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Christian Error

 

It was understood from the beginning that there would be both intentional error and accidental error introduced in the teaching of Christianity.

The question of how to deal with this was addressed by Paul;

2 Timothy 4:2-3  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.   For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

There are two ways to deal with Christian error. The first is corrective as Paul tells Timothy. The second is to attempt to prevent error. While the attempt to prevent error can be made with good intentions and at first seem an effective tool to identify and eliminate error, prevention requires the use of coercive force and control. The attempt to "prevent" error changes Christianity from an engagement of the individual via persuasion to the subordination of the Christian to a rule based system that functions as a superior entity with the Christian as just a compliant component.

Christianity is about trust. It is not about agreement with or conformity to doctrines, principles, or rules. The Christian who is actively trying to become more like Jesus is one who is open to correction. The prevention approach is dangerous because it often provides assurance that a person will receive the benefits of Christianity because they have followed the rules, met the requirements, and accepted the doctrine rather than trusting in Jesus.

Christianity presented as a correction system relies on persuasion which depends on the active participation of individual. In a correction system an individual has to be actively seeking what is right, asking questions to learn more, and open to correction and instruction.

Christianity presented as an error prevention system can be attractive in that it offers certainty and requires acceptance rather than comprehension which can be less demanding for the participant. Often a person just has to learn the rules and perform the requirements and they can get on with other things in their life. The problem is that they can miss the entire point of Christianity.

Benefits of Christianity are a new and eternal life in Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the filling with the Holy Spirit, growth in wisdom, love, and truth, and a depth to fellowship that is transcendent.

A Christian needs the freedom to make mistakes and encounter error. The desire to prevent error often quenches the Holy Spirit, stifles Christian growth, and can even deceive someone into thinking he is a Christian when he is not.

2 Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

  

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