Being Unorthodox

Since I became a child of God, about twenty years ago, I’ve been uncomfortable with the orthodox teaching about what happens after death. This is one of those awkward positions where you read the Bible, and get an idea about what the truth of a matter is, only to find this opinion is unorthodox or even “heretical” by the standards of the majority. So what do you do?

The situation is made difficult because orthodoxy is subjective, and depends on what sort of believers you mix with. People who have only spent time with dodgy Charismatics, for example, are often unaware of this whole other Christian world of belief, literature and history. You can talk about a fundamental doctrine, and find them taken aback by the suggestion that everyone they know personally or whose books they’ve read could all be wrong on the matter.

So let’s say you have an unpopular understanding of something in the Bible. The first step is to chat to others about it – people you trust. They may identify a flaw in your thinking. Then you could search out online articles about the subject. Always aim to be as neutral as possible. In other words, tell yourself you’re sitting on the fence until you know for certain something’s true. That way, you won’t start defending a position just to save face. After all, if you identify yourself with a certain doctrine, it can be embarrassing to do a climb-down later.

There’s also a sinful desire to be special. For some, it’s not enough to be an heir of God. They crave to be unique, like the world does (not realising they’re already unique). For some, they imagine a special connection to God through direct revelations, which we see with Pentecostals and Charismatics; but for others, they want to believe they’ve come to an understanding about a doctrine, which only they have. This is why being unorthodox can be an attractive label.

Think on this: if almost all believers throughout history have held a certain doctrine which is contrary to what you believe, it’s more likely that you’re wrong. If all our best preachers and Bible scholars say you’re mistaken, you probably are. However, although this should make you extremely cautious, you should not be frightened into giving up your conclusions. In other words, if you’re going to go against the grain, make extra sure you’re looking at the Bible carefully. How thankful we are that Luther went against the power of the church in his day!

My own search for truth about the matter of the afterlife continues. I like to think I’d drop these strange doctrines right away if someone persuaded me I was wrong. So far, the arguments I’ve heard are weak. This only encourages me to solidify what I believe, or find someone who can give me a good enough reason to abandon my path of thought.

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~ by Animus on December 14, 2014.

2 Responses to “Being Unorthodox”

  1. Always, always, always, go to the Scriptures. Look at the verse in immediate context and then in the greater context around that verse. Finally, look throughout the Scriptures for clarification on the verse, or doctrines. Most importantly, pray and ask the Author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit to help you to understand the verse/doctrine and know that He will. The opinions of men matter little, we must believe what God has to say in His Word the Bible. God bless you:)

  2. Thank you, Eliza. I think we’re in agreement.

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