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Don't we need to think?
- Jacob Ninan
Some Christians insist that we only need to 'believe', and any attempt to 'think' is seen as being against faith. It's a wrong understanding of faith itself. Faith is based on facts which God reveals to us (Ro.10:17), and we can't understand facts without thinking. It is especially dangerous these days when wrong teachings abound, to believe what someone tells us, even if he has a great name, without questioning its validity with respect to what the Bible says. Even teachings quoting the Bible cannot be taken simply as they are presented, without comparing them with foundational truths revealed from the whole Bible. This involves some amount of thinking on our part.
Unfortunately not everyone who teaches has thought things through before making claims of 'truths' they have discovered. There was a famous preacher, e.g., who taught from He.11:1 using the archaic language of the King James version that faith is a 'substance', contributing to the belief that it can be accumulated with exercise of mind and words, and then used to claim things in return from God, in the same way as we exchange 'points' we earn to get some gifts! This is not just because of the KJV language, but because he did not bother to think of what faith means in the context of the rest of the Bible. Instead he just took one verse 'literally' and made a doctrine of it.
What do we do when we hear some new teaching? Do we just accept it because it is a 'big name' who teaches it, or do we go to the Bible and check it out? There is a big name teaching that we don't need to confess any sins now because they have already been forgiven when Jesus died on the cross. Another teaches that every sin, from birth to the present, must be confessed in order to receive salvation! Yet another one teaches that when we die if there is any sin that we have failed to confess we will not be admitted to heaven! These have an appearance of being 'radical' and different from common Christian understanding and get accepted just because of that, without checking with the Bible.
We understand that the old covenant has been replaced by the new (He.8:13), and that the old covenant taught things that were only symbolic of what was to come in the new covenant (Col.2:16,17). Don't we need to think about various teachings that people bring up from the Old Testament, and see if they are applicable at all to us under the new covenant, and what their real meaning is in the new covenant as different from the symbolism they had in the old covenant? 'Holy' places and things, 'clean' foods, special dresses, special days, etc., have given way to matters of the heart and attitude (Mt.27:51;Mk.7:19). People who bless handkerchiefs or water, or 'place the blood of Jesus' on doors or walls have not understood the passing away of such old covenant symbols.
Let us stop swallowing every teaching that comes down to us or practice of rituals, and develop the habit of thinking things through using the word of God.