I frequently ask questions. I ask other people. I ask the Bible (so to speak). I ask logic. I ask history. I ask science. I ask direct observation. And I ask memory.
I have been noting recently that at least one question seems to be frequently avoided by Christians. And what a shame it is, for such a question could prove to open a door to a whole new arena of understanding. Yet it remains largely unasked, uninvestigated, and even avoided. Here it is:
What, exactly was supposed to change in Jesus’ church from the First Century until now?
Related questions prompted by this one are these:
- What, if anything, was specifically NOT supposed to change?
- How do we know what was supposed to change and what was not supposed to change?
- Is it OK with God if believers change belief and practice as they see best, or did God intend for all believers to follow an already-established set of beliefs and practices?
- If believers (or if “the church” today) were to make unauthorized changes, how would we know? Would God intervene in any way? If so, how? And if not, why not? Did he intervene in the First Century when the church (or individuals in it) veered from the established beliefs and practices?
These questions, of course, open up a huge can of worms for believers. They are difficult and inconvenient, and perhaps they threaten to upset a careful balance that exists in the minds of many.
I will answer these questions later as time permits, but for now, I wanted to get them on the record because they are important in their own right, even without answers. Indeed, in a way, I believe that these questions are even more important than the answers to them, for they constitute a test of the way one thinks. They can show the difference between who has the courage to face them and who is a coward. They can show the difference between who is honest and responsible to reality, and who doesn’t mind operating outside reality.