Avoiding Bias, Part 3
There is no power strong enough to batter God's truth down, so don’t be afraid of approaching Scripture with an open mind.
A common situation comes up when talking to someone from another church about a fundamental Bible topic. For example, let’s say you’re looking at the devil and Satan. Your adversary (no pun intended) believes in a supernatural devil.
They read passages like Zechariah 3 and Revelation 12 and say, “See, it’s clear— the devil is a supernatural being!” You, however, don’t believe in a supernatural devil. You read the exact same passages and say, “See, it’s clear—the devil is not a supernatural being!”
Both, reading the same passages through their particular lens, are satisfied with their interpretation. Therefore, the conversation reaches an impasse.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Each person in this scenario reads Scripture through a lens constructed by their religious perspective, whether that is Christadelphian or orthodox Christian. It’s challenging to avoid placing that lens in front of the passage that you’re reading, in the same way that it’s challenging to avoid comprehending a sentence written in your first language when you look at it.
Somehow, we need to make a new lens, one that removes bias brought on by our preconceived ideas, to the best of our ability. Yes, that’s a tall order and requires spiritual integrity that we genuinely are searching for truth and not just going with the Christadelphian status quo. We ask our Christian friends to do that when preaching to them; it behooves us to do the same.
spiritual integrity needs to be at the forefront of our search for truth
The first hurdle we need to get over is the feeling we sometimes have that the true gospel is founded on sand. It isn’t; it’s built on the eternal rock of God’s faithfulness. There is no power strong enough to batter that truth down, so don’t be afraid of approaching Scripture with an open mind. If what we Christadelphians preach is correct or incorrect, it will be manifested, and there won’t be anything that will contradict it.
Second, that spiritual integrity mentioned before needs to be at the forefront of our search for truth. It’s one thing to open Scripture with an open mind; it’s another thing to play devil’s advocate or purposefully label yourself as a maverick. That can quickly turn into wanting to show Christadelphians are wrong about something.
Third, we must be prepared to put in some hard work. One thing I like to say to Trinitarians is, “That’s great you believe in the Trinity. It took the Church Fathers several hundred years to come up with it. How long did you spend studying?” Of course, we don’t have time to reinvent the wheel and do what someone like John Thomas did and spend our whole lives searching for the true gospel. In many ways, we stand on the shoulders of giants.
But that’s only a good thing if we understand that our Pioneer brethren’s true heritage is their appetite for truth. The majority of religious thought throughout the centuries has been shaped by creedal dogma. We Christadelphians are no different.
So, challenge yourself to try to put aside your biased lens and construct a new one made with the intellectual honesty and integrity of someone who genuinely wants to know what is true and right.
Simi Hills, CA