How To Start Again… Theologically

Derek Ouellette —  December 5, 2011

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.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Kerry

    I know the feeling, Derek! Let’s pray for one another as we continue our journeys.

    • Derek Ouellette

      Hi Kerry, thanks for the encouragement (and thanks for coming by!)…

  • Charles Dean

    Hey Derek, I know I don’t know you, except that somehow I started following your blog a couple months ago, but here’s 2 cents: I think somewhere in the last couple of years of my life, “settled” has ceased to be the target and “living in the tension of…” is an increasingly comfortable place. It’s given me a freedom – to resist labeling “heretics,” and instead has given me the freedom accept this part of one argument and that part of another without buying someone else’s system or theology.
    It’s good.

    • Derek Ouellette

      Thanks Charles… you’re right on. At times living in the tension (good way to put in btw) is quite liberating. But sometimes it can be nerve-racking, particularly as it relates to a lingering tendency from my fundamentalist days for sharp black and white answers.

    • Derek Ouellette

      P.S. Thanks for following the blog! :)

  • Francoise

    Hi Derek! I hope you can find answers on what you really want. Don’t be hesitant to make some decisions. We might have wronged many times, but at least we always learned from it. Good luck on your journey!