’t seem to “jive” with what I felt the bible was saying. But reading the bible wasn’t enough because when I read the bible I already come at it with junk in my head, presuppositions and all. So I had to turn to books and get different ideas and open myself up to alternative perspectives. Let me give you a warning though, I fear today that I may be too opened up and once you start down that road you can never go back. I turn to books primarily when I feel like the “old” debates that I have always known and always been caught up in never seemed to move forward. I wonder if we are caught in a dumb rut and maybe – for example – the Eastern Orthodox (who have debates of their own) may be able to provide a fresh perspective.
This is not a journey of “settlement”. I’m not settled in Arminianism (or Open Theism). I’m not settled in Creation/Evollution. I’m not settled in the Homosexual debate. I’m not settled on the Hell/Annihilism debate. I have places I stand on those issues, of course, but I’m also keenly aware that I may be wrong because I’ve been wrong so many times before. I’m also rocked and humbled whenever I come across someone who is passionate about any one of those subjects and they whip me in a debate. I realize then that I’ve taken my position for granted and need to think more clearly about these issues.
Where I am at is not a comfortable place to be. Things are not as black and white as they used to be.