My last three posts, if they communicated according to my intent, demonstrated just a few of the ways I've struggled with error in my Christian life. I could write a great deal more about my struggles, and doing so might encourage people to delve into Scripture to better understand God's perspective. Actually, I hope you do just that! Judge my words, not by popular opinion or your subjective experiences, but by the Bible in proper context.
I see no reason to continue chronicling my messy follies at this point. Undoubtedly, future posts will mention various episodes involving ways I've misunderstood the Word of God at different stages of my life. At least, I hope I'll have the humility to admit my mistakes. But for now, I believe I've made the point that I fell into several wrong beliefs because I lacked clear doctrine.
Paradoxically, early in my Christian life, I sat under one pastor who did teach expositional Bible Studies. He did, to a lesser degree than most people in the fellowship, embrace Charismatic theology, but his main emphasis remained on the authority of Scripture. The Lord used this pastor's teaching to give me enough of a doctrinal ballast that I never totally gave in to the off-base leanings that captivated most of my friends.
For example, even at the peak of my involvement with Charismatic practices, I kept an element of reserve. In many instances, I'd pull back from things like being "slain in the Spirit" or "holy laughter" because they just didn't line up with Scripture. My conservative stance frustrated my friends. Sometimes, it also frustrated me, if you want to know the truth. But I kept trying (very imperfectly, to be sure) to measure experience by the standard of Scripture.
In the past twelve years, and particularly in the last two or three, the Lord has led me into Reformed theology. This past April, John and I began attending a Baptist church with Reformed leanings (which we officially joined in September), and in July God brought that church a pastor who shares many convictions that John and I now hold.
This turn to Reformed theology hasn't felt like a new phase for me, however. Rather, I feel as if I've returned home. I've learned the crucial importance of sound doctrine, and have seen doctrine correct my thinking in many areas. Although I understand how easily even true Christians can fall into the errors that I frequently address in these blog posts, I also firmly believe that my failures intensify my desire to speak out for truth. May God's people unite, not by discarding sound doctrine, but as a result of it!