I always tell everyone to question everything… whether they believe it to be true or not. If someone tells you something, don’t just take it at face value. Think critically, taking what they say, do your own research, comparing it with Scripture and surrounding context, and decide for yourself what the truth seems to be. But here’s what I will also say: Continue to re-evaluate your positions.
This is one of the premises of my podcast Conversations with Jeff. I will literally talk to anybody. I’ve had on Dr Andy Woods talking about why he believes Calvinism and Lordship Salvation is a false Gospel. I’ve had on Bishop Larry Gaiters on talking about secret societies and how the blood lines are really ruling the world. I’ve spoken to Dr Michael Brown about why he believes in Charismatic Theology & why the gold dust “glory cloud” at Bethel Church could have been God’s actual presence.
Some guests I agree with, some guests I completely disagree with. But the point is to have the conversation. By discussing these issues, especially when there’s disagreement, it forces me to constantly re-evaluate my position, and then I have to make a decision: Did this new information change my mind or did it reinforce what I already believe?
You see, often times, people make up their mind about what they believe, only surround themselves with people that agree with them on everything, and then just run around claiming that everyone that disagrees with them is a heretic. The problem with that kind of mentality is that we are fallible humans, and there’s always a chance that we might be wrong on a particular issue. However, you probably would never find out that you need to re-evaluate your belief system until it’s challenged by a superior argument.
So engage with those that disagree with you. Have people around you challenge your position. That’s what I’ve done with The GK. I’ve always been a 5 point Calvinist, cessationist, Lordship Salvation guy, and actually used to be a John MacArthur style pietist. However, I’ve surrounded myself with people from several competing theological perspectives, including several Free Gracers (like Shoe and Dr Mike Spaulding), Charismatics (like Pastor Ken Peters) and non-pietists (like Pastor Sam Jones).
Having these guys around me has helped me to re-evaluate my positions. For example, I’m definitely not a pietist anymore (thanks Sam!). I no longer believe that Charismatics are the enemy like I used to (I used to be a hardcore Strange Fire guy). And I’ve also realized that many Calvinists and Lordship guys take things WAY too far and turn their belief system into a false Gospel.
Get out of your comfort zone. Read some books from people outside of your little circle. Think critically. Compare everything with Scripture. That’s what the Bereans did with the Apostle Paul. It’s what we should do with our favorite pastors. Don’t just accept what they say at face value. Make sure that it’s actually accurate.