When Being Right Is Very Wrong

When Being Right Is Very Wrong November 19, 2017
Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t write the New Testament or the Gospels personally? Wouldn’t that have once and for all eliminated any arguments about scripture being inerrant and perfect?
Perhaps that is exactly why Jesus didn’t write it personally. Maybe He depended upon human beings who would share their understandings with us so that we would have no other choice but to discern their meaning for ourselves, question their motives, weigh their judgment, and test everything they said by the Holy Spirit.
Image via Pixaby
Isn’t this exactly why Jesus told us that it was better for us if He went away; so that He could send us the Holy Spirit who would lead us into all Truth? (See John 16:13)
If the goal was to hand us a text that could never be questioned, then Jesus Himself could have penned every word and handed it to the Apostles. But He did not do that. Instead, He allowed them to write down what they remembered, and even to disagree with one another about what exactly happened, and when, and how. He allows us to read those words today with the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who speaks to us and reveals the truth to us. He allows us to dialog with one another over what we understand and what we don’t understand.
As always, Jesus is comfortable with our questions. He wants us to work it out. He trusts us to wrestle with the unknown and to dig out the answers one at a time. He is not troubled by unanswered questions, either. Jesus was asked dozens of questions during His earthly ministry and not only did leave most of them unanswered, he usually responded with a few questions of His own; many of which also went unanswered.
We, unfortunately, are a people who are obsessed with answers. We want to “know” the truth. We want everything spelled out for us. We want a formula, but the trouble is, once we have a formula we don’t need God anymore, do we?
See, God wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to come to Him to have life, not to a book. God wants us to admit that we don’t have it all figured out by coming to Him with our questions and inquiring of Him for wisdom.
Our problem is, we don’t like to look foolish. We also don’t want to be wrong. We don’t want people to think we’re not smart, or that we don’t have it all figured out.
But the truth is, we are not so smart. We do not have all the answers. There are many great mysteries of Christ that we do not yet understand.
For example, the other day I posted on Facebook: “How to explain the Trinity: Don’t”, and in response, I received several dozen comments which attempted to do exactly what I just suggested we should not do.
I fear that many of us today are too sure of ourselves. We are immune to mystery. We are obsessed with proving to everyone else how wrong they are and how right we are.
We love being right. We have practically redefined Christianity as having the right information about God. In this paradigm, the greatest sin and heresy is to be wrong.
The fruit of this way of thinking is that anyone who disagrees with our individual theology is a heretic and anathema to us. We refuse to associate or fellowship with anyone who doesn’t hold to our doctrines. We elevate information about God to the highest level.
But when we look at the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, it seems that “Transformation” is much more important than “Information.” In fact, when Jesus says that “eternal life is to know God and His Son whom He has sent,” (See John 17:3) the word translated as “to know” in the Greek is “Ginosko” which maps to the same word used to say that “Adam knew Eve and she conceived a child.” In other words, the kind of “knowledge” Jesus is referring to in this case is an intimacy that conceives something within us.
And what is it that this “intimate knowledge of God” conceives in us? A new life in Christ.
See, God is ok with our questions. He is not troubled by our lack of wisdom, but He is concerned about our abundance of pride. Those who receive grace from God are the humble, not the proud. Remember?
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
So, maybe it’s ok to admit that we don’t have all the right information about God. Maybe we can embrace the possibility that we might have a few things wrong in our theology and get over it.
What matters isn’t having all the right information about God. What matters is to know God so intimately that His new life is conceived within us.
The Gospel is about Transformation, not Information.
Let’s give up on being right and embrace the mystery of God.
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the Amazon best-seller “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb.” He is also the co-host of “The Heretic Happy Hour” Podcast. He and his family live in Orange, CA and are part of a house church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community.

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  • Diana

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Thank you Keith ❤️ I have learned along the way that we (me) build relationships by asking heart felt questions and seeking truth. Jesus did give us the filter with which to apply all man’s (and women) teachings and that is Love.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    Have you ever wondered why Jesus accepted the Old Testament scriptures as authoritative?

  • Keith Giles

    Have you ever wondered why Jesus most often used phrases like “Moses said…” instead of “God said…”?

  • Chad Hoelzel

    “You have heard it said…. but I say”

  • Chad Hoelzel

    Jesus may have quoted the OT but he often did it selectively. I can recall a particular time when he left a part of the text about the wrath of God off and they were ready to kill him.

  • Patrick Watters

    I wonder if Ken Ham, Del Tackett and others of similar mind and heart will read this? I suspect they won’t like it? }:-/

    From a recent letter and post of my own:

    Preface: I hesitate to even get into this because it IS a distraction from the true life of following Jesus. However, we are called to “speak the Truth in LOVE”. The key is to speak it, then let it go, surrender it all to God, Great Mystery, and get on with the following; “being” love, grace, mercy and compassion to a desperately needy, broken world and people. I have had to respond to several young disciples inquiries recently, so I’m sharing this for any who may be interested?

    Genesis – the film and the discourse

    (Keeping in mind the belief on both sides that God is Sovereign, Almighty, and Infinitely Mysterious.)


    (A young friend recently viewed the film after an invitation from others. He told me he kept “hearing” a line run through his mind, “certainty suffocates the Spirit”.)


    A response by “guest writers” via Biologos http://biologos.org/blogs/guest/a-geological-response-to-the-movie-is-genesis-history

    The film responds –

    Discussion continues at Biologos –

    God alone knows for sure.

    }:- ❤️

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    I learned when I took Education for Ministry, an extension course out of Sewanee Seminary for use in the Episcopal Church that there are contradictions in the scriptures with which our Hebrew ancestors were more comfortable than those with Western thought. The contradictions were just another way of looking at events and God and the Hebrews just lived with them and probably pondered from time to time. Since then, I do the same and let the Holy Spirit help me figure it out.