Have you ever gone to a bookstore or library and looked at the Theology or Biblical Studies sections? Depending on where you’re at you may find a very wide or very narrow viewpoints from Bible scholars and theologians throughout different historical time periods. I love picking out books that are from well-known theologians and I even enjoy picking out books from lesser-known scholars. I know the hesitancy or temptation of many people is to only pick up and read books written by our favorite people or people who you could see yourself living in agreement with more or less of the time when you are reading their material.
While it is understandable to think that only fruitful efforts of theological inquiry will occur if you read those most close to your spectrum, I actually tend to disagree. I think the key point is to be a good student of the Scriptures and ask questions about how authors use the context of the Bible to make their points. Fortunately, we can also look at the conversation that has been taking place for nearly 2,000 years in church history. Church history can inform us of changes that have been made in order to clarify points of theology, refute heresy, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We shouldn’t be afraid to hear out other’s ideas if we keep a solid grounding in Scripture. We must also understand that if we come to places of disagreement about theology with authors, neighbors, or fellow church attendees that we don’t need to question their salvation in God, but more their beliefs about God. Dealing with heresy requires swift action to realign ourselves with correct biblical teaching, but this is not what my post is mainly about. Faith as small as a mustard seed can save a soul; but mature faith is grown by a community of the Word, that lives for the Word made flesh, applying orthodoxy (right beliefs) in their orthopraxy (right practice of faith). The fruit of our faith is a very strong factor about where our faith is rooted- in Christ or in something else.
This is how I believe I will continue in my ministry to complete the call of Ephesians 4:12-13
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.