“As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:10-11, NIV)
In the news today (at least in the news I read), an influential pastor has come out and “changed his mind (not his exact words)” on a biblical doctrine that has been clearly taught by the church for over 2,000 years. In one sense, this isn’t surprising. Nevertheless, it is always disappointing.
Still, I appreciate his honesty: He leads the jaw-dropping statement with, “As far as I’m concerned…” That preliminary set-up says volumes.
I typically find this is the case with me, too. There are plenty of Scripture passages that are clear, but I don’t like. If I am to interpret them more to my liking (and against their meaning), it’s usually accompanied with a “as far as I’m concerned” (whether I actually say it or not).
In our post-modern society, the Evangelical doctrine of the authority of Scripture is more important than it has ever been. The reason is because the Scriptures often interpret me as much or more than I interpret them. “As far as I’m concerned” exegesis reminds me that I am still self-centered and want what I want…not necessarily what God wants.
That’s the reason Luke singles out the Bereans in Acts 17. The nobility of their character is found in the fact that they cared first and foremost about what God wants. They were willing to change their minds, only as the Scriptures dictated.
Related to these doctrines of the church that are being weighed against the zeitgeist of our times, we should have the same opinion: “I’ll change my mind when God changes his.”