Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary
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Reconstructing Faith

If your beliefs aren’t changing, you aren’t growing.

I was listening to a sermon on doubt this week, and the pastor made the above statement. I may not have quoted it perfectly, but you get this basic idea.

Honestly, I have struggled over the last decade with some of the changes in my beliefs. My foundation, has not changed. I still believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God. I believe it is inspired and God-breathed. I still believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God in human form who came to earth. I believe He suffered and died for my sins. I believe on the third day He rose again, forever conquering death and giving me eternal life!

But there are so many things I don’t believe any more.

I don’t believe divorce is some awful sin that forever disqualifies one from ministry. In fact, I no longer believe that divorce is always a sin. I believe that sin is always involved in divorce, but sometimes a marriage is so dysfunctional and damaging that the act of divorce is nothing more than a legal acknowledgement of the breaking of the covenant.

I don’t believe that God hates divorce because it is some horrible sin. I do believe He hates divorce but only because it breaks His heart to see His children hurting. It breaks His heart to see the pain and destruction causes to those impacted by divorce. I believe the passage is often taken out of the context of God’s passion for godly marriages, for spouses to treat one another with love and respect.

I don’t believe that adultery is the only Biblical reason for divorce as I was taught my entire life. I believe Jesus used divorce as a reason divorce was acceptable, advising against the prevalent attitude of the day that allowed divorce without a reason.

I don’t believe adultery is a failure on the part of both people in a marriage. More often than not, it is the result of one hard heart that is determined to do life his/her way. I believe marriage requires two people fully committed to God and one another and that divorce only requires one hard heart.

I don’t believe remarriage after divorce is a sin. As far back as Deuteronomy, remarriage was permissible in the case of divorce. Divorce was a kindness to women, a kindness that allowed them to remarry so there was financial support. I believe the teachings that forbade remarriage are a gross misinterpretation of scripture that was created to prevent people from divorcing.

I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, that God created marriage as a gift between man an woman for life. I do believe that it is meant to be an image of His love for us, His bride. I do believe it can be an incredible blessing for two hearts determined to do things God’s way. But, I don’t believe God intended for us to stick it out at all costs. I don’t believe He wants us to be prisoners in our own home, desperately trying to appease an angry, emotionally and verbally abusive spouse.

Have I begun to interpret scriptures in light of my circumstances?

Or am I allowing scripture to interpret my circumstances?

It’s a question I have grappled with many times, and I truly believe that the changes in my beliefs are the result of growth.

Really, the changes in my beliefs are the result of deconstructing some of the false interpretations of scripture that have been handed down throughout the generations. It’s a result of comparing human interpretations against the character of God. It’s a result of examining these beliefs through the microscope of Scripture.

The truth is we all need to live in a way that we examine and reexamine our beliefs on a regular basis. We all need to be open to the reality that we may believe some incorrect human interpretations. We need to recognize that there are many false teachings that have been passed down throughout the generations.

And our westernized brand of Christianity? I’m not even sure I have words for what we have so often been taught! Show me in scripture where the Christian life is free of troubles, free of persecution. Show me where the Christian life is one of ease and comfort. I believe these beliefs have imprisoned us here in a false view of Christianity.

Paul was beaten and shipwrecked. Abraham was a stranger and a foreigner. Moses endangered his life by going before Pharoah. David was hunted like prey. None of the Bible’s heroes of faith lived live on easy street. Instead, they faced dangers and tribulations—but their faith carried them through. Their faith was a foundation that provided peace in spite of the lives they lived.  

And how do we live out our faith? Why do we get upset when life doesn’t go our way? Why do we expect blessings and our faith shatters in the face of devastation?

Maybe it’s because we have a false brand of Christianity. Maybe it’s because we’ve been clinging to human interpretations of scripture rather than the infallible word of God.

Maybe it’s because we need to deconstruct our faith so that we can reconstruct a true faith.



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