Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

As a Biblical Christian, people worry that this will keep me from changing my mind. Since open-mindedness is often a good thing, they worry about me.

Will I defy the evidence or facts in order to cling to Scripture?
I will not, but perhaps merely saying so will not satisfy their just worries. Let me, therefore, explain.

I have had religious experiences, including an experience of the Divine. These experiences require explanation and so I try to understand them instead of ignoring them. The Bible seems to describe my situation best and it also contains wisdom I had not anticipated.

Following the commands of Scripture with reason leads me to further spiritual insights and guards against spiritual stupidity. Scripture commends reason to me, but it also bids me love.

The Bible is, of course, a complex set of books. It cannot be read easily, because it is an ancient text and I am not (despite the feeling in my knees) an ancient man. If the “facts” contradict Scripture, often I find that my reading of Scripture was simplistic or just wrong.

Of course, sometimes this is not true. What do I do then? Best reading of an otherwise trustworthy authority on spiritual matters says one thing and the “facts” another.

I keep putting “facts” in quotations because I often find that things said to be facts are really the interpretation of facts. A bit of patience on my part often reveals hidden assumptions behind the reported “fact of the matter.”

Even my friends sometimes make the mistake of asserting that because a thing is it ought to be. I have no patience with that argument until some lover of wisdom shows me how is leads to ought. That man is the way he is, is true, that they ought to be is more controversial!

Still there are some situations where I am left thinking: “Without Scripture, I would not believe this.” The difficulty is that history shows that people in my position that waited often were vindicated. Scripture is attacked in every age, but by new ideas. The old attacker fades away, but Scripture endures. This gives me some good reason to wait and see what will happen.

I can suspend judgment in an area without abandoning my general faith in Scripture.

In the end I have yet to find a situation where Scripture cannot function reasonably as “the only rule of faith and practice.” If I make of it what it is not, then it might fail me, but if I submit to it as it was written, it works so far.

Might I change my mind?

I might, but I am skeptical I will based on my best experience and my best reasoning.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles