>In the Change or Growth post, I supported the idea that growth is preferable to change of mind when it comes to belief systems. But, I want to present another train of thought in relation to that topic.
Whether change or growth is better depends on where our belief system lies in the first place!
I am a Southern Baptist. I always have been. I’m only in my early thirties, so I cannot say with conviction that I always will be a Southern Baptist, but so far the Lord has not led me to change. (Although I must admit I have thought about it.)
I have a friend who says I’m not a typical Southern Baptist, and I just chuckle. The truth of the matter is that I don’t automatically identify with the actions or face of my denomination. I could probably find a large group of people who would identify with me more closely such that we could form our own denomination! But, as far as what is established right now, where I am is where I most closely fit, especially when the foundational beliefs of the Southern Baptist denomination are evaluated. I disagree with many of the ways we are presenting ourselves to the world, but I am encouraged to challenge those presentations from within rather than criticize them from without.
Having said that, though, I have to express something about denominational affiliation. So often we agree with what our specific denomination or doctrinal group believes, and therefore that is our perspective on Scripture. That would be like saying that I am a Baptist because I like what Baptists believe, and therefore I have a Baptist view of God’s Word.
In the words of my mother, “No!!! No!!! And a thousand times NO!!!”
I must first have a foundational belief rooted in Scripture. Then, when I look around me, if Southern Baptists are most in line with that understanding, I join with them. Our understanding of Scripture comes first. Then our denominational or doctrinal affiliation can follow.
If our belief system is based on our denominational understanding of Scripture, then growth is not what we need. We need change! We need to redirect the foundation of our belief system! I cannot be founded in a denomination. If I do so, then when my denomination begins acting in ways that are unbiblical, I’m just going to follow right along with them! Instead, I must be founded in Scripture so that when my denomination strays I can remain firmly grounded. I would rather be considered a renegade to my denomination than be so devoted to my denomination that I stray from the Word of God.
Sometimes it is hard to determine whether we are devoted to God’s Word through the lenses of our denomination or if we are associated with our denomination through the lenses of God’s Word. But, that is the very thing we must prayerfully evaluate. If need be, we must change. Our solidarity lies in the Word of God. Period.