Uncertain Theology in Pastoral Leadership

January 13, 2006

I am going to make a confession: “I’m not sure what I believe.” Does that make me unfit for spiritual leadership? Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that I have convictions about (deity of Christ, inerrancy of original texts, virgin birth, etc…). However, there are some things that I have yet to settle on, and I am beginning to think that I never will.

For example, origins. My current position is what has been historic in my family, literal six-day creation, young earth. I say this is a “position” and not so much a “conviction” at my present point in life. I have no problem with the theology of creation and a strictly literal interpretation of the first ten chapters of Genesis. I also, am willing to fellowship and give credence to my brothers and sisters that hold to a broader understanding of these Scriptures (I don’t feel it is necessary to elaborate). My real question is, “Can a pastor teach that ‘we just don’t know’?” There are godly men on both sides of the argument.

Another example, for me, would be eschatology (the study of end times). Evangelical Christianity has been saturated with the Left Behind position of Dispensational Premillenialism. Historically, that is the position my family has held; but I know too many godly men that disagree with it (men I respect).

I believe God gave us the full revelation of Scripture so that we could get a glimpse of what happened at the beginning and what will happen at the end. However, the questions being asked now in our culture, are not questions that we asked in the first century (or earlier).

As I pray about planting a church, I will be the kind of pastor that is not afraid of questions, even questions pertaining to the controversies presented here. I am also not afraid of the answer, “I don’t know.” Should I be? I once hear Glenn Beck use a phrase on his talk show, “the truth as I currently understand it.” I don’t think this is an attempt at political correctness; rather, I see it as an admission that I am not infallible.

I am in favor of continued studies in these areas of controversy, but I am not in favor of letting them be controversial and points of contention in the family of God. I would agree to disagree. I am willing to admit that I might be wrong.

My focus as a pastor (should God grant that honor) will be on the here and now. There is some importance in knowing how we got to where we are, and to knowing what the future holds; but primarily, I want to see people follow Christ. I want to emphasize obedience to God and fulfillment of the mission Christ left for us. Remember, this is a pilgrimage, a journey that will not be complete in this life. We want to continually come closer to fulfulling the law of Christ. Come, walk with me.


One Response to “Uncertain Theology in Pastoral Leadership”

  1. Victoria Mabry said

    I don’t think it is a bad thing at all to say “I don’t know.” Think about how many things you think differently about now than you did several years ago. You might have said “I know that……” but today you might say “I know” and it be something entirely different. So, I agree with Glen Beck’s “the truth as I now understand it.”

    There is an excellent book “Six Days” which I have read twice. It is written by a number of scientists who are experts in different fields. There is so much information there to absorb. I have also read a book that I believe is entitled “Creation and the Great Flood” by Henry Morris. That one is deep. I am a part of that “family” you refer to that is “six-day creationists” in our thinking…though I shouldn’t speak for your Dad.

    You will find some blogs I have written regarding another favorite book of mind, “Heaven,” by one of my favorite authors, Randy Alcorn. You should definitely add this one to your reading list.

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