When I started Bible College in 1999, I discovered a completely new world. The syncretistic revivalism I had imbibed from my home church stood in stark contrast with the majestic fortress of Reformed Evangelicalism. My conversion to this new religion was quick. Why? I feigned a careful study of the issues, but in the end, I just wanted to join the club. I wanted to play the scoffer. My pride swelled as I imagined how rapidly I was outgrowing the simple faith I left behind.
Then the conflicts began. Pastors, deacons and even my wife drew the ire of this fledgling theological Pharisee. The whole of my educational became a covert smuggling of ammunition. What a powerful arsenal I discovered! Hermeneutics, Calvinism, Church History and even Ethics were the choice weapons of my coup d’état. However, it was conflict without confrontation. When my pastor revealed his theological deficiency, I did not ask for a meeting. Rather, I scoffed-slandered-judged and left. Why try to understand? He was a false teacher who clearly did not evidence a love for God’s Reformed Word.
Eight years later, I am back in Systematic Theology. I look around and see my story on the faces of my peers. Just nod. God continues his humbling work in my life. Every week, I am amazed at how much I do not really understand. I have adopted a new posture toward learning. Before I would mark the zingers in my text, now I look for the frailty in my own positions. A right understanding of God (a.k.a. theology) will promote humility rather than pride. I read for weakness rather than strength. What does this argument assume? What fallacies are invisible when I assume my own inerrancy? Why do so many godly Baptists reject these ideas?
At the end of the day, my own questions drive me back to Christ. My intellectual weakness requires his strength. My pride requires his cross. My faltering answers require his truth. Ultimately, humble questions are compatible with a reverent sprit. And both are required to learn at the foot of Christ.