Rebuilding Faith – Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog
If your beliefs don’t change, you aren’t growing.
I was listening to a sermon on doubt this week, and the pastor made the above statement. I may not have quoted it perfectly, but you have this basic idea.
Honestly, I have struggled over the past decade with some of the changes in my beliefs. My foundation has not changed. I still believe that the Bible is the infallible and infallible word of God. I believe he is inspired and inspired of God. I still believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God in human form who came to earth. I believe he suffered and died for my sins. I believe on the third day he rose from the dead, conquering death forever and giving me eternal life!
But there are so many things that I not believe more.
I don’t believe divorce is a horrible sin that disqualifies someone from ministry forever. In fact, I no longer believe that divorce is always a sin. I believe sin is always involved in divorce, but sometimes a marriage is so dysfunctional and damaging that the act of divorce is nothing more than a legal acknowledgment of the breaking of the covenant.
I don’t believe God hates divorce because it is a horrible sin. I think he hates divorce, but only because it breaks his heart to see his children in pain. It breaks her heart to see the pain and destruction caused to those affected by divorce. I believe the passage has often been taken out of the context of God’s passion for godly marriages, for spouses to treat each other with love and respect.
I don’t believe adultery is the only biblical reason for divorce as I’ve been taught all my life. I believe Jesus used divorce as the reason divorce was acceptable, advising against the prevalent attitude then that allowed divorce without reason.
I don’t believe adultery is a failure on the part of both people in a marriage. More often than not, it is the result of a hard heart that is determined to make life its own way. I believe that marriage requires two people who are fully committed to God and to each other and that divorce requires only one hard heart.
I don’t believe remarriage after divorce is a sin. From Deuteronomy remarriage was authorized in the event of divorce. Divorce was kindness to women, kindness that allowed them to remarry so there was financial support. I believe the teachings which prohibited remarriage are a gross misinterpretation of the scriptures that were created to prevent people from getting divorced.
I believe in the sanctity of marriage, that God created marriage as a gift between a man and a woman for life. I believe it’s meant to be a picture of His love for us, His bride. I believe this can be an incredible blessing for two hearts determined to do things God’s way. But, I don’t believe God intended us to stick it out at all costs. I don’t believe He wants us to be trapped in our own home, desperately trying to appease an angry, emotionally and verbally abusive spouse.
Have I begun to interpret the scriptures in light of my situation?
Or do I allow the scriptures to interpret my situation?
This is a question I have grappled with over and over again, and I truly believe that the changes in my beliefs are a result of growing up.
Truly, the changes in my beliefs are the result of deconstructing some of the false interpretations of the scriptures that have been passed down from generation to generation. It is the result of comparing human interpretations with the character of God. It is the result of examining these beliefs under the microscope of the Scriptures.
The truth is, we all need to live in a way that we examine and re-examine our beliefs on a regular basis. We all need to be open to the reality that we may believe certain human interpretations are incorrect. We must recognize that there are many false teachings which have been passed down from generation to generation.
What about our Westernized Christianity? I’m not even sure I have words for what we’ve been taught so often! Show me in the scriptures where the Christian life is free from trouble, free from persecution. Show me where the Christian life is a life of ease and comfort. I believe these beliefs have trapped us here in a false view of Christianity.
Paul was beaten and shipwrecked. Abraham was a stranger and a stranger. Moses put his life in danger by going before Pharaoh. David was hunted like prey. None of the heroes of faith in the Bible lived on an easy street. Instead, they faced dangers and tribulations, but their faith carried them through. Their faith was a foundation that brought them peace despite the life they were living.
And how do we live our faith? Why are we upset when life is wrong? Why do we wait for blessings and our faith shatters in the face of devastation?
Maybe it’s because we have a false mark of Christianity. Perhaps this is because we have clung to human interpretations of the scriptures rather than the infallible word of God.
Maybe it’s because we need to deconstruct our faith in order to be able to rebuild a real faith.