While training for ministry I threw a lot of notes and files into my briefcase along the way—for future use. I am not talking about the fundamentals of the faith, but more of Christian living issues. I didn’t have a lot of time or a lot of interest in diving into the cultural debates on music, dress, facial hair, etc., and while what I was hearing from the experts didn’t always make a lot of sense, at that time of my life I just took people at their word. I was young, hungry, and eager. I really just wanted to get out into ministry and serve the Lord. There were a lot of things in my briefcase like that, that I really didn’t take time to examine in depth because I viewed them as “secondary.” I just took what I got, didn’t ask a lot of questions, and got busy starting a church.
Some of the concerns came when I pulled these files out of my briefcase and started teaching new converts what the Christian life should look like. Some of the these secondary things were not getting through and I and I was starting to get frustrated. I tried being more intense but that didn’t seem to work either. Then, having kids and working with college students brought this challenge to a whole new level. What does the Bible say? What doesn’t it say? It caused me to dig deeper. I started to rethink some things…with an open Bible.
So what do you do when you find you were wrong? Dig in, hold your position, and yell louder? Or, do you admit it and then do the right thing? I have had friends tell me, “I’m too old to change,” or “It’s just too hard to do at this point.” Well, we may be old and it may be hard, but I also think we have a great opportunity to encourage and influence this next generation by being honest with the Word of God and bold in doing what is right—no matter what the cost. They need that kind of leadership. They need that kind of example.
There are a number of things I have had to rethink—and at somewhat of an accelerated pace. Having kids of my own and being around students all the time has forced me many times to be honest with what the Bible does and doesn’t say. Over the past several years I have read through the scriptures multiple times—all with an intense desire to find what pleases God. I have come to the conclusion that some of my positions, though well intended, were more conservatively pragmatic than they were biblical.
Times are changing more quickly for my children than they were for me. It will be better for me to pass on to them the ability to discern the Word, as well as the times they live in, than to follow traditions, many of which have lost relevance.
We should not fear taking a fresh look, rethinking—with an open Bible, and an open mind.