Winston Churchill once said, “Those who never change their minds, never change anything.” A change of mind is not a sign of weakness but of strength. There have been a number of areas related to theology that I have experienced a change of mind.
Here are five areas where my beliefs have changed:
Belief in God
The biggest change for me was from moving from an atheist to a theist, from disbelieving in God to believing in God. This was not the result of Christians preaching to me. My skeptical nature did not allow me to believe that either the universe or life could come about by accident.
Age of the Earth
When I first became a Christian, I was told that the only option was to believe in a literal six-day creation and a young earth (and universe) of six to ten thousand years. I accepted that in the beginning (see what I did there?). But over time, I have come to believe that the universe and the earth are billions of years old.
Nature of the Bible
I still have a very high view of the Bible and I believe that it is fully trustworthy. But I no longer believe that the Bible has to satisfy twenty-first century standards of precision. I believe that the Bible needs to be interpreted in its historical and literary context. When read in the proper context, things make much more sense.
Nature of Salvation
This is not a move from salvation by faith to salvation by works. It is rather a move away from the idea of “the sinner’s prayer.” Not that there is anything wrong with the sinner’s prayer, as that played a part in my own experience. But I was taught that it was the necessary process by which a person is saved. This leaves out large numbers of Christians of traditions who don’t use such a prayer. The sinner’s prayer is a relatively recent innovation. There are many sincere and devout Christians who have never prayed such a prayer.
Speaking in Tongues
In my early twenties, I joined a Pentecostal church. I was taught that every Christian should experience a post-salvation baptism of the Spirit that would always be accompanied by speaking in tongues. If a Christian did not speak in tongues, they did not have the full measure of the Holy Spirit and were operating in less power. Their ministry could never be fully effective. While I don’t deny that speaking in tongues is experienced by some today, I do not believe that it is for every Christian. I also believe that the baptism of the Spirit takes place at conversion.
Another theology that I once embraced was a strict pretribulational, premillennial eschatology. This meant that there would be a seven year tribulation that would begin by Jesus rapturing all true Christians off the earth. After seven years of reign by the antichrist, Jesus would come back with the transformed Christians and defeat the devil and initiating a thousand year reign. For a long time, I never thought to question this. But after careful study of the Bible, I came to conclude that all we can be sure of is that at some point Jesus will return and when he returns, all Christian (alive and dead) will be resurrected, receiving new glorified bodies.
What about you? In what ways has your theology changed over the years?