I’ve previously mentioned my teenage pilgrimage, going from church to church in search of the truth. Not too many months after I graduated from high school I decided that my search was over – I was going to look to the Bible, the Word of God, as my sole source. I believed that it contained all the knowledge necessary to know who God is, how to be saved, and how to live in a godly fashion.
Over forty years have passed since then and I still believe it. Of course I screwed up on many occasions – I could give lectures on “What Not to Do.” But God, by His mercy and grace, forgave me every time.
One amusing aspect of my walk with God is that I have never joined a church. I’ve attended many church services as a visitor. I earned a BTh (bachelor of theology – Scriptural) at a Bible college without ever becoming a member of a denomination. I even did three years of missionary work in three separate cities (within the USA) without becoming an employee of a church.
What, I figured, would be the point? My salvation rests solely upon believing in and accepting the accomplished works of Jesus Christ. I certainly won’t get “holier” by signing a registry.
One “shortcoming” of this approach to biblical understanding is a lack of knowledge of theology. I’ve studied the Bible on my own with concordances and lexicons. I’ve taken classes taught by men who are serious about the Bible in the way that I am serious. I’ve worked with men much, much smarter and better educated than myself regarding biblical languages and textual criticism. I read biographies of Luther and Calvin. What I never did was take a course in theology.
In sharing the good news with people I never felt the need to spout theological jargon.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I started looking at some websites written by Christians. Seriously! I’m a late adopter. I found that many such Christians used words that I had never seen (in the Bible) as shorthand for their doctrine. I found it quite confusing.
Honestly, I didn’t even know what the word “Evangelical” meant. Does it have something to do with evangelism? I had to spend a lot of time with Wikipedia to figure out what the heck folks were talking about.
I suppose, if you must pigeonhole me theologically, you’ll have to stick to the “Five Solae.” You won’t be too far off.
This, I hope, will be the first post in an ongoing series. Since I don’t seem to fit any of the standard categories of “Protestant” I thought it might be a good idea to give examples of how I work with the Bible. I pray that this series will be useful for others who want to get to know God and His Word better.
I certainly don’t have all the answers – and I’m willing to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But I am certain about some things – and that’s what I’d like to share about here.
Please note that I normally use the King James Version of the Bible. It’s the version I’m most comfortable with. There are other excellent translations available.