One man’s truth is another man’s heresy. In fact, for many all of us, many of our truths of yesterday are our heresies of today. Let me elaborate from my own life examples.
When I was a little kid, like 4, I believed in the Boogie Monster. It didn’t help matters that my older brother (8 years older), who was put in charge of my sister and me when our parents went out for the evening, would stage an attack just outside the house after dark, complete with horrible screams, and pounding on the walls and windows. He’d even go to the trouble of smearing ketchup on his face and a tearing his shirt. When he burst through the door, he’d look all wild and freaked out. I just wanted to hide under the bed till Mom and Dad got home.
As I got a little older and shed my fear of the Boogie Monster, something far more foreboding replaced it.
I grew up in a major hell-fire-and-brimstone preaching church. We had revivals at least twice a year where they showed the terror-inducing, horrible movie, “A Thief in the Night,” in order to demonstrate what would happen to every person who didn’t say the sinner’s prayer before the rapture. In addition, this particular church taught that any known unconfessed sin put you back in the “unbeliever” category, which meant that if Jesus came back tonight, while you were sleeping, and you had lied that day and not told Jesus you were sorry—well, so long for eternity to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, sucker! I often confessed even my unknown sins, just in case.
As I got even older, I realized the complete fallacy that I could “lose my salvation” over any unconfessed sin. In fact, in college, God promised me that I was legally adopted as His child and that nothing I could ever do would make Him go back on that commitment. Well, for me, that settled the matter and I never worried about being “left behind” again (sorry, Jerry). Not only that, as I began to study the whole rapture doctrine, I realized that was just another big, scary lie that started in the 1800s.
As I moved through early and middle adulthood, so many of my earlier “theologies” changed, such that I am hardly the same person anymore. All that got me thinking about how we have this thing we call “orthodox truth,” as if there is this one way of thinking that we all agree is the only true way to think, yet even within ourselves we change and grow and adjust to the new truths presented before us that make the old truths not ring so true anymore.
As you can see from my newest book due out this month, leaping out at you from the sidebar on my homepage, (Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire) my “truths of yesterday” have evolved dramatically. Some people may think I’ve gone off the deep end. But I believe there are others of you who realize that your questions have outgrown your teachers, and that some things just don’t add up—it is you who just may end up in the deep end with me. And that is okay. Ask any diver—it’s in the deep waters where the exciting things take place and people are transformed.
Part of the reason I think truth can be so elusive is that it is dynamic and living—on the move —as you would expect from a living, breathing person. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Truth is a Person, not a statue, a doctrine, or a list of 10 things we believe from now until Kingdom come. To follow and encounter truth, you have to be on the move.
Don’t stop learning, listening, and growing. A lot of information is becoming available to people like you and me (regular Joes) that has never before been easily accessible. Not only is there a lot to learn, but there is also a lot to unlearn. A lot can happen in 2,000 years. A lot did happen. Take a journey with me and discover how great change can be!
I think it’s time for all hell to break loose.