People are losing faith in religion; many are leaving their churches. I think the following quote captures the sentiment of our age:
We know from acquaintance that there is a goodly number of sensible and intelligent persons, at this day, entirely disgusted with many things called religious; and that, upon the whole, it is an age of inquiry.
The funny thing about this quote is that it was written on July 4, 1823 by a man named Alexander Campbell in the introduction to a new publication called The Christian Baptist. Campbell was frustrated by all the denominational bickering that was going on in his day. He called for a re-examining of all varieties of Christian religion and a return to primitive Christianity.
His solution was to cast aside all the religious cruft that had accumulated over the years, and turn to the Bible as the source of truth. He quickly discovered that when you make the pursuit of truth your primary goal, you must humble yourself and be willing to admit when you have been wrong about something.
He says it this way:
We have been taught that we are liable to err; we have found ourselves in many errors; we candidly acknowledge that we have changed our views on many subjects, and that our views have changed out practice. … If it be a humiliating thing to say we have been wrong in our belief and practice, we must abase ourselves thus far.
His number one rule to follow in the pursuit of truth is worth our consideration today:
Never to hold any sentiment or proposition as more certain than the evidence on which it rests; or in other words that our assent to any proposition should be precisely proportioned to the evidence on which it rests.
Too often we turn to the Bible to prove what we already know to be true. I fear that the “evidence” we find may often prove to be too shaky to support the position that we take. Instead we should open our hearts and minds and seek the truth. We must prayerfully question everything we “know” to be true.1
Always begin your study with prayer. Pray that the Holy Spirit guides your study. Pray that you’re not bringing a personal agenda to the scripture. Pray that God reveals his truth to you. ↩