22 OCTOBER 2017    ARE WE IMMUNE TO ERROR IN OUR TIME? Part 2 of 5   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 There is nothing so odious about admitting we've got something wrong. That's how growth occurs. The quickest way toward truth is to say, "I need more truth." LOOKING BEYOND ONE’S OWN DOCTRINAL CULTURE    Now a monumentally important principle- grasped by few, probably admitted by fewer is that to grow in truth requires recognition that we do not possess full truth and need more truth. Put more simply: To grow requires the recognition that we can be wrong. It is the very unusual pastor or theologian who can make such an admission about long cherished doctrines. Most cannot.   We are short sighted. Steeped and immersed in the doctrines and traditions that surround us by our  spiritual culture and environment, we make assumptions that are not necessarily accurate. The believers  of Luther's day cannot all be written off as stupid, unenlightened, spiritually unresponsive people.  There were good, obedient, prayerful, Godly men and women alive then too, just as there have been in  every era. And yet these good, obedient, prayerful, Godly men and women believed that God worked  through the system of indulgences then prevalent in the Church. They were too immersed in the  tradition and doctrine of the time to be able to see beyond it.   That's an easy enough example for most of us to see. You and I are not culturally immersed in a spiritual  environment where indulgences are the norm, so we can easily see beyond that particular doctrinal  deficiency which bound the Church at a particular time in history. What is not so easy to see is that we  are immersed in a spiritual culture that produces blind spots of its own. Surrounded by that culture, we  accept the teachings and doctrines of our own spiritual teachers, priests, and pastors without asking if  there is more truth to be had out beyond the borders of the accepted theology that we have been fed all  our lives.   Escaping the pitfalls of one's own doctrinal culture has been the Achilles heel of the Church since the  apostolic age. We can't discern our own limitations any more than we can smell our own bad breath.  Objective self-analysis has never been one of the Church's strong points.    Are we really so very different than the people of Luther's day? We see the short-sightedness of their   ideas about God's work. But we cannot see the short sightedness of our own.            That's why a fresh debate is needed, just as it was needed in 1517. We've got to look up and out and beyond the blind spots and doctrinal errors embedded and ingrained and produced by the spiritual culture of our own times. We are not so unique as we self-righteously like to think. We are faced with the same need as Christians of all eras. We are not immune to the same pitfalls. Michael Phillips 2004 used by permission
Conservative Australian Anabaptist Mennonites
Weekly Truth
Home Welcome Our Beliefs Weekly Truth Sunday School A Capella Hymns General Sermons Mennonite Literature Revival Meetings Indexes Internet Links Contact Us