Comfort & Counsel

Home  Articles  Site map

Pointers along the way #76

We all make many mistakes
- Jacob Ninan

This is what the Apostle James, who is known for his plain speaking, said (Jas.3:1,2). He included himself, even though he was an apostle, and did not claim any infallibility. We can say that our fallibility pertains to every area of practical life. We were all born as fallen people (Ps.51:5), and even when we were born again we remained fallible. The only one who is infallible is God Himself, and not even the angels.

James was referring especially to teaching when he mentioned this. We all make mistakes even when it comes to doctrines. If any one of us imagines that we have got all the doctrines right, down to the punctuation marks, we are fooling ourselves.

It does not appear that everyone acknowledges this. Practically every church group implicitly claims perfection in their doctrines, even when they prefer to keep silent about their practices. When they find that there are differences in their doctrines compared to others, they prefer to start their own Bible schools to propagate their views rather than acknowledge that they could be wrong too in some points.

I don't think there are any two Christians in the whole world who agree completely on all doctrinal matters, unless one of them has chosen to let the other do all the thinking.

Even when we agree on the essential and major aspects of doctrine, we differ on relative emphasis of different aspects and especially on the applications. This is unavoidable while we are still on earth because we are all so different from one another as human beings in many respects. Our temperament, intelligence, upbringing, social and cultural background, church experience, ministry, etc., all play some part in shaping our views and understanding.

The net result is that we see things differently, and none of us sees the full picture. As Paul said, we see only in part, and that too dimly (1Co.13:12). If we recognise and acknowledge this for ourselves, we can stop being pigheaded about our own views, and be willing to give respect to other people's views and learn from them.

It is not that we accept everyone's views. Many times we may have to disagree with them. But if we are willing to keep an open mind and examine their views, it may help us to round off the rough edges in our own views. And certainly it will help us to have a more sober estimate of ourselves.