You are either 100% correct in doctrine or you are not correct at all
I believed this for a long time. A pastor I loved and admired once told me this. But if this is the case, we are all up creek skubalon –pardon my French. All of us have some things wrong. I am studying Romans right now and I am under the opinion that chapter 2:1-16 Paul is addressing self-righteous Jews and not self-righteous Gentiles. I might be wrong. It makes sense either way. But if I am wrong about this, does that really mean I am wrong about everything? Really? We need to be 100% correct only about those things that are the most important: Who is Christ and what did he do?
If its not in the Bibe, its not true
Sounds good, but has a terrible track record in real life. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to equip us with spiritual truth. I also believe in the Scripture’s ultimate authority. But there are a lot of things that God expects us to know that are outside of Scripture. For example, and most fundamentally, you have to learn how to read before you can even know what the Scriptures say. The Scriptures don’t teach you about subject-verb-object relationships. God expects you to know these things beforehand. The same is true when it comes to the laws of logic, the physical benefits of eating and breathing, and how to walk (one foot in front of the other).
If you smoke, you must not be a good Christian
Really? Is it the addiction or health problems that cause us to say this? If it is the addiction, are we ready to give up coffee? If it is the health, are we ready to exercise daily and stop eating fast food? Otherwise, I think we need to calm down.
All sins are equal in God’s site
Really? Well then what do we do with John 19:11? Do I really believe going 36mph in a 35 is the same in God’s site as child rape and molestation? I think I better reconsider. Maybe I could put it this way, “While not all sin is equal in God’s site, all people are equally depraved; we just act it out in various degrees”? Where did I come up with such a notion?
Critical thought and questions are unspiritual and of the flesh
Don’t ask questions; just exercise “faith.” That sounds good. Well, it sounds dismissive. But how can this be? God expects us to relinquish our minds so that He can be honored? The less we use the minds God created, the more spiritual we are. Somehow we got this thing all twisted in the 20th century.
Converts make the best apologists
I don’t think this is true anymore. In fact, the more I engage in the world of theology, converts often seem to be the most likely to misrepresent the position from which they converted due to emotional scarring and lack of objectivity. I am not saying that converts are necessarily tainted. I just don’t put their posters on my wall so quickly anymore.
Christ’s physical pain was greater than the pain of all humanity combined
I never understood this even though I believed it. Now I am not so sure. Why would this be the case? Many people have been tormented on a cross. Is it his emotional pain? But it only lasted for six hours on the cross. I think most people with severe emotional pain would tell you that it is not the acute pain that is the problem, but the idea that it will never cease. And indeed, sometimes it does not cease until someone takes their own life. Ask my sister. While I think Christ’s pain was indeed more severe than most people ever experience, I don’t see why we feel obligated to make overstatements to legitimize our belief. Am I wrong?.
Information equates to understanding
No matter how much I know, this does not mean I understand. I used to think that if I read every book on such and such subject, I would be better prepared in that area de facto. But I have come to believe that reflection is the key. John Hannah once told me that people need to read less and reflect more. I think I agree.
Understanding equates to wisdom
So, once I understand something I will always make the wise and tactful decision? I wish. I have come to believe that wisdom grows out of understanding, but understanding does not necessarily produce wisdom. Wisdom is understanding coupled with reflective experience. That is the best I got right now.
The unbeliever’s skepticism is always unfounded
Many times unbelievers have great and sincere questions. These are often just the questions we have that we are too afraid to let surface. Therefore, we don’t really have any answers. Just because we are often afraid to deal with these questions does not make them unfounded.
God is on my side
I think the better question now is this Whose side am I on?
If one denies the inerrancy of Scripture, they are denying Christianity
If this is the case, then the historical events are grounded in Scripture, not the other way around. Doesn’t this seem backward? While I believe in inerrancy, I don’t think that inerracy is the linchpin of Christianity. The Bible does not need to be inerrant for the historic events of Christ’s death and resurrection to be true.
The unbeliever cannot understand truth
It seems right, but then I think to myself What is so hard to understand? It is acceptance that is the problem, not intellectual comprehension [1 Cor. 2:14]. In fact, in my experience, many unbelievers use their minds better than believers.
I can always understand and interpret the Bible without any help
Yes, I don’t need to worry about how the Body of Christ, both living and dead, that contribute to me understanding. God wants me to be a vigilante . . . no community responsibility, just me and Him right? Not so sure.
The Bible says it, I believe, it’s done!
Really? And my interpretation is most certainly correct even though good people disagree?
Speaking in tongues is of the devil
This was my easy way to dodge a difficult issue. I am sorry for thinking that . . . even though I don’t speak in tongues.
C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger.
Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I’m a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]