I suffer from an overly-analytical mind. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been told. I think about things and look for problems so I can fix them. I even think about thinking, and yes, I find problems at times. Identifying mistakes is good, because that means we can correct them and move forward. But one negative from this is that when there is no obvious problem, I might create one, though it’s usually for myself. Perhaps the words spoken to the Apostle Paul would better suite me, “You are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.” (Acts 26:24)
Yet the truth is, as Christians, we ought to think and we ought to know what to think about what we think. Instead, what often happens is we take a lot of Christianity for granted. We fail to ask enough questions, either to ourselves or to our teachers. And those we do ask, tend to be the “who, what, when, where and hows.” All observational to collect the “facts.” That’s good, but where’s the why?
“Why” is the golden question, and it’s the one my children ask me MOST. They are more interested in the “why” than any other thing. I can scarcely tell them ANYTHING without facing an inquisition of “whys!” And you know what? We should be more like them. For if we sought for the “why,” and found it, we’d be firmer in our faith and better received by all. To ask, and know, WHY we believe WHAT we believe. Could this be, at least in part, what Jesus had in mind when he spoke of “childlike faith?”
When Christians just accept and repeat what they are told without a careful eye to discernment, they replace true biblical faith with a gullible spirit and often are called out on it by the unbelievers who do ask the tough questions. And that is not a noble quality for a group of people who claim to “Know the truth.” We walk by faith, yes. But is faith to be blind or uninformed? Many of our accusers say that it is. But on the contrary, true biblical faith sees quite clearly and it is indeed “in-formed.”
We all could use a little practice at critical thinking in life. We say, do, repeat and encourage others in things we’ve heard but given little thought to. And in ministry, especially, we must ask ourselves “WHY?” Church leadership is responsible for where it takes the sheep. So I’ve begun to do this, and the results have been quite revealing in light of Scripture. Here are six FUN questions I’ve asked myself recently. I’m curious if you have ever thought about these, or others like them, and if so, what have you come away with?
1. Why do we teach that there were three magi from the East who visited Jesus?
2. Why do we refer to the “sinner’s prayer” as the formula for a person’s new birth in Christ?
3. Why do we encourage “altar calls”?
4. Why do worship leaders tell people when to stand and when to sit?
5. Why do many think the Apostle Paul fell from his horse on the road to Damascus?
6. Why do we often say “I’m going to church” or say “I’m at the church” as a location?