Poison. That’s how a friend recently described my new “convictions.” I had given him answers to some questions and he disagreed with them. A few years back we would have provided the same answers to those questions. But today my answers do not agree with his Charismatic theology. And he called it poison. I remember when my beliefs were first confronted. I thought it was poison, too.
In 2013, I heard Paul Washer label Benny Hinn as a false prophet. That sermon was so important that I noted it in my journal. I saw Benny Hinn as a prophet and a miracle worker. All faith healers were heavily anointed men and women who were used by God to work great miracles and deliver people from their numerous afflictions. And hearing Washer call him as a false prophet was the beginning of doubts for me.
The years following 2013 were tough ones. I was living my Christian life in doubt. I was a worker in a Pentecostal assembly, which had borrowed so much of her practices from several African traditional religions. I would often cringe inwardly as I listened to several teachers within that denomination mishandle the Scriptures. I didn’t always know what was right. Many times all I could say was, “That’s not in the Bible. That cannot be in the Bible.”
Eventually, those feelings of doubt became a characteristic of my walk with the Lord. They led me to develop an interest in Church History and Theology. So I read about the Crusades and the Reformation. I discovered men like Calvin and Luther. I learnt about Arminianism and Calvinism. But my doubts often led me astray. I stumbled upon numerous “discernment ministries.” And when I often thought I had found the truth about a matter, I would discover that another position sounded more reasonable.
At many points I did not know if I was right or wrong. Feelings can be tricky masters. And I didn’t realize at the time that I was a willing slave. I didn’t fully understand the dangers of relying on feelings, and I would not rely on how I feel about an issue today to make definitive statements about faith. But the seed of doubt sown through a sermon grew until it set me at odds with all that I had been taught about God.
Those feelings of doubts led me to ask questions and to study. And after years of struggling with many of the answers I found, I eventually identified with the Reformed faith. God used those doubts to lead me to the truth about Himself as revealed in His Word. I bumped my head many times along the way, but I think I came out just fine.
Perhaps one of the reasons people are not willing to ask questions and have doubts is because they have been told by their religious leaders that the Christian life is one of faith, and that a Christian life that appears logical in any way isn’t supported by the Scriptures. Tongues are not meant to be understood. Prophecies are not to be judged. Only carnal Christians rely on their intellect to judge matters of faith.
But the Bible says otherwise. We are to love God with our minds (Matt. 22:37). God doesn’t call his people to abandon their minds in their worship of Him. A mindless Christianity is no Christianity at all. And we must test all things and judge from Scripture if they are true, even if they seem, at first, like “poison” to our ears.
I’m certainly grateful for the poison that brought me here.