On Facebook recently I shared an article by Rachel Held Evans on Facebook. It was a great article with a simple desire to point out that asking tough questions about the text is not a slippery slope to faith abandonment.
The sharing of this article sparked a dialogue both online and offline with a number of people which got me thinking and led to the title of this post. I may not be in the same camp on a number of theological issues as much as mainstream evangelicalism. That is one of the reasons I have no problem labeling myself as a non-evangelical and stating that I resonate with different faith traditions more than evangelicalism. Although I ask the tough questions about the text and have come to some different conclusions, I can boldly say I have very good, well thought out, exegetically honest, and communally vetted conclusions.
So why do I bring this up in the first place? Because I have gotten the sense through the years, from those who question where I have landed, that they seem to think that I don’t accept the stock answers because I am stubborn, rebellious or perhaps something worse. I get the sense some think I reject the standard issues just because. I have never gotten the sense from any of the more controversial conversations on controversial subjects that I may actually have deeply researched my conclusion. It seems they assume I have not, yet they have and that is why they are right and I am wrong. When in all actuality nothing can be farther from the truth.
As much as it shocks me to think about this reality, I happen to be a public authority and noted thought leader in the technology industry. This position has earned me a spot as one of the few technology columnists for a number of publications including TIME.com. I speak regularly to captains and leaders of industry at CEO summits, industry trade shows, and many other public and private forums as an authority / expert within my field of knowledge. To accomplish something like this one does not formulate opinions or expertise without deeply researching, analyzing, and vetting ideas in order to make conclusions that I do. I would approach conclusions made to my faith with no less diligence than I do in my professional practice.
This is why I titled this post the way I did. I have finally reached a point in vetting my beliefs and working out my salvation if you will where I am absolutely confident in the areas that for me are black and white (there are still grey areas). I know where I stand on many issues, I know why I stand there, and I can back it up with sound plausible exegesis.
It wasn’t easy and I have been fortunate to have access to noted biblical scholars, heads of noted theology schools, as well as read most of the major scholarly works from a wide range of scholars from a wide range of faith traditions. This journey started when I was 27 and I am now 33. That is how long it took for me and for many it probably takes longer.
I realize for many of those I engage with debate and conversation with, that they have as well vetted and rigorously wrestled with these issues and come out on a different side. I respect that wholeheartedly and in most cases can see where they are coming from. I value their efforts and their convictions and have no problem to agree to disagree and go build the Kingdom together.
With many of my answers to some of the tougher and perhaps more controversial questions about the text it is important to note the vast diversity which is the Christian tradition. If you only explore answers to questions within the very short and heavily Calvin based history of evangelicalism then you are missing the bigger picture.
For many Christians the questions that pop out in my mind about many biblical issues may never come up or they don’t matter as much to them to answer as they do to me. I am OK with that and I fully acknowledge that reality. The truth is not everyone thinks like me and that is OK. This journey is still going as there are still matters that lie in tension, in a good way, in my brain. But there is a peace in confidently knowing not only what you believe but why you believe it.