God’s Word: The Only Protection Against the Winds of Theology [Excerpts]
Jaw and hands clenched, knuckles white, I fought the sporadic gusts of wind that threatened to wrest the wheel from my control. With each renewed gale the Explorer threatened to skate off the corridor of ice that now constituted I-29. Every quarter mile—or less—we saw yet another car, truck, or semi that had careened into one of the ditches on either side of the interstate. Others were pulled off, idling on the shoulder.
I continued on, determined to reach home after a long winter weekend in Minnesota. Despite the relative chill of the vehicle’s cabin, I felt a thin sheen of sweat on my brow as I glanced over at my wife who was similarly on edge and frequently checking on our frightened children in the back seat. One false move and we would join the other travelers, waiting out the blizzard in a ditch.
Perhaps you have had a similar driving experience, perhaps not; but if you are a fellow traveler through the life after Adventism, then you’ve almost certainly had a parallel journey. In Adventism you have “the Truth” on nearly every topic imaginable, and you have the assurance of being in God’s true remnant church. Things aren’t nearly that simple after Adventism, though. In fact, there’s a good chance that you, like me, have spent some time lurching back and forth between one ditch or another.
When I first came out of Adventism, I found myself flirting with some of the more fringe elements at the edges of the charismatic movement. Over-steering back from the brink of that ditch, I went in the opposite direction and drove straight down into a liberalized version of the seeker-sensitive movement. I spun my tires in that ditch for quite a while before God pulled me and my family out and got us back on the road of our spiritual journey.
So how did God get us back on track and where He wanted us? The answer is through a focus on the Word. Early in my journey, God had introduced me to the line-by-line exegetical teaching of a pastor named Bryan Clark….I continued to listen to Bryan’s sermons online while attending church elsewhere. Hearing the Bible taught like that was the equivalent of refocusing on the road and allowing the ditches to fade into peripheral vision.
At the risk of pushing the analogy too far, the Bible paints the solid white lines at the edge of the highway. It tells us what is in bounds, what is out of bounds, and where the ditches are. It also highlights the center line, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which keeps us focused on moving forward in the right direction. Having these guides, we can let off the gas, relax our grasp, and enjoy the ride, secure in the knowledge that God is in control.
I see so many former Adventists who, like me, seem to go from one questionable belief system to another, tossed about by the winds of theology. There is really only one remedy: getting deeply immersed in the Word while being plugged into a healthy, well-balanced community of believers. We need the Word and, as we recover from Adventism, we need the guidance the Holy Spirit provides through the church so that we can see and understand the Word in the way He intended. I eventually found that Word-centered community in my home church, and I pray that you will too. It’s time to start living the life after!