There are also some things I was told I had to do to be saved. I was taught to just stop thinking about some things, “taking every thought captive”. However, refusing to think about certain things, particularly problems in the church, is NOT what the Bible means by 2 Cor 10:5.
Thought stopping, or refusing to think about certain things, is not healthy. Yes, if our thoughts are coming in torrents it is good to slow them down and work through them systematically rather than panic, but to simply refuse to recognize thoughts or questions is very unhealthy and is almost always identified with unhealthy situations that include someone not wanting the one they are teaching to think for themselves. God himself gave us the ability to think for ourselves when he created us. And no, that wasn’t a bad thing. God made everything good.
But even as I write that, I remember a tangle of verses and partial verses that would seem to prove the opposite:
- -I’ve been taught not to trust my own thinking. “The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things…”, I was told, indicating that my heart was evil and my thoughts therefore, if they didn’t line up with the church’s teaching, must be evil, too.
- –Don’t question the ‘man of God’, I was told. “How can they hear without a preacher?” Well, I heard and responded to God. That doesn’t mean that I have to do anything that anyone who calls himself a preacher says to do for the rest of my life. All that verse says is that someone must tell others before they hear about God, which makes sense.
- -But the pastor will ‘give account’ before God. That’s not what Hebrews 13:7 is about. No human being is going to stand before God for us and give an account, either for the good or the bad… I find it odd now that the pastor would have said he would give account of us before God at the judgment, because the way it was always discussed, he would be telling all the bad things about us… which gives him the role of accuser of the brethren. That’s not a role any human should want to choose or tell others he would have.
- -But Adam and Eve used their choice to sin. And that’s what it boils down to.
If we are given free choice, we’ll sin. Sin is bad. Therefore… if we don’t think or don’t question, if we don’t make major decisions without checking in with the pastor, if we are accountable to someone else, if we make extra rules to keep ourselves ‘safe’ from sin… we’ll be OK, right? WRONG! For starters, none of that stops people from sinning. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden every evening. They had the greatest ‘accountability partner’ possible. Eve made the first extra rule — don’t touch the fruit. It didn’t work. And… there are a lot of people who would disagree, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to. God knew when he created us that we would make the wrong choice sooner or later. But he still chose to give us that choice. And when he created us with the will to choose, he still called his creation (us) good.
I’m going to repeat that. God made us with the ability to choose. He knew we would sin. AND HE STILL CALLED US GOOD. Not because we were only going to be good for a little bit of time. Not because he didn’t know what would happen. He called us good because he loves us… and maybe, just maybe because sin is not the horrible problem to the almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal God that we humans have been led to believe it is.
See also Things I was Taught Not To Do.