Opinion or fact?

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Marcus Aurelius

My first reaction (as a Christian) is: “Of course not! We know the truth, the truth is a person. Jesus says of Himself He is the truth. The Bible is full of facts, not of opinions. On those facts we base our opinion. If you are mixing facts and opinions, before you know it we are on a slippery slope. Then nothing is sure any more and what use is your faith then as an anchor for your soul?”

But look at all those different churches. They all have an opinion about Jesus and all have an interpretation of certain parts of the Bible. Look at history, look at other cultures and you see even more variations. Is there one true church and is the rest wrong? Is there a mother church with the pure teachings and is the rest slightly of track?

Some 25 years ago my beliefs were completely clear to me: creation in six days, Jesus son of God, redemption by faith, the works. When I came into contact with other churches, my first reaction was to judge them by their theology. When they believed the same things as I did, it was all right, it was safe. No chance of being blown here and there by every wind of teaching and to get on a wrong path. No chance I should have to put a little question mark behind my holy convictions.

When they didn’t, that was inconvenient. You can’t take the Bible serous and then everybody extracts something different from it, can you? And because I was convinced I believed the right things, they had to be wrong, with big right and wrong discussions as a consequence.

In the mean time I found out that believing doesn’t mean you think certain facts are true, but that you have a relationship with God. You believe in God like André Hazes (a famous Dutch singer songwriter) sings in “She Believes In Me”. His wife maybe doesn’t understand André, but she believes in him, she believes it will work out in the end, she believes he will do as he says, she believes in who he is. In this way we believe in God. You know Him (more or less) and you know that, even you don’t understand much about it, it will be all right in the end. Believing has everything to do with faith and less with facts and knowledge.

Facts and knowledge are supportive to discovering who God is. That’s why it is so much fun to meet people from other churches. From their tradition they have a certain perspective on God and they maybe know a facet you have never seen before. They may have experienced something with God in their life that teaches you something about Him.

Opinions and perspectives from others can help you extend the knowledge of the facts and the truth about God. They are not a threat but an enrichment to your beliefs and your faith.

Preachers goal: Avoid the elitist belief that your theology is superior to everyone else’s. Brain Houston, twitter 3/1/17

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